Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Roy Glen Payne, Jr., March 13, 2007

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Growing up, education, and work

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Partial Transcript: Peace Corps Oral History Project interview with Glen Payne, March 13th, 2007. Interviewer Jack Wilson. Interview done in Lexington, Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Roy Glen Payne, Jr. briefly describes his family, where he grew up, where he attended high school, and where he attended college. He also talks about his work post-graduation.

Keywords: Akron (Ohio); Bachelor's degrees; Barberton (Ohio); Carpenters; Colleges; Coventry High School (Coventry, Ohio); Creative writing majors; English majors; Linguistics; Literature; Master's degrees; Portage Lakes (Ohio); Supervisors.; Universities; University of Akron

Subjects: Career moves; Careers.; Childhood.; Education, Higher.; Families.; High school

00:04:55 - Interest in and beginnings with the Peace Corps

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Partial Transcript: So how did you get interested in the Peace Corps?

Segment Synopsis: Payne discusses what sparked his interest to join the Peace Corps and why his initial slated Peace Corps assignment to China was cancelled.

Keywords: Applications; Childhood.; Climbing; Europe; Familial support; Girlfriends; Growing up; Parental support; Peace Corps training; Program applications; Reading; Romantic partners; Romantic relationships; Summer travel; Summer trips; Summer vacations; Travel opportunities

Subjects: China--History--Tiananmen Square Incident, 1989.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--China; Peace Corps (U.S.)--Gabon; Peace Corps Institute (U.S.); School Construction; Travel.

00:08:48 - Peace Corps application process

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Partial Transcript: Uh, you remember anything else about the application process itself?

Segment Synopsis: Payne describes his experience applying for the Peace Corps. He describes the Peace Corps' thorough review process and what factors complicated his application.

Keywords: Application processes; Background checks; Career moves; Careers; Careers & opportunities; D.U.I. charges; Driving under the influence; Drunk driving.; Master's degrees; Personal records; Program applications; Records; University of Akron; Work

Subjects: Education, Higher.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Gabon; Peace Corps (U.S.). Africa Region; Peace Corps Institute (U.S.)

00:10:41 - Peace Corps invitation and training

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Partial Transcript: So you were invited to go to Gabon when in '89?

Segment Synopsis: Payne describes his Peace Corps trainings in Atlanta, Georgia and Bukavu. He talks about his special volunteer training situation, standard orientation, language immersion, and cultural orientation.

Keywords: Atlanta (Ga.); Bujumbura (Burundi); Bukavu (Congo); Cultural orientations; Cultural trainings; French language; Language immersion; Peace Corps volunteer launches; Peace Corps volunteers; Program acceptances; Program invitations; Program orientations; Program trainings; Standard orientations; Volunteer launches; Volunteer trainings

Subjects: Language transfer (Language learning); Orientation; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Gabon; Peace Corps (U.S.). Africa Region; Peace Corps Institute (U.S.); School Construction; Training

00:15:16 - Adjusting to life in Gabon

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Partial Transcript: They flew us at the end of our three or four weeks--I can't recall exactly--in Bukavu to Libreville, Gabon.

Segment Synopsis: Payne describes his initial adjustment to Gabon and when the realization of being in a completely different country and culture hit him. He talks about comparing himself to the experienced Peace Corps volunteer he was placed with.

Keywords: Comparisons; Construction volunteers; Construction workers; Cultural adjustment; Cultural differences; Gabonese; Libreville (Gabon); Life adjustments; Life changes; Palm wine; Peace Corps volunteers; Volunteer experiences

Subjects: Cooking, Gabonese.; Culture shock; Food and drink; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Gabon; Peace Corps (U.S.). Africa Region; Peace Corps Institute (U.S.); School Construction; Training.

00:20:04 - School construction in Gabon

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Partial Transcript: So what after those four or five days?

Segment Synopsis: Payne talks about his work through the Peace Corps' Rural School Construction Program in Gabon. He describes the village he stayed in, Peni Gnoundou in the Nyanga province, and building relationships with people in the community.

Keywords: Adjustments; Construction training; Construction work; Cultural adjustments; Cultural integration; Education policies; Financial compensations; Gabonese government; Hands-on learning; Idemba (Gabon); Language barriers; Peace Corps volunteers; Peni Gnoundou (Gabon); Project funding; Respect; Rural School Construction Program (RSCP); Teachers; Trust; Volunteer workers; Volunteers

Subjects: Community relations; Education.; Gabon; Nyanga Province (Gabon); Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Gabon; Peace Corps (U.S.)--Ukraine; Peace Corps (U.S.). Africa Region; Peace Corps Institute (U.S.); School Construction; Training.

00:31:17 - Housing and food in Gabon

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Partial Transcript: And what kind of housing was made available to you?

Segment Synopsis: Payne describes housing in Peni Gnoundou and building housing for teachers. He talks about staple foods and drinks in the village and community dynamics.

Keywords: Architecture; Bathrooms; Beer; Brick making; Building techniques; Bush meat; Construction; Construction processes; Construction techniques; Electricity; Hunters; Hunting; Latrines; Manioc; Mud and wattle technique; Mud brick houses; Palm wine; Peni Gnoundou (Gabon); Running water; Superstitions; Toilets; Volunteer workers; Volunteers; Wildlife as food

Subjects: Community relations; Food and drink; Housing.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Gabon; Peace Corps (U.S.). Africa Region; Peace Corps Institute (U.S.)

00:44:45 - Power structures and communications in Peni Gnoundou

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Partial Transcript: Um, Glen, let's--tell--I'm, going back just, uh, a step.

Segment Synopsis: Payne describes local power structures and larger governmental power structures in Peni Gnoundou. He talks about the lack of communication available in the village and how it affected Peace Corps volunteers' connections with the world.

Keywords: Chef de canton; Government representatives; Governments; Local governments; Local power structures; News; Peni Gnoundou (Gabon); Power structures; Program directors; Regional administrators; World news

Subjects: Africa--Politics and government; Communication.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Gabon; Peace Corps (U.S.). Africa Region; Peace Corps Institute (U.S.)

00:48:24 - Recruiting local workers for Peace Corps projects / Overview of Peace Corps assignments

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Partial Transcript: So did you, you recruit a local worker?

Segment Synopsis: Payne gives a brief overview of his Peace Corps projects and assignments over three years. He talks about the importance of building community relationships in starting and completing construction projects in the villages.

Keywords: Building processes; Building relationships; Construction processes; Construction work; Cultural appreciation; Interpersonal relations; Local labor; Local volunteers; Local workers; Mark Vander Vort; Paid labor; Peace Corps tours; Peace Corps trainers; Peace Corps volunteers; Peni Gnoundou (Gabon); Trainers; Volunteer labor

Subjects: Community relations; Cultural competence.; Education.; Gabon; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Gabon; Peace Corps (U.S.). Africa Region; Peace Corps Institute (U.S.); School Construction; Training.

01:01:02 - Recreation in Gabon / Languages in Gabon

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Partial Transcript: So what did--what would you do for recreation?

Segment Synopsis: Payne talks about what he and other Peace Corps volunteers did to pass time in Gabon. He talks about the variety of languages and dialects in Gabon.

Keywords: Bantu languages; Bateke language; Central Africa; Dancing; Dialects; Entertainment; Festivals; Fetes; Friendships; Gabonese; Gabonese language; Interpersonal relations; Ipunu language; Language barriers; Linguistics; Mitsogo language; Nairobi Area (Kenya); Night activities; Parties; Punu language; Recreational activities; Sensory overload; Teke (African people); Thesis projects; Travel.; Tsogo language; Water wells

Subjects: Conversation.; Dissertations, Academic.; Gabon; Language and languages.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Gabon; Peace Corps (U.S.). Africa Region; Peace Corps Institute (U.S.); Recreation & travel; Recreation.; Speech.

01:09:37 - Short return to the U.S. during Peace Corps service

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Partial Transcript: Did you, uh, did you return to the States between your, uh--

Segment Synopsis: Payne talks about a brief three-and-a-half week return he made to the U.S. in the middle of his Peace Corps tour. He talks about the shocking cultural adjustment. He also talks about deciding to extend his Peace Corps service.

Keywords: Commitment; Confidence; Courage; Cultural adjustment; Exhaustion; Fearlessness; Friends; Peace Corps volunteers; Personal growth; Relaxation; Rest; Self-direction; Service extensions; Sleep; Tour extensions; Wives

Subjects: Culture shock; Families.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps Institute (U.S.); United States.

01:15:08 - Post-Peace Corps life

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Partial Transcript: So then you came back, uh, finally in ninety--

Segment Synopsis: Payne speaks more on what it was like to adjust back to life in the U.S. He talks about work, pursuing another degree at the University of Kentucky, getting married, and his current line of work.

Keywords: Building companies; Corporate communications; Depression; Desensitization; Family businesses; Graduate schools; Independent consulting; Informational technology; Master's degrees; Roadway Express; Software work; United States.; University of Kentucky; Writers

Subjects: Career moves; Careers & opportunities; Careers.; Culture shock; Education, Higher.; Historic preservation.; Marriage.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps Institute (U.S.); Small business.

01:21:18 - Impact of the Peace Corps on career, Gabon, and family

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Partial Transcript: Uh, how would you, how would you say your Peace Corps experience has impacted your career, if at all?

Segment Synopsis: Payne talks about how the Peace Corps has impacted his career, Gabon, and his family. He talks about maintaining contact with individuals from his Peace Corps experience and further international experiences post-Peace Corps.

Keywords: Attitudes; Complaining; Emails; Friends; Friendships; Hard work; Havana (Cuba); Impacts; Influences; International experiences; International travel; Libreville (Gabon); Peace Corps volunteers; Phone calls; Work ethic

Subjects: Careers.; Communication.; Families.; Gabon; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Gabon; Peace Corps (U.S.). Africa Region; Peace Corps Institute (U.S.); Perspective.; Travel.; Wives.

01:30:15 - Impact of Peace Corps on global perspective / Overall impact of Peace Corps / Future of Peace Corps

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Partial Transcript: Well, let me ask you--what do you, what do you think, uh, has the impact of, of Peace Corps service been on the way you think about the, about the world?

Segment Synopsis: Payne talks about how his Peace Corps service changed his perspective of the world. He talks about what the overall impact of Peace Corps has been and what its role in the future should look like.

Keywords: Attitudes; Christian ethic; Christian faith; Encouragement; Gratefulness; Idealism; Life experience; Peace Corps services; Peace Corps tours; Peace Corps volunteers; Sharing experiences; Travel experiences

Subjects: AmeriCorps (U.S.); Christianity.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Gabon; Peace Corps Institute (U.S.); Perspective.; Wives.

01:38:47 - Medical care in Gabon

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Partial Transcript: Okay, um, that's sort of, uh, all the structured questions I've got but what, uh, what haven't I asked you that you'd like to answer as a question or, you know, do you just have a, a fun--

Segment Synopsis: Payne talks about access to healthcare in Gabon. He talks about common health issues they encountered in the villages.

Keywords: Chiggers; Healthcare; Healthcare access; Healthcare services; Illnesses; Malaria; Malaria suppressants; Medical access; Medical issues; Medicines; Sicknesses; Treatments

Subjects: Diseases.; Medical care.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.). Africa Region; Peace Corps Institute (U.S.)

01:41:46 - Story about elephant slaughter

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Partial Transcript: I saw an elephant slaughter.

Segment Synopsis: Payne tells a story about participating in an elephant slaughter in Peni Gnoundou.

Keywords: Banana leaves; Community dynamics; Community events; Community ordeals; Community relations; Elephant slaughters; Food; Group cooperation; Group work; Legal slaughters; Meat; Peni Gnoundou (Gabon); Resources

Subjects: Elephants.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Gabon; Peace Corps (U.S.). Africa Region; Peace Corps Institute (U.S.); Storytelling.