Peace Corps Volunteer Facilitates Internet Site in Guatemalan Village
May 8, 2000WASHINGTON, D.C., May 8, 2000—Peace Corps volunteer Robert Moyer, 72, is expanding technology in Central America through the Internet. He has been working with a local company, Artexco R.L., which initially installed their Web site last June. The Web site has been supervised by Moyer since his arrival in Guatemala last September, and he is training a local counterpart to continue to oversee the site when Moyer's service ends in 2001. Moyer, originally from Flint, Mich., is volunteering in the Guatemalan town of Quezaltenango, assisting with business development. In addition to overseeing the Web site, he assists at a retail handicraft store at Artexco's headquarters. The Web site was created to open national and international markets for the 2,600 Mayan artisans in the western highlands. Comprised of 55% women, the Mayan artisans produce items such as home woven cotton fabric, glassware, ceramics, wooden furniture and carvings, leather goods, and woven woolen items. "Most of our volunteers who are serving in the Peace Corps are comparative experts in information technology, and many of them already are pioneering computer access in some of the poorest communities in the world," Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider said. "Bob Moyer is one of those volunteers. In early February, on a trip to Central America to visit with Peace Corps volunteers, I met Bob and realized what an outstanding volunteer he is, and what a wonderful contribution he is making to his community in Guatemala." Since arriving in his Guatemalan village, Moyer and his colleagues have improved Artexco's Internet site to scan visual samples for client viewing. They are also able to create new designs for products, send selected pages of their hard catalog, solicit new clients, and send promotional offers to existing and potential customers. Currently, they are revising the Web site to stress the artisans and their struggles for survival and a better life. This is not Moyer's first experience with the Peace Corps. Prior to his work in Guatemala, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine from 1996 to 1999. Moyer also worked for nearly 50 years in sales and marketing management at The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Being a senior and associating with young Peace Corps volunteers, getting to know them, and trying to be a role model for them, are some of Moyer's most memorable experiences thus far in Guatemala, he says. Upon Moyer's return to the United States, he plans to continue volunteer work by recruiting senior citizens for the Peace Corps. He also wants to spend time with his three sons, their families, and his six grandchildren.
Currently, there are 207 Peace Corps volunteers serving in Guatemala, working in agriculture, health, environment, and business development. More than 3,900 volunteers have served in Guatemala since the program began in 1963.