BY INDRAWATTIE NATRAM
Twenty-nine Peace Corps Volunteers were on Monday sworn-in by Ambassador Perry Holloway at a simple ceremony held in Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam). The trainees, who will provide voluntary services in the health and education sectors, will serve in seven of the 10 Administrative Regions in Guyana over the next two years.
Speaking at the ceremony, US Ambassador Perry Holloway pointed out that the newly sworn-in volunteers will be representing the very best of the United States by displaying the true sense of volunteerism as well as be opened to many adventures.
Holloway noted that in addition to the scenic beauty, Guyana is a developing country that faces many challenges including poverty, ethnic division, crime and HIV epidemic. According to the Ambassador, the United States has a strong interest in working in partnership with Guyana to support national efforts and help eliminate the various challenges.
“The United States Government is working hard to forge a closer and more productive partnership with the Government of Guyana and the people of Guyana to help build a more prosperous, secured, democratic, and healthy Guyana,” Holloway stated.
Holloway added that Peace Corps forms an important part of the US mission in Guyana and was first welcome in 1966. He noted that after 1966, there was a gap and the Corps returned in 1995 to work as community based supporters in the health and education sectors. Some 800 volunteers have since visited Guyana.
Meanwhile, Peace Corps Country director, Linda Arbogast, in giving an overview of the project said the Peace Corps mission started under John F Kenney and has continued under all administrations of the US Government.
The trainees before becoming volunteers are required to undergo a rigorous 10 week-training in safety, languages, community health, among others. During their time with their host families in Guyana they are required to learn to cook as well as adapt to the changing environment.
Attending the ceremony also was Health Minister Dr George Norton who told those gathered that the ministry is honoured to partner with the US embassy in accepting the volunteers in the public health system. On a yearly basis Dr Norton said, the Health Ministry accepts some 34 volunteers who are usually attached to various health centres in the hinterland and coastal regions.