First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton Visits Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco ; First Lady Visits Volunteer Sites on March 27 and 28
March 25, 1999Washington, D.C., March 25, 1999—First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will meet with Morocco Peace Corps volunteers in rural sites near the Atlas Mountains on Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28.
"Although often challenging, I find living in and exploring cultures very different from my own both intriguing and rewarding," said Lisa Bernasek, who will host Mrs. Clinton on Saturday. "I try to strike a balance between staying true to my own values and beliefs and honoring those of the new culture."
Mrs. Clinton's first stop will be in Siffa, where she will visit the Dispensaire Rural de Siffa, where Bernasek works with local nurses to develop outreach programs for women to increase awareness of family planning techniques, pre-natal care, and vaccinations. The First Lady will also meet with 15 other Peace Corps volunteers and their counterparts who are working in the region.
On Sunday, Mrs. Clinton will travel to volunteer Ryan Russell's site in Toubkal, in the Atlas Mountains, where she will take a one-hour hike. Russell works with the National Park Management in Toubkal, and has worked closely with his community to bring potable water directly from the water source to rural households. He has also implemented a program that has distributed 10,000 fruit and forestry trees to his community of 3,000 people.
There are 130 Peace Corps volunteers currently serving in Morocco, and since 1962, more than 3,500 Peace Corps volunteers have served there. Volunteers work in education (including schools for the blind), health, agriculture, and the environment.
Mrs. Clinton has visited hundreds of Peace Corps volunteers in more than a dozen countries around the world, and remains a strong supporter of the Peace Corps. In November 1998, she swore-in a group of 13 Peace Corps volunteers in Haiti. She traveled to Central America after Hurricane Mitch devastated the area, and recommended that the Peace Corps send Crisis Corps volunteers (former Peace Corps volunteers, who work for up to six months) to the area to help with recovery efforts. There are now nearly 40 Crisis Corps volunteers in Central America.
Mrs. Clinton's stop in Morocco is part of her and Chelsea's 12-day visit to North Africa. Morocco is one of 134 countries in which the Peace Corps has been active during its 38-year history. Currently, about 6,700 Peace Corps volunteers are working in 80 countries to bring clean water to communities, teach children, protect the environment, help start new small businesses, and prevent the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.