Tag Archives: High School

Teachers Becoming Students: Charlotte Daigle Berney in Uganda

Charlotte Daigle Berney taught at Seibei College in Uganda. Pictured here, students relax outside during lunchtime.

Charlotte Daigle Berney taught at Seibei College in Uganda. Pictured here, students relax outside during lunchtime.

Many Peace Corps Volunteers serve as teachers including English as a Second Language, Mathematics, and Science. Teachers become students themselves when they’re thrown into new environments and cultures. Charlotte Daigle Berney taught in Uganda from 1966-1968, where she learned from her students just as much as she taught them.

In early 1968, Berney collected stories of superstitions from her students at Sebei College, in eastern Uganda. While many of the African superstitions resemble similar Western tales, they also reflect the culture they were created in with small twists. For example, Iteso, or the people of Teso believe, “Some superstitions have proof and some don’t–they are mostly being told by the parents when a child starts to learn things.”

Pictured here are Leopold was Berney's language tutor, Pat, a fellow PCV, and two students Berney taught during her service.

Pictured here are Leopold was Berney’s language tutor, Pat, a fellow PCV, and two students Berney taught during her service.

The superstitions Berney recorded range from the topic of luck to health to fortune. Many of her students remarked on the validity of each tale, with many dispelling the validity of the wilder stories. Each superstition allows a window into the culture it derives from. As Berney collected these tales, she also garnered a deeper understanding of the culture she served as a PCV.

Berney recorded various African superstitions from students like the ones pictured.

Berney recorded various African superstitions from students like the ones pictured.

“I think some of the superstitions were invented just due to ignorance, but also as a way of trying to get the better of everything,” notes the Sebei people of Eastern Uganda, “In our tribe we have many superstitions. According to my mood most of them are completely untrue. But people of my tribe take them to be very important.”

Some of the superstitions and their origins are as follows:

“If you are going for a visit and a black cat or rabbit crosses your path you will probably get trouble there,” Iteso people of Eastern Uganda and Western Kenya.

“Ugly women produce the best children,” Jopadhola or Adhola people of Eastern Uganda.

“When your upper lip shakes, that means you will laugh very much, but when the downer one you will cry,” Acholi people of Northern Uganda.


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.

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, March 31, 2016, April 15, 2016
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
  • Log of photos sent to family with film
  • Resume

Finding Aid

  1. Application Material for the Peace Corps 
    1. Letters and introduction material 
  2. Articles on and by Prigal and Ghana 
    1. Newspaper articles 
  3. Christmas Carols from OLA, Debby’s School 
  4. Close of Service Material 
    1. Certificate 
  5. Identification Cards 
    1. ID Card 
    2. Who card 
    3. Passport 
  6. Letters to Debby 
    1. 1981-1984
    2. Letter from Barbara Bush 
  7. Letters to Debby’s Parents, 9/17/81-5/15/83 
  8. Newsletter “The Talking Drum” July 1982, Aug/Sept 1982, March 1983, July 1983 
  9. Orientation Material 
  10. Photographs (Duplicated from slides), Notes on Photo Descriptions (final version in ‘slides’ folder) 
  11. Response to the Coup D’etat in Ghana, 12/31/1981 
    1. Letter from Peace Corps Director 
  12. School Material Math Examinations Math Exams 
  13. Slides from 1981-1983 (includes list of descriptions for each image) 
    1. Includes slide descriptions 
  14. Visit from Barbara Bush and Peace Corps Director, Loret Ruppe, November 1981 


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

Finding Aid

  1. Field Material Math Schoolwork 
  2. Language Materials (Kiro) 
    1. Notes, notecards, language manual 
  3. Material From the Peace Corps (Program, Certificate) 
  4. Newsletter 1988-Monthly “Di News De” (March, July, November) 
  5. Newsletter 1989-Monthly “Di News De” (January, April) 
  6. Recipes 
  7. Volunteer Handouts (Addresses, Town Guide) 

Patricia Kay in Kenya

Patricia Kay

Country of Service: Kenya
Place of Service: Othaya
Dates in Service: 1966-1968
Keywords: Kenya, Education, Chinga Boys High School

Accession Date: May 21, 2015
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 0.25 linear feet (located in small collections)

Document Types

  • Correspondence
  • Slides

Related Items in Other Repositories

Finding Aid

  1. Letters Home, 1966-1967 
  2. Slides 

Douglas J. Brady in Fiji

Douglas J. Brady

Country of Service: Fiji
Place of Service: Suva
Service Type: Secondary Education
Dates in Service: 1974-1976
Keywords: The Pacific Islands, Education

Accession Date: June 17, 2013
Access:  No restrictions
Collection Size:  1.5 linear feet

Document Types

  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Photographs
  • Reports
  • Publications
  • Sound Recordings

Finding Aid

  1. Fiji Muslim League Program 
  2. Film Negatives and Photos 
  3. Journal 1975-1976 
  4. Journal 1976 
  5. Incoming Letters 1974 
  6. Incoming Letters 1975 (1 of 3) 
    1. January to April 
  7. Incoming Letters 1975 (2 of 3) 
    1. May to August
  8. Incoming Letters 1975 (3 of 3) 
    1. September to December 
  9. Incoming Letters 1976 
  10. Incoming Letters 1977 
  11. Incoming Letters-1983, undated 
  12. Peace Corps Correspondence 
    1. Job Description 
  13. Photograph Captions 
  14. Outgoing Letters 1974-1976 
  15. Douglas Brady, Fiji XXI, print photos, paper Fiji currency (see digital archives for photo descriptions) 
  16. Slides 1 of 2 
  17. Slides 2 of 2 
  18. Telegrams 
  19. Training Materials 
  20. Yearbooks 
  21. 35 cassette tapes