Peace Corps worker shares experiences
May 8, 2003
The people and culture of Bolivia were the topic of the day recently at the Tahoe Montessori School. Third- through fifth-graders welcomed former Peace Corps volunteer Brennan Wenck to their class to take a close look at items he brought back from the South American country. The Tahoe Montessori School was the sponsoring school for Wenck when he worked in Bolivia from August 200 until July 2002. Through letter, e-mail and pictures the students learned first-hand how the people of Bolivia live and work, and how Wenck worked with the community of Chacopampa to improve its water system and sanitation.
When the Montessori students learned that there was no library or books in the entire community they decided to so something to help. They raised $500 selling T-shirts and another $1,000 in donations. The community of Chacopampa came together under Wenck’s direction and made the library a reality. The people donated the materials and labor and built the building, while Wenck traveled around the country purchasing 220 books including encyclopedias, dictionaries, books on agriculture, cooking, first aid and sanitation, plus books for the children.
When Wenck visited the Montessori classroom he brought a variety of souvenirs to share with the class including textiles, flags, pottery and many pictures. When asked what was the most memorable day during his stay in Bolivia he answered, “The last day. It was my birthday, it was my last day in Bolivia, but best of all it was the day the library opened for the first time. The entire community turned out for a special ceremony, complete with a parade and marching band. The mayor gave a speech and it was a very festive occasion.”
Wenck had so much to share with the class that he had to return a second day to finish sharing all his pictures and experiences.