Category Archives: Community Development

Married While Serving: Couples in the Peace Corps

In a previous post, Love and Marriage in the Peace Corps, we looked at couples who met and married while serving abroad. But what about couples already married? As of 2017, only 2% of volunteers are married. Serving in the Peace Corps is a large commitment, yet many married couples were willing to carry on their life together while volunteering in a new country.

Brian Adler and Cynthia (Cindy) Elliot were boyfriend and girlfriend when they applied for service in February 2001. They were accepted for service in Suriname in March 2002, got married in May, and left in June. While helping their village build a school house and teaching the local villagers, Brian and Cindy set up a normal married life. They lived together, which not many couples serving get to do, spent time with friends, and battled bugs together. Brian and Cindy live in D.C. now with their daughter.

Brian and Cindy in the hammock

 

Delwyn and Claire Ziegler had already been married five years when they moved with their children (Colette, 4 and Andre, 2) to Colombia in 1970. For two years they maintained a normal family life of sending the kids to school, making friends, and celebrating anniversaries.
The Ziegler’s anniversary is February 13th and they celebrated it twice in Colombia. For their 6th they saw a spy movie, babysat for a friend, and drank some wine. And for their 7th they went to the nearest nice restaurant, Carreta, for dinner and later played rummy. While they enjoyed their time in Colombia, they were excited to come home in 1972. Colette and Andre ran into their grandmother’s arms.

Ziegler 6th Anniversary Celebration 1/2

Ziegler 6th Anniversary Celebration 2/2

Ziegler 7th Anniversary Celebration

We have 7 couples in the Peace Corps Community Archives, and each one is a unique story about two people who decided to serve in another country together.

 

What We Collected in 2017

The Peace Corp Community Archive accepts many types of records of volunteers from every decade, every country of service, and every type of service job. Though we did not accept donations for part of 2017, we added 6 unique collections to the archives that include a wide range of Peace Corps experiences. We featured some of these collections in previous posts but here you can learn about them in detail.

 

Phillip L. Scholl

Phillip served in India from 1965-1967 in Health Education. India faced many health crises in the 1960s and its government requested help from the Peace Corps. Philip’s group, India 20A, received training in public health and assisted India’s Primary Health Centers, which provided health care services throughout the country. Phillip donated a video about his travels through India.

You can watch the video here: India 20A Video
Visit the groups website here: India 20A Website
And see a previous highlight post about this collection here: India 20A Post

 

Jan and Leslie Czechowski

Jan and Leslie decided to volunteer after they retired at the age of 64 and are two of the oldest volunteers in the collection. They donated a booklet that contains, in chronological order, their blog posts and emails from their service. The couple served in Moldova in 2012 in Community Development. Leslie’s main job was helping with the Global Libraries project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They enjoyed their time in Moldova immensely but had to cut their service short because Leslie became ill. A number of Peace Corps Volunteers end their service early for a variety of reasons.

Jan and Leslie – June 22, 2012

Friday, August 3rd, 2012 – Sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers

 

Delwyn and Claire Ziegler

Delwyn and Claire, with their two daughters, were among the first Peace Corps Volunteer Families. They served in Colombia from 1970-1972 in Community Development and Education. They donated a manual entitled, “Guide to Small Business Consultation,” which was compiled by Delwyn, and a 500+ page diary consisting of correspondence, notes, daily updates, and other writings from their service. The Ziegler’s were one of only two families that stayed the full two years and said “it was the best two years of our lives.” The Peace Corps discontinued the families program after a few years.

You can find their diary here: Diary of the Zieglers in Colombia

 

Lynda Smith-Nehr

Lynda served in the Philippines from 1962-1964 in Education. Her collection consists of the many slides she took during her service. The slides show pictures of the villages she worked in, the people she worked with, and the places she traveled. Lynda experienced a lot during her service.

April 1963 – My Junior Class – Mt. Apo

Davao Mt. Apo School – April 1963

 

Thomas J. Hassett

Thomas served in Nepal from 1965-1966 in Community Development. His fellow volunteers described him as easy to get along with and perfect for the Peace Corps. However, Thomas’s time in the Peace Corps was cut short by an unfortunate fall on his way to visit a friend. At the age of 22 Thomas passed away and was buried in Nepal. Included in his collection are letters to and from his family and friends, condolence letters to his parents, and photos of his work and burial service. Tom’s parents paid for a memorial for him and visited his grave in 1966.

“Thomas J. Hassett, Russian novelist phase – June 1966”

“L to R: ?? Sam Myqatt (partially hidden) by another in front of Bill Hanson. Blond is Cail Hoshicka. Father Moran, Minister.”

Tina Singleton

Tina served in the Central African Republic and Benin from 1992-1996. She worked in Health Education with a focus on Benin’s disabled community. She traveled to the first African Special Olympics in 1992. Tina enjoyed her time so much she stayed twice as long as a normal service tour. Tina’s collection itself consists of numerous letters to her family and many (many) photos that illustrate her time in Africa.

Tina’s school class, she is second from the left.

1992 – First African Special Olympics

 

As you can see from just this small group of collections, a Peace Corps Volunteer’s experience can vary greatly. Every year new collections are donated to the Peace Corps Community Archive that add to these stories.

Thomas J. Hassett in Nepal

Country of Service: Nepal
Service Type: Community Development
Dates in Service: 1965-1966
Keywords: Gorkha, Memorial service

Accession Date: October 16, 2017
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 1.0 linear foot

Document Types: 

  • Correspondence (includes condolence letters to parents)
  • Photographs
  • Audiotape
  • Training booklet & certificate

India 20A Group

Peace Corps Volunteers are trained and sent abroad in groups. They often visit each other while in country and remain in contact for decades after their service. One such group is India 20A, which has hosted many reunions in the past fifty years and have a website that details their service.

India 20A trained in public health at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After three months, August to November, the original group of 65 was reduced to 37 and sent to India. They spent 1965-1967 serving the country.

Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson walks past India 20A trainees standing in a presentation line. Visible are trainees Steve Sloane, Julie Revilla, and Phil Scholl.

 

PCTs Normal Bell, David Johnson, Werner Hollstein, and Richard Smith starting work on an outhouse constructed as part of our two-week experience on the Stockbridge-Munsee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin. October 1965.

At the time, India was experiencing extensive health issues. The people were at the mercy of tuberculosis, malaria, cholera, smallpox, and plague, so the government asked for Peace Corps assistance.

Cheyl Axtell, Gerry Hysashida, Penny Pendleton, and Marilyn Martiny at their site in Trichur, Kerala.

Essie Jackson, Richard Smith, Dave Johnson at home in Puthenthope, Kerala. Newly arrived in December 1965.

Once in India, volunteers worked with the Public Health Center “to extend its preventative and promotional health work into the villages.” They had 3 goals:

  1. To instill in the minds of the villagers by action and word a desire to lead more healthy lives.
  2. To activate key community organizations (the school, the village council) to take up health programs.
  3. To give active leadership to village efforts to improve health education, school health, diet, maternal and child health services, control of communicable diseases, production of nutritious foods, and environmental sanitation.

Their “priority was on provision of safe water supply, healthy housing, and sanitary disposal of human excreta.”

Dick, Diane, Karen at the Erumpathy, Kerala Public Health Center

Richard Smith bathing in the Ganges River at dawn 1967.

While in India, volunteers not only helped promote better health, they also experienced Indian culture in many different ways.

Diane Dickerson, Karen Thornbury with their friends Lily, DeVagi, Padma, and Nalini.

 

Caravan

Throughout the years, the group has kept in contact through reunions and return trips to India.

Rochester, New York – 1988.

Lake Tahoe – 2003.

 

To find out more information about the group India 20A, check out their website here: www.india20a.org which details their training process, how they corresponded with family and friends, their experiences in India, and many more photos of their service.

A video of volunteer Phil Scholl’s experience can be found here: Peace Corps Group “India 20A” in India 1965-1967, it details his travels through India, various village markets, the domestic life of villagers, and a large festival.

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Other volunteer groups have created group websites as well, such as the Friends of Brazil. Their website chronicles the history of volunteer groups that served in Brazil. It shows the different states people served in, where people trained, who served, and where they served. The website is a comprehensive look at the Brazil Peace Corps program during its existence from 1962-1980.

Find the website here: Peace Corps Brazil

 

 

*All pictures and information are courtesy of the India 20A website.

John Greven & Cliff Witt in Colombia

John Greven & Cliff Witt

Country of Service: Colombia
Service Type: Community Development
Dates in Service: 1966-1968
Keywords: Friends of Colombia, Documentary

Accession Date: October 12, 2017
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: two linear feet

Document Types

Documentary videos (digital)

  • Film for Action: Construyamos una escuela
  • Film for Action: Piedras como esta
  • Film for Action: Tendremos mas que puentes
  • Film for Action: Un canto a mi tierra
  • Publication

Elizabeth Krakauer: Determined Peace Corps Librarian

A selection of newspaper headlines from articles detailing Elizabeth Krakauer’s work in the Peace Corps.

Elizabeth Krakauer spent her retirement as a Peace Corps volunteer in South America with the Peace Corps. Krakauer completed three two-year enlistments, for a total of six years, starting in 1975. She spent five years in Colombia and one year in El Salvador. Krakauer’s Peace Corps service was non-traditional in both length of service and focus. After retiring as head librarian at Goddard College in Vermont, Krakauer utilized her skills in library science to organize and preserve rare book collections.

For the bulk of her service, Krakauer served as a Library Science Consultant organizing a rare book collection for the University of Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia. She identified, cataloged, and gathered all rare books in the University’s library. She also made recommendations on the conservation and preservation of these books. Following this, she worked with the Colombo-American Institute (Bi-Cultural Center USICA) and the University to organize the first rare books exhibit in the country.

Krakauer’s exhibit was so successful that several libraries and agencies requested her assistance to compile a national inventory of rare books in private and public Colombian collections. Krakauer worked with a number of organizations including the Anthropological Museum, UNICEF, San Buenaventura University, Seminario Mayor de Bogota, and the University of Cauca in Popayan. She organized training programs for employees of these institutions.

With the support of the Colombo-American Institute (Bi-Cultural Center USICA), Krakauer organized a second exhibit of rare books featuring the collections of other Colombian Universities.  She joined the Colombian Library Association and worked as a library consultant. She subsequently published two catalogs about the rare book exhibits, wrote several articles, and made two videos on the preservation of rare books.

In 1976, the Secretary of Education of the Republic of El Salvador invited Krakauer to organize a National Library. She also attended the World Congress of Information Scientists in Mexico City in 1976.

Throughout her Peace Corps service, Elizabeth Krakauer helped build and preserve institutional holdings of rare books as well as assisted other Peace Corps Volunteers in constructing small libraries within their own communities.

 

For more information, please visit the Peace Corps Community Archive website. To use the collections or make a donation, please contact the AU Archives at archives [at] american.edu.