Kay Muldoon-Ibrahim in Chile; Peace Corps Photographer

Kay Muldoon-Ibrahim

Country of Service: Chile
Keywords: Education, Health, Community Development, Fisheries, Crafts, Mapuche Indians

Accession Date: January 14, 2016
Access: Copyright retained by Ms. Muldoon-Ibrahim
Collection Size: 79 digital files

Document Types

  • Digital photographs & documents

Albert Briggs and Anne Briggs in Malaysia

Albert Briggs
Anne Briggs

Country of Service: Malaysia
Place of Service: Penang
Service Type: Education
Dates in Service: 1964-1966
Keywords: Library, Mathematics, Penang

Accession Date: January 7, 2016
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 0.25 linear feet

Document Types

  • Photographs
  • Letters
  • Programs
  • Publications

Debby Prigal in Ghana

Debby Prigal

Country of Service: Ghana
Place of Service: Ho
Service Type: Math Education
Dates in Service: 1981-1983
Keywords: Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, Ho, Volta Region

Accession Date: October 12, 2015
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 0.5 linear feet

Document Types

  • Application Materials
  • Training materials
  • Passport, WHO card, Peace Corps ID
  • Completion of Service materials
  • Photographs (slides and prints)
  • Letters
  • Talking Drum PCV Newsletters
  • Articles Written About Ghana
  • Sample exams
  • Tape of student chorus

 

Susan Shepler in Sierra Leone

Susan Shepler

Country of Service: Sierra Leone
Place of Service: Gbendembu
Service Type: Education
Dates in Service: 1987-1989
Keywords: Gbendembu

Accession Date: October 7, 2015
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 0.5 linear feet

Document Types

  • Language learning notes and language manual
  • Peace Corps Sierra Leone newsletter, De News De
  • Swearing in Ceremony Program
  • Volunteers Guide to Freetown
  • Sample exams
  • Gbendembu Secondary School staff list, letterhead and program

Gage Skinner in Chile

G. Gage Skinner

Country of Service: Chile
Place of Service: Temuco
Service Type: Community Development
Dates in Service:1964-1966
Keywords: Arts and Crafts, Mapuche Indians, Beekeeping

Accession Date: September 16, 2015
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 0.5 linear feet

Document Types

  • Diaries
  • Biographical Information
  • Training materials (post Chile – related to staff work in Colombia)
  • Publications

“The PC Nepal Photo Project 1962-1975”

Many Returned Peace Corp Volunteers recognize the value in preserving their experiences. Currently, the Peace Corps Community Archive has over 50 donors, but other volunteers, like Doug and Kate Hall, have created their own related collections.

Doug and Kate served in the Peace Corps from 1968 – 1969  and were stationed in Kathmandu, Nepal. They met during their Peace Corps training and were married in 1972, after their Peace Corps service. In the last few years, they have pushed for a collective effort from Nepal’s volunteers to digitize and catalog photographs taken between the years 1962 – 1975. Titled the PC Nepal Photo Project 1962-1975, the collection currently has over 70 contributors and 8,000 photographs.

According to Doug, the project does not emphasize the Peace Corps experience, but rather focuses on life in Nepal from 1962 – 1975. Specially, the images highlight Nepali life in the Kathmandu Valley.

While libraries and archives in Kathmandu have photos from the 1930s, these are almost exclusively from the Kathmandu Valley. Peace Corps volunteers were mostly posted in towns and villages where no Nepali had a camera. Thus, these early photos are among the first ever taken in many regions of the country.

The photograph’s being collected represent a range of Nepali life. They span regions and lifestyles, from agriculture and rural schools to coronations and urban architecture.

In addition to the online collection which uses Adobe Lightroom, Hall has created a Facebook page that highlights the images by theme. Both are fantastic resources for researchers. Hall reports that once the project is complete he will share copies with 3 national libraries and archives in Nepal.

To donate to the PC Nepal Photo Project 1962-1975 please contact Doug Hall, doughalln [at] comcast.net.

Date: 1971 Location: Shani-Arjun, Jhapa Description: A rural scene in Parakhopi. The man is an Indian sadhu.

John Hughes submission
Date: 1971
Location: Shani-Arjun, Jhapa
Description: A rural scene in Parakhopi. The man is an Indian sadhu.

Date: 1967 Location: Gulmi Description: A wedding party. The sounds of the band echo across the valleys and can be heard for miles.

Carl Hosticka submission
Date: 1967
Location: Gulmi
Description: A wedding party. The sounds of the band echo across the valleys and can be heard for miles.

Date: 1966-07-14 Location: Majhuwa, Gulmi Description: One of a series of pictures depicting rice cultivation. The field is partially flooded and the plowing is continued.

Carl Hosticka submission
Date: 1966-07-14
Location: Majhuwa, Gulmi
Description: One of a series of pictures depicting rice cultivation.The field is partially flooded and the plowing is continued.

Date: 1964-1965 Location: Baglung, Baglung Description: Women wash themselves and clothing in the sacred waters of the Kali Gandak as part of the Dashain festival.

David Carlson submission
Date: 1964-1965
Location: Baglung, Baglung
Description: Women wash themselves and clothing in the sacred waters of the Kali Gandak as part of the Dashain festival.

Date: 1964 Location: Kathmandu, Kathmandu Description: Tibetans hand-weaving rugs.

Diane Wishinski submission
Date: 1964
Location: Kathmandu, Kathmandu
Description: Tibetans hand-weaving rugs.

7

Bill Hacker submission
Date, Location, and Description unknown

Date: 1968 Location: Baglung, Baglung Description: Women cross a crude suspension bridge across the Kali Gandaki River, near Baglung, with heavy loads of firewood.

Hank Lacy submission
Date: 1968
Location: Baglung, Baglung
Description: Women cross a crude suspension bridge across the Kali Gandaki River, near Baglung, with heavy loads of firewood.

Date: 1972 Location: Kathmandu, Kathmandu Description: Gaun Panchayat banner at a holiday event

Bob Nichols submission
Date: 1972
Location: Kathmandu, Kathmandu
Description: Gaun Panchayat banner at a holiday event

Date: 1968-04 Location: Solukhumbu Description: Girl in field. Picture may be at the Lukla airstrip. Rock fence row in the background.

Bob Nichols submission
Date: 1968-04
Location: Solukhumbu
Description: Girl in field. Picture may be at the Lukla airstrip. Rock fence row in the background.

Date: 1973 Location: Bhaktapur, Bhaktapur Description: Red peppers spread out to dry on mats in a street

Jim Coleman submission
Date: 1973
Location: Bhaktapur, Bhaktapur
Description: Red peppers spread out to dry on mats in a street

Date: 1964-01 Location: Pokhara, Kaski Description: Residents of Pokhara and nearby villages coming to the Seti Gandaki at Ram Ghat for ritual bathing during the Magh Mela. This view is from the east side looking west at the point where the Seti Gandaki emerges from a deep gorge and widens out (Ram Ghat).

Stu Ullmann submission
Date: 1964-01
Location: Pokhara, Kaski
Description: Residents of Pokhara and nearby villages coming to the Seti Gandaki at Ram Ghat for ritual bathing during the Magh Mela. This view is from the east side looking west at the point where the Seti Gandaki emerges from a deep gorge and widens out (Ram Ghat).

Date: 1978-12 Location: Sindhuli Description: Porters carrying empty kerosene cans in the riverbed of the Sun Koshi.

Mike Gill and Barbara Butterworth submission
Date: 1978-12
Location: Sindhuli
Description: Porters carrying empty kerosene cans in the riverbed of the Sun Koshi.

Date: 1969-1971 Location: Siraha Description: Group of women pressing and flattening marijuana (ganja). Ganja was the most important cash crop in the district. The price of finished ganja was 12 rupees per kilo in the local market. By the time it hit Europe, it was $120/kilo and had been cut.

Gerard Oicles submission
Date: 1969-1971
Location: Siraha
Description: Group of women pressing and flattening marijuana (ganja). Ganja was the most important cash crop in the district. The price of finished ganja was 12 rupees per kilo in the local market. By the time it hit Europe, it was $120/kilo and had been cut.

Date: 1975-02 Location: Kathmandu, Kathmandu Description: Preparations for the coronation of King Birendra.

Rick Pfau submission
Date: 1975-02
Location: Kathmandu, Kathmandu
Description: Preparations for the coronation of King Birendra.

Date: 1964-05 Location: Bhojpur, Bhojpur Description: Gold and silversmiths sell gold ear and noserings, silver wrist and anklets. Clearly, paper money was much used at this time, though notice the necklace of old Indian rupees that was still a staple of women's clothing, showing off to the community women's value.

Larry Daloz submission
Date: 1964-05
Location: Bhojpur, Bhojpur
Description: Gold and silversmiths sell gold ear and noserings, silver wrist and anklets. Clearly, paper money was much used at this time, though notice the necklace of old Indian rupees that was still a staple of women’s clothing, showing off to the community women’s value.

Adjusting to New Worlds

When browsing the collections of the Peace Corps Community Archive it is difficult to miss material that demonstrates excitement, fatigue, curiosity, or frustration surrounding issues of adjustment to life in a foreign country.

Often, volunteers expressed these sentiments through letters, diary entries, and artwork. In some cases, notation of adjustment can even be found in the official Peace Corps paperwork.

In this post, we’ll explore the materials of three new collections to illustrate how volunteers adapted: Gabe Skinner (Chile, 1964 – 1966), Susan Shepler (Sierra Leone, 1987 – 1989), and Bobbe Seibert (Honduras, 2000).

Gabe Skinner, an anthropologist by training, joined the Peace Corps in 1964. As one of the first groups of Peace Corps volunteers, Skinner used his time in Chile to teach Mapuche Indians the practice of beekeeping. But he was unaccustomed to the long hours spent traveling by foot around rural Chile, so Skinner inquired about horses for sale in nearby towns.

Skinner_Journal3066

Sunday, February 14, 1964, Skinner wrote about walking four hours “back into the hills” to see a horse “offered for sale.” PCCA.

Skinner purchased a horse in late April 1964. To document the event, he glued this picture drawn by his little brother Greg into his journal.

Skinner_Journal2065

This drawing by Greg of Skinner’s horse appears in Skinner’s personal journal. PCCA.

In an earlier entry, dated January 13th, 1964, Skinner journals about how difficult it could be for volunteers to acclimate to their housing. As seen on the page below, he bemoans the uncomfortable living conditions in his first home in Chile:

“There are chickens and cats in the kitchen. They are flea-ridden. They defecate on the floors. There are flies in the kitchen.”

Skinner_Journal1064

Wednesday, January 13th, 1964, Skinner described his housing situation in rural Chile.  PCCA.

Susan Shepler, who taught mathematics in Sierra Leone in the late 1980s, offers little in her notes about discomfort. In fact, a survey she filled out in the April 1989 issue of Di News De, a local newsletter produced by the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, reveals Shepler’s openness to the new cuisine and customs.

Schepler_Quiz2062

This is the second page of a “Volunteer Survey” filled in by Susan Shepler from the April 1989 issue of Di News De. PCCA.

In this same issue of Di News De, however, researchers will encounter comics, short stories, and other creative expressions that indicate some of the challenges many volunteers faced. Two examples include a bus ride gone awry and a recipe to recreate familiar food.

Schepler_LorryRide060

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 1989 issue of Di News De. Susan Shepler collection. PCCA.

Schepler_Recipe063

April 1989 issue of Di News De. Susan Shepler collection. PCCA.

Unlike Shepler, Bobbe Seibert described distaste for some local foods and created her own recipes abroad. Seibert, who joined the Peace Corps later in her adult life, detailed her cooking practices in a letter to her father and stepmother, Jean.

On October 17, 2000, Seibert wrote to her parents to explain how she used corn to make a “wonderfully hot, smooth, and comforting” cream soup because she was “not particularly fond of” the homemade tortillas.

Siebert_Corn067

Letter from Seibert to her father and stepmother on October 17, 2000. PCCA.

In the same letter, Seibert  enclosed a photograph of her house. On the back of the image she cautions her parents about visiting, noting “Honduras is not a comfortable country.

Siebert_Pic1068Siebert_Pic2069

Photograph from a letter to Seibert’s father and stepmother dated October 17, 2000. PCCA.

Seibert served on an agricultural team in Honduras in 2000 until a family emergency brought her back home to Alaska. Yet, her time as a volunteer is well chronicled in her journals, artwork, and correspondence.

In a letter to her husband John, for example, Seibert expresses excitement regarding her new host family and housing:

“My family is perfect.”

“Dona Marlen is a housekeer – not a maid, and they have two wonderful kids, Marleny – she’s eight years old and we go everywhere together and Edward who is two years old and mostly just smiles all the time.”

“The roof is corrugated but of very good quality it sounds wonderful when it rains as it did last night – quite hard.”

Siebert_NewFam070

This letter from Seibert to John on February 6, 2000, offers a positive reaction to a new housing arrangement. PCCA.

Celebrating or overcoming adjustments is part of the Peace Corps volunteer experience. By carefully studying the collections in the Peace Corps Community Archive, researchers can build an enriched understanding of a volunteer’s daily life, including the joys and struggles associated with adjusting to a new world.

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

 

Bobbe Seibert in Honduras

Bobbe Seibert

Country of Service: Honduras
Service Project Title: Hillside Farming Extension
Dates in Service: 2000
Keywords: Agriculture, Business, Community Development

Accession Date: July 29, 2015
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 0.5 linear feet

Document Types

    • Correspondence
    • Photographs
    • Reports
    • Diaries
    • Training Materials
    • Artwork
    • Memorabilia