Director Vasquez Visits Peace Corps' Paraguay Program
July 19, 2004WASHINGTON, D.C., July 19, 2004 – Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez arrived in Paraguay this past week to visit volunteers and witness their dedication to service. During his stay, Director Vasquez also met with Vice President Luis Alberto Castiglioni Soria, the Minister of Foreign Relations Leila Rachid de Cowles, and U.S. Ambassador John F. Keane, who was a Peace Corps volunteer in Columbia from 1966 to 1969.
|Lawrence Crockett shows Director Vasquez the landfill he helped create in his community, which has reduced air and water pollution.|
As a youth, Vice President Castiglioni was taught by a Peace Corps health sector volunteer. During their meeting, Vice President Castiglioni shared his father’s admiration of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
“We have a solid program in Paraguay, that is universally admired by government officials who shared with me their personal stories and positive experiences with Peace Corps volunteers. Everywhere I traveled, I witnessed the respect past and present volunteers have earned through their dedication and hard work in Paraguay,” said Director Vasquez.
The Director met with more than 40 volunteers and visited a variety of volunteer project sites.
Third year Peace Corps volunteer Elena Foshay showed Director Vasquez the urban youth development project she started, and new volunteer Anna Richards has continued in Barrio Puerto Bontánico, Asuncion. Foshay, now an Education and Urban Youth Volunteer Coordinator, originally helped the youth in the community find a location to open a library to provide reading materials and computer access to youth and residents. Richards now works with the youth at the library, teaches English to teenagers and adults, and also collaborates with a local women's group that conducts weekly workshops on parenting skills, nutrition and personal health.
Former investment consultant Lawrence Crockett left banking behind for a landfill. Currently working as a Municipal Services Development Volunteer in Emboscada, Crockett demonstrated the positive impact a sanitary landfill has had on overall health in the region, by reducing air and water pollution. Crockett’s project will also create income for local residents by providing jobs and boosting income for the municipality. In addition, Crockett has been working with a group to increase awareness of the history of African Paraguayans in an effort to gain better education and healthcare for Afro-Paraguayans.
|Elena Foshay explains to Director Vasquez the impact the library and urban youth development project she helped create has had on her community, while two youths and Anna Richards (right), who has taken over the project, look on.|
At the site of Leeatt Rothschild, a second year Environmental Education Volunteer, Director Vasquez learned how she is helping rural families generate income through alternative farming. Working with the Pan American Health Organization, she has helped families develop a worm farming. Working with the Pan American Health Organization, she has helped families develop a worm farming and organic humus project.
“People didn't understand why I was here at first. Why would some random North American come here to try to help them? But now, when I see the project in motion, and I was able to have a meeting with 16 families on a different way of doing farming, and you see the results, it is really fulfilling,” said Rothschild.
Currently there are 180 Peace Corps volunteers serving in Paraguay working in the areas of agriculture, environment, health and HIV/AIDS education and prevention, small enterprise development, education, and youth development. Since 1967, over 2,700 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Paraguay, making it one of the Peace Corps’ largest success stories.
Since 1961, more than 171,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.