WILSON: November 1, 2005 with Maurice White. Maurice if you would start please just by giving me your full name, where, and when you were born.

WHITE: My name is Maurice Francis White. I am 52 soon to be 53 and I was born on Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts.

WILSON: And can you tell me a little something about your family and your growing up in Massachusetts?

WHITE: Well I have two brothers and two sisters. My parents moved to Stoughton, Massachusetts when I was quite young. We lived in a small 1:00town, maybe 40 miles southeast of Boston and it was a pretty normal childhood.

WILSON: You went to elementary school and high school?

WHITE: Yeah, went to elementary school, junior high school, high school all in Stoughton, Massachusetts. Graduated from high school in 1970 and went on to college in Vermont.

WILSON: And where in Vermont? Where did you go to college?

WHITE: I went to school at Wyndham College in Putney, Vermont, very small town near Brattleboro, Vermont in southern Vermont.

WILSON: Okay, I know where that is. What did you study in college and when did you graduate?

WHITE: I originally had planned to study biology. I was a fairly good 2:00science student all through high school, but I took to abroad programs while I was in college and by doing so I got off track with my course requirements for my science major. And I ended up graduating with a degree in sociology, and I graduated in 1974.

WILSON: Two abroad programs? You mean like a junior year abroad or something?

WHITE: Well my sophomore year I spent six months in Mexico and then in my junior year I spent six months in India the following year.

WILSON: But they, were those just living experiences or were they study experiences?

WHITE: Oh no those were yeah study abroads.


WHITE: At, well study abroads in those two countries with faculty from my college and in country faculty when we arrived on location.

WILSON: Okay, and so then you came back and you say you graduated in 3:00sociology?

WHITE: In '74.

WILSON: In 1974.

WHITE: So I graduated in May and went into the Peace Corps in June.

WILSON: How did the Peace Corps idea come about?

WHITE: It was something I had talked about with friends but also with one of my college advisors. And I applied in my junior year actually at college but didn't hear anything until my senior year when one of my class, in one of my classes we took a trip to Washington D.C. And we went to then Senator Aiken's office, who was a Senator from Vermont. And he asked the group if there was anything he could do or his staff could do for our group, and I told him about my Peace Corps application and how it was, I hadn't really heard anything. And that afternoon someone from his office, a staff person called the Peace Corps office 4:00and then the very next week I got my letter of acceptance. So I guess it's who you know in Washington anyway.

WILSON: Did you ever get any information, feedback to lead you to know whether there was some hang up on it that it was just sitting someplace or anything?

WHITE: Every time I made an inquiry it was that you know we're processing the paperwork and the paperwork's being done. You know don't worry, you'll hear from us. But it just kept going on and I then I guess that one call sped everything up.

WILSON: So that was, that would have been in the spring of '74?

WHITE: That was in the spring of '74.

WILSON: Okay, you said you'd thought about the Peace Corps. Do you have any recollection? Did you know people who had been in the Peace Corps before or I mean where did the idea come from? You have any 5:00recollection of that?

WHITE: I think it's because of the, my experience in India. You know I was profoundly affected by that trip in many ways and I thought well I want to do something to you know to help humankind. I just saw a lot of poverty in India. It really affected me, and I think that was probably maybe the genesis of the whole thing of serving abroad.

WILSON: But were there Peace Corps? Yeah there was Peace Corps in India at that time. Did you meet any Peace Corps people there or anything? No.

WHITE: No, not then. I hadn't met any Peace Corps people, no.

WILSON: Okay, well so you graduated from college in the spring of '74 and were accepted to go where for Peace Corps?

WHITE: To Afghanistan.

WILSON: To Afghanistan, and you went directly then into Peace Corps 6:00training? Is that--?

WHITE: Right. There was a staging in Chicago and then I went back home again and then from there I went off to--

WILSON: Had you asked for that part of the world as opposed to Latin America?

WHITE: I had asked to go to India.

WILSON: You had asked to go to India?

WHITE: And they told me that I could request but then I ended up in Afghanistan and that was fine, suited me fine. I was a little bit disappointed but Afghanistan was fine ultimately.

WILSON: Can you tell me a little something about the training program? In preparation, what were you expecting to do in Afghanistan?

WHITE: Well I think I'll just go back a little bit. During the prist, 7:00the pre-training, I mean it was pretty intense because people were, they were trying to screen people out I think. And actually making it through that process I felt pretty good. I did go, I did get to Afghanistan and right away we were immersed in language training and teacher training to teach English. That was my job area, so right away we started with the language training and the culture training. And then along with that we were doing teacher training as well.

WILSON: And the language was what?

WHITE: We, well my particular area of the country was a Farsi speaking area, Dari speaking area, Afghan-Persian area. So that's the language that I was being taught was Dari, Afghan-Farsi. And others in my group were being taught Pashto, perhaps the most dominant well no Dari is the 8:00dominant. It's the official language so--

WILSON: So you had a language component. How many hours a day did you spend on language?

WHITE: Initially it was almost all day and the method that we were first exposed to was a silent, the silent way, which is a very intense method of language learning with a series of rods. But ultimately it was very effective I think.

WILSON: What do you mean by silent?

WHITE: Well because the students themselves have to work together as a group cooperatively to learn the language simply put. The instructor 9:00would use a series of rods to prompt us as cues but we had to figure out the structure and the simple grammar. It's a very controversial method; it's not very much in practice nowadays. But in the '70s and through the '80s, part way through the '80s it was adopted especially by the Peace Corps. I mean I know that there were Thai students that were taught that as well, I mean Thai volunteers excuse me in Thailand that were also taught Thai via the silent way.

WILSON: Okay and so--

WHITE: That was only one of the methods. I mean that wasn't the only method. Later on we had more traditional approaches.

WILSON: And were you learning cultural sort of along at the same time or was that a separate component in the--?


WHITE: No we had culture components as well, but the main focus was the language and the cultural component and then the teaching component. But at the beginning it was the language that we were really exposed to at first.

WILSON: Okay, can you describe for me anything more about how the, how you were taught to teach English or taught the culture?

WHITE: Well in terms of the language training I believe that the people that were in charge of our training, the language portion, were from Columbia Teacher's College. And there was a lot of videotaping and a lot of viewing of the tapes, and there was a prescribed methodology for the language lessons that we had to prepare for the videotaping and also the ones that we had to prepare for the observations. I mean it was very, very meticulously planned and you had to follow the script 11:00pretty closely.

WILSON: And was that because the, of the Afghan curriculum or was that because that was Columbia's?

WHITE: No that was Columbia's method. It wasn't, really had nothing to do with the Afghan curriculum. I mean because once you got the field people pretty much did what they wanted to do. They did what was most effective for their classroom situation. But it was helpful. I have to admit it was a helpful training period.


WHITE: And it was a very comprehensive training period I think, prepared us well for the field.

WILSON: Were you, what was your living situation at that point? Were you living together or with families or--?

WHITE: At that point we were living in Kabul in a dormitory style situation. We, there were two to a room and there was some kitchen 12:00facilities. We had some in house help and it was a bit, yeah a dormitory situation in Kabul.

WILSON: And that went on for how long?

WHITE: For a few months, I can't remember exactly. But yeah for a few months before we went out to the field, well actually before we went out to our assignments we had to spend time with volunteers who were established in country. And so we spent a couple of weeks with people who were doing the same kind of job and lived with them, went to school with them, and then we were sent out after that to our sites.

WILSON: Okay and you went where? And what was your assignment? Can you describe that for me?

WHITE: I went to Mazari-Sharif, which was about 14 hours from the 13:00capital by bus--a very long ride through the mountains. And Mazar- e-Sharif was a fairly large city in terms of you know in Afghanistan relatively speaking. I met the two volunteers that were in that city that were leaving and spent time with them, went to my school, was introduced to the principal and you know my fellow teachers. I located a place to live with the help of one of my host country teachers with a local family. And I spent the entire rest of my time in the Peace Corps with that family in their compound. I had actually they renovated their old servants quarters for my use, so it was a house. So it was a compound within a compound, but I was very close to the 14:00family. I mean extremely close.

WILSON: Talk about that a little bit for me. What do you mean by close?

WHITE: Well I was a single person. I was a teacher, so there was a little bit of status for them attached to me being in their house. I was an American person so that was something which was a little bit of status for them, which they were very proud of. And one of the younger boy was in my seventh grade class, so there was that connection. And then the oldest son in the family was maybe one year younger than me, so he always wanted to be with me and emulate me and learn English through me. And it was just a very close situation. The mother in the house was a nurse and she spoke French, so she was always speaking French. Although I don't speak French but because I spoke English I 15:00guess she thought it was okay, so she was always speaking French. The father was at that time was on the verge of retiring from a military position, so he had some standing in the community. Oh she was the head of nursing actually at the hospital; that's what it was. So--

WILSON: So they were, it was an educated family?

WHITE: It was an educated family. The daughter, eldest daughter who was married, she was a schoolteacher. Her husband was in the Afghan military. All the kids went to school, even the youngest daughters. And I spent a lot of time with them, and I had someone who worked for me--a servant I guess you would say or a nokar. And he had a wife and then they had a baby, so it was really a really big extended family. And they lived with me, I mean you know 24 hours a day. So I got a chance to put some of that silent method into some more practical use and learn the language I guess pretty quickly. So that gave me entry 16:00into a lot of different aspects of Afghan life.

WILSON: So you became pretty fluent in Farsi?

WHITE: Not fluent, but I could talk about a range of subjects and make myself understood. And I listened a lot and because I was a black person, you know a black person of mixed heritage that was also a benefit for me because I could pass or pretend to be an Afghan on many occasions. You know and I was much thinner then and you know my hair was longer and so that was always a great joke to play on people, and I did that all the time. We did that, I had to do it on some occasions. But I found that to be a great benefit to be a non-white person in Afghanistan yeah. It was very and it made it a lot easier sometimes.


WILSON: That's interesting. What do you mean sometimes you had to, what kind of I mean?

WHITE: Well I can think of two different situations. I had, I tutored a woman who was a doctor and she was in her early 30s. And at that time I was 21, 22 and I used to tutor pretty regularly. And she was a gynecologist. She had been educated in Afghanistan and also Iran, and she had traveled around the Middle East a bit, but she was still unmarried. And we developed a really strong relationship. We weren't, it wasn't an intimate relationship but it was a very strong relationship. And she had romantic interests in me but she would always want me to come to her clinic because she liked to talk about 18:00some of the patients that she had. And so she would bring me in to show me all kinds of things that, and they were all female. But I could go in because I was supposed to be a visiting doctor, so I would put on a smock and then she would tell them that I was from India actually. She would say that, that way she could get around it that way. But I was still a Muslim, and so they wouldn't know what she was talking about in English to me. And she would be describing things and I would be you know acting very you know like a medical professional. And so I just learned so much through that, and she also got a big kick out of it. Professionally she thought that she was sharing with me, so that was one time one situation. And then the other situation the head of Pashto language in that province would want me to accompany him to all these different compounds like the Russian compounds. And because I was an American I could never say that I was American so we always spoke Farsi. And the Russians didn't have a clue and I always 19:00wore Afghan clothes and I always had my shawl which was halfway here so I could kind of cover my face and cover my body and they would never know. And I would speak you know in Dari and he would be, he'd call them all kinds of names and all of this. It was just funny; I don't know. But I learned a lot by going to those compounds. But ultimately it caused a problem later on before I actually left Afghanistan because of that.

WILSON: So tell me something about your job in the school. This was a primary school?

WHITE: It was a boy's lycee. It was Lycee Baktar and it was from seventh grade to I guess twelfth grade or the equivalent thereof. And I taught seventh grade and twelfth grade for the two years, classes 20:00of seven and twelve. But it was an interesting experience because as a teacher in Afghanistan you have a lot of respect, and that always overwhelmed because I was young myself. Having graduated from college and here I was in this position of being a teacher and people really respected you for that and I appreciated the fact that they respected teachers in the way that we don't really respect them here in America. So that was very interesting for me, the respect that you got from the job that you had. But I would teach on a daily basis the living I mean the teaching situation was not overly stressful. I would have 70 students sometimes in the class and I really got along well with my fellow teachers. The biggest project that I undertook there and completed was starting a library at the school with books that I got from the Asia Foundation. And that was really a big achievement for 21:00me; I felt very satisfied from doing that. But that also caused some jealousy amongst the other teachers because here I was one of the younger people and an American and here I was a person who started the library, got the books, had the Asia Foundation bring everything up, we started cataloging and some jealousies arose because of that from some of the other staff people. But all around it was a very good experience and most people were very, very kind.

WILSON: Were you the only non-Afghan on staff?

WHITE: Yeah I was the only non-Afghan on staff, and most of the teachers were either Pashtun or Tajik. And Pashtun is the dominant ethnic group in Afghanistan. Tajik is one of the more dominant of the ethnic groups 22:00or minority groups in Afghanistan.

WILSON: But it was not a Tajik area? I mean the-- Your students were not Pashtun or Tajik, is that what you're saying?

WHITE: No the students were a mixture of Pashtun. I mean ethnically Pashtun but they spoke Dari.

WILSON: I see.

WHITE: And then there were lots of Tajik because some of the other minority members a lot of them didn't go to school. Their opportunities were limited. There was a lot of prejudice, racial and ethnic prejudice, in Afghanistan. So Tajik and Pashtuns mainly, but not exclusively but mainly--

WILSON: So this must have been a fairly large school if you had classes of 70?

WHITE: It was the only boys' high school in that city. There was a girls' high school and a boys' high school and those were the two. 23:00There were no other schools as far as I remember for that, for those age groups.

WILSON: How was it trying to teach 70 kids in a class?

WHITE: At first it seemed daunting but I think because our preparation was so good I knew what I was going into, so it wasn't a surprise. It wasn't a surprise at all. And actually the students were very good for the most part. There were really no major behavior problems. I think the only problems that I had were some of the socio-economic problems that arose because I wasn't really savvy to all of the distinctions in social classes and again because of the ethnic groups. So if someone failed a test or a quiz or didn't do homework then they got what they deserved. But in that culture if someone fails a test and the father happens to be an important shop keeper then that person passes the test. And I didn't at first play by those rules. And actually I 24:00didn't throughout my whole term there, and that caused a problem for the principal and for some of the students and for some of the fathers.

WILSON: How did the principal deal with that or how did you become aware of it?

WHITE: Because the principal never came out and said to me that I would have to do such and such for a student but it was made clear through underlings that I was supposed to pass a certain person or persons. And when I refused to do that problems arose. And when I coupled that with my expeditions to some of the Russian compounds I was kind of blackmailed at the very end without going into too much detail.


WILSON: Okay. Well let me take you back a step. When you first went in country and you went straight from the States what was your first impression and your biggest surprise?

WHITE: Well again that was one of the things that came up during the prist before leaving for Afghanistan because the psychologists or one of the psychologists said you seem so flat. Your affect is so flat because they would show all these pictures of Afghanistan and the poverty and the disease and because I had been to India and also Mexico the year before that, which is another really poor country, it 26:00didn't really faze me. I mean was I saw there was just a replicate or replication of what I saw in the other two countries, so that didn't-- I wasn't fazed by that. I think I was fazed more by the different relationships between men and women, the differences in the ethnic groups and their roles in society and I think also I had a personal problem because I had a girlfriend in college who didn't want me to go into the Peace Corps. During my first year to make a long story short she ended up coming to Afghanistan via Italy, via Turkey, showing up at the Peace Corps headquarters in Kabul 14 hours away having the secretary call my school. And they called me saying that there was a visitor here and they wouldn't tell me who it was so I had no idea. I 27:00couldn't even fathom it would be this person. Had to go to Kabul, saw that it was her, I was shocked. She wouldn't leave the country. I had to bring her back to Mazari-Sharif with me and I'm a single person. She's a single person in a very strictly Muslim country and I had to deal with my family that I was living with. It was a very awkward situation. And I knew that my girlfriend loved me and I loved her, but we had promised each other after two years if we felt the same way then we'd have a deeper relationship. So when she came it completely freaked me out and we ended up getting married in Afghanistan. And it was just-- I mean I'm not going to go into a lot of detail but it was just, that changed my experience as well--completely a different experience.

WILSON: So did she stay then?

WHITE: She stayed. Not until the end of the second year because she went back to the States, but she stayed for almost a year. And that 28:00caused you know certain problems for me in the community. And also she was you know she was attractive and she was a you know a typical American young woman. She had really long hair for one thing, which is very you know unusual even for us. I mean it was down to her ankles practically and that caused problems because she would never bind it up or braid it and so she was always getting touched and you know a whole bunch of problems because of that.

WILSON: Okay, sounds like there's--

WHITE: I do have to stop, yeah.

WILSON: We'll pick it up again at some point. Testing one, two, three, four, November 28, 2005 interview with Maurice White. Okay Maurice I know we're having difficulty here but let's try an answer to one 29:00question and then play back and see if we get anything. We were talking about adjustment issues.

WHITE: One of the biggest adjustments for me is something very difficult for me to reconcile was having, well the necessity of having to hire a servant to work in my house to be employed by me for the duration of my assignment in Afghanistan. And I mean coming from the States and being a black American I think it wouldn't be too difficult to understand why it was a dilemma for me. But I was able to hire someone who was very nice. He was married and he also had a young baby, Frozanne 30:00his daughter, and the couple and I did form a very close bond. They essentially did all the domestic chores because it was very impossible to teach and also spend three hours in the bazaar every day bargaining for food and also later preparing food. And so it was a necessity to have this couple.

WILSON: Tell me something about what a typical day might have been like.

WHITE: I'd get up early in the morning and water would be drawn from the well either by myself or by Assad. It would be heated up with a heating element and this water would be used for bathing, for shaving, tea would be made and my breakfast would be made. After this I would often have students from my seventh grade class come to my home in the 31:00morning to be tutored in English. And this was a very enjoyable time for me because it was quite free and we did a lot of joking around as well as learn English. And then I would either ride my bicycle or take a gaudi, a horse drawn carriage to school, which was about a mile and a half to two miles away. And I would get into school, greet my coworkers, my principal and assistant principal. I could never forget to greet him, and I'd be off to the classroom until I left later in the afternoon.

WILSON: And what would you eat?

WHITE: Surprisingly Afghanistan did have a variety of foods. Of course much of the eating that we did was very seasonal. Meat was always available but fresh produce was again based on the season. So in the summer months we'd have a lot of summer fruits, apricots and nectarines 32:00and peaches, and later in the summer grapes and all kinds of melons and watermelons. Rice of course was essential for every meal, bread--that was one chore that had to be done every day in the morning and the afternoon. In the late afternoon you'd have to go to the bakery to purchase bread, freshly baked bread. It was very satisfying, a lot of beans. I was very satisfied with the diet because I'm a very basic person, so I found the food to be very simple but delicious.

WILSON: And preservation? You were talking about preservation at one point.

WHITE: Yeah, the Afghans have a lot of ingenious methods of preserving food often times in the summer, well during the summer they would dry for example a lot of eggplants and tomatoes on the roof, which I helped 33:00participate in. And the flies used to bother me, but we had ways of dealing with those with screens. But in preparation for the winter a lot of the summer fruits would be preserved in these mud containers where they would be put into a container, it would be covered with mud, well the container was made of mud. And the air would be sucked out. It would be a vacuum sealed mud pocket and later on in the winter these would be broken open and the fruits would be fairly fresh. I mean almost as good as they were before they were packaged.

WILSON: Okay, what did you do for recreation?

WHITE: I spent a lot of time in conversation with my host family, with my fellow teachers. Because I was a bachelor people were always 34:00stopping by at my house because I did have the only house where there was no extended family per say, my particular house. So I always had visitors. People would smoke, we'd drink tea, talk. On the weekends it was very, very popular and I really enjoyed it myself to go to the Hindi movies, which were-- It was kind of a, it was ironic because the Hindi movies showed all the things that you couldn't really do in Afghan life. The Hindi movies were of course the actors and actresses were all mainly Hindu and the audience was strictly Muslim. So the irony there was not lost on me, and lots of dancing and scantily clad females. No kissing of course but and the stories would go on for three hours, three and a half hours. It would take a lot of the people 35:00out of their daily lives, so they were these fantasies which were I really became involved in myself with the stars and the movies. It was complete fantasy.

WILSON: Did you travel in the country some?

WHITE: Yes I would go on occasion with other Peace Corps volunteers but also with my Afghan friends to different areas around the country. It wasn't all that easy to travel because of the transportation problem, but I did manage to see a fair amount of the country. Herat in the west and some of the sights south of Kabul, yeah we did travel a lot. And Pakistan I went, took an excursion to Pakistan through the Khyber Pass into I can't remember the, Lahore and Peshawar and other parts of 36:00Pakistan very interesting.

WILSON: Are there any particularly meaningful stories, incidents that you'd like to relate?

WHITE: I remember that there was a woman in our area and at first I didn't believe. I thought she was just a homeless person and she had two children always in tow, and they were always very ill kept, extremely dirty, and they were scorned by everyone in my part of the town. And people would often times give them food just to watch them fight over it. It was really very sad, the two children especially. 37:00And I suspect that the woman was also an object of abuse for a lot of the local men, although I didn't see this I heard of the abuse. She happened to be a Kuchi, which was a small ethnic group I believe. No not Kuchi excuse me, Kuchi Beluchi maybe Pakistan extraction, and they were discriminated against very heavily and especially in my area of the country.

WILSON: What was it like coming back to the US?

WHITE: It was a bit of a culture shock and I really didn't want to leave Afghanistan at the time but I did. Coming back it was a bit of a culture shock. I came back not sure what I was going to do. 38:00I was lucky enough to get a job. My father was able to get me a job in Massachusetts in Boston area at a state hospital. And it was difficult for me to get into working life. I mean from being a teacher in Afghanistan to a city job in Boston was very difficult. Even the ease of transportation in Boston after the two years of my transportation woes in Afghanistan that's just one point, it was just-- I was constantly stupefied by the two existences I had over a period of two and a half years. It was difficult but gradually I did adjust very well.

WILSON: Are there other examples of things besides transportation?

WHITE: Well also the freedom of our society, also the ability to do, 39:00say, and go where I wanted to, not having to worry about accidentally touching someone of the opposite sex and having that interpret as a sexual advance even though it wasn't. The amount of goods that we have in the stores you know it's just, it was often times that was overwhelming the variety and freedom.

WILSON: Okay, what do you think the impact of your Peace Corps service was on Afghanistan or the people that you were there working with?

WHITE: I think that the impact I made in Afghanistan was very, was 40:00negligible. But in my area in my town at my school with my students with my fellow teachers I think that I did make a great impact. I mean relatively speaking. They were exposed to some of these, the boys in the younger classes and throughout the high school; they were exposed to an American for the first time. They were exposed to some different ways of thinking. They were exposed to some of our American customs and some of the politics that I felt comfortable divulging especially to the teachers. I think at times there was a little bit of jealous given my age and who I was and where I was from, but I think overall my time in Afghanistan was well spent. And I know for a fact that many 41:00boys learned a fair amount of English because of my teaching.

WILSON: And what was the impact on you?

WHITE: I think for me the most important impact was how much I was able to reflect on being an American and our country with all its faults and all its problems. I felt lucky to be an American and I felt that as an American, no America has a role to play in this world, and a Peace Corps volunteer I mean in the scheme of things really doesn't have that much of an impact. I mean in the scheme of things, but our country does have a role in the larger world and I feel that you know I want to work towards making sure that we do impact the world in a more 42:00favorable way. And I don't want to expand on this but--

WILSON: Okay in what ways if any are you still in contact with Afghanistan or with people in Afghanistan?

WHITE: Well I have to say that it's been a long time. I haven't had any close contact with anyone from Afghanistan, anyone that I had met in Afghanistan. The last contact I had was in the late '70s when I was in Iran and I happened to meet someone who was renting a bicycle shop from my host family. And I ran into this person on the street in Afghanistan I mean in Iran, and we were able to spend some time together. I gave him money, which I felt very obligated in doing and spent a few good 43:00days of friendship with him. But in terms of people that I knew--no--

WILSON: Okay, what's your experience as a Peace Corps volunteer; did that have any impact on your family?

WHITE: Yes. My parents wondered why I wanted to go so far away and was so eager to go to a country as exotic as Afghanistan. I know that from my family and from other people in the let's say the larger community, people wondered why was I going to a country to help others to promote development and there were so many things that had to be done here 44:00in the States. And as a black person I understood that very much, but I also knew that at that time in my life I had to do something as different as my Peace Corps assignment in Afghanistan for myself.

WILSON: What's been the impact if any from your Peace Corps experience on your career path?

WHITE: Well since my days of teaching English in Afghanistan and being trained in Afghanistan as an ESL teacher, I've pretty much stayed within that profession up to the present. I mean after Afghanistan I had a series of jobs, they were all ESL related. And my current job also is involved with English as a second language and professional 45:00development. So I think that that, the job in Afghanistan sparked my interest in my current profession.

WILSON: And you've had some international experience since your Peace Corps days? Is that right? You mentioned traveling to Iran and--

WHITE: Well yes Iran and I also spent four years in Saudi Arabia with Saudi Arabian Airlines coordinating English language programming in Riyadh. And that was a very worthwhile and fulfilling job. I'd be there right now if some other life situations hadn't occurred i.e. marriage and etc, etc. But and those experiences also helped me in my jobs here in the States in terms of being a program director at two different universities, one on Guam, one in Massachusetts directing ESL 46:00programs for international students.

WILSON: Okay so you also spent some time in Guam?

WHITE: Yes, I spent ten years in Guam prior to coming to Kentucky.

WILSON: What would you say the impact of your Peace Corps experience has been on the way you look at the world?

WHITE: Well I think at 21 going to a foreign country as different as Afghanistan opened up my eyes to what does exist in this world, and I think that I can say that the Peace Corps experience really helped 47:00me to become much more inter-culturally aware, more sensitive to the disparity that exists--the real disparity that exists in the world. And how each of us can make a small difference in changing some of that.

WILSON: What do you think the overall impact of Peace Corps has been over the 40 years, if any? Either abroad or here or--?

WHITE: Well I think I still believe in the goal of Peace Corps, the mission of Peace Corps, and the goals of the Peace Corps. I think that 48:00if you multiply my experience by 40,000 or however number, whatever the number is of Peace Corps volunteers.

WILSON: 170.

WHITE: 170,000 volunteers, I think that you can see that the Peace Corps and the individuals who joined the Peace Corps can and do make a difference. I mean Peace Corps volunteers are in all walks of life, literally all walks of life. And I think that this experience is something that they carry with them and helps them or has helped them in their current lives, professionally, personally, in the communities.

WILSON: Do you think there's still a role for Peace Corps today?

WHITE: I know that debate is raging right now. And I think that as the world grows smaller perhaps some people could say that the role of Peace Corps is becoming slowly a dinosaur and that the need is 49:00not there. But I know that again going back to the disparity and the level of underdevelopment in parts of Africa, Asia, Latin America, that you know technicians, educators, health professionals, agricultural professionals are still very much needed.

WILSON: Okay, that's really the sort of structured questions that I have. Are there questions I should have asked you and haven't or things you'd like to tell me about your experience for the record? Any particular stories or anything? If not that's fine too.


WHITE: Okay I think that's it.

WILSON: Alright, thanks.

[End of interview.]

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