Category Archives: Friends of the Dominican Republic

Services Asked for, Given, and Received

For this next installment in the PCCA blog, I have decided to try something a little different.  For the last several months, I have worked on expanding the kinds of interpretation that can be done with the collections, including editing reel-to-reel tapes into digital podcasts and putting both visual and auditory media into exhibits.

In the AU Library Archives, we have a three-case exhibit space where small exhibits can be displayed.  If you follow the blog and live near DC, I encourage you to stop by and see in person how these items come together to tell slice-of-life stories about the PCV experience.  But, since many of our lovely readers do not live in the DMV area and since exhibits rotate, the exhibits are now going digital, starting with the current exhibit, Services Asked for, Given, and Received.

This exhibit explores the disconnect that sometimes occurred between what a PCV thought they would do and what they were asked to do, and the disconnect between what a partner government or community wanted from their volunteers and what they received.  This tension shows up in several of the collections, but featured here are pieces from the Geer Wilcox, Gail Wadsworth, Debby Prigal, and Ann Holmquist collections.

I hope you enjoy this little exhibit, and we would love to hear from you and your experiences.  So, what about you?  As a PCV, have you ever experienced this kind of disconnect?  Or in any other line of work?  Let us know in the comments!

Developing a Community Abroad: Kim Herman’s Peace Corps Work in the Dominican Republic

Kim Herman served as a Peace Corps Volunteer working in Community Development in the Dominican Republic from 1967 to 1969. A large part of his work in the Dominican Republic consisted of building schools, roads, and other projects for many of the communities he encountered. Herman saved documents, project reports, and slides from his work, which helps us look back on what role PCVs had in the communities they served.

Herman assisted a small community named Cano Prieto in Boca de Yuma, Dominican Republic. In 1968, the community was about 2 1/2 kilometers outside of Yuma, with a total of 35 families. Many of the families relied on farming as their source of income, with cane sugar becoming more and more important. Herman created project reports for his work in the community. These reports, paired with his slide collection, offer valuable information about his work in the Peace Corps. The “Cano Prieto One Room Block School” and the “Los Naranjos Road Project” are two examples of his work projects.

The beginnings of the foundations for the Cano Prieto school project.

Herman created the Cano Prieto school through the help of locals, after gathering supplies from local businesses. “We began the construction and organized the community according to work days corresponding to the separate members of the committee,” writes Herman, “Each committee member was responsible for a section of the community and also for his day of work on the project. He was to find workers for the project from his section of the community and have them at the work site on the day appointed to him by the committee.”  The school was inaugurated on September 28th, 1969. The members of the community, the mayor and city council of Yuma, and other locals welcomed the new school into the community with a short ceremony with the passing of the keys.

The inauguration of the Cano Prieto school, attended by the community and local officials.

 

The Los Naranjos road before the start of the road project.

Following the Cano Prieto school project, Herman saw community value in a road development project for the Los Naranjos road. Since the community relied on farming, a road to transport their product was essential. The road passes through 3 barrios, or neighborhoods, which would help a large number of communities, but also created difficulties for Herman because he was dealing with multiple groups. The project required cooperation from local land owners to widen the road onto their land. While Herman encountered difficulties to persuade land owners to part with their land, he ultimately found compromises.

The 1904 steamroller used on the Los Naranjos road.

The finished Los Naranjos road, which allowed access to many remote communities.

After many issues with the construction, Herman was able to successfully complete the Los Naranjos road project following months of work. He also used a lot of the skills and knowledge gained from the Los Naranjos road project for future projects. The road helped open up communities that otherwise were difficult or impossible to enter during the rainy months.

Through his various projects, Kim Herman was able to learn how to work with the communities he hoped to help and in the end created viable resources for many generations to come.

 

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.

Geer Wilcox in the Dominican Republic

Country of Service: Dominican Republic
Service Type: Blind Education
Dates in Service: 1963-1965
Keywords: Santo Domingo, National School for the Blind, Escuela Nacional de Ciegos, Friends of the Dominican Republic Archive

Accession Date: November 16, 2016
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 1.5 linear feet

Document Types

  • Audiotapes (3″ reel to reel) of letters home
  • Digital Copies of Audiotapes

Kim Herman in the Dominican Republic

Country of Service: Dominican Republic
Service Type: Community Development
Dates in Service: 1967-1969
Keywords: San Rafael del Yuma, Cano Prieto School, Los Naranjos, Blandino, Friends of the Dominican Republic Archive

Accession Date: November 8, 2016
Access: No commercial uses (i.e. only uses specified on permission form allowed)
Collection Size: 1.0 linear feet

Document Types

  • Photographs
  • Correspondence
  • Publications
  • Reports
  • Training Materials
  • Official Paperwork (ID cards, passport, etc.)
  • Sound (3″ reel to reel)
  • Travel Documents

Richard J. Burns in Dominican Republic

Richard James Burns

Country of Service: Dominican Republic
Service Type: Forestry
Dates in Service: 1962 – 1964
Keywords: Forestry

Accession Date: February 29, 2016
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 8 items

Document Types

  • Letter
  • Peace Corps ID
  • Photograph
  • Certificate
  • Memoir

Peace Corps and International Relations: UGA’s Russell Library Collection

Robert J. Bielen served as a staff physician for the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic in the early 1960s.  While living abroad, Bielen and his wife witnessed the 1965 revolution and U.S. military intervention in the Dominican Republic.  Bielen recently donated his collection of personal papers and related artifacts to the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the University of Georgia.

The collection includes manuscripts, scrapbooks, reports, slides, photographs, articles, and newspaper clippings.  To learn more about the collection, visit http://www.libs.uga.edu/russell/index.html or contact russlib@uga.edu.