News from PC/Bolivia (cont. from p. 4)

The program and training retreat we conducted at the end of FY 2002 set the stage for our successful efforts to improve Volunteer communications and support.  With PC Washington's Office of Special Services (OSS),  program and training staff, Volunteer Coordinators and PCV representatives were provided with basic training in active listening and guided problem-solving skills.  Reports from Volunteers in the months following this training indicated a greater satisfaction level with APCD support. 

Our Medical Officer has worked closely with PC/Bolivia's Peer Support Network, helping them provide a higher level of support to fel

low PCVs.  Other efforts to improve communications include participation by senior PC/Bolivia staff in regional Volunteer meetings, and presenting sessions aimed at enhancing communications and building relationships at the All Volunteer Conference. 

Our Microenterprise Project received permission to pilot a Yahoo group site for improved project communication between PCVs and staff.  The experiment was so successful that all PC/Bolivia projects are implementing similar Yahoo groups.  We added Internet contact to our EAP test strategies, and have found it an effective way of communicating with PCVs.  We also in

stalled additional phone lines in the La Paz and Cochabamba offices, and the Training Center, and secured a toll-free line for the Cochabamba office to improve PCV contact capabilities. 

Clearly, it has been a busy year.  Above all, our Volunteers continue to work diligently in grass-roots community development efforts.  We have begun planning for FY04, and foresee even greater successes in the coming years. 

Best wishes to all our Amigos!

Charna Lefton
   Deputy Country Director
   Peace Corps/Bolivia

President Toledo's  Commencement Speech

Excerpts of a speech delivered by Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, June 15, 2003 at Stanford's 112th Commencement.

Standing here before you evokes in me vivid memories and powerful emotion.  My friends, I stand before you as president of Peru, but when I originally came to this country I was a wide-eyed country boy trying to make his way in the midst of a marvel.

Some of you -- most of you -- can guess by looking at me that I come from the highlands of Peru.  I was born in a tiny place of 50 families over [13,000] feet up in the Andes close to the sun.  I am the eighth of 16 children of whom, as President Hennessy has said, seven died before the age of 1 -- [a] story very typi

cal and representative of extreme poverty in Latin America.

At the age of 5, I became prematurely adult.  My parents decided to move down to the coastal port city of Chimbote in search of a better life.  By the age of 6, I was shining shoes, selling newspapers and lottery tickets, all at the same time.  I had to contribute to the family income.  But I went to school, a public school.  I learned to read and write as well as many other things.

When I was 12 years old, I entered a contest [to become] a correspondent for one of the country's main newspapers, along with many others.  To my surprise, I won the prize.  It didn't pay much however, it did catapult me into a whole different cultural world.

The critical thing was the transformation within myself.  One afternoon, [as] I was walking down the street, my life took a turn toward Stanford.  I got into a conversation with two foreigners in my shantytown.  They were looking for [lodging].  I was looking for a better world.  They were Joel and Nancy Meister, who were members of the Peace Corps.  It took some doing to persuade my mother to let them live with us, [but] I succeeded.

A few years later, I was in the United States at the University of San Francisco on a soccer fellowship studying four years of economics, together with theology and philosophy.  Can you imagine what it was like to arrive in San Francisco straight from the Andes and from

(Continued on page 12)

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Volume 14, Issue 2

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