The 32nd group of Peace Corps Volunteers were sworn in Wednesday and according to US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch the volunteers will serve Guyana over the next two years in some of the indigenous communities that need the most assistance.
The swearing-in ceremony was held at the US Ambassador’s residence in Cummings Lodge on the East Coast of Demerara.
Ambassador Lynch administered the Peace Corps oath and pledge that officially made the trainees into volunteers. The Peace Corps Volunteers have been serving in Guyana since 1966.
The Ambassador said Peace Corps is one of the finest training offered by the United States, to provide necessary assistance to countries and promote a better understanding of American people.
“The Peace Corps special ingredient in Guyana and globally is a people-to-people approach to learning, reinforcing and building capacity at the community level,” the Ambassador said.
According to the Ambassador, 40 per cent of the volunteers will be posted to indigenous communities that need the most assistance.
Amongst the volunteers are artists, planners, athletes, adventurers, social justice pursuers, a veterinary assistant and a special education teacher.
Ten volunteers will work in the education sector, another ten will work in developing the environment and the remaining nine volunteers will work in the health sector.
“As those before you we expect excellence, we expect professionalism and we expect commitment during your two years of Peace Corps service,” the Ambassador said.
Minister of State Dawn Hastings-Williams said the work by the Peace Corps volunteers will continue to benefit communities in enhancing education, health and environmental development.
“The contribution made by the Peace Corps volunteers towards the development and progress of Guyana is highly appreciated in areas such as education, health and the environment. The hinterland areas of our country and more so the indigenous communities have all benefited and will continue to benefit from these volunteers,” the State Minister said.
The 29 volunteers arrived in June this year and began their pre-service training. The volunteers lived with host families and were introduced to the Guyanese way of life.
One of the volunteers Katherine Nace spoke about the experience living with host families and they were kind, welcoming and accepting, but the environment, however, was a bit challenging.
“The time between when we were informed by our host families to actually meeting them, they were a lot of uncertainties and curiosity-what would they be like, what do they eat…would we get along- well…it turned out that the host families were not only the water for our continued growth but a lot of the sunshine too.
“They nurture us to grow with each dish of delicious Guyanese food, with each family gathering, with each community occasion or with each evening gaff in creoles.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Karen Boyle said the volunteers have been doing outstanding work in the country such as school outreaches, interactive information sessions and open health days.
She encouraged the volunteers to savour the rich cultural heritage in Guyana.