Peace Corps Director Tschetter Becomes the First Director to Visit the Republic of Bolivia

Tschetter visited Peace Corps Volunteers, staff, and government officials during his historic visit in the Republic of Bolivia

COCHABAMBA, BOLIVIA, August 16, 2007 Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter completes a three day visit to Bolivia today, marking the first visit of a Peace Corps Director to this country.

Tschetter met with government officials, Peace Corps staff and Volunteers and recognized the accomplishments of the 2,500 Peace Corps Volunteers who have served in Bolivia since 1962. Currently, 148 Volunteers are serving in Bolivia in the areas of rural sanitation, agricultural extension, small business development and municipal enterprise development, natural resource management and environmental education, and integrated education.

I am greatly impressed with the work of the Volunteers in Bolivia, said Director Tschetter. Volunteers are providing needed and sustainable skills to the Bolivian people while gaining a better understanding of the rich culture of this beautiful country. Director Tschetter served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in India from 1966 to 1968. I felt the warmth and hospitality of the Bolivian people everywhere I went, remarked Director Tschetter.

Tschetter met with many of the Volunteers serving in Bolivia including a group of 50+ Volunteers. Barbara and Gilbert Mora were among the group. The couple, both recently retired medical professionals from Silver City, N.M., will be applying their skills at a school for children with disabilities and deafness in the Altiplano region. Gilbert Mora said he made the decision to leave his successful career for the Peace Corps because he hoped that, "In a small way I could give back and make a contribution."

Tschetter also visited several project sites and observed Volunteers working with their Bolivian counterparts. In a colonial city in central Bolivia, he visited Patricia Seminetta, of Bridgeview, Ill., who is working to promote local tourism and strengthen the business skills of several local artisan groups, in addition to other projects such as teaching English to aspiring local history guides. Tschetter also met Volunteer Patricia Murray of Tampa, Fla. who is working in the same community. Murray, a recently retired school teacher, is using her skills to help train teachers and administrators of an early childhood program.

In addition to visiting Volunteers, Tschetter met with members of the press and Bolivian government, including Bolivian Foreign Affairs Minister David Choquehuanca. In the meeting, Minister Choquehuanca said that the Peace Corps provided an important opportunity for Bolivians and Americans to become better acquainted.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 46-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Since 1961, more than 187,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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