Category Archives: Morocco

Richard Cutter in Peru & Morocco

Country of Service: Peru & Morocco
Service Type: Urban UCD/Architect
Dates in Service: 1966-1968 (Peru), 1968-1969 (Morocco)
Keywords: Architecture, Business, Community Development, Education, Urban Planning

Accession Date: November 10, 2020
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 1 linear foot

Document Types:

  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Publications
  • Reports

Thomas O’Brien in Morocco

Name: Thomas O’Brien
Country of Service: Morocco
Service Type OR Service Project Title: Teacher of English and Volunteer Leader
Dates in Service: 1986-1989
Keywords: Education

Accession Date: November 11, 2019
Access: No Restrictions
Collection Size: 0.01 linear feet

Document Types

  • Publications
  • Training Materials

Digital Surrogates

Homemade Greetings for the Season: Christmas Abroad

While abroad, Peace Corps Volunteers like to stay connected with their families and friends, especially during the holidays when it’s not always possible to travel home. As a continuation of this earlier post, Sending Seasons Greetings: Holiday Cards from Abroad, we will look at more holiday cards that volunteers sent and received.

While it was easy to find and buy cards to send, it was often common for volunteers to make their own holidays cards.

Margie Tokarz, while serving in Antigua from 1967-1968, found time to make this card to send home.

She mentions in the card that being away from home is making her “find a happiness of Christmastime on a different level. I have to focus instead on its essence,” instead of its commercialism. But she writes to her family that she misses them terribly and that a great part of her will be with them on the holidays.

 

Claire Pettengill, who served in Morocco from 1978-1980, got started early on her cards, mentioning in a December 3rd letter that she was designing them and planning on making cookies as well. She says “Christmas is fast approaching and making me homesick. Oh for stockings, presents, and the radiators humming away in the night.” She made two cards to send her family. The first was all pictures with a framed palm tree and hanging stockings, colorful Christmas and New Years wishes and Arabic translations of those holiday wishes.

 

Her second letter looks much the same. Except in this one she included a holiday greeting to her family.

 

It was also common for volunteers to send letters to each other. This one Charlotte Daigle-Berney received from her friends while serving in Uganda from 1966-1968.

 

 

Every year, PCVs also receive seasons greetings from the director of the Peace Corps. Early volunteers including Maureen Carroll (Philippines, 1961-1963) received holiday wishes from Sargent Shriver, founder and first director of the Peace Corps.

 

Even though volunteers could not always see their families during the holidays, they could still keep in contact and send them warm wishes and updates about their lives abroad.

 

 

Peace Corps Celebrates Halloween and Local Festivals

While Americans celebrate Halloween with crazy costumes, haunted houses, and trick-or-treating, people all over the world have been observing a variety of festivals. Peace Corps Volunteers, as temporary residents of various nations around the world, experience these celebrations.

Volunteers have one of three experiences:

1) They don’t celebrate at all.
Halloween is sometimes an easy holiday to overlook so either the volunteer forgets, they are too busy to celebrate, or there are just no celebrations. Bobbe Seibert, who served in Honduras, notes that she just carried on with her day.

Bobbe Seibert, Honduras, 2000. “Tuesday Oct 31 Halloween – not that anyone noticed here. I think tomorrow is day of the dead here too but am not sure. Up at 6:30 – swept & washed up 7:30 at the corredor.

2) They celebrate local festivals.
Claire Pettengill notes in a letter home that she was given a holiday to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, the “sheep-killing” holiday, which honors the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son at God’s command. She also had some time off for a Moroccan national holiday.

Claire Pettengill, Morocco, ’78-’80. “We get a long vacation for the sheep-killing holiday — 7 days beginning Oct. 30. I’m going to Berkane to see my adopted family for one day, then probably will head south to Marrakech with Amy. Haven’t had much time to travel.”

Claire Pettengill, Morocco, ’78-’80. “We have Monday off because of a national holiday (La Marche Verte–when Spain, in cooperation with Algeria, returned the Spanish Sahara to Moroccan control, in 1970-something, there was a huge peaceful march to that area, which is one of the biggest patriotic holidays each year) and Amy has gone to Taza, a Moroccan town.”

Both Winifred Boge in India and Al & Anne Briggs in Malaysia celebrated the Hindu Festival of Deepavali (Diwali). Also called the Festival of Lights it “spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair,” where people light and place candles all over their home, as Winifred mentions in her letter.

Winifred Boge, India, ’65’67. “Speaking of Christmas – Halloween passed with nary our indication of such – but week before we had Deepavali with candles outside.”

Al & Anne Briggs, Malaysia, ’64’66. “Today we had a holiday for the Hindu festival of Deepavali, but of much more importance to us, of course, are the elections at home. You will be voting while we are asleep.”

3) They celebrate American traditions.
Even though volunteers are far away from home, they are still able to share American customs with their communities.
Margaret Fiedler had a party with her students in Guatemala where she served from 1985-87. She introduced them to bobbing for apples.

That’s Chavez in the tree – in the other end of the rope is another boy – they jerk the rope so the kids can’t break the pinata right away. Notice the girl blindfolded with the big stick – it really gets exciting – the kids can’t wait to pounce on the candy as it spills out.

Lynda Smith-Nehr and fellow volunteers dressed up in costumes while they were in the Philippines.

Lynda Smith-Nehr, Philippines, 1962-1964. “Halloween, Lorrie & me.”

Lynda Smith-Nehr, Philippines, 1962-1964. “Halloween, Mrs. Pamplona.”

Halloween may not be an international holiday, but there are many different ways that people all over the world celebrate this time of year.

 

 

Wish You Were Here: Postcards from Peace Corps Travels

 

For Peace Corps Volunteers, postcards were an easy way to communicate with their loved ones and show them the sights they witnessed on their travels. Postcards shed a variety of insights into PCVs and the types of experiences they had during their service. For many PCVs, postcards allowed them to take the image on the front and detail their environments, such as weather and natural beauty.  Postcards are a great way to see what PCVs thought important enough to share with family and friends.

 

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Claire Pettengill sent this postcard at the beginning of her service in Morocco before her training, where she stayed from 1978-1980. In her card, she mentions the camel on the front picture and notes she hasn’t seen any yet. She also mentions her love of the city she’s staying in but also comments on how intimidated she is by her surroundings.

 

Anne Briggs served from 1964-1966 in Malaysia with her husband, Albert and sent this postcard from Hawaii where she trained. Briggs chooses to focus on describing her surroundings in her card home. She notes the beauty of the island and the mild weather. She also expresses her excitement to sight see.

 

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David Day served in Kenya and India from 1965-1967. Day wrote in Swahili on one card and translated to English on another. It is interesting that Day wanted to share both languages with his family back home. He also writes about how expensive postage for postcards was in Nairobi and how he likely will not send another postcard.

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Steve and Janet Kann sent this postcard from Saint Lucia, while they were serving in the East Caribbean from 1980-1982. Their short description paints the picture of a lively marketplace with shouting and pushing. The image on the postcard paired with the description brings an image to life, where anyone who reads the card can get a taste of what the Kanns experienced.

 

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.

Claire Pettengill in Morocco

Country of Service: Morocco
Service Type: Education
Dates in Service: 1978-1980
Keywords: Education, Community Development, Meknes

Accession Date: June 24, 2016
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 2 linear inches

Document Types

  • Correspondence
  • Postcards
  • Photographs

Additions to Collection:
Accession Date: April 16, 2021
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 1 item (letter)

Sharon Keld in Morocco

Country of Service: Morocco
Service Type: Community Development
Dates in Service: 2006 – 2008
Keywords: Language

Accession Date: March 30, 2016
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 0.5 linear feet

Document Types

  • Notebooks containing language lessons and practice, training notes, and meeting and work related notes.
  • Dictionary (2v)
  • Training materials
  • Photograph