Peace Corps Volunteer in Guyana Leaves Mark

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 13, 2002—Peace Corps volunteer Liz Schuster will be returning home after serving three years as a Health Education volunteer in Guyana, South America. Ms. Schuster was very successful in helping educate the people of Guyana on health care issues.

Ms. Schuster worked in a cottage hospital located in a small Amerindian Village. Focusing on her health care education project, she used her imagination and creativity to engage her students in the most important health issues.

Ms. Schuster wrote and illustrated seven educational books that proved to be her best tools for communicating health topics to her students on a personal level. “Lolita and Maria” are two Amerindian school children portrayed in each simple story that emphasizes important and memorable lessons about health care. These handmade booklets address topics such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, alcohol, and nutrition in the context of Amerindian culture.
photo of Liz Schuster giving a health education booklet to a man
Liz Schuster gives out health booklets. Approximately 3,500 copies are being distributed to Amerindian communities throughout Guyana.

Word of Ms. Schuster’s efforts to help the children in her village quickly spread throughout the country. Her work was shown to the Iwokrama International Center for Rain Forest Conservation and Development. Impressed by her writings, the organization worked with the Guyana Book Foundation to print 3,500 copies for distribution to Amerindian communities throughout Guyana. Free copies are still being distributed at local festivals, NGO (nongovernmental organizations) offices, Ministries, and schools.

“She didn’t allow deflated expectations to keep her back; she stayed positive. Liz started small, which can be easier said than done when you have high expectations of doing great things,” said Julie Morin, Volunteer Coordinator for Guyana.

Peace Corps returned to Guyana in 1995 and currently, volunteers are working in education and health projects. In the past few years, volunteer projects have expanded to include community health and youth development assignments focusing more directly on education and community development.

Since 1961, more than 165,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health and HIV/AIDS, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.

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