Category Archives: Friends of Colombia

From AU’s Collections: Friends of Colombia

If you’re interested in learning about Peace Corps experiences in South America, the Friends of Colombia Archive is a great place to start.

As a member group, Friends of Colombia is an organization of returned Peace Corps volunteers who served in Colombia.  The organization’s mission is to unite and provide a community for returned volunteers and staff, as well as actively supporting community-based activities in Colombia.

Initiated by Tom Bauder, the organization gathered for the first time at the Peace Corps’ 25th anniversary conference held in Washington, DC.  After Colombia RPCVs in the Washington, DC area met, the group formed the Board and elected Bob Colombo as the first president.  The group created by-laws and became incorporated as Friends of Colombia, a non-profit organization, in Maryland in 1990.

American University Archives is the home of the Friends of Colombia Archives, established by the organization, as a means for documenting the lives of members during and after their Peace Corps service.  The archives include organizational records, biographies of Peace Corps volunteers, correspondence, and newsletters.  Individual members’ donations include interviews, photos, letters, publications, and training materials.

Many of the collections included in the Peace Corps Community Archives are from the Friends of Colombia Archive.  Be sure to browse the Catalog for specific collections containing materials from volunteers’ training and service in Colombia.

Sources:
About FOC,” Friends of Colombia, (2007)
FriendsPresent,” Friends of Colombia, (2007)
Special Collections,” AU Library, (2014)

Improving the Health of a Community

Peace Corps volunteers educated local citizens about topics other than math, English, and science.  Health care and wellness provided an opportunity for volunteers to share basic information with citizens, while working to improve the community’s overall well-being.  Assignments included educating local citizens about the importance of clean water and sanitation, in addition to other issues of public health.  However, in order to educate local citizens, volunteers not only had to understand another language, but also needed to speak proficiently.  Knowledge of the country or region’s native language ensured volunteers’ ability to communicate essential information to local citizens.

Dahl Trainees 1963

Peace Corps Trainees at Presbyterian Clinic, Penasco, New Mexico, Oct. 1963

The image shows the Peace Corps trainees, of the Rural Community Action and Health Program, at the Presbyterian Clinic in 1963.  While they were not nurses, volunteers provided essential instruction to locals regarding hygiene, nutrition, child care, and health practices for expectant mothers.

Dahl Sweeping 1964

Dana Dahl, Piojo Health Center, June 1964

Volunteer Dana Dahl Seaton, learned Spanish in college before joining the Peace Corps.  Her knowledge paid off because she delivered a speech to the people of Piojó, Colombia shortly after arriving in-country to work as a health educator.  She explained to community members what the volunteers would be doing.  Her handwritten speech is in the collection.

In addition to the initiatives for community development and health education, the Peace Corps began sending professionally trained nurses to Colombia in the 1960s.  Peggy Gleeson Wyllie, one of eighteen who volunteered, served in the Peace Corps’ first group of nurses sent to Colombia.  Training took place at Brooklyn College, where nurses were paired together and prepared for working in urban locations.  Sent to Fusagasuga, Colombia, Wyllie trained in local hospitals before she taught practical nursing classes, in Spanish, to local students.

Such stories show the diversity of educational projects carried out by Peace Corps volunteers.  Many experiences highlight the importance and value of understanding and speaking the country’s native language.

Peggy Gleeson Wyllie in Colombia

Peggy Gleeson Wyllie

Country of Service: Colombia
Place of Service: Fusagasuga and Guapi
Service Type: Nursing and Nursing Education
Dates in Service: 1963-1965
Keywords: Education, Health, Nursing

Accession Date: February 2011; Friends of Colombia Archive
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 3 folders

Document Types

  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Publications
  • Slides

David Wessel in Colombia

David Wessel

Country of Service: Colombia
Place of Service: Rivere, Huila and Antioguia
Service Project Title: CARE Program
Dates in Service: 1962-1964
Keywords: Education, Health, Nutrition, Sanitation

Accession Date: July 2000; Friends of Colombia Archive
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 0.75 linear feet

Document Types

  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Publications

Terry Kennedy in Colombia

Terry Kennedy

Country of Service: Colombia
Place of Service: Tangua, Narino
Service Project Title: Educational TV Project (ETV)
Dates in Service: 1964-1966
Keywords: Education, Information Technology, Youth

Accession Date: June 1999; Friends of Colombia Archive
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 1 linear foot

Document Types

  • Correspondence
  • Notebooks
  • Photographs
  • Publications
  • Slides

Christine Hager in Colombia

Christine Hager

Country of Service: Colombia
Place of Service: Dagua, Valle
Service Type: Nutrition Education; Integrated Plan for Applied Nutrition (PINA)
Dates in Service: 1968-1970
Keywords: Education, Health

Accession Date: January 2006; Friends of Colombia Archive
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 1 linear foot

Document Types

  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Publications
  • Slides

Tom Mullin in Colombia

Tom Mullin

Country of Service: Colombia
Place of Service: Cundinamarca
Service Project Title: CARE Project
Dates in Service: 1961-1963
Keywords: Community Development

Accession Date: February 2007; Friends of Colombia Archive
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 0.25 linear feet

Document Types

  • Reports
  • Publications

Nancy Ann McClintock in Colombia

Nancy Ann McClintock

Country of Service: Colombia
Place of Service: Pereira and Bogota
Service Type: Education and Conservation
Dates in Service: 1972-1974
Keywords: Agriculture, Education, Environment, Youth

Accession Date: July 2001; Friends of Colombia Archive
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 3 folders

Document Types

  • Correspondence
  • Publications
  • Sound

Joel Lazinger in Colombia

Joel Lazinger

Country of Service: Colombia
Place of Service: Acacias
Service Project Title: Co-op Development Program
Dates in Service: 1964-1966
Keywords: Community Development

Accession Date: July 2003; Friends of Colombia Archive
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 2 folders

Document Types

  • Diary
  • Photographs

Digital Surrogates

  • Diary (disc)
  • Photographs (disc)

James Kolb in Colombia

James Kolb

Country of Service: Colombia
Place of Service: Cajica
Service Project Title: Educational Television, Colombian Ministry of Education
Dates in Service: 1963-1965
Keywords: Education, Technology, Youth

Accession Date: November 2004, March 2012, January 2013; Friends of Colombia Archive
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 1 folder

Document Types

  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Publications

Digital Surrogates

  • Correspondence and Educational TV documents (disc)