WILSON: This is Angene Wilson. This is Angene Wilson recording an interview with Wini Yunker for the oral history project for Peace Corps on March 3, 2005.

WILSON: What is your full name?

YUNKER: Winifred, W-i-n-i-f-r-e-d, Maston Yunker.

WILSON: And where and when were you born?

YUNKER: I was born right here in Nicholasville, Kentucky, July 10, 1934.

WILSON: And tell me something about your family and growing up here in Kentucky.

YUNKER: I have five older sisters. I was supposed to be a boy. That's why I'm named Winifred. My father was Winfield. They all spoiled me. But with five big sisters, my memory is I wasn't allowed to say anything until I was sixteen, they all left home. Because they 1:00all talked, talked, talked. I learned a lot. So I say my parents didn't know I could talk until I was sixteen. And they left home, and that was a new relationship with my parents.My sisters and I all remain close. Four of us live around here, one in Ashland and one in Cincinnati. But we always got together, often still do. My one sister in Ashland died while I was in Ukraine. And that was hard. Also, she's the one next to me. My oldest sister's eighty-three, and I'd always thought one of the older ones would be the first. So that was a shock.Everybody in my family had girls, except my sister in 2:00Cincinnati had one boy. And I have one boy. So nine granddaughters and two grandsons. But I was talking with my son the other day who just recently had a boy, and then my niece had a boy. And he said, "I think the trend has changed." (laughs) But it's still dominated by girls.Nicholasville was-- I don't know how long you want me to talk, but Nicholasville was a really small town, three thousand people, when I was growing up. And it was always said that it was a mile square. So we walked everywhere, all over it. And of course there were different classes, but everybody went to church together. So 3:00my Baptist church had everybody from the mayor to the poorest person. So you really knew everybody. You knew the police, and you knew the doctors. Just everybody. It was like one big community. So that was very nice. I treasure that.

WILSON: What did you learn about the world from school or from family or friends?

YUNKER: I was seven when the war started, World War Two. And two of my sisters, my older two, their husbands were in the South Pacific for four years. And I think about now people going to service and they say, well, we have to go for two years. Then, when you went, 4:00you went for the duration. That was about the first long word that I ever knew the meaning of. It meant forever, until the end. So we didn't have any definite time for coming home, if or when you'd see your family again. So that brought the world really close, particularly the Pacific part of it. We had excellent teachers at our little school. I went the whole time in one school building. It was the Nicholasville School: high school, grade school, everything. My sisters and all graduated from that same school. And I had, there were great expectations, because my sisters all did well with scholarships and things. So the teachers would say, "Are you going to be like your 5:00sisters?" I was into drama. We had plays. My family always read. My mom and dad loved to read. They taught us to read, and to enjoy reading. When Gone with the Wind came out in '39, my mother with six children hired a babysitter for a week so she could read Gone with the Wind, got it from the library. So that taught us there's a premium on reading. So it's been a lifelong love. So I guess I learned about the world from that. But it's amazing how ignorant I was about geography. As I said the other night, when Peace Corps told me I was going to Ukraine, I thought it was in Siberia. (laughs) And even at that time, I was working for an international company that shipped to 130 6:00countries. And I still didn't know where Ukraine was.

WILSON: What did you do after you graduated from high school?

YUNKER: Well, I got out of school in '51. And at that time, people got married. That was the goal. So I married a young man I'd been in the drama groups with. And we went to Texas. I was eighteen, he was nineteen, and we were both spoiled brats, I think. He was the youngest of five, and me, the youngest of six. So that lasted two years. So I was divorced at twenty. Then I came back here. And then, it was the style then for young women to go to Washington, work for the government. And we had a friend who was a lawyer for the VA in DC. So 7:00I went there and stayed eight years.

WILSON: And what kind of work were you doing?

YUNKER: I worked for a magazine, The Military Engineer was for the Corps of Engineers, their magazine. So Washington, then, I lived downtown. Most of my friends lived in Virginia or Maryland. So at five o'clock, they would head out of the city. So it was a great place to be a single young woman. I remember I joined a chess club. There were three hundred members. I was the only woman.

WILSON: Oh, wow.

YUNKER: So I had a great time. I was hostess for the USO. I don't even know if there is still a USO, but it was big then. And we had dances. I took soldiers on tours. I remember walking up the Washington 8:00Monument in high heels. That's what you wore then, and little white gloves, to work.

WILSON: When you were in Washington, the Peace Corps started.


WILSON: And so, what did you do?

YUNKER: Well, I always read the paper every day. I was a big reader of the Washington Post. And there was this big story about Kennedy starting the Peace Corps. And it just seemed so glamorous to me. I loved to travel. And I thought you get to travel for free? So my office was a block from the White House, and the Peace Corps office was in Lafayette Park. So one day on my lunch hour, just trotted over there, and I'm going to join up. And I didn't tell anybody, I just thought I'm going to write home and say, "Well, I'm off for Central 9:00America tomorrow." And my family always thought I was audacious, anyway. So they would have just said, "Well, that's Wini."So when I walked in, I remember there was a young man and a young woman there. And I said, "I've come to join up." And I was so excited.And the young man said, "Do you have a degree?" And I said no, and he said, "Well, we can't use you." So it was just like a two minute interview and it was just terrible. So I just went back to work and I didn't tell anybody about it.So thirty years later, when I was getting a degree, and I just thought wow, I can join the Peace Corps. I'm getting a degree. But you didn't hear about the Peace Corps in the '80s. What 10:00Peace Corps says is, "We survived Reagan." And so I thought it was defunct. So I called and they said, "Oh, no, Congress funds us. We're still up and running. We can use you. No age limit." But by that time, my son was small. I was forty-three when he was born, so he was small. And I just couldn't think about going to the Peace Corps. So then I said, "Well, what if I go when I'm sixty-five? I can retire in Peace Corps."He said, "Well, why don't you get a master's in the meantime?"And my company, God bless them--

WILSON: What company did you work for?

YUNKER: Sargent and Greenleaf, here in Nicholasville. Lock manufacturer. Invented the time lock that 's on bank vaults.

WILSON: And what did you do for them?

YUNKER: I was assistant to the president.



YUNKER: And they just, well, when I went there to work, I was forty- nine. And the president, the chairman asked me, "Is there anything about your life that disappoints you?"And I said, "Yes. That I never went to college. And never got a degree."He said, "Well, we have an education reimbursement program. You can go to college. We'll pay for it." So it had to be something they would pay for, so I chose marketing and went to Spaulding University's weekend program, which is the only school in Kentucky where you can get a degree on weekends. My son was eleven when I started. My family helped me. They kept him, helped me. It's not every weekend. It's every third weekend. So it was really very easy. And I got my degree in four years. So then, once I got out 12:00of school, time just was hanging heavy on my hands. But I didn't know if I had the confidence to go for a master's degree. But I thought about it, and I took my, what is it--


YUNKER: GRE. And so the only thing I wanted to do, I didn't want to get an MBA or something like that, I wanted to go to the Patterson School. The Patterson School did not want me. I know you work for UK, but it's a fact. They didn't. I don't think it was so much that I was so old as the fact that I was from Nicholasville. They preferred students from China, which students were coming from China at that time.


WILSON: When did you get your degree?

YUNKER: Well, I started at the Patterson School in '89. And students were coming from Russia, Georgia, those countries. So they really didn't want somebody from Nicholasville. They had had a local student the year before, and they really didn't, they wanted somebody more exotic. So I think it was that, and also, as the director said, I did not graduate, my undergraduate was not from a benchmark university. I hadn't gone to Yale or to Duke or somewhere like that. So they didn't want me.So I had a friend in the Patterson School who advised me to write a letter to the head of the graduate school. She said don't write to the director of the Patterson School, just go right to 14:00the head of the graduate school telling that your GRE, that your file is complete. Oh, another thing, the Patterson School the year before had told me to take two classes, which were requirements for Patterson School graduates. They were both 700 level classes. And the director had told me, "See how well you do in these." Well, looking back on it, I think he thought I wouldn't do well. But in fact, I got an A in one of them and a B in the other one. That's when he said, "Well, our enrollment's filled up, so we have to turn you down."So anyway, in the letter to the head of the graduate school, I told him about my grades in those two 700 level classes, and that I had had letters of 15:00recommendation from all over the world, because Sargent Greenleaf's customers all over the world had written letters for me. And I also, Foster Pettit, former mayor of Lexington, had written a glowing letter of recommendation. So I told him all this, and then on the advice of my friend at the Patterson School, I put in a question, is there an age limit for acceptance to the Patterson School.So I heard later that the head of the graduate school went to talk with the director of the Patterson School and said, "I do not want a lawsuit. So you will accept this woman."I will say once I got in the Patterson School, they 16:00completely accepted me. That episode was never referred to. It took me five years to get my degree, which that's not good when you only need thirty credits.

WILSON: But you were working full time.

YUNKER: But I was working full time. I hated night school. To go to Lexington and sit for three and a half hours at night after working all day. I hated it. It wasn't fun like my undergraduate was. So I hated it. (laughs) But anyway, I tried one semester to take two classes, and that just about killed me. So I just took one. And also, the Patterson School doesn't offer any courses in the summertime.

WILSON: No, it's all, it's really designed for full time students.

YUNKER: Right. So it was just the fall semester and spring semester, which meant six credits a year. So it took me a long time. But 17:00finally when I got out, got my degree, that was '98. So I called the Peace Corps. And the first question, "What's your education?"I said, "Well, I just got a degree in international commerce in May." So that started the process. But it did take a long time. I had to do a lot. And finally, they accepted me.

WILSON: So what was the process of joining for you? Because as you said, it took a long time. What kinds of things do you have to go through? What did you have to do?

YUNKER: Well now, it's all online and very simplified. But at that time, the application was, as I recall, it was about ten pages. The medical application was about fifteen pages. And I really had to outline 18:00everything, my sixty-odd years of life. Three references who wrote letters, secret. They were sealed, and I had to send them sealed to the Peace Corps. So I have no idea what they wrote about me. One of them was my advisor at the Patterson School, and one was the chairman of Sergeant and Greenleaf, and the other one was a good friend. And I had to write an essay of why I wanted to be in the Peace Corps. Had two interviews. But this surprised me, they were both telephonic. Chicago's the nearest office, and the Peace Corps in cost cutting doesn't require personal interviews if you're a certain number of miles away. So the first one was sort of general. I remember one of the 19:00questions was what if I went to a country, a Moslem country, where I had to wear skirts, long skirts. I said, "Well, I like to wear jeans. I wear pants everywhere, even to church. But I guess I could adapt." But then they arranged another interview about a month later. Again, telephonic. Each one lasted about an hour. Just questions. So at the end of that one, the interviewer, he was in Chicago, said she's going to recommend me for acceptance. So then I had to have three teeth pulled, because they wouldn't accept the ones I had, and wanted me to 20:00have them redone at my expense. So I said, "Well, what if I have them pulled?"And the dentist, Peace Corps dentist said, "No. you don't pull healthy teeth. No, you can't do that." And I said, "Well what if I found a dentist who will? Because I can't spend thousands of dollars on these teeth." So I kept trying dentists. And finally an oral surgeon here in Nicholasville, I had an appointment after lunch. And I had lunch with my friend. And I said, "Should I tell him I've wanted to be in the Peace Corps thirty-nine years, I've waited, I need to do this, it's the only thing holding me back?" Blah, blah, blah.And she said, "No. Just cry."So when I got in his office, talking with him, he kept saying no, no, no, he couldn't pull those. And I told him all this story, and finally I just burst into tears. And he said, "I'll do it." (laughs) So, had the teeth pulled. Had an operation on one foot, where 21:00I had a bunion. And I think those were the last hurdles.

WILSON: So how long did this take? This was over a period of a year?

YUNKER: Well it started in, it started in spring of '98. And I was accepted in late fall of '99.

WILSON: And by this time you were retired from your--

YUNKER: No. No. I was still working.

WILSON: You were still working.

YUNKER: I would still be at Sargent and Greenleaf if I hadn't gone in the Peace Corps.

WILSON: Okay. So you left them just before you went into Peace Corps.

YUNKER: I left Sargent and Greenleaf on, I think, January 20, 2000. and I left for the Peace Corps January 31st.

WILSON: And did you have a choice of countries?

YUNKER: No, I had a choice of continents.

WILSON: Oh, okay.

YUNKER: And they told me, Peace Corps said if I went to the Far East and 22:00be a teacher, or to Africa and be a teacher.

WILSON: Right.

YUNKER: But if I went to Eastern Europe, which just opened up in the early '90s, I would be a business volunteer. Well I sure didn't want to teach because I think it's the hardest profession there is. So I said, "Well, I want to go to Eastern Europe." So I had that choice of continents. I always wanted to go to Romania because of Dracula seemed so romantic. And also because Romania is a Latin language. And I really didn't want to go to a Slavic country where I'd have to learn a whole new alphabet and everything. But anyway, I did go to Eastern Europe but was told Ukraine, and that I'd have to learn the Cyrillic 23:00alphabet and so on. But it was just very exciting.My son, who was then twenty-one, agreed to look after the house and our dog and everything. He'd never paid a utility bill. He just, you know, been taken care of all his life. But he agreed. And I couldn't have done it without him, without his help.

WILSON: So you left on July 31st.

YUNKER: January 31st.

WILSON: January 31st, sorry, January 31st.

YUNKER: And we went to Chicago.

WILSON: Chicago. For staging.

YUNKER: For staging, for two days.

WILSON: Right.

YUNKER: And then we arrived in Ukraine on February second. And that was the worst winter of the three I had there. We got there at about five o'clock in the afternoon, so it was pitch black dark. And we 24:00were so tired. And I remember we got on the bus to be taken the three hour drive to Cherkasy, where we were going to train. And on that bus, this woman language instructor stood up in the front of the bus and started teaching us Ukrainian. And we were all so sleepy, so tired, that that lasted about thirty minutes, and we just all fell asleep.So another thing, we were so thirsty, and you can't drink the water in the Ukraine, so they don't have water fountains like in the airports. You can't drink water unless it's purified. So we were so thirsty, and they had bottled water for each of us. And it was the fizzy kind of water. And that was such a disappointment, because we were thirsty for just plain old water, and we had this fizzy stuff to drink. Soda 25:00water, which was alien to us. But anyway, we got to Trikazi (??), met our host family. It was, by then it was about nine o'clock at night, and we're taken home. I had, there was a young woman and her grandmother in the house I was in. And I was really lucky, because a lot of the volunteers didn't have a room to themselves. They slept on a couch which had to be made up during the day. But the apartment I was in was really spacious. And I had a room, and they were really good to me and helped me with my Ukrainian. They didn't speak English, which is part of the experience. And then we had classes every day from 8:30 in the morning until 5:30 at night. And of course it was dark when we got out. We had to walk home in the dark, the ice, the 26:00snow, they don't shovel the sidewalks. So we were always falling. (laughs) But my group, there were thirty-three of us, just really grew close during that three months. We learned the language, had four hours of language every day. We learned the culture. We were taught dances, songs, cooking, how to shop at the bazaar. Everything. History, geography. Everything about Ukraine. So by the time, three months later, when we left, split up, went to our places, we were, our towns, we were really prepared. But about a week after we started, they told us where we were going, what we were going to be doing. 27:00And they said, "Wini, you're going to be teaching economics at a high school."And I said, "No, no, no, I am not a teacher. That is not what I'm going to be." In fact, I just even almost cried. I was just, you just can't imagine how petrified I was of teaching. Plus, I didn't want to teach. I never wanted to be a teacher. But they said, "This is what we need you to do." So how can you not respond?

WILSON: And do it. And do it.

YUNKER: Want some more tea?

WILSON: No, I'm fine. So where were you located in the country? You trained, and then you were assigned to a school someplace else.

YUNKER: We trained, and then I was located about two hours away in Kirovograd, which is a little, they call it a village. I call it a 28:00big city with three hundred thousand people. But I was so fortunate. The woman who hosted me in her home when I went for a trial visit, Zoya Rodionova, because my best friend. And she was a teacher at the school where I was. She knew everything. She was forty-eight, so she'd been around. She'd lived under communism. In fact, her husband had been an officer in the Communist Party. But the minute the country went independent in 1991, and the new president said, "Ukrainian is our language, not Russian," Zoya's father, who had been in the KGB and the Communist Party, was a colonel, he told his family, "We're speaking Ukrainian from this moment on." He really capitulated. And 29:00all my friends felt that way.So Zoya knew the Ukrainian language, plus excellent English and Russian. So she tutored me in it. And whenever I was going to go someplace, because I traveled a lot by myself, all over the country, she would teach me the phrases I needed to use, specific phrases. I remember the first time I went to Yalta, which is on the sea, but it also was in the mountains, and Zoya taught me to say, "I want a room facing the sea, not the mountains." She taught me to say that in Ukrainian. So when I said that, the man I was talking to, was taking care of my room, he said in English, "All of our rooms 30:00face both the sea and the mountains." Anyway, she was teaching, she taught me everything I needed to know. And she is coming here to see me in June for a month.

WILSON: Oh, how exciting!

YUNKER: Oh, I am, because she did so much for me. And I just, I want to show her Kentucky. And I want her to meet all my family that she's heard about.

WILSON: Oh, that will be wonderful. Is it the first time for her to be in the US?

YUNKER: No, she came here in 2001. She won a competition. But it was with the University of Montana. And she spent all of her time in Montana. Which is not seeing the United States.

WILSON: And certainly not Kentucky.

YUNKER: But when people here win competitions like that, the US is very 31:00picky about people coming here, visas because Ukraine is so poor. And they do not want people coming here and hiding and staying, eluding the immigration authorities. So they're very picky about visas. So when people win competitions and come, they must stay with the group. They're not allowed to travel anywhere on their own, even on their days off. So most of her time was spent in Montana.

WILSON: Oh, that will be wonderful.

YUNKER: Yeah, it is.

WILSON: So your Peace Corps job was teaching secondary school.


WILSON: So what was that like?

YUNKER: Well, the students were wonderful. Not at all what I've heard of high schools students here in this country. Because they wanted to learn all about our economy. They wanted to learn about marketing, 32:00entrepreneurs. And they just admire our economy so much, and they know that's the way for the future. So the economics students were very attentive. They loved their lessons. They just wanted to learn everything I had to teach them. So it was really great, great experience.

WILSON: What were your living conditions like?

YUNKER: Oh, I was lucky there, too. (laughs) My apartment was just one little short block away from the school. And that's a good thing, because of the winters. Some days, well, you can imagine. If you get a foot and half of snow overnight, and the next morning, thousands of people walk on that snow, and it's below zero, then their footprints 33:00freeze. And so the sidewalk is jagged ups and downs, and slick as ice. So everybody falls. You just had to be so careful. The boots I took with me, I took for deep snow. And they were great for that. But what I really needed was crampons for the ice. But anyway, my apartment was on the fourth floor of a five floor building. And if you only have five floors, there's no elevator in the communist way of thinking. It's good for you to walk up. So there was no elevator. But my apartment was spacious. It had a big living room, big bedroom, big kitchen. The bathroom, they had the commode in one room, the tub and the basin in the other. And I had a balcony, of course, because 34:00everybody in Ukraine has a balcony to hang their clothes on when they wash. So I was really fortunate. And it was just two short blocks from the main street. The name of the main street in Kirovograd is Karl Marx. The street I lived on was Lenin Street. But a lot of my Ukrainian speaking friends who were nationalists refused to say I lived on Lenin Street. They'd say I lived on L Street. So I was really fortunate. The Peace Corps paid for the apartment, for the utilities, everything except telephone. And it was a great apartment.

WILSON: So you had a telephone?

YUNKER: Yes, I had a telephone. And there again, a lot of Peace Corps volunteers didn't. Two of my friends who were stationed down in the Crimea didn't have one. And one night, about two o'clock, they were 35:00attacked outside their apartment and beaten. And things stolen. And they had to walk like half a mile to a telephone. So that's one thing that I helped to get changed when I was on the Peace Corps Security Council.But by the way, in our training, Peace Corps had told us that most thefts and violence occur in the early hours of the morning after drinking. And that was true.One whole day in the training was devoted to condom use. And we were shown videos of Peace Corps volunteers who had gotten HIV or AIDS from contacts with nationals. And they were told, we were told all this, and how careful you had to be, and that 90 36:00percent of volunteers had sex during their stay there, with nationals. Anyway, they demonstrated condom use, and everybody had to practice it on plastic models. We learned everything in training.

WILSON: How many, that makes me think, how many people were older volunteers in your group?

YUNKER: Well, actually, I wasn't the oldest. There was a man, seventy, and he was a retired dentist from California. His wife was about fifty-five. There were two married couples, they and another couple from Florida. I think about, out of the thirty-three, probably ten of us were over fifty.


WILSON: So that's a good, that's a good number.

YUNKER: And the rest were all right out of college.

WILSON: But it sounds like the Peace Corps was doing a lot of training and had a lot of concern for not only people using condoms, but also security, right?

YUNKER: The Peace Corps wants above all to keep the volunteers safe.

WILSON: Right.

YUNKER: And you were given every means to ensure that safety. The few episodes in my group, just people didn't take advantage of that. We had, for example, we had a small alarm which could be held in the palm of your hand. And all you had to do to set it off was to pull the cord out of it. You didn't have to press any buttons or numbers or anything. Just you kept the cord around your wrist, and it was in 38:00your hand, and you just jerked your hand, it would come off. And when it went off, it just scared everybody. It sounded like the police car that you see in those foreign films, and it was just terrible.So since it did get dark at four o'clock in the wintertime, and we were advised not to be out alone after dark, but by the time I left school it was dark, so you had no choice. But I always carried that alarm in my hand. And the safety expert told us when you pull that alarm, don't just stand there. Run. Because you can't, they're only going to be scared for a moment. So don't think well, that's it, I'll just stand here. Run. So we were taught everything. But--

WILSON: Did anybody use that?

YUNKER: In my group, I was the only one that did. They would just say, 39:00"Oh, mine's on the shelf."

WILSON: But did you have to use it?

YUNKER: No, I never had to. One young woman told me she kept hers on her doorknob so if somebody tried to get in, it would go off. But I always carried mine with me. And I would have used it.

WILSON: What was the most difficult adjustment for you in Ukraine? What do you think you were prepared for? And were there any things that you weren't prepared for?

YUNKER: Everybody there was so friendly to me. And I think a lot of people felt, probably because of my white hair, that I was helpless. So they took pity on me. In Ukraine, people retire at fifty-five. And anybody over fifty-five is considered elderly, and they're a 40:00pensioner. So I had an edge like that. People really wanted to help me.Another thing, Ukrainians were forced to learn British English. The school where I taught had been an English school since '63. So all the students spoke English, but they spoke with a British accent. And they all wanted to learn to speak American English. So they wanted to talk to us and have conversations, and learn inflections. Now most volunteers in the Ukraine were from the Northeast or from California. So of course they all made fun of my Jessamine County accent. And they would tell me, "Ukrainians think they're learning American English. 41:00But they're really learning Jessamine County English." So they would, people would come up to you on the street and ask you what time is it, even though they had a watch, because they wanted to talk to you.I guess the hardest thing I had to was the language. The Cyrillic alphabet has thirty-three letters, and they're all weird looking. And I never have been successful at learning languages. So that was the hardest part. But Ukrainian is a beautiful language with lots of vowels in it. My favorite word, do pobachennja means goodbye. And as compared with Russia, which is pa-ca, I just think do pobachennja has a musical sound to it. But it was difficult for me to learn it.


WILSON: Were you talking Ukrainian with this friend of yours?


WILSON: She was teaching it to you.


WILSON: But you would talk to her in English.

YUNKER: We had tutoring lessons. Peace Corps would pay for a tutor after you went to your site. And she would teach me Ukrainian.. At the softball tournament that I organized, and that was such a success, I made a speech in Ukrainian.


YUNKER: And this man who managed the baseball team, translated my speech into English. (laughs) So we were up there at the microphone, and I was saying Ukrainian, and he was saying it in English. But it was 43:00difficult for me.

WILSON: What was a typical day like? You got up at what time? You ate what for breakfast? You taught for how long? You came home when it was dark, or after it was dark, I guess.

YUNKER: Well, breakfast is odd there. They don't serve breakfast food. Tomatoes are big. You eat sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, cheese. But they don't have hard cheese like we do here, and I missed that. They serve a lot of sausage and rolls that you eat cold, cold sausage. So you'd have things like that for breakfast.

WILSON: And you were fixing your breakfast?

YUNKER: Yeah. My expenses were that I had to buy my own food and pay my telephone bill. When I traveled, I had to pay for that. And of 44:00course personal items and recreation. But I'm not a morning person. And my counterpart, who, each of us had a counterpart who helped us, was assistant principal at the school. And she also lived upstairs in the apartment over me. And she arranged my classes so I never had one before eleven o'clock in the morning. (laughs)

WILSON: Lucky you!

YUNKER: So I would usually teach about four or five classes a day, but mostly from eleven o'clock on. Also, she arranged it so I didn't have classes on Monday or Friday. So that was good, too. But after I started the English club for women, which met on Monday nights, it 45:00took me an enormous amount of time to prepare for that. These were all professional women, so I couldn't go in there half cocked, and I had to have good preparation. I used that Monday, and part of Sunday, also, to prepare for that. It was five o'clock on Monday nights. So I needed that time to prepare. And then the other times I used for my secondary projects.

WILSON: And let's turn the tape over and you can tell us about the secondary projects, okay?

[Side a ends, side b begins.]

YUNKER: Now, secondary projects actually started in Cherkasy during training. One day, the leader of the training said the women's center needed some help, would anybody go? Well, actually by the end of the 46:00day, 8:30 to 5:30, we were pretty tired. But he said they need some help tonight if anybody can go. So I went up to him and said, "Where is it? I'll go." And another woman, Melanie, also. She was young, she wanted to go. So we went. And it was a women's center started by a woman in California. Met in her apartment. And women were so downtrodden in Ukraine that they needed help in everything. These women were reaching out, trying to find a greater, better life.So Melanie and I went that night. And we were just, we couldn't resist. We told him the next day that we would do it. So we worked there 47:00two nights a week while we were in training. And that's the first I knew that we were expected to have secondary projects in addition to our teaching. I guess I thought well, the rest is going to be fun and games. But anyway, Peace Corps gives you enormous latitude in choosing these projects. As long as you don't get involved in political activities, they don't care what you do. They just want you to keep your nose clean and not get in trouble.So I guess the first thing that happened when I got to Kirovograd, there were two male volunteers who had been there a year, and they had one more year to go, in my little town. And one of them, Ken, had an English club. It was mostly university students. So I went to it. It was on Thursday nights. And 48:00that was my first experience with an English club. But I noticed that the girl students wouldn't talk with the guy students in the room. And I said, this is wrong. So I talked to Zoya about it, my mentor. And she said, "Well, why don't you start an English club just for women?" This just scared me. I've always been more a follower. If somebody else started something, I would chip in if they told me what to do. But not to do it myself. Not to start it. But anyway, she helped me. And so I said, "Okay." I said, "Will anyone come?"And she said, "Well, a lot of the teachers from school will when they learn you have it." So we decided on Monday night. So we started it. And women came. And 49:00it was just, they liked it. It grew. So that was my first project. And it was at the library. That, again, was Zoya's idea, to ask the library for a room where we could have it. It was at the library. So then the librarian told me that, a couple of months later, that she wanted to have a seminar for domestic violence, which was just a hidden secret in Ukraine. I myself saw three episodes of it separately on the street. So she wanted to have one, and then, she had been to one in America, in Nebraska. And she had also been to one in a city 50:00in Russia. So these people from Nebraska and these people from Russia wanted to come to Ukraine, to her library, to have a one week seminar. But she needed some money. So Peace Corps had these things called SPA [Special Project Assistance] grants. And you could apply for them and make your case, why you wanted to do it, and they would provide money. So that was accepted, and Peace Corps gave me two thousand dollars for this.Well, it was just a great success. It was the first time the subject had been publicly mentioned in Kirovograd. Just always been swept under the rug. And the people who came were doctors, teachers, social workers, nurses, police, everybody who, every professional who had ever worked with a victim of domestic violence. And Zoya told me 51:00that some of the teachers would come to school with bruises. And you would know they'd been beaten, but they wouldn't mention it. They said, "Don't talk about it." It was just accepted.So that was really great. Of course, there was a lot of paperwork, because Peace Corps you have to account for every penny of those two thousand dollars. But that was just really great. The second year I was there, I was at a party and one of the young women had brought her boyfriend, who said he was a baseball player. I've always loved baseball, since I lived in Washington and they had the Senators there. So I was just intrigued. And I said, "Where do you play ball?"And he said, "Well, there's the baseball stadium here in Kirovograd and we have a team." 52:00And he said, "In fact, there's a game tomorrow." So my friends and I went to the game the next day. And saw this team. I mean, they had a real baseball stadium. The mayor of Kirovograd had visited the United States some years before and had seen baseball. And he grew to love it. So he had started this team. So we watched the game and got their schedule. So we started going to games. So one day these two young men volunteers said, "You know, we have these baseball camps every summer for the Peace Corps volunteers. What if the Peace Corps volunteers' softball team played the Kirovograd pro baseball team?" So we began to talk about it, and we asked the players and they said 53:00yeah, they could play softball, and they would get some women on their team, because truth to tell, most of the best softball players in Peace Corps were the women. So we decided to do that, to have it September 14 and 15, this was 2001. So I began to work with my counterpart, who served as my translator, with the head of the oblast sports committee. Now an oblast is like a state here in the United States. So we met with him. And she explained to him what we wanted to do, and that the Kirovograd team had agreed, and so on. He just could not understand why the Peace Corps was entrusting this responsibility to a woman. What does a woman know about a sport! And I just had to deal with some 54:00man on that. So I told Peace Corps about it. They wrote a letter to him telling him that in fact Wini Yunker was the spokesperson for this tournament in Kirovograd and to please deal with me. So with that official letter sealed, stamped, he accepted it. So we proceeded.My friend Richard Krause who was in my group, but he was probably my best friend in the Peace Corps in my group, he was stationed clear across the country. But he just thought this was the most wonderful idea that he had ever heard. And every night he would call me and say, "I've just been thinking, and here's what you ought to do." And give me all these things. I told him recently, I said, "I used to hate those phone calls." And here's my suggestions. But he wanted it to be a charity affair. And he wanted it to benefit the domestic violence association 55:00which had formed after our seminar, to help women. He wanted it to benefit them. And I said, "Well, Rich, we've been working with this orphanage here in Kirovograd, and I'd like it to benefit them." And he said, "Okay, let it benefit both, and you'll charge admission. You'll charge one hryvnia." Now a hryvnia, in the United States, is like twenty cents. So that seems nothing to us. But, in fact, the baseball games were free, and people were not used to paying anything to go to the baseball games. So I said, "Well, they won't want to pay."He said, "They'll pay a hryvnia." So he said, "Let them do that." And then he said, "You've got to have something to drink, and food to sell." He just was, "This is what you have to do. And you have to have trophies. 56:00And you have to have uniforms, and you have to have numbers," and so on. So, four teams. And he had all this planned out. So he had the ideas, but I was the one who had to do the work.As for the uniforms, for the shirts, my friend Zoya, her mother, the one whose father had been a colonel in the KGB, now he was dead, but her mother still went to a club for widows of former Russian officers. And this club met in a building owned by the richest man in Kirovograd. So Zoya said, "I bet he would donate the shirts and the printing so we can get this." So she asked her mother to ask him for an appointment. And so that 57:00was granted.Well, when Zoya and I went for the appointment, he had this huge office. And we went in. He came from behind his desk and greeted us. Now Zoya said that important men in the Ukraine do not do this. You go in and you stand there. They sit at their desks and they do not get up and greet you, and they do not ask you to sit down. He asked us to sit down. He asked his secretary to bring us tea. And we had this meeting. And we outlined the plan and asked him if he would do this.Well, he got on the phone and made a phone call. A few minutes later, this man came in. Turned out he owned this printing company, which was in the basement of his building. So he told the man, "I want you to work with this woman. I want you to put whatever she wants to on the shirts, and do this for this tournament." It was great.So we had 58:00four teams, had four different colored shirts. We had four different names. One of ours was Peace Corps Volunteers, and the other was Peace Corps All Stars. And they had their names, Kirovograd and his name, his company was on the back. And we had numbers. And they were so official looking. It was great.So then, everything we had, everything was set. The orphans, we invited the whole orphanage to come free. My school kids were so excited about it. Everybody was excited.So then, September eleventh happened. This tournament was planned for the fourteenth and fifteenth, that weekend. So I was looking at my diary about this the other day, about that week. And so my first thought was to cancel the tournament, because I just could not think of us 59:00playing softball when people here were mourning and having funerals that weekend. But Peace Corps, we talked several times that week. And they just encouraged me to go on with it. They said, "We can't let terrorists disrupt our lives and have the satisfaction that they ruined things." And in fact, the embassy in Ukraine had decided to go on with everything they had planned, the American embassy.Peace Corps people were coming from the headquarters to Kirovograd for this. So it was, we went on with it. And also, you have to buy train tickets in advance in Ukraine. And all these volunteers had paid for their tickets, they were all paying their own way. What we did for them, provide a place to stay. There were six volunteers in Kirovograd at 60:00that time. And so we had all these people, plans for them to sleep on our floors or whatever, and breakfast. That's all we were giving them. The volunteers were paying their transportation, their other meals in Kirovograd and personal expenses. So we felt like these thirty people have already done all of this, and we can't just say, well, we're not going to have this. So we'll leave it up to them, and they all wanted to come.And it turned out to be great. The Ukrainians were so in sympathy with us. And it was just a great affair. And the weekend was beautiful, sunny, wonderful. It really turned out to be great.My most important secondary project was at the orphanage. Ken, one of the men 61:00that was there when I came, had an English camp the first summer at the orphanage. And he asked me to be a teacher at it. Well, these children were ages two to eleven at this particular orphanage. And scrupulously clean. You could go there uninvited, anytime, drop in. The children were well behaved. It just broke your heart. They're all just skinny, they're undersized. You would see a six year old would look three.

WILSON: How many?

YUNKER: There were about two hundred. So that was my first experience with the orphans. And after that, I just did things, we started a birthday club one Saturday a month at a restaurant that had pizza and 62:00Coke. And we would bring every child there who had a birthday that month. And we would sing "Happy Birthday" and let them play games and dance and have the pizza and Coke. It was just a huge treat for them.And then I would go there at other times. We did different things with them. Then when Christmas, well, it was about October. And this woman from Minnesota visited. She was a teacher. She was there two weeks. And she asked me, she said the principal had told her I worked with the orphanage, and she'd like to visit it. She was visiting my school. So I took her. She was only there a total of two hours. But that two hours must have done something to her. Because before she left at the end of October, she took me aside and she said, 63:00"I'm going to give you two hundred dollars, and I want you to use it for the orphans."And two hundred dollars was a huge amount of money in Ukraine. The exchange rate was about five and a half hryvnia to one dollar. So that was like over a thousand hryvnia in their money. It's more than most people make in a year. So it was huge. And I was just overwhelmed. But anyway, I was thinking about it and I thought, I could give this to the orphanage director, Galina, for potatoes and bread and stuff. But that wouldn't mean anything to the kids. So my friend Zoya said, "Why don't you have a Christmas party? And you could have a Santa Claus and maybe gifts for the kids, and goodie bags."So we talked to Galina and she said, "Now these children don't have personal 64:00possessions at all. Their clothes are kept in a communal closet. They don't even have their own clothes." But Galina, after consideration, said yes, we could get a present, personal present for each child.So I wrote to my friend Patsy here in Kentucky and I told her, I said, "How much can you buy a Santa Claus suit for?" And she talked to my oldest sister, Zaney, who said she would make one. So Patsy said she and her husband would send the wig and the hair and the cap as their Christmas present to me. So then my sister Betty Lee sent all these candy canes. So we began to make plans.We six volunteers split up the names of the children. And Patsy also collected two hundred dollars at Sargent and Greenleaf, and the missionary union at my church 65:00spent money, and Patsy's sister in West Virginia sent money. And one of Sargent and Greenleaf's customers in Florida sent fifty dollars. So we had all this money. So I gave each of the volunteers twenty hryvnia for each child. That's like four dollars. And I gave each one a list, Galina provided a list with the ages and the sex and the names. So each gift was wrapped and it had their name on it, "To Ilya from Santa Claus." And then Aaron, one of the volunteers, agreed to be Santa. And he's very skinny, so we padded him up.So on the day we went there, and the children just couldn't believe that this big man in a red suit and beard was giving each of them a present with their 66:00name on it. Personal presents for them. And we also had a goodie bag which had a tangerine and candy cane and chocolate St. Nicholas. They were overwhelmed by all this individual attention, which they never got. A friend of mine who was a newscaster for Kirovograd's radio came to the party, came there. And that afternoon, we were in a taxi on the way back into town and we heard her broadcasting. She was saying, "American Santa Claus came to Kirovograd." So it was really great.So then, right before I left Ukraine to come back, it was in March, I was coming back from April, I got this twelve hundred 67:00dollars from Beth, the woman in Minnesota. And she said, "Use this for the orphans." And I thought, I'm leaving in three weeks! I don't have time to spend twelve hundred dollars! But anyway, Zoya helped me and we talked to Galina and she said the winter before, a lot of the children had gone to school in the snow with no shoes. Just heavy, homemade woolen socks. She said they needed shoes and they needed jeans. So she gave us sizes of the shoes. So we worked that out. And somebody went to Odessa, which was an eight hour drive away, and got the shoes for all these kids. There were seventy children of school age. So seventy pairs of jeans, pairs of shoes, and we had some of that twelve hundred dollars left, so I bought a lot of toilet paper, which is a scarcity in Ukraine. One of the first things we were taught 68:00as volunteers was to carry our own with us, because the restrooms don't have it. And nowhere you go, no public buildings, the school didn't have toilet paper. And bought soap, facial bars and other items for the orphanage.But we had, we went there and they thought, the orphanage thought they were having a party because I was leaving, for me. So we took all this stuff, had these jeans and these shoes, and so on. And we took them. And there were two girls who, even though they were just like eleven, were very developed. And none of the clothes fit them. The jeans were too little. And they really needed school clothes. So the next Saturday, one of the volunteers and I took them to the 69:00bazaar to buy them outfits. We still had some of Beth's money left. And when you go to buy a bra at the bazaar, of course you're right out in the open. These booths are right out in the open. And the way that woman fitted bras on those two girls was just, with their clothes on, it was a sight to see. But anyway, we got them clothes. And so it was just great.Now Beth has continued, even after I've been back, to raise money for these orphans. She's an amazing person. And she told me the other day that she's going to be sending a check for Easter, so Zoya can have an Easter party for them. If it were not for Zoya, we couldn't do this. Because Ukrainians are so poor, and there's no one I could trust thousands of dollars with in Ukraine except Zoya. And 70:00also, she's a very conservative person. She's fifty-one now. She's very conservative, and so she watches every penny and she gets the best bargain. And the things she does with that money for those orphans is just amazing. So she sends pictures, and I send the pictures to Beth. And Beth shows these pictures in Minnesota, and people give more money, and it's just amazing.

WILSON: Keeps going. Keeps going. Wow.

YUNKER: So those were my secondary projects.

WILSON: Which were great. What did you do for recreation? When you weren't teaching and you weren't doing these wonderful secondary projects. You traveled.

YUNKER: I traveled. I made up my mind when I went there that I was not going to come home. Because I thought if I came home, which a lot of 71:00volunteers do, I'd be dissatisfied when I went back. Ukraine reminded me of America in the '50s. So since Ukraine's the largest country in Europe now, I just decided I was going to see every part of it. And the first chance I had, there was a camp in Vilkovo, which is south of Odessa. And most people say there's nothing south of Odessa, because Odessa's way down on the Black Sea. But, in fact, there is. So I went to that summer camp and taught English to their children. And I began to realize that I wanted to see all of Ukraine, not just big places like Yalta. So I traveled on the train. I would just say, "Bud'laska" 72:00which is please, "Dopomoha meni." help me. And people would. Even though they didn't speak any English, they would. The trains are wonderful. They're very slow. It takes you like a day and a half to go from one end of the country to another. But, excuse me, they're so efficient. If they say, "We're going to be in this train station for three minutes," they stop three minutes, and you better get off and get back on real quickly. Because they're very efficient.So, when I began to travel, once again, my friend Rich, who was the editor of the Peace Corps magazine, which came out every two months, he asked me to be the travel editor. And here again, you just couldn't say no to him. So 73:00I did. So I began writing about that, my travels. And that would be in the paper every two months. I asked Rich one time, a year later, I said, "How did you know I could write when you asked me to do that?"He said, "I didn't." (laughs)

WILSON: He had faith.

YUNKER: And so there were lots of, Ukraine is big on ballet and opera. And I loved opera before I went, but I never had appreciated ballet. But every time there was an opportunity to see something like that, I would go. In Kiev, when I would be there, the capital, they had opera every night, or ballet. So I would go whenever I was there. It was amazingly cheap. I think it was twenty-five hryvnia, which is like five dollars. So I did that. And I made a lot of friends. And I spent 74:00time with friends. And go to movies. The movies were all in Russian, but the first one I saw in the Ukraine was Charlie's Angels, and you didn't need to speak the language to understand what was going on.

WILSON: Now did you have a TV, too? Did you have television?


WILSON: You had television.

YUNKER: I had a TV. And I discovered that reruns of Dallas were on every day at 12:30. So I would go home on my lunch hour at that time. And it really made me feel good to hear that Dallas theme, even though, of course, J.R. and everybody were speaking in Russian.Then I did a lot with my church. I supported the church I went to. It was a Baptist church. Peace Corps encourages you to go to church, but you 75:00can't get involved, you can't be a missionary or anything like that. But I contributed a lot to my church, and was so pleased with the way they used the money. For example, they put in a baptistery while I was there, and redid the sanctuary. I feel like I made a difference. There was one little boy at the orphanage that I particularly grew fond of, and I would do things with him. A lot of the orphans had parents who just couldn't afford to house them. But he had nobody. So I would take him on outings, and do things.

WILSON: Are there, you've told a lot of good stories already. Are there any--

YUNKER: I need to blow my nose.

WILSON: Okay. Let's stop.

[Pause in recording.]

YUNKER: It took me, I had to be sixty-five and go five thousand miles away from home to meet a US president. Clinton came there in June 76:00after I went there in February. And he gave a speech in a huge square in Kiev. There were just hundreds of thousands of people there. Peace Corps always took care to give us access to things like that. So there were about, probably about sixty volunteers there. And we were all lined up on a fence that was at the perimeter of the open space around where he was speaking. Somebody told him that we were there, that those were volunteers on that fence. So he came along the fence, shaking hands with each of us.So I had it in mind to say to him, "God bless you, Mr. President." But when he got to me and took my hand, my 77:00voice was frozen. I couldn't say anything. I was speechless. So he passed on. But I noticed way down at the end of the volunteers there was this space with nobody in it. So I snuck around and went back down there. So this time when he came to me, I said, "God bless you, Mr. President."Well, Clinton is so smart. He looked at me and took my hand and said, "Nice to see you again."

WILSON: (laughs) That's great!

YUNKER: So about coming home. Peace Corps had this conference in January before we were due to come home in April close of service conference. And they prepared us for coming back to the States. It lasted I think about four days, maybe five. It was just our group. 78:00And they went over everything, our readjustment allowance, which was going to be about, I think five or six thousand dollars. And they gave us money to buy our plane fare home. Because some people wanted to travel through Europe before they came home, do other things. So they just gave the money. I think we got eighteen hundred dollars, and you could buy whatever ticket you wanted. Excuse me. They told us that when we got back to the States that we might not think we would have any problem adjusting because we'd had no problem adjusting when we went to Ukraine, but in fact, there is one coming back. And they told us things to expect. They told us that everybody's going to say, "Oh, 79:00I want to hear all about your adventures," but actually, nobody really does. They just want, the people would probably say, "Well, what are the two best things that happened to you there?" Or, "What are the two worst things that happened to you?" And how we would just have to get adjusted to our families and our friends and our homes. And most of the volunteers would be looking for jobs and having to start over.So it was really great. And I wish that the armed services had something like that for soldiers, but I've heard they do not. Because it really helped prepare us for that. I think about my two brothers-in-law who came back from the South Pacific to find everything changed, and they had no preparation for readjustment. So it's really great that Peace 80:00Corps did that.

WILSON: And so what was it like for you, then, having been prepared when you came home?

YUNKER: Well, when I came home, all of a sudden I felt not needed. And in Ukraine, every day had been exciting, full of challenges. Like the utilities going off, just things, you just felt vital. And also, we were treated like rock stars there, and idolized, and everybody wanted to talk to us. And when I came home, everybody here has been going on with their lives. They were glad to see me. But I was depressed. So I think the first year, I just lay on the couch and just missed, 81:00missed being vital. And then I think the thing that really got me out of that, in 2003, Chandler ran for governor. And one of my friends asked me to work for his campaign. So I think that's what really got me into doing things again. So I started doing that. And of course he was not successful, but that led to more work with the Democratic Party for him, for the special election last February for Congress. And then just with the general election.Also, I saw a story in the paper, they needed foster parents for shih tzu dogs. And I applied to do that, and 82:00I started being a foster parent to dogs. I like shih tzus, so had four different ones at different times. And, let's see, what else have I done? Well, anyway, I got interested in life again. (laughs) And I do a lot for my church here, my Baptist church here. So I guess I just started living again. But it did take time.

WILSON: What do you think the impact of your Peace Corps service was on the country and people? And you've talked about that a little bit already, I think. And then what was its impact on you?

YUNKER: Well, Peace Corps is really big on sustainability. They want you to start projects that continue after you leave. So the ones with the orphans, I'm really pleased that that's still ongoing. 83:00Also, the softball tournament has continued for the three falls since then. Other volunteers have had the softball tournament. And when we began to plan the softball tournament, there were no restrooms at the ballpark. This huge ballpark had been built with no restrooms. Because under communism, personal needs were nonexistent. You often found this in public buildings, big universities and things, that if there were a restroom, it was just hidden away in some dark corner.And the soccer field in Kirovograd had a restroom. Of course, soccer, they call it football, that's their big sport. But it was just a men's 84:00restroom. So my friend Kate told me, she said, "We cannot invite all these people from Kiev to come here, all these Peace Corps people, and not have restrooms at the ballpark."So I talked with the man, the head of the oblast sports department. I told him we needed restrooms. So I said, we either had to rent portapotties, which you could find some of those, but they were very expensive or some. So he said, "Well, we'll build them." So actually, what he did, he built brick outhouses. And they were just really nice. There was one for men, one for women. And I told Kate, the one who had suggested, "Peace Corps talks about sustainability. These restrooms will be here for years to come."As for the impact on me, I felt it was the time of my life. It was a 85:00long time dream that I guess I thought would never really happen. And even now, I can't quite believe that it happened. I made just some excellent friends and had some wonderful good times. And I really felt like Kirovograd was my home those two years and three months. And I think I had a bearing on my church there, also. I'm glad for that.

WILSON: So you're still in touch with Peace Corps volunteers?

YUNKER: Yes. Yes.

WILSON: And you're also still in touch with your friend who's coming to visit you.

YUNKER: Yes. Yes. She was the reason I was successful. Because without her help, I would not have been as good a teacher. I would not 86:00have known how to interact with the students. And I didn't know what a lesson plan was. So my friend Patsy, who used to be a teacher, she said, "Wini, you're in trouble if you don't know what a lesson plan is." But Zoya taught me everything. She helped me with my projects for the orphans, and still does. And I couldn't have traveled all over the country if she hadn't taught me what to say and how to get around. So yeah.

WILSON: What do you think the impact of your experience has been on your family? On your son, on your sisters?

YUNKER: Well, my son, who I call my angel, Joe, I think he--

WILSON: He didn't come, nobody came to visit you.


YUNKER: No, Joe came twice.

WILSON: Oh, he did.

YUNKER: Yes, he did. Joe's like me. He likes to travel. In fact, my aunt in Louisville, she says when she was little, they called her "the packer," because she always had her suitcase packed. So Joe and I are the packers here. He came twice. And my sister Betty Lee came twice. And friends from Florida came once.

WILSON: Oh, that's good.

YUNKER: And that helps you be content, also, when you're living in a foreign country.

WILSON: And it helps them understand what your life is like.

YUNKER: Oh, yeah. Yes. For example, Betty Lee wouldn't go to the restroom on the train. And I told her, the restrooms on the trains are like they were here in the '40s and '50s. I remember, I used to go from Lexington to Nicholasville on a train when I was a little girl. The commodes were open at the bottom.


WILSON: Oh, yeah.

YUNKER: And the refuse fell on the tracks.

WILSON: Right. Right.

YUNKER: And they had signs, in fact, they locked the restrooms when you were in the station, because they didn't want you to do that. But she professes not to remember that. (laughs) But anyway, she's older than I am, and I know that's what it was. But she, the one train trip we took, she went to the restroom and she came back and she said, "I can't do this." She said, "I'm afraid I'll fall in." (laughs) The restrooms were pretty bad. A lot of them were Turkish style, where there's just a hole in the floor and you put your feet on either side. And I remember one time when we were in, I think we were in Odessa. And I came out of the restroom and I told another volunteer, I said, "It's nice." And she went in and after she finished, she came back out and 89:00said, "Why did you say it's nice? It's just a hole in the floor."And I said, "Well, it was clean. That's a start."

WILSON: Okay. Well, I've got a couple more questions, and I don't want us to, well, we'll keep going here. We've got another tape. What international experience do you look forward to in the future?

YUNKER: I want to go to Africa.

WILSON: Where?

YUNKER: Well, Kenya, I think, because it's the most progressive country. And I've been corresponding with Florida A&M University, which has a program working with people to send them to Africa. Right now is not a good time for me with my family situation. But I would really like to go to Africa. And I think, I don't know, I just have this urge to go there.

WILSON: And spend a little bit of time?


YUNKER: Yes. To work there.

WILSON: To be there for a while.

YUNKER: And also, I was in Bermuda last month, and I met this woman who's eighty years old and still works for the United Nations. And she told me, what she does, she's been with the United Nations since the '40s. And she plans airport landing fields. So she was on her way to someplace, I forget where. But she was on her way to redo this field that she had done like forty years ago. But anyway, she told me that I should apply with the United Nations. So I'm thinking about that, too. It's just not a good time.

WILSON: What do you think the overall impact of the Peace Corps has been, and what do you think its role should be today?

YUNKER: I think that John F. Kennedy would be so proud to know that this 91:00idea that he had, I just, I believe that he could not have foreseen the impact of these thousands of volunteers on these millions of people. I think he had a dream and maybe he thought it would last for a few years. But I mean, Peace Corps celebrated its forty-fourth anniversary this week. And I just think he would be so proud.

WILSON: Did you call the senators and Chandler to tell them to, that's what we were doing on Tuesday?

YUNKER: No, I didn't.

WILSON: You should call them and tell them how important it is. So you think it ought to continue.

YUNKER: Definitely. Yes, definitely. I think it's the best way we can spend our money. To think that it has no connection to the military, 92:00to religion. It's just to share culture and to exchange culture. It's a wonderful concept.

WILSON: Is there anything else you want to say before the tape runs out? We've still got time here. (laughs)

YUNKER: Well, as I said the other night, my main purpose in talking about Peace Corps is to encourage people to join.

[End of interview.]

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