Peace Corps Director Visits Turkmenistan

November 9, 2007

Tschetter meets Volunteer-trainees in Central Asia

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, November 9, 2007 - Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter wraps up his visit to Turkmenistan today where he met with government officials, Peace Corps staff and Volunteers.

Peace Corps Volunteers have been serving in Turkmenistan since 1993, teaching English and working in health and HIV/AIDS prevention and education. Currently 91 Volunteers are serving in this central Asian country.

"Turkmenistan is a nation rich in culture and history, and our Volunteers are helping to share America with its remarkable people," said Tschetter. "Peace Corps Volunteers continue to teach English and improve the health of the Turkmen through their service. They will also take back to America a better understanding of this central Asian country."

Tschetter met with the Minister of Health Ata Serdarov during his visit. The minister has demonstrated strong support of the Peace Corps, even hosting Peace Corps Volunteers in his home. He thanked Director Tschetter for the work of Peace Corps in Turkmenistan over the past 16 years.

Director Tschetter also met with many trainee Volunteers during his three-day visit, including Erin Dahan of Baltimore, Md., and Jay Williams from Klamath Falls, Ore.

Erin is teaching English in a school of 1,000 students. Some of her students held a heartwarming sing-a-long for peace in English to welcome the Director in honor of his visit. Erin also applied for and received a grant to renovate the school's gymnasium. The gym now has new paint and sports equipment for basketball and volleyball.

Jay is serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer, along with his wife, Sarah, also a Health Volunteer. Jay is working at a rehabilitation center where people with disabilities are learning sports, such as weight lifting and table tennis. Seven of the students from the center went to the Special Olympics regional games in China last month and brought home 17 medals.

To learn more about Peace Corps/Turkmenistan, visit the Where Do Volunteers Go? section of the Peace Corps website.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 46-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are over 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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