Thursday, April 7, 2011

U.S. Congressman John Garamendi, Patti Garamendi Return to Ethiopia; Celebrating Peace Corps 50th Anniversary

In A statement sent to Medias the U.S. Congressman John Garamendi and his wife Patti Garamendi recently visited Ethiopia, where they served together as Peace Corps volunteers in 1966. The U.S. Peace Corps is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011. During their journey back to Ethiopia, the Garamendi’s had a joyful reunion in Metu, the town where the couple volunteered 45 years ago, and reconnected with former students and friends who are still in the area. As Peace Corps volunteers, John and Patti spent two years in Metu teaching grade seven and eight students, providing family health education to women, giving smallpox vaccines, digging wells, building schools and helping to set up coffee co-ops. They both returned to Ethiopia in 1984 to work in food distribution centers and raise money to alleviate the famine conditions in the country at that time. John later returned to Ethiopia on a peacekeeping mission with a group of U.S. Congressmen during the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict. Congressmen Garamendi and his wife Patti found their experience as volunteers in Ethiopia to be “life changing.” As John Garamendi stated in Peace Corp’s WorldView newsletter , “We decided that a career in public service, working to develop policies that create social and economic justice and lift people out of poverty would be our life’s path.” The U.S. Peace Corps first came to Ethiopia in 1962 just one year after the Peace Corps was founded in 1961. Ethiopia was one of the first countries to invite the Peace Corps to establish a program. At that time, the primary focus was in education with the goal of training skilled workers and promoting economic development. A total of 3,500 Volunteers have served in Ethiopia since 1962. Currently 73 volunteers serve in Ethiopia in the health, environment, and education sectors, the statement added. Source ( ENC)

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