Peace Corps Director Visits the Eastern Caribbean

May 16, 2008

Director Tschetter meets with Volunteers and Officials in St. Lucia and Grenada

CASTRIES, ST. LUCIA, MAY 16, 2008 - Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter this week concluded a three-day tour of the Eastern Caribbean islands of Grenada and St. Lucia. During the visit, he had the opportunity to meet all the Volunteers on the islands, as well as the Governor-General of St. Lucia. Director Tschetter's travel marks his 25th trip to visit Volunteers in-country.

In Grenada, Tschetter met with Volunteer Rebecca Tekippe of Earlville, Iowa at her site. Tekippe is working with a womens shelter for victims of domestic violence, and teaching life-skills and self-esteem development to the women. An official from the Grenadian Ministry of Social Development, Merle Walker, expressed her gratitude for Tekippes work. "We truly appreciate the work of the Peace Corps here. Peace Corps is so very important to the women at our home who have been through so much," said Walker.

Traveling to St. Lucia, Tschetter visited the Anse Le Raye Primary School, where Volunteers Nicholas Klinger, of Fayetteville, Ark., and Lilly Bertz, of Southbury, Conn., are currently serving. The Volunteers created a student savings program which encourages children to save money regularly. The program has successfully helped local students save thousands of dollars. A student violin group later played for the Director, under the instruction of Volunteer Lily Bertz.

Speaking on the outstanding work at the school, Tschetter said, "This is a dynamic and developing part of the world, and I'm so proud of the collaboration I've seen on my visit between our Peace Corps Volunteers and our local hosts. Through our joint commitment to helping the people of St. Lucia and Greneda, we are making positive changes for the future."

During his visit, Director Tschetter was honored to meet with the Governor-General of St. Lucia, Dame Pearlette Louisy, where he expressed his deep appreciation for hospitality of the St. Lucian people, and his desire for a continuation of the strong relationship between St. Lucia and Peace Corps. Louisy responded by expressing her gratitude for the Peace Corps and her hopes for a continued partnership.

Since the program's inception in 1961, over 3,555 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in the Eastern Caribbean. Currently, 124 Volunteers serve on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and Cariaccou, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. These Volunteers work in the areas of education, youth development, and health services. Volunteers also assist local governments and communities in developing information technology and disaster preparedness programs.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are more than 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 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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