Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Judy Lippman, December 12, 2005

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Growing up / Early time in Peace Corps

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Partial Transcript: Peace Corps Oral History Project, uh, interview with Judy Lippman on December 12, 2005.

Segment Synopsis: Lippman was born in Detroit, Michigan and lived in a Catholic environment. She studied dental hygiene in college and then went off to Peace Corps. She was inspired by a missionary who gave a speech when she was in 8th grade. She kept her invitation to go to Peace Corps. She was accepted to go to Morocco. Her training was in Texas for 3 months, including French language training. She was assigned to do serology and ended up in a Spanish-speaking area.

Keywords: Childhood; Lab technicians; Lab techs

Subjects: Arabic language.; Catholic Church.; Dental hygiene.; Dental hygienists.; Detroit (Mich.); French language.; Missionary; Morocco; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Morocco.; Peace Corps/Morocco; Serology.; Spanish language.; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher); Women--Employment.

GPS: Detroit (Mich.)
Map Coordinates: 42.331389, -83.045833
GPS: Morocco
Map Coordinates: 32, -6
00:09:31 - Work in Morocco

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Partial Transcript: Okay, so, you, uh, were assigned to Sp, Spanish speaking Morocco--

Segment Synopsis: Lippman arrived in Spanish-speaking Morocco with a letter of introduction in Spanish. She ended up in a room with a woman who had been doing serology for a long time and she learned she was redundant. The previous group of Peace Corps participants did not have their paperwork processed properly so a lot of the new members weren't needed across Morocco. She waited until she could be reassigned. She decided to help out with dental hygiene, but the plan fell through. She went to Agadir to do chemistry in a lab for a month. She then ended up in Marrakesh doing food hygiene (testing water and food samples to make sure they were safe) and pregnancy testing. She also taught English at a school for the blind. She describes some of the problems with blindness in Morocco and some experiences she had with blind students.

Keywords: Blind schools; Marrakesh; Marrakesh (Morocco); School for the blind; Schools for the blind; Teaching English; Teaching English as a foreign language; Teaching English as a second language

Subjects: Agadir (Morocco); Arabic language.; Blindness.; Communication and culture.; Cultural pluralism.; Dental hygiene.; Dental hygienists.; English language--Study and teaching--Foreign speakers.; French language.; Health.; Hygiene.; Intercultural communication.; Language and culture.; Marrakech (Morocco); Missionary; Morocco; Mouth--Care and hygiene.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Morocco.; Peace Corps/Morocco; Pregnancy.; Sanitation.; Serology.; Spanish language.; Women--Employment.

GPS: Marrakesh (Morocco) [also spelled Marrakech]
Map Coordinates: 31.63, -8.008889
GPS: Agadir (Morocco)
Map Coordinates: 30.433333, -9.6
GPS: Morocco
Map Coordinates: 32, -6
00:22:26 - Daily life in Morocco

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Partial Transcript: Um, tell me something about your living situation. I guess you spent a whole year in this last--

Segment Synopsis: Lippman describes her living situation in Marrakesh. She had half of a one story home, with a living room, bedroom, and kitchen, with an indoor toilet and shower. Her first house in Tetouan was on the roof of an apartment building and it didn't have hot water so she had to go into town for public showers. She describes some of the cultural differences. The people who had almost nothing were very generous with their belongings. Visitors were treated as honored guests. She mentions learning that if you compliment a belonging, they were obliged to offer it to you. She cooked for herself, mentioning specific foods she had access to, including fresh bread, sardines, fresh vegetables, pomegranates, and lamb. A typical day in Marrakesh involved getting ready for work, then walking to the hospital. She was the only one doing the work she did and she would talk to the young men who worked in the lab too. She mentions that when the other workers were mad at the head of the lab, they would mess with the lab results. Other residents thought the young women from the Peace Corps who lived alone were sex workers.

Keywords: Cultural differences; Cultural diversity; Living situation; Marrakesh (Morocco); Public showers

Subjects: Bathing customs; Baths.; Canned sardines; Cooking.; Cultural pluralism.; Food habits.; Food.; Hospitals; Housing.; Lamb (Meat); Marrakech (Morocco); Morocco; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Morocco.; Peace Corps/Morocco; Pomegranate.; Tétouan (Morocco); Yogurt

GPS: Tétouan (Morocco)
Map Coordinates: 35.566667, -5.366667
GPS: Marrakesh (Morocco) [also spelled Marrakech]
Map Coordinates: 31.63, -8.008889
00:33:46 - Recreation / Interactions with other people in Morocco

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Partial Transcript: What, uh--in, in sort of reflecting on it, uh, what, what was the most difficult part of, of adjusting to living in Morocco?

Segment Synopsis: Lippman states that, at first, the hardest part of adjusting to Morocco was feeling useless because she didn't have a definitive job. She says it was an easy country to live in because it was beautiful. She stayed in touch with other members of her training group through letters. She describes some aspects of the country that she enjoyed. She mentions that the buses were an interesting experience, with the animals strapped down on top of the bus and women and children on the floor of the back of the bus interacting with each other. When she was in Agadir, she had a motorcycle she would ride for fun. She would also have dinner with people at their homes. She got invited by a young boy to break the fast for Ramadan and she stayed in touch with that boy. She mentions not being able to meet Moroccan girls because they weren't able to be in the workforce; Lippman was part of the male part of society. She describes her traveling experiences and plans. She describes how she interacted with other people, stating that Europeans would recognize her as non-Moroccan, and mentions some small moments that were important to her.

Keywords: Fields of flowers; Flower fields; Gender roles; Roles for women

Subjects: Buses; Flowers.; Friendship.; Gender and culture; Gender.; Hobbies.; Interpersonal relations; Leisure.; Letter writing.; Mail; Morocco; Motorcycles; Outdoor recreation.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Morocco.; Peace Corps/Morocco; Poppies.; Ramadan; Recreation.; Travel.; Women--Employment.

GPS: Morocco
Map Coordinates: 32, -6
00:50:44 - Time after leaving the Peace Corps

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Partial Transcript: So, you finished up then in nineteen sixty--

Segment Synopsis: Lippman finished her Peace Corps time in September of 1968. She hitchhiked around western Europe until she went home in December. She met the man who would become her husband during training and they wrote letters to each other while she was in Morocco. She went to Paris to meet him and they traveled around for a month, at which point she traveled to different countries by herself. Coming back to the U.S. wasn't too difficult at first for her. She was struck by some similarities in the cultures deep down.

Keywords: Cross cultural adjustment; Cross-cultural adjustment; Cultural adjustment; Western Europe

Subjects: Adjustment (Psychology); Austria; Culture shock.; England; Europe, Western; France; Germany.; Hitchhiking; Ireland; Italy; Letter writing.; Norway; Paris (France); Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Morocco.; Peace Corps/Morocco; Switzerland; Training.; Travel.

GPS: Paris (France)
Map Coordinates: 48.856613, 2.352222
GPS: Italy
Map Coordinates: 43, 12
GPS: Switzerland
Map Coordinates: 46.833333, 8.333333
GPS: Austria
Map Coordinates: 47.333333, 13.333333
GPS: Germany
Map Coordinates: 51, 9
GPS: England
Map Coordinates: 51.5, -0.116667
GPS: Ireland
Map Coordinates: 53.416667, -8
GPS: Norway
Map Coordinates: 61, 8
00:56:03 - Impact of Peace Corps

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Partial Transcript: What do you, what do you think the impact was of your service as a Peace Corps volunteer, either on the country of Morocco or on people in Morocco?

Segment Synopsis: Lippman thinks one impact was being startled by outsiders, as well as forming relationships to work through the differences and stereotypes. She thinks the impact on her involved the realization that there aren't people that look so different that she couldn't understand them. She tried to keep contact with some of the people she met for a few years. She also tried to keep contact with other Peace Corps volunteers, but didn't have a lot of success. Lippman states that the impact of the Peace Corps on her family was good because she found people who she could relate to based on shared interest in other cultures. Her husband would help foreign students qualify for graduate study in the U.S. Her Peace Corps time influenced her to study psychology to try and understand how people think. She offered to teach music at her children's school by having international people perform show and tell with their culture and music. Peace Corps inspired her to take the view that interactions between people should be based on curiosity and good will, not fear of differences. She thinks the overall impact of Peace Corps has been positive by exposing Americans to the world and changing the "high and mighty" attitude of Americans. She thinks it's important to keep Peace Corps as nonpolitical as possible.

Keywords: Ethnic stereotypes

Subjects: Cognition and culture.; Communication and culture.; Cross-cultural studies.; Cultural awareness.; Cultural pluralism.; Folk music.; Intercultural communication.; Language and culture.; Music--Instruction and study.; Music.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Morocco.; Peace Corps/Morocco; Psychology.; Stereotypes (Social psychology); Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher); Women--Employment.

GPS: Morocco
Map Coordinates: 32, -6