WILSON: Peace Corps Oral History Project interview on November 8, 2005.Interviewer, Jack Wilson. Audrey, if you would, please, just start by giving me your full name and where and when you were born, and a couple of things like that.
HORRALL: Okay. My name is Audrey Dale Horrall. I was born inLouisville, Kentucky, April 11, 1977. And I lived there and went to all my grade school there, throughout high school.
WILSON: Family? You have brothers, sisters?
HORRALL: I have a sister who lives here in Lexington. And there werejust two of us. My family has always lived in Kentucky. We do have 00:01:00a lot of Horralls that live in Indiana. But my grandparents, both of my parents, are from Kentucky. And that's where most everybody in my immediate family lives now.
WILSON: From the Louisville area for a long time.
HORRALL: Yeah. Louisville and Lexington, yeah.
WILSON: And Lexington. Okay. So you went to grade school and highschool there. And graduated from?
HORRALL: I graduated from Dupont Manual High School in '95. And alsowent to the Youth Performing Arts School as a part of my high school. The two high schools are linked. The academic part from Manual, and the performing arts part, just a basic, singing and acting and things. I was a backstage technician for that. I was learning how to make the 00:02:00sets and the costumes and everything.
WILSON: Okay. And when you graduated. Then what?
HORRALL: I knew I wanted to go to UK for college. I didn't know whatexactly I wanted to major in, so I basically picked something out of the bulletin on orientation day. And I don't know why I chose engineering, which was a pretty, I didn't know that much about it, or that much about myself. So a year into it, I decided that it wasn't for me. And a couple of friends of mine, who were in a program called agricultural biotechnology kind of turned me on to that. Because it was a lot of biology and chemistry and not so much calculus and physics. So I kind of made a shift in the biology direction, and really enjoyed that. And 00:03:00that kind of became my focus. Not necessarily for a career, because I still didn't know what I wanted to do with it. I just knew that I liked the sciences, and that's where I wanted to pursue.
WILSON: So you spent four years here? Or more?
HORRALL: Five years.
WILSON: Five years, because of the--
HORRALL: Five years. I had, well, I did transfer, a lot of the creditswere still transferable as far as what I needed, were similar. But I ended up taking five years to finish all the coursework.
WILSON: So you graduated from UK in--
WILSON: 2000. Okay. And where did you pick up the idea about PeaceCorps?
HORRALL: My memory of it is when I was around seventh or eighth grade,I actually saw a television commercial for the Peace Corps. You don't 00:04:00see too many television commercials anymore. But it piqued my interest because it was traveling to exotic places which, when I was younger, that always fascinated me. And I always fantasized about going to different countries and continents and seeing all these different places that you read about and see on television. I wanted to really go there. And the idea of living in this country and helping people that were there and having this whole experience, I don't think the whole, everything really sunk into me at that time. But it never really went away. So when I started college, I still really felt like the next step after college would be the Peace Corps, and that was my plan pretty much going into it. And not really, you know, that I'm going to go to college and pursue a career. But I thought well, I'll finish college and go to the Peace Corps for two years. 00:05:00
WILSON: Had your family traveled?
HORRALL: Not all that much. Well, my father was a Vietnam vet. Helikes to say, "I've been to Southeast Asia. That's the extent of my worldly travels." And actually my grandparents on my mother's side, my grandfather was a Methodist minister and he took, he would lead tours of the holy land in Israel, before it got really too dangerous to travel there. It was several years ago, ten years ago or so. And he would go fairly often. And sometimes he took my parents, but I was too young. Or he took my mother and her two sisters. So I never really went on any of those trips with them. But they always, fascinated by the stories and everything, the things that he would bring back for 00:06:00me. There's definitely some family members that got to travel quite a bit in Europe, too. When I was in high school and I was taking French classes, I went on a trip to France with my class. And that was a lot of fun. And I had been writing a girl since middle school, a pen pal that we got through school. And I had been writing her for several years. And so, and she lived in the south of France. So I extended that class trip and went to visit my pen pal. And that was kind of like my first on my own in another country, trying to find my way. And I kind of built up my confidence a lot about going into strange places. I was really excited to do that, and I wasn't really worried about, of 00:07:00course, my parents were. But I always just really felt like anywhere I went, I could get around.
WILSON: So you were a, what did you say?
HORRALL: I was a junior in high school.
WILSON: Junior in high school.
HORRALL: And I got to go back to Europe in college for an internshipin agriculture. The College of Agriculture has an exchange program with the University of Burgundy in Dijon. And so I went back again to France for an internship in one of their cellular biology labs. And that was about a five-week thing. It wasn't a very long internship. But I also spent a couple of weeks after that was over traveling around on a Eurail Pass to see different parts of Europe. 00:08:00
WILSON: So your French was pretty good by then?
HORRALL: It was not fluent. It was functional. (laughs) I definitely,by the end of that time, was much better than I'd ever been. And now I've lost a bit of it, even though I can think of all the vocabulary words. But comprehension-- At that point in time, I was actually getting fairly decent at it. But not anymore. But yeah, my whole internship experience was in French. And so I didn't speak English with my boss or my coworkers. And so it was challenging. And I certainly learned a lot. And I hope I didn't set their program back too much from my learning mistakes. But it was definitely a lot of fun. And it was good laboratory experience.
WILSON: Okay. Let's do a quick sound check here.00:09:00
[Pause in recording.]
WILSON: Okay, Audrey. I think you were describing buying furniture andsettling into your house.
HORRALL: Yeah. So the Peace Corps, the PCVL that lived at the housewho had a vehicle was the one that posted us. And we also had help from the Department of Fisheries. They were also commissioned to drive us out to our site. And so they basically drove us up, helped us unload, and took off. So you're standing on the porch of your house. And I actually had lots of neighbors. I was kind of in the middle of a village community. And the neighbor to my headman of the village and also one of the fish farmers that had started under the previous volunteer. So they welcomed me and had me for dinner, and helped me 00:10:00to unload some of my stuff as well, and get settled into my house. It was actually almost dark when I arrived at my place. So by the time I'd gotten everything squared away and talked to everybody, it was kind of dark. So I went ahead and curled up and went to sleep with all my stuff like laying around. You know, I hadn't really arranged anything or put anything away. So it was definitely a strange feeling. I was very nervous about it. But my neighbors were very nice. And the kids were all, of course, incredibly curious. And they would line up outside and not really, well, they tried to talk to me a little bit. 00:11:00But mostly they just kind of kept distance. Was checking me out for a while before they got comfortable enough to come up and hang out.
WILSON: So what was your house like?
HORRALL: My house was, it had two rooms. It was a mud brick, thatchedroof house. And the previous, the same one the previous volunteer lived in, and she had concrete poured on the floor. So it wasn't a dirt floor, it was a concrete floor. And so it had a concrete porch with a thatched roof over that. And that's where I did my cooking and general lounging around was on that porch. And so the two rooms I had one in the bedroom and the other was just all my books and things like that. It was actually a big house for one person. And I was 00:12:00totally comfortable in it. And once I got everything arranged the way I wanted it to, which took a while, it was actually a pretty cozy little place. I definitely liked it a lot. And I had plenty of room. The roof leaked a little bit. So about a year through my service, I commissioned some people to re-thatch it. But other than that, it was a very cozy little place.
WILSON: So did you cook for yourself?
HORRALL: I cooked for myself. Sometimes my neighbors would cook forme. I had, one of my neighbors I hired to help me do things like with the laundry and to help me draw water and things like that. And she 00:13:00would cook for me sometimes because I could never, the food staple that they have there is called nshima. And it's cornmeal, which is boiled, and you add more and more until it's pretty thick, Play-Doh like consistency. And if you're good at it, then it's a completely even textured thing. And I was not good at it, and my nshima was terrible, lumpy and I just never got the hang of it. So when I wanted to eat nshima, I'd have someone in my village make it for me. Because I just couldn't get it down.
WILSON: So did you, you cooked for yourself more Western food?
HORRALL: When I cooked for myself, I would get rice and there was alittle corner, I lived on an intersection. There's actually a main road that goes out of Solwezi, which was the provincial capital, 00:14:00and goes up to the more further west, deeper into the northwestern province. And so one road went up to a place called Mwinilunga, and another road went to, I forget the, all the way to the western province. So I lived on the intersection of the road that went north and the road that went west. And so it was actually a pretty main thoroughfare. And there were little markets on the corner. And they would sell greens and tomatoes and buns and sometimes boiled eggs and whatever people were growing, they'd bring down. So on that intersection where lots of transport were going back and forth. So 00:15:00I would go up there and see what kind of veggies were around. And in Solwezi there was a Shoprite, which was a South African grocery store chain. And you could get pretty much any kind of modern grocery store thing there. And so I would buy myself oatmeal and some more comfort food type stuff to have there, peanut butter and things like that. But mostly I ate either rice or nshema with some kind of vegetable. I used a lot of tomatoes. And I got spices in town, so I would make chili. I ate a lot of beans, too. Beans were another staple there. Sometimes I'd make myself beans and rice. One thing that I never, I wasn't used to, was there's really no spices used in Zambian cooking. Salt and 00:16:00cooking oil. Maybe some paprika. And so I would crave some sort of a strong flavor. So I would get chili powder and different spices and just really overdo it. But yeah, mostly I, and I also learned, I actually credit the Peace Corps with helping me learn how to really cook. Because I never, I was used to packaged things. I thought I was cooking, but I was really just heating stuff up. I learned how to make things like pancakes from scratch. Fritters were a big treat over there. There were women that sold little fried dough balls, and I learned how to make those. I learned how to make brownies from scratch 00:17:00and cook them in a frying pan over a, I had a, they called imbobula, just a little brazier. And I had wood charcoal that I bought, and which is the main fuel source for people. Either that or just scavenged firewood. So I had a couple of those. And I could cook up almost anything, really. We had a cookbook that was published by some earlier Peace Corps volunteers that has all these really neat recipes for cooking some pretty complicated things very simply.
WILSON: Using locally available materials.
HORRALL: Mm hmm. Yeah. So there was a mixture of in town, and I lived,00:18:00I was the volunteer that lived closest to town. A lot more things were available. Of course you go through your living allowance faster that way. (laughs)
WILSON: So tell me something about the job. What did you actually do?
HORRALL: Okay. My job was to help farmers build and maintain thesesmall scale fish ponds for, initially the main goal was to try and bring some additional income to these families, because fresh fish was a pretty, was in demand. In town and in the village, there was a demand for fresh fish. Especially in my area, because there was no, there was a river which didn't really yield a pretty constant supply. 00:19:00There were no main bodies of water nearby, so most of the fish was dried fish. And people much preferred fresh fish, but there just wasn't a lot of it available. So these fish ponds could be a way for farmers to make a pretty significant supplemental income because of the price that you could get in town. And selling to teachers and people that made a salary that would buy large quantities of fresh fish. And also for them to eat themselves as a good source of protein. So some farmers went to one extreme or the other as far as, some people wanted strictly to make as much money as they could. And other farmers would just rather eat the fish and not worry about having a big deal to 00:20:00making a big profit, which either way, there was some benefit coming from that. So our goal was to try to help these farmers maintain these ponds as a way to have that extra bit of nutrition or extra bit of income. Because subsistence farming, the main crop that farmers were growing was maize. And it was really, you can't make money off of it hardly. It's a staple, but the way that, the scale that these farmers were growing, it was just really, really difficult for them to make any money that way. And any other kind of vegetables that they were growing wasn't, it was just a really, really tough way to make a living. And so the fish ponds were there to help ameliorate the most hardships. 00:21:00
WILSON: So you helped them starting from the construction?
HORRALL: Mm hmm. There was a specific design for these ponds that wasdeveloped for a specific kind of fish. We were growing tilapia. And this was a fish that reached maturity at six months. So you could harvest two cycles per year. And these ponds were designed to be drained completely at harvest. And at the end of six months, the fish would have reproduced. And so you've got old, mature fish that have grown about as big as they're going to get, and you've got a bunch of little fingerlings. And so you harvest all the big fish, and you harvest all the fingerlings. And you keep a couple hundred of the fingerlings to restock your pond back with for your next cycle. And 00:22:00so after a farmer initially bought his fish, they could keep going with that stock and trade maybe with their neighbors to keep the inbreeding, any kind of problems that would result from that, so farmers would trade half their fingerlings with another farmer. We encouraged the farmers to, we had regular meetings of all the fish farmers so that they could share their stories and help each other and kind of promote, so it was, some places caught on really, really well. I had about fifteen established farmers. And I went into another area where the other volunteer hadn't gone to yet, and started about ten more. These 00:23:00ponds weren't completed by the time I left. It takes about anywhere from six months to a year to build these ponds. So it's a lot of work. Because it's all done by hand. It was a very difficult thing to do. So I wanted to make sure that, and I knew this was a successful program and that people were doing well. But it was definitely worrisome for me to ask these farmers, tell them how to do this. And it was such incredibly hard work, and it took time out from other things that they could be doing. And I really wanted it to work out for them. Because otherwise I would just feel really terrible because they did all that work. So the main, in taking care of these fish 00:24:00for the six months, to get them to grow to maximum size and be a good yield, make a good profit, or to provide a decent meal, they needed to be fed every day. Some leaves, chopped up leaves, or termites. There were termite mounds everywhere, so you just like pluck one off the ground and smash it into pieces and throw them in there, and the fish would go crazy with the termites. And so you had to feed them. And these fish are also plankton feeders. So another component of the management was to maintain these compost fences inside the pond where you would put all different kinds of green manure and maybe animal manure, and anything to get this plankton bloom going. Because a large 00:25:00part of the tilapia's diet is eating this plankton in the water. So the goal was to have the water green, and a green algae bloom. That worked really well for this type of fish. They were very hardy and tolerant of this actually stagnant condition which, you know, if you're talking about any other waterway, it would be bad. But for these fish, they just gorge themselves on this plankton and get pretty big. So that was one of the hardest aspects, actually, because maintaining an algae bloom in a pond actually it takes a lot of work to scavenge for the green leaf material, or to just get enough of that in there to maintain a bloom throughout the year is pretty tough. So that was the 00:26:00one thing that I had the most, it was the most difficult for farmers to do was to, and one of the things that we tried to get the whole family involved. You know, this was a really good job for kids that otherwise maybe a lot of them that had work to do through some part of the day, or maybe the younger ones, you could send them out with a sack and just collect a bunch of green leaves. Just get the whole family involved in maintaining the pond to make it easier to do.
WILSON: So you worked with different farmers each day? Or with groups ofthem? How did that work?
HORRALL: I would try to visit every farmer once a week. And, which was00:27:00not difficult for me because, well, all of my farmers were in about a twenty kilometer radius. So some of them were kind of out there, but some of them were nearby. And so sometimes I could visit two or three in a day. But eventually as I got more new farmers, it was once every two weeks I would visit farmers. And I would go out with, depending on if it was an established farmer or a new farmer. If it was a new farmer, sometimes I would help them dig for a while. And if I noticed any problems early on, like they weren't compacting well enough or just trying to keep on track with the specifications of the pond, and make sure that it was being built right. Because otherwise, if it leaked 00:28:00or had any of these problems, then it wouldn't be a profitable system. And so I wanted to make sure that structurally everybody was on the right track. And established farmers who already had ponds, I would try to have meetings with the farmers and their families and address any issues about the next step as far as how, if they wanted to expand or if they needed to, if they were having any problems, you know, how to address those. And I would have workshops on composting and the different types of things that you could feed your fish. And just to stop by and see how it was going. And I always tried to participate in all the harvests that happened, and help them to sell their fish, 00:29:00sometimes just going door to door to different villages, or to the teaching communities, and try to help these farmers.
WILSON: What would the yield be?
HORRALL: A great yield would be forty kilograms. But it didn't happentoo often. A lot of times what would happen is either the farmer would fish from their pond to eat, which would reduce their yield.
WILSON: Through the whole six months.
HORRALL: Mm hmm. And sometimes that was a problem. And predationwas a problem. So birds, they had fish hawks and monitor lizards and things that would prey on the fish. And also thieves would come, especially if the ponds were further away. One of the things that our 00:30:00APCD [Associate Peace Corps Director], who was a really, really great, dynamic guy, he was really into the fish thing, that he, he tried to impose on us to be very strict about which farmers we worked with as far as who was suitable to have a fish pond. Because some people, they may be really, really motivated to do it, but they don't have the right landscape for it. Or the land that they want to use is several kilometers away from where they live. And this was the kind of thing where if you're not daily involved with it, it's not going to be a profitable system. The work that you have to put into it wouldn't be worth it. And so, but then you find it really difficult to say not to people. You know, when you actually get in that situation and someone wants a fish pond really, really bad, and they really want you to come 00:31:00work with them. And so that was a problem with a lot of volunteers. But I know I had some farmers whose ponds were too far away for them to manage properly. And so, but they were still very into it and really expressed how much they got out of it, and it wasn't a waste of their time. So I went ahead and worked with them even though it wasn't an ideal situation. They weren't getting as much out of it as they could. So yields would vary. And there were definitely some people that would just rather eat fish out of their ponds and it did not bother them not getting a big yield.
WILSON: Was being a woman in that role as a sort of agricultural advisor00:32:00an issue?
HORRALL: Well, for me, not so much, because the volunteer I replacedwas also a woman. So that was, and also, I think their perception that as, being from the West, from America, that it was different. I never received any kind of outright, "You can't do this, you're a woman," like that. That was never an issue. Some of the new volunteers might have had more issues with that. But like I said, there were twenty out of twenty-six of us were women. (laughs) So, and I think the majority of volunteers are women these days anyway. So it was something that 00:33:00you definitely had to be sensitive to because you really wanted the participation of the whole family and the whole village. And if there was a perception that you're just going off with this farmer guy, you know, you really wanted to include everyone, and especially the wives of the farmers, and be really sensitive to any kind of perception that people might have with any behavior that I might think of as perfectly normal but would be seen through a different perspective from someone who really had no idea who I was and what I was here for.
WILSON: So what did you do for recreation?
HORRALL: In my village, there was a place called Mutunda Falls, which00:34:00was a beautiful, near the Mutunda River, like about two minutes down the street from it. And you could go swimming there, you could lounge around on the rocks and read a book. It was just a beautiful little place. And there was a guesthouse there as well where sometimes they had cold drinks if the electricity was on. So I was really lucky to live near that little place. That was just a beautiful place to go and relax. I would take walks all around, follow paths and try to learn my way around a little bit. Getting lost was pretty common in the first several months. And just take bike rides.
WILSON: So you had a bicycle for transportation.
HORRALL: Yes. And that was another thing in our training was we learned00:35:00how to take care of our bicycles. They were fairly, they were Trek 4000, really nice bikes. And so we learned about how to take care of all the parts and keep it working smoothly. I also had a shortwave radio. And I got into that, there were a lot of programs that I listened to regularly. The news and also some BBC productions. They would read books or have different topic discussions. So I was never more informed than when I was in the Peace Corps, because I listened to the news every day. Every morning and every evening. And so that was something that I miss now, actually. You can get some things on the shortwave, but they just don't broadcast here like they do. And so 00:36:00I really enjoyed my shortwave. And I would hang out with my neighbors around the, they had a fire every evening. And just to sit around and talk before everybody went to bed. And I would hang out over there sometimes. There was definitely a lot of time, once I had visited my farmers during the day and I would come back sometime in the afternoon and pretty much have the rest of the time to myself. And there were days that I didn't have anything to do at all. (laughs) I read a lot of books and a lot of magazines. Wrote letters.
WILSON: Did you travel while you were there? Either in country orelsewhere? 00:37:00
HORRALL: Yes. We had, we were allowed so many vacation days. And I,whenever we would get together, either for provincial meetings or--
WILSON: Provincial meetings of Peace Corps volunteers, or--
HORRALL: Yes. All of the volunteers of Northwestern Province, everythree months we would meet in town in Solwezi at the Peace Corps house. And over the weekend have meetings about progress and general information and things that were coming through the Peace Corps and stuff we needed to know. And then we would just have a lot of fun with thirty-some odd Peace Corps volunteers in town for the weekend. It would get a little, you know, we'd have parties and we'd go out to the bars in town and have a lot of fun. And we would plan our vacations 00:38:00with other Peace Corps volunteers. So the first vacation I went on was to Malawi, Lake Malawi. And the whole experience of taking public transportation, it takes several days to get where you're going, and several days to get back. That was always fun, with a group of people, anyway. By the end of it I was very, very used to the long, long transportation episodes. Lake Malawi, and we went to Namibia and to Zanzibar. Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar in Tanzania. And they were all very incredible vacations. I had a lot of fun. And all very different 00:39:00from Zambia. So I got a much wider appreciation of sub-Saharan Africa and the different cultures and landscapes. Before I left to go home, I went on another trip, a canoe trip down the Zambezi. Camping and canoeing. That was amazing. Elephants and hippopotamuses. Crocodiles and all this wildlife. It cuts through a national park on both the Zimbabwe and the Zambian side. So it was a really, really--
WILSON: Was this kind of a guided tour?
HORRALL: Yes. It was a guided tour. Three days of canoeing and twonights of camping. And we ended up at a lodge for the third night before we headed back. And Victoria Falls and Livingstone, that was 00:40:00on our way to Namibia, too. I got to see that a couple of times, actually. It was really a lot of fun. I definitely got to do some traveling. And had a lot of good vacation experiences.
WILSON: Were most of your interactions with host country nationals orwith other expatriates or Peace Corps?
HORRALL: I had a counterpart that I worked with from the Departmentof Fisheries. And he was my, he worked in the Solwezi district. How we worked together was sometimes he would have access to vehicles, or 00:41:00he could help to arrange workshops or things in town. And so the way the schedules and his fuel and everything like that, he didn't get out to the village very much to see my farmers except for a few times a year. But we would have field days and things where he would come and help organize those. We all had a counterpart like that from the Department of Fisheries. And there were some other agencies in town that we worked with or that were just interested in what we were doing and wanting to help out. There was an office of, they're kind of like a state representative for their province in the government who helped 00:42:00me on a couple of things with field days and organizing workshops in town. Sometimes we would have these farmer to farmer workshops where we would take all, for instance my farmers in my area and bring them to another volunteer's area. And those farmers from the different areas could share their experiences and learn from each other and see what everyone else was doing in their province, which they were always really interested to see what other farmers were doing with their fish farms. And it was a really good learning experience for some of the farmers to see more advanced fish farming that in some areas where it had really picked up, farmers were forming cooperatives and working 00:43:00together to really market their fish, and were being very successful at it. So we always wanted to take all farmers, the good examples, to say these farmers are doing really well, and you can also attain this level of fish farming by learning techniques from other farmers.
WILSON: So you were there for two years. You went in in 2000.
HORRALL: Two years, yeah.
WILSON: Returned in 2002. Was there a termination conference? Did youtravel afterwards?
HORRALL: Let's see. We had a weeklong conference just for our group00:44:00that was all about ending our service, and how to go about wrapping up projects that we had started, or preparing our farmers for when we were going to be leaving and what they would do after we left, and making sure that things that we had started would continue to go on after we left. And not to start any new projects or to do things that wouldn't be carried on after we were out of the village. And also to prepare us for coming home and some of the things that we might experience and just a general getting us prepared for leaving. And so that was about 00:45:00three months before the end of our service. And it was also kind of an opportunity for us to all be together one last time, at least for a length of time. We would all be together at our close of service. And our APCD threw a big party for us at his house in Lusaka which was a lot of fun. We had become close with the volunteers that were there before us as well as the volunteers that came. We were staggered so that, when we came in, we also were with the volunteers that had already been there a year. Then they left in the middle of our service, and the new ones came. So we knew the new people and the old people. And every now and then we all kind of blended together. So 00:46:00our going away party also coincided with the new group's medical thing. They had a medical check up every year. So they actually got to come to our farewell party, so it was a great big party. And after that, I did my canoe trip with one of my friends in the Peace Corps. And we planned to do this canoe trip down the Zambezi, and spend some time in Livingstone. And it was a lot of fun. I was excited to be going home. I hadn't seen my family. Of course, we called them whenever I was in town. And they were really good about writing and sending me packages. My friends weren't so good at sending me packages and writing. 00:47:00
WILSON: So you could have phone contact. Were you on email?
HORRALL: Sometimes. Most of the time, there was a phone and a computerat the house in Solwezi. And so email was one option, although for several months the internet was kind of on the fritz. So that was kind of hit and miss. But telephones, we could make phone calls. What I would usually do was call them and have them call me back so I wouldn't have to pay the phone bill in Solwezi. So about once a month I talked to my parents.
WILSON: Did you, what kind of contact did you have with the Peace Corpsstaff? I mean, did you have phone contact with them? Or how did--
HORRALL: If we needed something, we could call them. We didn't have00:48:00regular phone. For our--
WILSON: There wasn't a phone in your village.
HORRALL: No. There was a mission, evangelical mission that I don'tthink, I think they used to have a phone. And then there was another agricultural research station down the way that had a phone. But usually if I needed to use the telephone, I'd go to Solwezi.
WILSON: And that was how far?
HORRALL: About thirty kilometers, thirty-five kilometers.
WILSON: Which would take you how long?
HORRALL: By bike it took me about, a little under three hours. And I'mnot a fast bicyclist, by any means.
WILSON: But that was your means of transport.
HORRALL: Sometimes I caught a ride. There were buses that went, if00:49:00you got, and also you could hitchhike in vehicles. That was a pretty common mode of transportation for a lot of people. But I usually biked in. Sometimes I would take a minibus or something.
WILSON: So what was it like coming home?
HORRALL: I was very excited. Sad and excited. I was sad because I knewit would very well be a long time before I ever got back to Zambia. And it's something that I still would like to do at some point in the future, is go back to Africa. In any capacity, whether it's work related or just someday I have extra money laying around, go visit Zambia. I knew that I wanted to come back, but it would probably be a 00:50:00long time. And so it's always sad to leave. You know, after two years you lived there, you feel like it's your home, almost, or at least somewhere that you spent enough time in to feel like you're really lived in a place. To be leaving it permanently was really sad. But on the other hand, I had missed my friends and my family and was really excited to come back to that. So after my canoeing vacation, my Peace Corps friend that I had gone on the canoe trip with, we flew together for a little while and then we split. She was going to Texas, and I was coming back to Kentucky. And it was a really long flight. I took 00:51:00the cash in lieu option so I could get a cheaper plane ticket. And I ended up going on the milk run and the egg run. (laughs) All kinds of stuff. So about nineteen hours later, I was back home. And my parents were there waiting for me. It was about midnight.
WILSON: This is in Louisville.
HORRALL: I actually flew into Lexington.
WILSON: Oh, okay.
HORRALL: Flew into Lexington and there was a little reception party forme at my sister's. So my aunt and uncle was there. Aunts and uncles and a few other family members. They were all really excited to see me, and I was still pretty overwhelmed and jetlagged and happy to be home. It was really strange to me how people sounded. And just to 00:52:00see white people everywhere was kind of odd. I was used to being, after two years in Africa, you're definitely the only white person in your village and you get, it's weird at first, then you get used to it, and then you go home. Gosh, there's white people everywhere! And I just remember my parents and my family, I was never really aware of the, having a very overtly hillbilly accent. But after trying to speak English very clearly and deliberately, they just sounded like they had such heavy Southern accents, I was amazed. It was really, really strange for a long time. And they thought I sounded weird, because I had kind of lost my accent a little bit. My gosh! I didn't realize that you guys sounded like this! (laughs) Even talking to them on the phone, 00:53:00I didn't really get a sense of how strange it would be to hear people talking English all the time with a Kentucky accent. It was strange.
WILSON: So what do you think the impact of your Peace Corps service wason the country?
HORRALL: Well, I still get letters from farmers in my village. I'm notreally sure, they don't go into detail, but they're still definitely fish farming. Their ponds are still going. And there's a volunteer that replaced me in a different location but the same general area. He's opened up a new area of fish farming. And the volunteers that I kind of left in their early stages, and I wasn't sure if they were 00:54:00going to continue or not. And some of them have continued after I left. And I think it's a part of that community now. At least with the core group of farmers that I worked with, they were convinced of this benefit and they indicated to me that it was definitely something that had helped their lives, either just having that extra food available, the fish, or being able to make that extra little bit of money for school fees or things like that. I really got the sense that these farmers felt that it was a worthwhile project. And they were all really stoked to be, that their area was chosen for this project. And 00:55:00they were really into it. So overall, the country, I know that from what we turned in our quarterly reports, that all our farmers and all our yields and our APCD is a stickler for, he wanted all the numbers, and keep track of everything so that he could make the report. And he gave us a comprehensive, up to date--
[Tape one ends; tape two begins]
WILSON: Tape two of interview with Audrey. Audrey, sorry, I thought youin mid thought about your discussion of sort of your impact.
HORRALL: Okay. Well, I think I was talking about the overall impact ofthe fisheries program in Zambia, which was started in the late '90s. '96, I think, or '97. And the number of fish ponds has just grown 00:56:00exponentially, and the number of area it's expanding in is increasing. And this is a program that the Zambian government feels that has been very beneficial to the rural areas. And some farmers, there's varying levels of success. But there's definitely many, many farmers who have made a significant amount of income from the project. And it seems to have definitely helped those farmers with their overall ability to make a living and to send their children to school. Extra school fees and 00:57:00uniforms and books and things. The one thing that these farmers cited as one of their biggest hardships was growing enough food was hard enough just to feed their families. But to have any money left over to send kids to school or to buy new things as they wear out, if they have tools that break or things that just need to be repaired or clothing and things like that, that that money was really hard to come by. And this project had definitely shown to improve that situation for a lot of farmers, to have that extra security or the ability to come up, and it is a significant money making plan as far as the price of these 00:58:00fish, the premium. If you had a good harvest and say maybe harvested thirty kilograms and you sold that for anywhere from four thousand to five thousand kwacha a kilogram, that was significant money for a Zambian. Definitely.
WILSON: What about the impact of the Peace Corps experience on you?
HORRALL: I was definitely influenced by my Peace Corps experience.Definitely it fueled my interests in international sustainability movements, sustainable farming movement. Throughout college I never had a rural experience like this. Farming wasn't really what was on my 00:59:00mind, even though I was in agricultural biotechnology. That had very little to do with agriculture.
WILSON: You weren't raised on a farm.
HORRALL: No. I wasn't raised on a farm. And even though my degree waswithin the College of Agriculture, it was pretty much a science degree with the biology and chemistry and all. Very little to do directly with farming. So this really opened my eyes to that lifestyle and educated me a lot about how food dynamics work. Where food comes from, what goes into growing food and distributing food, and how that affects the whole community, and different practices, and how that affects the land. So that it definitely propelled me into my current area. I'm a graduate student in doing sustainable agriculture research. 01:00:00And Peace Corps was definitely a huge influence on that. After I came home and I was looking for programs in graduate school that dealt with sustainable agriculture and international aspects of sustainable agriculture. And it just kind of shaped the direction that I wanted to go in. Because before, like I said, I really didn't know. I had this science background and I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps. So that experience really helped me to solidify what my ideal type of work might be and the lifestyle of the village, and the pace of the village really suited me. I think I adjusted to the lifestyle pretty quickly. And so I think of that now as I'm home and deciding like 01:01:00how I might want to live, and the things that I would like to have in my life. And it's definitely something that I've decided I would, farming lifestyle really appeals to me, and the rural lifestyle, and that type of work. So it influenced me a lot, and it educated me a lot about international affairs. You don't really get a good sense of international news, things that go on in other countries, especially in other continents, and it really opened my eyes to that. I learned a lot just about the world in general. Things that were going on in the world that I never heard about before, either because I wasn't a 01:02:00big news reader, and when you do read the news, it's just not the same. You don't get that same level of information in the American news, I don't think. So it just opened my horizons a lot more to what was going on in the world and how things were being affected by, things that you would never think of before.
WILSON: So do you see yourself involved in the future internationally?
HORRALL: It's quite possible. I have, I'm not really sure whichdirection it will take when I finish my PhD at UK and this crop science degree. I know that there's a lot of sustainable agriculture 01:03:00opportunities here locally, being a rural state which has a pretty significant farming tradition. And of course it's where my family is. I started out with the intention of putting an international emphasis in my degree. And I haven't really been able to accomplish that as well as I'd like at UK. There's some areas that I could maybe like the Patterson School for International Commerce and things like that. But mostly I'm relying on my Peace Corps experience as my international background. And trying to focus on the technical aspects of farming and sustainability.
WILSON: Are you still in contact, you mentioned the farmers. Are youstill in contact with other people in Zambia, or other former Peace 01:04:00Corps volunteers?
HORRALL: Definitely I have close friends in the Peace Corps. Nowthat we're kind of scattered across the country, I've had a couple of opportunities to visit people. And there's a lot, for some reason, that have settled up in the Northeast, in Baltimore/DC area. So I've been there twice to visit that whole crew. And it's always just like we saw each other yesterday, you know? We're just instantly right back on track with each other. We really, really bonded. And definitely believe that they'll be lifelong friends. And whenever we hear about someone else somewhere, it's always interesting to share the news and the gossip about who's doing what and who's gone where. There's a 01:05:00lot of people from my group who extended a year. And several that are still in Zambia now. So it's fun to keep in touch with those people. And mostly like through emails and things like that, here and there. I've definitely made some really good friends in the Peace Corps. And the farmers that I still communicate with, they let me know everything that's going on in the village. Who died, who got married, and new additions, all those kind of things. And then of course how their fish ponds are going. I definitely keep trying to keep my connections up with those people.
WILSON: What do you think the impact of your Peace Corps experience hasbeen on your family?
HORRALL: I definitely, and especially in the months that I came home,01:06:00I had a lot of calls to come speak and tell about my experience. And everyone was, for the most part, really interested in what was going on. My parents had been keeping people updated because I had been in frequent contact with them. And tried to, relatives that I didn't see very much or speak to very much, I found that when I was in the Peace Corps and we began writing each other, we communicated much more that way than we had. So it was like relatives that I didn't consider myself to be very close to, they were interested in writing me because it was such a strange experience for our family, that no one else had 01:07:00really done anything like that. So I became closer to some family members that I wasn't before. And definitely people had lots and lots of questions for me. So I think that I was able to try and convey the way that things were in Zambia, and maybe dispel some of the ideas that they may have had about Africa. And try to just really give them a sense of what my experience was like, which can be difficult. I did a lot of talking in the months that I came back about my Peace Corps experience. And my family was really into it.
WILSON: What do you think the future role of the Peace Corps should be?
HORRALL: I think there was some emphasis and talk about different01:08:00types of business endeavors. And I think just seeing the success of this fisheries program and how much it's grown and how much it's expanded, and how productive it's been, seems like there's more of a focus on that type of a project. And a very applied, appropriate technology-driven means to help people really get by in their difficult situation. And also, the HIV/AIDS is a huge component, especially in Africa right now that will affect everything that the Peace Corps does. Definitely there's a lot of focus on how to address that issue. But I, and I think this is kind of what's happening. But I would 01:09:00definitely, and I put this on my recommendation, because they ask you these kind of things, you know, before you leave. They give you a little survey questionnaire. And the types of projects that seem to be the most successful were ones that had a really specific objective for a specific goal. Like agro-forestry or not just fisheries, but things to help especially people in the really poor rural areas, to help them make a living better. And to get that to that extra level where you don't have to choose which kids get to go to school and make sacrifices that they would have to make because of their limited resources. So 01:10:00things that promote sustainability, things that promote general, I don't know, just ways to help people get by there, to improve their standard of living in not any kind of drastic way, but in just sort of basic ways. And all of the health programs and things that are trying to make, promote better healthcare for children and things like that are also very important to countries that have limited resources in how they can treat these really common illnesses. 01:11:00
WILSON: You would recommend the Peace Corps to other people?
HORRALL: Oh, yes. I do, whenever anybody asks me, I recommend ittotally. Definitely isn't for everybody. But it's something that I have really benefited from in my life. And it was an amazing experience for me, and there's really nothing negative I should say about it. I mean, of course there were bad things that happened, and bad days. But overall, I would definitely do it again, over and over. Maybe later on in my life, I could also return. Maybe as a retiree. Maybe like mid career. (laughs) 01:12:00
WILSON: Take a couple years off, huh?
WILSON: Okay. Well, that's all the sort of structured questions I have.But are there sort of any other stories? Anything about any of those bad days or really good days that you'd like to say? Anything that I've missed?
HORRALL: Well I guess some of the more frustrating experiences that Ihad usually had to do with transportation. Getting broken down on the side of the road for hours and hours and hours.
WILSON: With your bicycle or with public transportation?
HORRALL: With public transportation.
HORRALL: Getting caught in rainstorms, and my roof leaking. I rememberI had, my headphones were very important. I brought all these tapes 01:13:00of my favorite music. And in the rainy season, I would just hear the roof drip, and it would drive me nuts. So I would just have to put my headphones in. I would be thinking of everything that was getting soaked, and everything that was all wet in the morning. I had a pet. I had a cat that had kittens. And then she died, and I kept one of her kittens. And then she had other kittens. (laughs) And so it was really nice to have a pet around, because I had always had one. So that was a very comforting thing. And the neighborhood kids got a kick out of it, because most cats weren't used to being fooled around with, so they would kind of avoid people. But this cat, you could pick her up and goof around with her. So the kids really liked to come 01:14:00and play with my cat, and she was really funny. But one of the things that I really, really miss is all the fresh fruit that was so cheap and available everywhere.
WILSON: Tropical fruit.
HORRALL: Yes. Mangos, yes, mangos and guavas. Oh, I must have eatenmy weight seven times over in mangos and guavas. And I really miss having the atmosphere of so much different women. We would go out to bars or to clubs, like in Lusaka, which was a big, modern city. And they would have nightclubs there. And we would get the, all of this cheesy top forty music several months after it hit in the US. But for some reason, I just had so much more fun going out to these bars 01:15:00and clubs. It was just such a more relaxed and free atmosphere and I really felt, I felt very independent and very free to go where I wanted and do as I pleased. And of course you get back into a more structured living environment, it's just not the case. So I miss that aspect of definitely having a very, very wide reign of what I had to do and where I had to go.
WILSON: Now the life of a PhD student is a little more structured.
HORRALL: Yeah. (laughs) Yeah. But being a student has its freedoms,and that's one of the things that made me want to go back to school, 01:16:00as opposed to trying to find a job right away, is that while I'm not making any money, I definitely have more freedom, I think, than I would have in a job. So it was one of the draws of graduate school is I kind of get to extend that period a little bit longer.
WILSON: Okay, Audrey. Thank you very much.
[End of interview.]