WILSON: Peace Corps oral history project interview with Andrew Kimbrough November 13, 2008 interviewed by Jack Wilson in Lexington, Kentucky. Okay Andrew if you would first give us your full name, where you were born, a little something about your family and background.

KIMBROUGH: My name is Andrew McComb Kimbrough; I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital downtown. And that was back in 1961. My parents Bill and Janice Kimbrough met in Philadelphia; they've been married for over 50 years now. And we moved to Florida when I was eight years old, Tampa Bay area, and then I ended up at Wake Forest University in North Carolina where I went to 1:00university. I was an English major and a Spanish minor, and I had no desire to get into the business world. I thought it kind of bizarre that all of my friends were dressing up in suits at the end of their four years and going to interview with big corporations, and I had no idea what I wanted to do. And a professor of mine said well why don't you just join the Peace Corps. So I looked into it, I applied in the spring of my senior year 1984, was accepted later in that spring and then was asked to report somewhere in Washington D.C. that fall, and that was the start of my stint with the Peace Corps.

WILSON: Is there anything in your growing up or background that you think might have influenced that?

KIMBROUGH: Yes, sure, growing up--no. When I went to university I had 2:00started exploring my religion Christianity just a little bit and I read about the emphasis on missions and yet I found it kind of bizarre that most churches I'm aware of don't emphasize that at all. So while I was in university I did a, I went abroad for several summer missions. The first one was in Spain, and that's what really stimulated my continuing on with the Spanish minor. And then I went to Honduras and Guatemala. I was in a Dominican barrio in Brooklyn in one summer. And when I applied to the Peace Corps, well you know I didn't want to become a full time missionary because of some disillusionment with church structure. So something like the Peace Corps, something service oriented was very attractive to me. But when I signed up for the 3:00Peace Corps, I thought that they would find some place in Central or South America for me, but with the English major and without much of any other kind of background I really wasn't good for anything except teaching English. And Peace Corps administration told me that there was plenty of English programs in Central and South America and that they could better use me either in Thailand, Nepal, or Sri Lanka. I've got a godfather, friend of my father's, I was baptized Episcopalian so I actually have a godfather. He and his brother were in Vietnam since about 1959, 1960 working with the Quakers. And then after the Vietnam War my, one of them, Bill, came back, but my godfather Ed moved over to Thailand where he still resides. So I knew where Thailand was and 4:00I knew where Nepal was, but I had no idea where Sri Lanka was. So when they asked me if those three countries were acceptable to me I said sure. And sure enough I got posted in Sri Lanka, the one country I couldn't find on a map, so but I know where it is now.

WILSON: The professor in college who suggested the Peace Corps, is that somebody who had been in the Peace Corps or--?

KIMBROUGH: No, I don't think so. Her name is Dolly McPherson, she was in the English department at Wake Forest University. She was working on her PhD at the time; she taught the African American literature course, which was a real eye-opener for me. African American woman herself, she wrote her dissertation on Maya Angelou. And Dolly McPherson was instrumental in getting Maya Angelou to move to Winston- Salem and take a position teaching humanities at Wake Forest.


WILSON: Tell me something about the application process itself if you remember anything about that.

KIMBROUGH: I went to Washington D.C. in the spring with a friend and we went, we did a--And subsequently he was accepted in the Peace Corps himself, Don Davis is his name, and he went to Yemen. From what I understand there's about four of us from that graduating class that joined the Peace Corps that year. We went to--We drove to Washington D.C. and we had an orientation and an interview and filled out application forms. I got letters of recommendation and I think that was pretty much it as I recall. I think what I found a bit disconcerting at the time was the long wait once we were accepted conditionally it seemed as though it was five or six months before we were asked to report anywhere. And I remember talking with my friends, there was another fellow whose name I forget who ended up down in Honduras, that 6:00we felt that you know if they really wanted good, good folks to join up, they needed to speed up that application process because we'd heard stories of volunteers who were, who waited a year for a posting. So--

WILSON: Okay so you went to a staging or something in Washington, is that what you said? Tell me something about that.

KIMBROUGH: We met at a hotel. We were put up in the hotel, I forget the--I don't have the address, can't remember the name. Where our group about 18 of us met for the first time, we had a week-long orientation stateside, mostly what to expect in a cross-cultural environment, games, activities, discussions.


WILSON: Medical?

KIMBROUGH: There were, that's right. We had our inoculations against various things and we spent a little off time you know getting down to the mall, looking at the museums, the Vietnam Memorial was I think just a couple years old at the time. It was fun, we were all pretty excited and anxious and ready to go. A lot of us were just recent college graduates and we were all very heady and full of ourselves. But we had a number of a couple of retirees, a couple of married couples, so we were something of a diverse group.

WILSON: Okay half a step back. Were there any bumps for you in the road of application? Any medical issues, any--?

KIMBROUGH: No, I mean I--

WILSON: Nothing that--?

KIMBROUGH: Thank god I've been blessed with very good health all my life so there was no issue there. No, I don't recall any bumps in the road as far as the application process was concerned, happy to get accepted and happy to go.


WILSON: Okay so--

KIMBROUGH: Ironically about health though, what I found funny about the experience was of the 18 of us that went over some of us were very, very concerned about getting sick in a third world country and some of us really didn't care at all. I was in the latter group, and I'd say the two fellows who worried the most about getting ill came down with horrendous things, hepatitis, worms and this sort of thing. And those of us that didn't seem to care much at all got pretty much unscathed. I was the last to get dysentery.

WILSON: Everybody.

KIMBROUGH: And everybody got dysentery.

WILSON: Dysentery at one time or another, right? Okay so you left and went directly to Sri Lanka and--?

KIMBROUGH: We did, we went to Sri Lanka. We landed in Colombo, we all suffered jet lag. We met the folks in the Peace Corps office, which is a small little outfit. Peace Corps in Sri Lanka at the time 9:00had only been there about a year or two mostly teaching English. I understand that Peace Corps was in Sri Lanka for maybe earlier in the '60s or '70s, so they were reintroducing a a presence. There was one or two groups that were in the country ahead of us teaching English in what they called a DELIC, D-E-L-I-C, Department of Education Language Instruction Center or something like that or yeah. Sri Lanka had gone through a very nationalistic phase in the late '70s, well '60s and '70s and realized that they, when they were emphasizing Senegalese language they kind of cut themselves off from the world, so they were trying to reintroduce English language instruction in the elementary schools. So we were training students between 18 and 35 years old to become English teachers in the schools around the country. And two of us were 10:00posted in a, sort of a county seat of each province around the country. That was our assignment and we taught a year-long intensive English language program. So when we arrived in the country we had one month of language, mostly Sinhalese. Dave Schneider and I were the two that were posted over in Tamil City. I went to Batticaloa, he went up to Trincomalee, so about a couple weeks into that first month we switched over to Tamil. The second month of our orientation was TEFL, teaching English as a foreign language or as a second language, TEFL training. The first month we were there we were down in a town called Matara on the south coast, Matara. And then the second month we were there we went up into the hill country in a town called Kandy, where the lake is 11:00and the--

WILSON: Spelled?

KIMBROUGH: I think it's K-A-N-D-Y if I recall correctly, and that's where the big Perahera, the big Buddhist fall moon festival is celebrated with elephant processions and so forth, and what's reputed to be one of Buddhist teeth is paraded about. It's a lovely festival. Anyway so we were there for a month and then after a quick Christmas break we arrived at our post towns in January, started our teaching with the spring term.

WILSON: So there was some cultural training as a part of all that as well?

KIMBROUGH: Yes, yes and I don't recall much of it. I'm trying to think of the name of sort of our head language teacher. It will come to me in a moment, but she worked with the US Embassy teaching Sinhalese, 12:00and she went to some pains to teach us about the culture, Buddhism, the village life, that sort of thing.

WILSON: Did you live with families as part of the--?

KIMBROUGH: You pretty much had your--

WILSON: I mean as part of the training or anything?

KIMBROUGH: As part of the training, no. Down in Matara we stayed in what they call a guest house, which is pretty much like a motel. It was on the beach, it was really lovely. It felt like a month long vacation, you know to have the language classes in the morning and then which was in a tiny little house. And then you know go jogging on the beach or spend the evening with the sun down on the beach. It was really, really lovely. Up in Kandy we were in a hotel up on a hillside. All the rooms had fantastic views, so yeah it seems kind of 13:00cushy. But I think for the average American traveler it wouldn't be, but we enjoyed it.

WILSON: Any particular stories from the training that strikes you as interesting or memorable?

KIMBROUGH: Well just talking about first landing in the county, I think the big surprise to most of us was that one guy the first night he was in country he decided he wanted to leave and come home. I think he made a, I think he thought he made a mistake not asking his girlfriend to marry him and that was his excuse for coming back. We had another couple who just could not take the food and within another two or three weeks they were gone. Two other high school or college graduates after 14:00just a couple of weeks just you know --just staring down the gun of two years in a third world country --they just you know they panicked you know they left. And I thought that that was unfortunate. I thought that these folks were just getting their first taste of culture shock and didn't push through it. I'm sure culture shock's been discussed in these oral histories before, but it's not, you know culture shock is not arriving in a country and being literally shocked at how different things are. It's a creeping sensation after being in a foreign country for a week or two and just the depression sets in, being uncomfortable with what should be a pleasant activity eating just having different smells around you all the time and a different language. I think I had experienced this already when I was in Spain and Central America while I was in college, and so I didn't have a sense of culture shock. 15:00But I think that for the, for those that dropped out right away that was a big issue. And I remember complaining to the director in country that I felt there was not adequate support for the group of 18 when they landed. You know we were pretty much thrown in with our language teachers, that there was no, no one of experience there to help coach people through the initial difficulties. So I remember that just upon landing. But we had some lovely things occur at the same time. One was local Buddhist monks came and did a welcoming blessing ceremony in the little house where we were learning language, and that was quite interesting you know to hear chanting for the first time, to see the saffron, the robes, the beaded patterns that they you know with feed 16:00that they put out on the floor, really quite lovely. Also close by the house that we were learning, there was a very curious young guy just about a year or two younger than I was who made a point of befriending tourists who came through there. It's a lovely beach town. And he lived in a hut with a dirt floor and thatched roof and his father and older brothers fished. And he went out of his way to try to talk to people. His English was rudimentary, and so I met him and befriended him. And he invited me out to a cousin's house out in the village, and so I asked permission to go and it was the first time I had a local alcoholic concoction that they called toddy, but it was the fermented juice of the coconut flower, sweet and tangy. We just had a lovely 17:00time, I was with a bunch of these Sinhalese guys and you know no electricity, no running water, and for me this is like oh this is the first exposure to Sri Lankan village life and just staying up late and singing songs and not understanding each other's language and having a good time anyway. That was special for me; I really enjoyed that. But the month in Matada, boy I tell you this is the first time I've thought about this I think and it's been, what it's been 24 years now. So I picture the bus depot, I picture some streets with the shops. And I remember the first time I got, the first morning I was there of course you wake up at 3:00 in the morning with the jet lag. It was there was a light drizzle so I put on a light poncho and I just went for a walk 18:00in the early morning and just really enjoyed the humidity just how damp it was and to see the city come to life with chickens in the street and goats and this sort of thing, people opening up their shops and looking at the odd foreigner walking through the town streets. We had another guy in the group who played bagpipes and took his bagpipes with him. And in the afternoons after the language lessons he took his bagpipes out on the beach and started tooting away, and of course you can imagine within seconds he just had what seemed like 50 kids gathered around him giggling away just thinking this is the most bizarre thing they had seen in probably all their lives. It probably was.

WILSON: So you were assigned to go to a Tamil area. How was that decision made? Do you know and--?


KIMBROUGH: At the time the country director was, came to approach several people. And when he approached me he said, "Andrew, we had a DELIC out in Batticaloa, and one up in Trincomalee," and he said, "I can't promise that it's going to be pleasant. The Sinhalese army is out there, the Tamil Tigers," and the civil strife is ongoing and it started a couple years before I got there. So this is like a 30 year history and I was just there for a year of it, the so-called separatist movement, Tamil Eelam and Greater Senegalese nation of Sri Lanka. He said, "You know you'd have to be prepared. Your students might get beat up or arrested this sort of thing. And if you think you can keep 20:00your wits about you and keep your objectivity, I'd like you to consider going out there." I really didn't think about it, it just sounded like such a unique and interesting opportunity despite whatever danger might be there. I just said a yes immediately, that just sounded so much more attractive to me. And this was during the first month when we were in Matara because I, during that break between when we were in Matara and when we were in Kandy, we were all sent out to our post towns. And there were two guys out at Batticaloa at that time who Michael Laurenc was going to stay on for another year there and his partner for some reason was leaving and I don't know where he was going you know because we were all serving a two year term in country. So I went out and I stayed with them for a couple of nights and got to 21:00know the school and their colleagues and the town and ate. The food is different, the rice and curry, the Tamil rice and curry is different from the Sinhalese rice and curry. And the town of Batticaloa was just so charming to me, just really lovely, the people extremely lovely. Yes, there were concrete barriers and barb wires around the police station in the middle of town, as well as all the police stations up and down the east coast. The two guys that were out there didn't have complaints about any of the strife, the activity. So I felt quite comfortable going out there and then we you know after just a couple days went back to Kandy, and so I was back out there in January.

WILSON: So when you went back, tell me something about your job, what your living situation was and so forth.


KIMBROUGH: Okay well the head teacher in the DELIC and Batticaloa, Ragis, and I'm trying to think of her last name. Lovely, lovely woman- -everybody in town called her Ragis Teacher. She was probably in her late 50s at the time, single, had never married, and had taught at St. Michaels School, which was the main school in the middle of town.

WILSON: And this is where you were to teach?

KIMBROUGH: Yes, well the DELIC facilities were in St. Michael's School. We had one two, three classrooms available to us and a small library. Ironically the first time I saw any picture or photograph of St. Michael's School in the last 24 years was after the tsunami. St. Michaels School was on high ground. I remember watching a news report and cameras were there at St. Michael's School talking about 23:00how everybody ran to the school to avoid water. Boy that brought back memories. So Ragis introduced me to, I did not want to have my place; I could have got a room in a guest house or maybe rented a small unused house but I just didn't want to do that. I knew that if I was going to experience the culture and learn some language I needed to live with a family. So I was introduced to a woman who was a widower. Excuse me she was a widow. She lived with her father who was a widower, and she had three kids. One son was in New Jersey, one daughter had run away because they did not, she was not on good terms with her mother and she was in East Germany. And the youngest daughter was in the house and the youngest daughter was about 14 at the time. So there were 24:00the three of us--the grandfather, my landlady, and her daughter, and there was a house girl by the name of Regis who slept in the house but she had to bathe out back. There was a caste system in Sri Lanka, and especially I was in a Hindu town and so the caste system is a little more marked there. The family I lived with all spoke English except for Regis, the house girl. The food was excellent. She, I had rice and curry everyday for the main meal at lunch, and I would eat with the grandfather. And they didn't spice it up as much so that I could at least you know get it down. If you go to a guest house and have some rice and curry it's usually so hot that most foreigners it takes a while to get used to it. You just you know your nose opens up and just starts running, your eyes are watering, the sweat's pouring down your face. It can be pretty brutal, but the meals there were just fantastic. 25:00And I had a nice room, nice window that looked out over the street, had a fan of course and I had to have a mosquito net made for myself.

WILSON: So you had electricity?

KIMBROUGH: I had electricity, had running water in the house, could bathe inside in the bathroom. I didn't have to bathe in a well. Some of my colleagues in my group did have that traditionally bathing situation where they rented a room in a house, or had a landlord but left and went out to the pump and pumped the water. You put on your sarong around your waist and dumped the water over your head and lather up and rinse off that way. I did that plenty of times visiting friends, but you know. And that's how I bathed in my bathroom, I just did it indoors. I didn't do it outdoors. We filled up the tub with water and I just with a small little hand bucket just dumped water over myself.

WILSON: Cold water?

KIMBROUGH: Yeah but you know you're in the tropics so it was actually quite refreshing.


WILSON: So describe for me your actual teaching situation, who your students were, how many, kind of situation.

KIMBROUGH: Yeah we started with about 50 or 60 Hindu, well Tamil students. Two of those were Bergers, descendants of Dutch, sort of like Dutch-Tamil mix. They were Catholic. They wore dresses and skirts, whereas all the women wore saris and all the boys wore trousers and dress shirts. They separated themselves in the classroom; boys would sit on one side, girls on the other. Some were married, most were single. They were on average older than me. I was 22, 23 at the time. You know they were between 18 and 35 so the average age was 27:00probably just about a year or two older than me. I had some married students, some that had children. So for them to be in a situation like this as adults and to be in a situation with you know men and women in the same room, it was quite exciting and sobering and heady and all very interesting and self-affirming for all of the students. They really had a great time, they were very close.

WILSON: But you said they were going to be teachers of English?

KIMBROUGH: That's right.

WILSON: So had they been teachers of something else before? Had they had some teacher preparation?

KIMBROUGH: Some had. The students who were just coming out of high school had no career path charted for them. I remember having a housewife, a couple of housewives who didn't have jobs. Some of the fellows did have jobs but they were you know making a career move. They thought this was going to be you know good for the resume. So 28:00they came at it from lots of different angles. We organized them in three classes with colors--red, green, and blue I think it was. I was assigned the, I was sort of like the homeroom teacher for the green group and I asked them to consider coming up with another name and they came up with Emerald, which I thought was kind of clever. We would teach the four language skills reading, writing, speaking, and listening. There were four teachers--two Tamils, two Americans--and we would each trade off teaching a different skill every other week. We would pick a theme like oh history or evolution or something like this in order to get a base of vocabulary but then we would build 29:00like grammar and speaking exercises, listening exercises around the particular topic, and of course banking on our one month intensive training. So every day the groups then would shuffle between one teacher and another and get their four classes every day, about half long maybe five hour class day, plus some time on a Saturday. About halfway through that first year we had another 20 or 30 Muslim students from further south in the province join us. So we had Muslims and Hindus and Catholic, you know some of the Tamils had been successfully converted because of Catholic missions in Sri Lanka. They were, the school St. Michael's tells you something. There were still two or three maybe four foreigners who were Catholic priests but 30:00also missionaries, and during the nationalism in late '60s and early '70s, they stayed but the government sort of put a moratorium on any foreigner or any religious foreign figure showing up in a country. So they stayed and they were able to, the government let them stay.

WILSON: Dutch or--?

KIMBROUGH: They were Americans.

WILSON: Americans?

KIMBROUGH: These four guys were all Americans and I got to know them. They were really nice and really loved by the community. And they had done some fundraising and built a stadium, built a library, this sort of thing. So I'm sure that when they died though that was it. I wonder if there's any, I doubt there's any foreigners out there now.

WILSON: How big was the community?

KIMBROUGH: Well it's like I said these DELICs were in sort of the county seat, the largest town of a province. Hard to say, several thousand 31:00for sure.


KIMBROUGH: Our student body was up to about 70 or 80 by the time that first year was out, so we had one Buddhist student, we had about 20 or 30 Muslim students this first year, and about 50 or so Hindu-Tamil matter of Christians. So again a really diverse, interesting student body as well. Some of them were excellent, most were good, there were just a couple that were really going to have a hard time if they ever got a teaching job.

WILSON: And they were expected to then teach at the secondary level or primary level?

KIMBROUGH: Primary schools.

WILSON: Primary schools.

KIMBROUGH: And we had found from the graduates the year before that when they were sent to, sent to the village schools to teach that often times they were just asked to teach everything, which was kind of unfortunate but that's just the way it was, just a shortage of teachers. They taught English as well as math and reading and writing 32:00and that sort of thing.

WILSON: If you can sort of describe for me a typical day for you from when you got up from when you went to bed.

KIMBROUGH: Okay, when I would get up I would first thing I would do is step into the bath, the bathroom and shower down and shave. And when I came out and I was in my room, my landlady's niece that lived two doors away, this girl was about five to six years old, she'd usually be there at the door knocking, so I always had to be sure I had a towel on because she would just walk right in with a cup of coffee that my landlady would brew from beans that she would roast herself. And boy it was just a great day to, a great way to start the day. I would dress for work, you know no jeans, a nice pair of pants, button down 33:00shirt. Go into the dining room and have a breakfast of what was called hoppers, sort of a string hoppers or regular hoppers that looked like small pancakes. When I first got there I discovered that there was a little bread shop just a block away, so I would walk over to the bread shop and get a fresh loaf of bread and then bring it back and eat that, maybe just toast it lightly and bought some store bought jam, which my host family thought was just kind of gross. But I did, and I asked my landlady if she wouldn't mind frying or scrambling an egg every once in a while. I showed her how that was done, so every once in a while I'd get my you know quasi-American breakfast. But for the most part it was Tamil. Then I'd walk to, walk to my school. The school was two 34:00or three blocks away. We would have a large meeting with everybody and basically we'd get into our routine. We would teach our four classes and we'd be done by 1:30 or so. I'd walk home and Grandfather would be--He slept in the garage. There was a garage even though they didn't have a car; they built a little tiny house with a garage. That's where he slept and he had a little desk, and when I would get back he'd be there with his, he'd be wearing something like a t-shirt, you know a little tank top t-shirt and a sarong around his waist. And he'd see me coming and he'd say, "Andrew! How are you today?" Good, you know, how are you, how's things? "So, are you hungry?" Yeah, I'm starving. We both loved my landlady's cooking, so we couldn't wait to get in 35:00there and have some rice and curry. But he'd invariably he'd say, "So, what do you say we have a little?" When he said have a little what he meant was that we'd have a shot of arack, and arack is the local liquor that's brewed in Sri Lanka. Okay so I'm mistaken, so I'm going to back up. Toddy was fermented juice from the coconut flower which sort of had a beer-like you know ritzy, tangy sweet kind of taste to it. Arrack is the distilled juice of the coconut flower, and it's really horrible. It tastes like the worst scotch you could ever imagine. Oddly enough though, if it's the only thing you've got to drink, it starts to taste good after a while. You can actually tell a good arack from a bad arack. So we'd, he'd pull out a bottle, and it would have 36:00a twist off cap to it, but nonetheless he'd turn it over and smack the bottom of the bottle to force the cork. I don't think he even knew what he was doing. But he'd do that, he'd smack the bottom and twist off the cap and he'd pour out two shots and we'd sit and chat about the weather or what have you. He was a retired surveyor, and every once in a while when there was a land dispute, a property dispute he would be called to court to testify that his signature was actually indeed on the document, and he was very proud of that. So we would have our drink and then go in and have a meal together. I'm just getting a little emotional because he died the year after I left and I was really very fond of him.

WILSON: Oh that's nice to have that kind of connection with him.

KIMBROUGH: He was just, he was a lovely old man. Yeah, so that was 37:00lunchtime then we'd by then it'd be hot as dickens outside. Everybody would go take a nap. I'd go take a nap for about an hour or so, and after a great meal, little drink, I slept pretty good. And then I'd get up and I'd start on my lesson plan for the next day. You know I was just thrown into it. I didn't prepare for the semester, so all my lesson planning had to be done that afternoon or that evening. So basically that's what I would do. I'd do lesson plans, just turn the fan on and point it at me as I sat there at the desk. I don't think I had a typewriter so everything was written out by hand, you know the books and things that I could pull together. Late in the afternoon my landlady and her daughter and the house girl would watch Indian movies, you know Bollywood movies. There's a big song and dance spectacle, and they were all the same. The genre is all the same so I 38:00got to recognize Bollywood films you know really quickly. But that's what they'd do late in the afternoon with the heat after they got up from a nap. And then right before dinner for about an hour or so I would go out and try to meet people, meet neighbors, visit folks. We were encouraged to get involved in secondary activities, and so I met up with some guys who got UNICEF money to build wells, and they got I think from World Health Organization, I don't know who they were working with to set up inoculation clinics around the provinces. I teamed up with these guys. They had offices in city hall, you know it's a county seat for a province so there was a courthouse and they had offices there. One guy, the guy that headed it up Mohan was his name. And he had a wife and he had a daughter by the name of Sukuu, 39:00who was about a year old. And we worked together on these projects for that spring and summer overseeing the digging of wells and so forth. And Mohan had a fascinating story. He was afraid of the violence, and shortly after I left the country he and his wife somehow got visas to go visit friends in India, and then they boarded planes for the Netherlands. And when they were in the toilets, they burned their passports and flushed them down the toilets. And when they landed they applied for asylum and they were granted asylum.

WILSON: In India?

KIMBROUGH: No, in the Netherlands.

WILSON: The Netherlands, okay.

KIMBROUGH: And I just got an email from him a couple years ago. He's happy and gainfully employed in Australia. Sukuu is finishing 40:00medical school, just an amazing, amazing story. So anyway that's how I would spend the evenings. And then I'd go back and have a dinner of leftovers or more hoppers or something, and I'd be in bed fairly early because you know they were, everybody had--A lot of people had televisions. The Japanese had donated an entire television station and a couple of mobile units, but of course you know you have to buy your TVs from somewhere, so it was a pretty good investment from the Japanese. I thought that was pretty savvy of them. But they only had one channel in Sri Lanka, so nobody really watched it. But it was this business of the civil war that really hung over everybody's head. The people that lived right next door between us and my landlady's sister, this guy had one daughter who was about 16 or 17 years old, 41:00really lovely girl. I remember she came and asked me for coaching for speech contests and poetry recital contests at her high school and so I coached her and she won all the awards. I think she was the only one who had you know English language coaching. But what was typical was that eventually her father, and this happened from some of my other students and parents, he asked me over to the, to come in and sit down and have a chat with him. And he just looks at me and says, "You know Andrew, every day my daughter comes home from school and I just give thanks to god that she's alive. And is there anything that you can do to help us get her out of the country?" Well there wasn't anything I could do. You know I can write letters on their behalf but I can't 42:00apply for permanent residency for someone I'm not related to or you know some kind of Visa. But it was just this you know this desperate sort of thing. The civil war was not felt on a day to day basis, but I remember a few weeks after I arrived and then settled into my house and started teaching that a guy in the neighborhood came over and told me his story about he had been rounded up as a suspected separatist and beaten and he you know lifted his sleeves and bared his collar and he had scars. I heard several stories like that. My landlady had stories. I'm pretty sure that when I was teaching the Tamil Tigers 43:00came to the house and looked through my things. One of my students just asked me point blank, "Are you with the CIA?" You know that's just a silly, silly question but this is the thinking. One time, well several times if be, I'd be woken up at night because I'd hear bombs go off in the distance and then I'd hear later the next day that a police station in a smaller village was attacked. And a couple of nights you'd hear gunshots out at the edge of town. There's an army base just on the other side of--Badekoloa is an island in the middle of a lagoon and so there are bridges coming in one side and a bridge going south the other. And just on the other side of the south bridge there was an army base out on the beach. They had helicopters come in 44:00and out, and I understand that when young people were picked up they were held out there. I think I was there for, I got there in January, it might have been March or April or so when after I was teaching I went down to the bank to deposit my monthly allowance or pick it up, one or the other you know. And while I was in the bank I heard what sounded like a table being dropped upstairs, you know just a big table falling over--whack, boom. And everybody just kind of looked around and I didn't recognize the sound, but next thing I know one of the clerks just went over and closed the door of the bank. And there were you know about 10 or 15 of us inside. Just several hundred yards away on the edge of town, again it's an island you know a lagoon. A mine 45:00had been set and an army jeep was blown up, and a couple, I understand a couple of the soldiers were killed. I left, and as I was walking back to my house I heard gunshots, and it turns out that the soldiers, the Sinhalese soldiers had just picked up the first young boys they could find, a couple of teenagers and just shot them point blank on the roadside. It turns out that one of those boys was a cousin of one of my students. And it was just this sort of thing that happened every couple months that had the community terrorized by the Sinhalese army. It was bad enough that the Tigers were running around trying to blow 46:00up police installations but it was the retaliation by the Sinhalese army that had everybody on edge and terrorized everybody. And this is why Tamils wanted to leave. And this happened, it didn't happen every day, it just happened you know every month, every other month or so. In hindsight I had no business being there. I had no business being in Batticaloa. The Peace Corps should not have had us there. We should not, my friend Dave should not have been up in Trincomalee. I visited him and it felt as though Trincomalee was worse. But this is what an institution does. You know it expands itself, it maintains itself. It exists in order to serve itself, and I think that there was a certain self-serving aspect to having the Peace Corps everywhere and successful. Well not in this case. It was not, again in hindsight 47:00it was, I mean I was what 22, 23. I was creating deep emotional bonds with these people and you know once I had left, those bonds were broken. I rarely kept in touch with folks, but--

WILSON: Did you feel threatened yourself at any point? Was your security, did you feel in jeopardy then?

KIMBROUGH: I never did. I felt as though I was sort of had this like magic shield around me by virtue of me being some white American that you know I was basically employed by the Ministry of Education in Colombo and somehow that would give me special status. But I'm not so sure that that's really true. There was a bomb that went off north 48:00of town across the street from where one of our students, one of the Berger girls lived. She's not Tamil, and all of the offices workers were rounded up and brought down to the police station. Well a family member came to the house and told me about this, and so I went over to the police station and went inside and there she was you know sitting in a big room absolutely terrified that she was going to be arrested or sent out to a prison or tortured or something with about you know about 10 or 15 other girls. And I went to the police chief and we had met before. I introduced, reintroduced myself and said you know that's my student and you realize she's a Berger and I doubt she's got anything to do with what they called "the troubles." And, "Well you know Andrew, we don't know who terrorists are." She's like this 18 year old girl with 49:00a cherubic face sitting up, anyway they let her go about an hour later. But this you know this was just part of it. One night I was woken up with gunshots out on the street in front of the house. And I thought that is kind of silly you know because there was nobody fighting. I just felt as though there were these soldiers walking the streets and shooting their guns into the air; that's really what it felt like.

WILSON: Did you think that the Peace Corps staff was not aware of this, not concerned about your security or--?

KIMBROUGH: They were. I was asked. Every time I spoke, I forget his name our in country director at the time, he asked every once in a while about what was going on and did I feel safe and so forth. And oddly enough I did, but again in hindsight it just was naive and silly.

WILSON: Did you have a method of communicating quickly with the Peace 50:00Corps staff and so forth in case of an emergency or so forth?

KIMBROUGH: In Roger's house there was a phone and I could call over to Colombo anytime I wanted to. I remember when I was, when we had summer break for something I had to get on a train and go over to Colombo. I was at a party and there were some Marines at the party, and when they heard that I was in Batticaloa they you know kind of raised their eyebrows and this sort of thing and I said, "Well you know where that is." And he said, "We have plans to get all of you out of your towns if need be," the Marines did. That was comforting, I felt kind of like I felt pretty good about that. But while I remember this particular summer while I was, while Michael and I were in the capital for 51:00whatever reason we had to go over there I can't remember at the time. I think we left in May or something. Well there was a bigger spate of bombings and so forth out on the coast and so we were not permitted to go back. We missed something like a month of teaching. And so I remember instead of sitting on my thumbs, Michael and I volunteered to put together some teaching materials in town and come up with like a big DELIC textbook. And I also relieved a friend who was teaching down on the south coast. I went down and I taught his classes for about a week or two and then I went over to another guy's post town and taught for a couple of days, which is great. I got to see more of the country and this sort of thing. But I really wanted to get back to Batticaloa because I liked it. I missed it and I was really having some fun out there, but we just you know we just couldn't. So we were able to get back in the fall. My parents came over to visit that September. They came to see the Perahera but they also--


WILSON: This is '85?

KIMBROUGH: This is, yeah this is now we're in 1985. So they came out, we rented a car and drove around the country. And I finished teaching, the term finished in December but this is where you know this is my first year and this where it really got, really got tragic. There was the town of Batticaloa was really, really beautiful and it had some lovely aspects to it. One was a convent orphanage run, you know Catholic nuns who were Tamil ran this orphanage for girls and they had an embroidery business. I wouldn't call it a factory so much but they taught the girls embroidery. And so I have at home napkins and table runners, this sort of thing, with just lovely beautiful embroidered you know birds and flowers and that sort of thing on it. So I would go over and visit the convent and the orphanage and visit with the 53:00sisters and chat. And there was a boys orphanage that was run by Hindus south of town just over the bridge south. And I would get on my bike and go over there and visit and have lunch with the boys and play with them and there was a swami who, there was a swami who ran the orphanage and we would chat. And so you know in one year I felt as though I'd you know really kind of gotten around and met a lot of folks. Well exams were coming up. There was a standardized DELIC exam and we taught for the exam for the last couple of weeks. The students were excited, they were prepared. Students from our DELIC the year before got the best marks. I couldn't claim any, I couldn't claim credit for that but my faculty, my colleagues could. And from 54:00what I heard our students scored the best on this year's exams as well, we just weren't out there to share the results with them. A week before the exam the government had asked all of our students to come into the school on a Sunday, claiming that they didn't have anybody properly registered. I believe that this was the sort of just kind of discrimination that the Sinhalese had against the Tamils, that they just made things more difficult for them. You see where my allegiance is. I don't believe that the Sinhalese had been conducting their end of the civil strife as well as they could. So all of our students, they were asked to bring all of their personal materials with them to the school this Sunday afternoon. Well I spent the day visiting friends in the convent and the boys' orphanage south of town. And as 55:00I was riding my bike over the bridge south, the traffic was backed up. And this is Sri Lanka, this is a third world country, there's not a lot of traffic but there was you know like 10 or 15 cars backed up on the bridge and people very worried and afraid to move, turn around and go back this sort of thing. And when I got to the other side of the bridge I saw a jeep overturned, an army jeep overturned on the side of the road, I saw Sinhalese soldiers running from house to house looking through the houses, and there was a minivan. This was you know the public transportation was either through an organized city bus or you know guys would just get a big van and charge for passengers. A van 56:00was stopped and everybody was out and standing along and there were soldiers around them, and it was extremely tense. And I didn't stop, I wasn't going to stop and stick my nose in the business. But I got a good look around and then just continued down the street to the orphanage. When I got in there everybody you know the swami and the staff were like, "Wow, Andrew, what are you doing out? You know don't you know what happened?" No, what happened. Well" the boys," this is what they called the Tigers, the boys blew up that jeep and now the soldiers are rounding up guys. I didn't stick around, I pretty much got back on my bike and went home and had lunch. But as I was eating lunch one of my students came to the door and said, "Puni and Kugan," 57:00two of our older male students, both of them were married, one had kids, "have been arrested and were, they're being held at the army base and were afraid." So Michael and I got on our bikes and we went out to the army base and we went into see the commander in the base and we said, "These are our two students Puni and Coogan, and we have eye witness accounts that your soldiers have taken them from the minivan, the minivan that I saw." And he looked and said, "I don't know anything that you're talking about." He had a real look of fear on his face because I think he realized something was really wrong. You know he's got these two Americans from the department of education. Well what had happened was, the soldiers emptied this particular minivan and 58:00here were our two students dressed as best as they could be with all of their personal documents. And again this is what you do. You take the best of a community and you know of course that weakens the community. These two guys disappeared, so they were killed at some point that day and you know their bodies were never found. It really was depressing. The entire school was depressed and sad and they were looking at exams coming up. I went to visit the families and they were just in tears. We called Colombo and Jim, Jim was our director's name. Called Jim and asked him to do whatever he could do, you know talk to the ministry 59:00of education and just you know work channels and try to you know get to the bottom of this because these were two really good students who were part of a government program to produce teachers. Well he could do nothing. And with the disappearance of the two students with this particular bombing incident, that was it. Jim told us to pack our things and go to Colombo, so within a day we were on a train. We were not even there for the administration of the exams. So we were back in Colombo in time for you know the December break. I went to Thailand to visit my godfather and I was there for a month, and when I got back it was January.

WILSON: Of '86 now?

KIMBROUGH: Of '86 and Jim said, "How are you feeling?" And I said, "I'm 60:00feeling fine." He said, "Would you like to go up to the hills?" Kandy is not a town, "There's a Tamil town, Tamils cultivated tea up in the mountains, would you like to go there and teach for the next year?" And I said, "No," I said, "I want to go back to the United States. I can't stay in the country," and he said, "I understand." And he didn't try to argue or persuade me, so whereas I was really looking forward to two years in Sri Lanka, I was really disgusted and asked to leave early. But I told my colleagues, and again as I've said we started with 18 but I think by the time the first year was up we were probably down to 10 or 12. For me it was a point of pride to want to stay, but when I 61:00told my colleagues, when my colleagues had heard the stories, all of them were extremely sympathetic and said I wouldn't stay either. I was really hoping to because we'd have time to travel. I wanted to go over to India; I wanted to explore the region a little bit more. But because I was leaving early I just I had to get back on a plane to the United States and that was it, I was back by the end of January.

WILSON: So you came what then directly back?

KIMBROUGH: Yes, I came directly back. While I was in Colombo, Jim arranged for me and Michael to talk to I think the charge of the affairs with the embassy in Colombo, and he wanted our impressions of what was going on on the coast. I really didn't have much to say, I mean I had my stories. Michael really popped off at this guy. Michael 62:00had been in Badekoloa for two years and so his feelings were running a lot deeper than mine. But he told this guy, "Look you know it just seems to me that when the United States decides to back one side in a conflict, it's always the wrong side." I won't get into that but there was that effort on the part of them and the embassy to try to you know at least get our perspective on things out there. I saw the Peace Corps doctor, a lovely woman, I forget her name who you know gave me my exit exam and suggested I talk to a professional when I got back to the States, afraid that I might be traumatized in some way. I probably was. I never talked to anybody.


WILSON: So you came directly back, then what? And how did you find coming directly back to the US society?

KIMBROUGH: Well you know I joined the Peace Corps not really knowing what I wanted to do, but that wasn't necessarily altogether true. While I was in my senior year at Wake Forest a friend of mine, the guy that joined the Peace Corps and went to Yemen, Don Davis, a very close friend of mine at the time suggested I take an acting class with the theater department. And he said you know I remember him saying, "Hey it will be really easy, it's only two credits, and we can meet chicks." So that's what we did. I got involved with the fall show, Shakespeare's As You Like It, and I was cast in a one act in the spring, and it was 64:00all very rewarding and all very nice. And so I had this thing you know I was really bit by the bug. Right now I've got my PhD in theater and I teach theater at the University of Kentucky, but at the time I wasn't really thinking in terms of a career. I thought you know boy if you want to work in theater you're going to be a starving waiter in New York City, and that didn't appeal to me. So that was you know the big reason I joined the Peace Corps. But while we were there, while we were in Colombo and even sometimes out in Batticaloa we had a little cinema. We would go see movies. I'm trying to recall if we had, yeah there was video and but we never really used it. There was a theater in Colombo where they played English language films and we would go see them, my colleagues in the group, we would go. And I started thinking while I was there contemplating my next move, you know people don't go 65:00see theater. I was wrong about that. They really go see movies, which is true you know by the millions. And so when I got back I had pretty much made up my mind to try to start working in film. And I applied to some film schools, but I was told, "Look, just go to Los Angeles, work in the industry, and see if you like it." And so I did. With the money I saved you know from that Peace Corps allowance that they put in the bank for us, I bought a car and I had what little cash left I went out to Los Angeles. I didn't know anybody out there, but I ended up working for ten years in music videos and commercials and feature films, made a living doing lighting, took classes in screenwriting and acting and this sort of thing, and after ten years of that went back for my graduate degrees, an MFA in acting and then a PhD in theater.

WILSON: And you did that where?

KIMBROUGH: I did the MFA at Carnegie Melon University and they had an 66:00MFA program with the Moscow Art Theater School. I did that in '96 to '97 and then I started the PhD in '98 and finished that in 2002.

WILSON: At Carnegie?

KIMBROUGH: No at Louisiana State University down in Baton Rouge. So yeah I got back in January of '86, moved to Los Angeles. I think I arrived there in March and stayed there; I was there for ten years. I think I left in May of 1996, so yeah it was brief. I was in Sri Lanka for 14, 15 months and I'm just I just wish I would have loved to have spent the entire two year term there. Am I glad I was in Badekoloa? Very much. I remember despite the troubles there was a 67:00well known British actress, I forget her name, who was doing through the equivalent of the British State Department was doing a one woman show of characters from Jane Austen's novels. And she did it at the big town hall, and that was just lovely to see that. And in the same town hall there was a bharata natyam performance because there was a bharata natyam school in Badekoloa, and so these young girls who had been training for many, many years did their shows. And that was the first time I'd seen bharata natyam, which is an Indian dance form from Tamilnadu, which is you know most Tamils live in Tamilnadu, which is the southeast coast of India.

WILSON: Spell that for me, will you?




WILSON: No, Bade--


KIMBROUGH: Oh bharata natyam, B-H-A-R-A-T-A, the next word natyam, N-A-T-Y-A-M. I teach an Asian theater course now and we cover bharata natyam. So I was exposed to that while I was in Badekoloa. I was told that before I got there at night to beat the heat folks would get out and promenade around the water's edge. Again we were on an island in a lagoon and they promenade and hang out on the bridge and socialize and chat. I didn't see that when I was there but it was a lovely town, a great sense of culture. People who were educated who've been to Colombo for a college degree or over to Madras for a college degree. Just to the north of us there were two tourist beaches, Pasekuda and 69:00Kalkuda, of course they've gone completely belly up financially. But there's a couple big tourist hotels set on beaches, and there were coral reefs just at the edge of the bay. And so we would ride our bikes or get a friend with a car and we'd go up and go snorkeling, you know just get a mask and a snorkel and some fins and snorkel over the reef. It's just so beautiful and idyllic, tropical and lovely. With all of our students I think right at the summer when we got to that summer break we all got in a big truck, got in the back of a big truck and drove up to Pasa Couda and spent an afternoon swimming and goofing off and eating rice and curry, and came back at nightfall just really lovely, lovely time completely overshadowed by this civil strife, which 70:00is extremely tragic. But that's you know of course that's the unique side of my story, that you know I just I think like four of us, four or five of us had over there in Sri Lanka. I'd be curious to know how this has affected the future efforts. I know that there's been more English teaching, there's been some bee keeping and dam building and this sort of thing in Sri Lanka. I'm curious to know what it's been like you know security and so forth.

WILSON: So what do you think your impact was in that year on Sri Lanka or on students?

KIMBROUGH: Michael stayed on and did training with the next group of volunteers that came in. And he was able to keep tabs on our students 71:00from that year and supposedly the government was extremely slow in actually getting them jobs. I know that there were a handful that managed to get out of the country. You know there's a large Hindu enclave in Canada in Toronto, so I received postcards and letters from students that managed to get out of the country, go to India. I think they were looking, you know these students of course were looking for jobs. They were idealistic, they were hoping to help out and become teachers and help develop the country. But for our students in particular I think there was a sense that until the political problems end, it's just an uphill losing battle and I guess that there's a--I 72:00don't know what impact we've had. I remember and because we've had to pick these topics, we had to educate ourselves sometimes on okay you know if we're going to be talking about water conservation or sea life. You know we had to find resources and educate ourselves. And I remember one student saying to me, "Boy wow, Mr. Andrew, if we're going to be teachers we've got to know everything!" and in a sense that's true. I remember there was one extremely patriotic young fellow, and when I mean patriotic his sympathies were strongly on the side of Tamils and separatist movement. He memorized the Gettysburg Address and recited for us one time. So I don't know, I mean I really 73:00don't know. And my one regret is that I'm just really horrible with correspondence and I am not one to write letters and keep up with people. So I didn't keep up with many of these folks. My teacher Ragis wanted to keep in touch, and whereas I loved this woman, I just you know it's just in my personality I just couldn't muster the energy to sit down and write letters and envelopes and stamps and that sort of thing. And I deeply, deeply regret that now.

WILSON: What about the impact on you personally or your world view and so on?

KIMBROUGH: I think the impact has been absolutely tremendous. You know we're living in an age now, and particularly working at a university, any university you're going to hear the same story. Diversify and get a multicultural perspective on things. I remember applying for 74:00a teaching job and one of the questions I was asked was, "How do you think you'd be able to support our efforts with multiculturalism?" Boy, well okay how much time do you have? You know one of my degrees I earned overseas with the Peace Corps, my wife is from China. I mean yeah I might be some middle-class, middle aged white guy, but the Peace Corps I think puts us all, all of us returned Peace Corps volunteers, puts us all ahead of the curve in that respect that we just have the global multicultural perspective that I think makes us much more compassionate and understanding and aware of cross cultural differences and difficulties. I think it's made me a much more tolerant and understanding person. And even when it comes to these issues of 75:00political strife and you know separatist movements and terrorism and so forth, this experience has confirmed for me just how absolutely evil any form of terrorism. And that terrorism is not necessarily a bunch of yahoos picking up guns, but I'm talking about state sponsored terrorism as well, just an absolute evil the kind of greed and racism and hatred that goes with it. And it's not glamorous. I really want to emphasize that. You know the whole Hollywood fascination or the fascination in the press. It is not glamorous at all. And I guess 76:00the experience has confirmed for me that I never want to be involved in politics. And that if we are really going to make progress in the world, we can't rely on our politicians. But I do think the arts are extremely potent. Arts and education are two of our best tools available to us, and that's why I think I do what I do. I think that's one of the biggest impacts that the Peace Corps has had on me.

WILSON: What about impact in terms of your family, either your parents or that family or your current immediate family from your Peace Corps experience?


KIMBROUGH: Well I'm really kind of drawing a blank on that question. I think my parents would have been absolutely thrilled if I was one of these guys my senior year of college to put on a suit and go apply for the junior executive program somewhere, but they didn't really guide or push me in any particular direction. I just kind of found my way, and I think they are proud of what I did. I remember my mother saying something like well you spend a summer in a barrio in Brooklyn so you know anything you do around the world can't be as bad as that, I mean that's--So my parents have traveled; my two brothers have not, but that 78:00certainly hasn't colored any relationship I have with them. So you know for me that question I just kind of draw a blank. I don't think that that's--

WILSON: Have you had any international experience since or do you look forward to international experience?

KIMBROUGH: When I was working in the film business in Los Angeles, I worked on a film project in Mexico and Argentina. I went down to a friend's wedding in Venezuela. I did the MFA in theater over in Moscow, which was just tremendous. We spent four months over there; it was a tremendous experience. When I was doing my PhD I met my wife, she is from Shanghai. We, after we were married after I got my PhD we went to Guangzhou in the south of China and we taught, I taught theater and film, she taught English for a year. We go over to China every 79:00year to visit our family there. So you know this, the international thing has kind of always been with me and it started before I joined the Peace Corps. Of course the world is getting smaller and travel has been a lot easier. More and more people do it, but I don't know I'm sure the vast majority of Americans still don't have a passport, right? I'm guessing. So I see the Peace Corps is just like being one step along the way. I think after the Peace Corps experience being, spending so much time you know like 15, well it was 15 months straight. I think it made me bicultural. I don't think anybody is ever really purely bicultural, you really have to live in a culture for a long, long, long, long, long time and speak the language to really understand why people do what they do within their culture. You know left hand 80:00taboo and all that sort of thing is kind of easy to pick up on, but it's the deeper things like watching my students argue in a debate the relative merits between arranged marriages and love marriages. And the ones who argued for a love marriage, when it came time for them to be arranged in a marriage, the culture kicked in and you can see it just the absolute wonder and thrill and marvel at meeting their husband on their wedding day. I mean that's just totally foreign to us, and it was foreign to them until it happened. This kind of deep culture that I don't think we can understand unless we live in it. Nonetheless to be able to recognize that it's operating, I think that that sense of biculturalism is just so invaluable, and I think the Peace Corps gave me that.

WILSON: What would you say the sort of overall impact has been over the 81:00years and where do you think Peace Corps should go now?

KIMBROUGH: I really have no idea. I have no idea what the Peace Corps has been doing since I got back. I think you know part of this is my own trauma. When I got back I really didn't want to, I didn't want to think about it. I came back, I wrote a couple letters to my Congressman, and that was it. I mean that was probably my therapy. You know I just moved to Los Angeles and started working in the film business, and I don't know. I know one of our returned volunteers got involved in a Peace Corps office maybe in Seattle. Maybe she was doing recruiting, maybe she was working in D.C. I don't know, but I can't answer that question; I really don't know. Do I think it's a valuable program? Yes. I just read for example that our presidential candidates 82:00spent $600 million to get elected, and the annual budget for the NEA [Editor's note: National Endowment for the Arts] is $114 million. And we still have people in this country that would like to do away with the NEA altogether. When you put it in perspective like that, it's absolutely insane. You know the arts are the lifeblood of a culture. The sense that our culture can send people out with skills and to work on a real personal level in communities, to me that's just a no brainer. You've just got to do it. What's the annual budget for the Peace Corps today? Do you know?


WILSON: About 300.

KIMBROUGH: $300 million? $300 million! And we had a handful of well I'll put it nicely, we had a handful of politicians running for office and they spent $600 million, and only one of them got elected. I mean it's just to me it's insane. We have problems that are running really, really deep in this country, and it just seems to me that Peace Corps, yeah it's a good idea.

WILSON: Well that's sort of generally the major questions that I have. But are there any other stories or thoughts that, any questions I haven't asked you that you'd like to answer?

KIMBROUGH: Well I guess as I'm sitting here reflecting on it, I felt at 84:00the time and I still feel today really, really honored to have been a part of that DELIC program. I felt as though I met really wonderful, quality people and it really, I really benefitted a great deal. And I can only hope and pray that my students benefitted as well. That's one of the interesting things about putting yourself in a service position is that supposedly you're the one who's going out and being beneficent. But I think it's the people who serve are the people that get the most out of the experience, more than the people who are served. I definitely feel that way that it was an experience that I would not trade for anything. It really was just marvelous. Here's the thing. 85:00I had a conversation with, and Wake Forest is a small school. You get to know everybody and I remember having a conversation with our chaplain, and probably about this issue of you know look I really don't know what I want to do when I get out of here. And he said, "You know what we ought to do with all of our students is give them a year like after high school before college something where you know they just take that foreign tour, go off, you know go do something service oriented just something. Just get them out and living as opposed to going through 12 years of public school and then four years of college and then boom out into your career. You know just go out and live and do something." And I feel as though what I learned in the 15 months with the Peace Corps far exceeded whatever I learned in four years at university. I mean it was that, that enriching, just that huge of a 86:00maturing, life altering really fantastic experience. And it's always, it's always great conversation.

WILSON: Do you ever, do you encourage your current students to ever think about the Peace Corps?

KIMBROUGH: I don't think I've ever really mentioned it, but I certainly tell anybody that if they have the opportunity they can do it at any point in their life. The thing about, I think when it comes up in conversation with my students is that I look at them and I see me when I was graduating from college with an English major and a Spanish minor and I had no practical skills. And that really has been the emphasis of the Peace Corps is you know can you do something that you can share with other people. And I guess producing theater, I don't know. I mean next time Sri Lanka wants to come up with its own Broadway musical maybe we've got the group for them. So no, in our program at UK we 87:00are trying to instill a sense of service in our students that it's not all about them being in a spotlight, but that they are, they have the potential to serve a community at large. So if I don't mention the Peace Corps by name, it's the idea and the spirit of it is--

WILSON: Okay a final thing so we have them on tape, can you spell for me so we can get it transcribed correctly? DELIC and the spelling of the drink.



KIMBROUGH: Okay, DELIC is an acronym D-E-L-I-C, and I will have to go back and see if I still don't have the little annual yearbook that we put together you know with their essays and you know their 88:00English writing and so forth. I really don't know what those letters stand for. Arrack I think is spelled A-R-A-C-K I'm pretty sure it is distilled juice of the coconut flower. And then they just called toddy, T-O-D-D-Y, the fermented coconut flower juice, really just so interesting, really wonderful. Okay.

WILSON: Okay, Andrew thank you.


[End of interview.]

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