January 10, 2005: Headlines: COS - Paraguay: Marriage: Hamilton Journal News: Erin Lloyd de Ortigoza committed her time and talent to help improve an underprivileged community in Paraguay where she met her future husband

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Paraguay: Peace Corps Paraguay: The Peace Corps in Paraguay: January 10, 2005: Headlines: COS - Paraguay: Marriage: Hamilton Journal News: Erin Lloyd de Ortigoza committed her time and talent to help improve an underprivileged community in Paraguay where she met her future husband

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Erin Lloyd de Ortigoza committed her time and talent to help improve an underprivileged community in Paraguay where she met her future husband

Erin Lloyd de Ortigoza committed her time and talent to help improve an underprivileged community in Paraguay where she met her future husband

Erin Lloyd de Ortigoza committed her time and talent to help improve an underprivileged community in Paraguay where she met her future husband

Hamilton native returns from stint in Peace Corps

By Carmen M. Henderson

HAMILTON With life's opportunities for the choosing, Erin Lloyd de Ortigoza committed her time and talent to help improve an underprivileged community in South America.

The commitment at times would leave her mentally, emotionally and physically spent. In the midst of implementing projects and

facing challenges, de Ortigoza found love and became part of the community she helped.

The 24-year-old Hamilton native, who left town as a single woman, recently returned from Paraguay as a two-year Peace Corps volunteer and with her newlywed husband, Alcides Ortigoza.

"It was an extremely invaluable experience," de Ortigoza said. "It puts those things you see on TV or hear about right in your face."

De Ortigoza's volunteerism also influenced her family and students in the Hamilton City School District to donate money to purchase books for a library.

De Ortigoza lived just outside in the campo, or countryside, of a small community, comparable to Darrtown, called Tava'i near the Paraguayan and Brazilian border. The community had no running water but had a water well, TV and electricity. Telephone service was sporadic, she said. The main communication between neighboring communities was by radio.

"The lifestyle was very simple," said de Ortigoza. "Now I'm more grounded."

De Ortigoza worked as an agriculture extension volunteer, showing farmers how to improve their harvests.

Through Peace Corps training, she learned agriculture techniques to harvest crops planted on a slope. She shared with farmers and their families ways to grow vegetable gardens during the heavy rainfall and extreme winds that occur in that region.

During de Ortigoza's 27-month stay in Paraguay, she created fund-raisers with women's groups to teach them the importance of project planning. She took part in hosting an AIDS prevention and education program.

Perhaps her proudest achievement was creating a municipal library last year as part of a community initiative of Tava'i and Hamilton.

"I had never done anything so exciting in my life," de Ortigoza's mother, Donna Lloyd said.

Lloyd, a teacher at Adams Elementary School, said her students and those at Fillmore Elementary School, Wilson Junior High School and Hamilton High School raised $1,500. Including funds from de Ortigoza's family and friends, the donations totaled $2,400 and paid for 400 Spanish books. The books ranged from philosophy to history to health.

The library was converted from a garage and storage room, de Ortigoza said. Most of the residents in the community didn't understand the concept of a library.

De Ortigoza's most difficult time happened when she suffered from ongoing fever and broke out with a rash that covered her body. Unsure of the illness, de Ortigoza spent two months in the Peace Corps' hospital in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion. She faced being terminated from the Peace Corps because of her long illness, but recovered in time.

"I had lost 20 pounds in two months. It was a lot of stress from the political issues between the communities," she said. "I think I worried myself into fever. I tried to connect the community with resources."

During de Ortigoza's second year as a Peace Corps volunteer she'd met Alcides, 22, whom she calls "karape," meaning shorty in Guarani the one of two official languages in Paraguay. The other is Spanish.

She said their friendship grew to romance as they spent time together. Alcides cared for Erin when she was ill and even visited her in the hospital.

"I love the way he is with children. He's very grounded, whereas I'm up in the clouds," de Ortigoza said of her husband of five months.

In November 2003, Alcides learned enough English to ask Erin's parents for her hand and marriage.

Lloyd and her son, Kevin, attended the Catholic wedding outside Tava'i last July. The Lloyds will host a wedding for their daughter for their family to attend this summer, they said.

"It's just an awesome adventure," Lloyd said of her daughter. "She can do anything."

Contact Carmen M. Henderson at (513) 820-2180, or e-mail her at chenderson@coxohio.com.





When this story was posted in January 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion Date: January 8 2005 No: 373 Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion
Senator Norm Coleman, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee that oversees the Peace Corps, says in an op-ed, A chance to show the world America at its best: "Even as that worthy agency mobilizes a "Crisis Corps" of former Peace Corps volunteers to assist with tsunami relief, I believe an opportunity exists to rededicate ourselves to the mission of the Peace Corps and its expansion to touch more and more lives."
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In the new session of Congress that begins this week, RPCV Congressman Tom Petri has a proposal to bolster Social Security, Sam Farr supported the objection to the Electoral College count, James Walsh has asked for a waiver to continue heading a powerful Appropriations subcommittee, Chris Shays will no longer be vice chairman of the Budget Committee, and Mike Honda spoke on the floor honoring late Congressman Robert Matsui.

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Inventor of "Drown Proofing" retires 6 Jan
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Timothy Shriver announces "Rebuild Hope Fund" 5 Jan
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Peace Corps made an appeal last week to all Thailand RPCV's to consider serving again through the Crisis Corps and more than 30 RPCVs have responded so far. RPCVs: Read what an RPCV-led NGO is doing about the crisis an how one RPCV is headed for Sri Lanka to help a nation he grew to love. Question: Is Crisis Corps going to send RPCVs to India, Indonesia and nine other countries that need help?
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Former Director Carol Bellamy, now head of Unicef, says that the appalling conditions endured today by half the world's children speak to a broken promise. Too many governments are doing worse than neglecting children -- they are making deliberate, informed choices that hurt children. Read her op-ed and Unicef's report on the State of the World's Children 2005.
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With Lloyd Pierson's departure, Marie Wheat has been named acting Chief of Staff and Chief of Operations responsible for the day-to-day management of the Peace Corps. Although Wheat is not an RPCV and has limited overseas experience, in her two years at the agency she has come to be respected as someone with good political skills who listens and delegates authority and we wish her the best in her new position.
Our debt to Bill Moyers Our debt to Bill Moyers
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Rumors are swirling that Peace Corps Director Vasquez may be leaving the administration. We think Director Vasquez has been doing a good job and if he decides to stay to the end of the administration, he could possibly have the same sort of impact as a Loret Ruppe Miller. If Vasquez has decided to leave, then Bob Taft, Peter McPherson, Chris Shays, or Jody Olsen would be good candidates to run the agency. Latest: For the record, Peace Corps has no comment on the rumors.
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Story Source: Hamilton Journal News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Paraguay; Marriage

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