Erin Hoelting left this past week for Zambia in Africa as a member of the Peace Corps.

Erin Hoelting of Hunt County boarded a plane Tuesday, July 21, destination Zambia, Africa. She is on a mission, via the Peace Corps, to aid the impoverished in food production.

The Peace Corps works with many different countries in many different programs. Hoelting’s program is the Rural Aquaculture Promotion (RAP) project. She will be helping rural farmers develop fish farms for nutrition and income.

“Rural peoples in Zambia live in poverty with poor diets,” said Hoelting.

According to Hoelting, her project consists of identifying interested farmers, making surveys of their land, selecting sites, constructing ponds, cultivating and harvesting fish, developing small business skills, and connecting the farmers with local markets.

“The goal of the PC (Peace Corps) is to help people become self-sufficient,” she said, “so I will be teaching the farmers how these techniques can be achieved on their own.”

Hoelting is a graduate of Lone Oak High School. She received her bachelor’s degree in natural history and humanities, with a minor in biology, from Texas Tech University last year. She is one of the first participants in the Peace Corps Masters International degree program at Texas Tech. When she returns from Africa in September of 2011 she will receive her master’s degree in natural resource management.

Once Hoelting reaches Zambia she will begin her pre-service training. She will be taught the native language, receive technical training and gain cultural knowledge.

“Different cultures and ways of living life have always piqued my interest,” Hoelting said. “I am excited about living a more simple lifestyle with fewer possessions. I am also looking forward to learning from, sharing with, and living among another culture on the other side of the planet.”

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