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Scenic images from the field

Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2011

Peace Corps Volunteer Spotlight: Laura Kutner

Country of Service: Guatemala
Title: Youth Development Volunteer
Time in Country: 2007-2010

During her service in Guatemala, Laura Kutner of Portland, Oregon, constructed two classrooms by using plastic bottles filled with inorganic trash to make the walls. She and her Guatemalan host community collected 6,000 discarded bottles to complete construction of a local school utilizing the bottles as an alternative to cinder blocks. The bottles were filled with plastic bags, food wrappers, aluminum, and Styrofoam, wrapped in chicken wire, and covered with concrete. She also taught and implemented a life-skills curriculum in secondary schools, teaching self-esteem, leadership, team-building, communication, job skills, and HIV/AIDS prevention.

Smithsonian FolkLife Festival: Laura, who completed her service in 2010, and two of her Guatemalan counterparts will construct a sample wall on the National Mall using the same materials and methods. Kutner will also be constructing recycle bins out of bottles, a project she created once she completed her Peace Corps service and returned to Oregon.

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Last updated Jul 16 2012