Gene Whitmer

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Brazil 15 began training on 1 September, 1964 at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona with approximately 75 hopefuls and ended November 24, 1964 with approximately 48 going to Brazil.

The group met at the Pan Am terminal at JFK on 6 December 1964 (light snow and cold) and arrived on 7 December 1964 at Rio de Janeiro (very hot and muggy).

We all stayed at the Hotel Florida on Rua Ferreira Viana in Flamengo and for the next several days received in-country orientation at the U.S. Embassy (now the U.S. Consulate). Although we had trained for a Health Program in *Mato Grosso, some of the Volunteers in our group went to Bahia and Brasilia.

Most of the Volunteers flew to the State capitals and from their went out to their training sites. However, 10? PCVs volunteered to drive Willys Rural Jeeps from Rio to Mato Grosso which were to be used by the Ag Volunteers who were already on station.

I did my in-country training in Ponta Porã, which is located on the Paraguayan border, with Bob and Janet Crites from BR 12 who had arrived in-country in June of 64. The latter part of February everyone was flown to Cuiaba, Mato Grosso for one-week of health training and orientation; in Portuguese.

I teamed up with Gail Fitzpatrick and we requested to be assigned to Amambaí, which was located two hours by bus south of Ponta Porã. The town furthest south in Mato Grosso at that time. Truly, Frontier country.

  • Mato Grosso was divided into two States in 1977. Where I served became Mato Grosso do Sul.