Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Lourrae Ellis Ewbank, March 3, 2012

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:04 - Childhood

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Partial Transcript: I am Angene Wilson interviewing Lourrae Ewbank for the Peace Corps Oral History Project at the University of Kentucky Nunn Oral History Center. [Nunn Center for Oral History]

Segment Synopsis: Lourrae Ellis Ewbank talks about what it was like to grow up in Scott County, Kentucky. She describes the community she grew up in, a town called Oxford, Kentucky, and how her parents fostered a love of reading in her. Ewbank also discusses her high school experiences.

Keywords: Foreign exchange students; French teachers; Host families; Language and languages; Language skills; Toyota plants

Subjects: Childhood; Community relations; Dynamics; Early life; Education; Families; French; French teachers; High schools; Japanese; Kentucky; Language and languages; Lexington (Ky.); Libraries; National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs; Oxford (Ky.); Parenting; Parents; Reading; Safety; Schools; Scott County (Ky.); Teachers; Toyota automobiles; Trust; Young farmers' clubs

00:05:17 - College and work

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Partial Transcript: So, where did you go to college?

Segment Synopsis: Ewbank discusses her college education. Ewbank describes her career after she finished graduate school.

Keywords: 4-H agents; Bachelor's degree; Family studies; Graduate schools; Language skills; Master's degree; Mental health; Speaking skills; University of Kentucky

Subjects: 4-H Youth Development Program (U.S.); Career moves; Careers & opportunities; Education; Education, Higher; Experience; French language; Hospitals; Language and languages; Mental health; Recreation; Undergraduate; Western Kentucky University; Work

00:07:25 - Interest in Peace Corps/Peace Corps application

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Partial Transcript: So, you went into the Peace Corps as a real experienced person with a--uh--a--a lot of--uh--(Wilson laughs)--a lot of different jobs as background.

Segment Synopsis: Ewbank explains what inspired her to apply for the Peace Corps. She talks about her experience of applying for the Peace Corps and receiving her assignment to Romania. Ewbank recalls what she knew about Romania prior to starting her Peace Corps service.

Keywords: Application; Assignments; Health requirements; Medical requirements; Peace Corps recruiters; Romanian history

Subjects: Culture; Families; Health; History; Knowledge; Medical care; Medical history taking--Handbooks, manuals, etc.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Dominican Republic; Peace Corps (U.S.)--Romania; Reading; Romania; Romanians; September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001; Spanish; Uncles; Volunteers

00:15:37 - Peace Corps staging and training

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Partial Transcript: So you got the word that you were going to Romania when? Do you remember?

Segment Synopsis: Ewbank recalls her experience during staging and training for the Peace Corps. She talks about her first impressions of Romania. She describes her host family during training.

Keywords: Bombing runs; Clothing; Communication; Cultural differences; Cultural training; Language training; NGOs; Safety training; Staging; Technical training

Subjects: Bucharest (Romania); Communication; Culture; Culture shock; Demographics; European Union.; First aid; Food; Host families of foreign students; Manners and customs; Non-governmental organizations; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Romania; Romania; Romanians; Safety; Training; Volunteers; Washington (D.C.)

00:29:01 - Peace Corps assignment

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Partial Transcript: . . . come forward and they give out our assignment.

Segment Synopsis: Ewbank details her work in a non-governmental organization that worked with the parents of HIV-positive children.

Keywords: AIDS; HIV; NGOs; Needs assessments; Productivity

Subjects: AIDS (Disease); Children; Community development; Dictatorships; HIV (Viruses); HIV-positive children; HIV-positive persons; HIV/AIDS awareness; Health education; Lists; Mothers; Non-governmental organizations; Organization; Parenting; Parents; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Romania; Ploiești (Romania); Public health; Romania; Romanians; Work

00:37:26 - Living conditions

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Partial Transcript: --Uh--talk a little bit about your living conditions as a Peace Corps volunteer in your town--

Segment Synopsis: Ewbank describes what her living situation was like during her Peace Corps service in Romania. She talks about foods she ate and methods of communication during service.

Keywords: Apartment; Cable; Cuisine; Eating; Elevator shafts; Living allowances; Living conditions; Stove; Utilities

Subjects: Baking; Bathrooms; Cable; Cell phones; Communication; Cooking; Electricity; Elevators; Email; Food; Gas; Hot water; Housing; Interpersonal relations; Landlords; Letters; Neighbors; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Romania; Ploiești (Romania); Radio; Refrigerators; Romania; Romanians; Security; Sewer gas; Stairs; Television; Volunteers; Water

00:46:59 - Difficult adjustments/remnants of Communist Romania

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Partial Transcript: --Um--what did you think was most difficult to adjust to--[Ewbank sniffs]--in terms of living or the job either one, just in general.

Segment Synopsis: Ewbank describes her most difficult adjustment to living in Romania. She talks about how former communist rule in Romania was reflected in the Romanian culture she experienced during her service.

Keywords: AIDS; HIV; Networking; Ploești (Romania); Romanian People's Republic; Socialist Republic of Romania; Youth impacts

Subjects: American culture; Americans; Bucharest (Romania); Children; Communication; Communism; Families; HIV-positive children; HIV/AIDS awareness; Mothers; Parents; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Romania; Romani; Romania; Romanians; Soviet Union; Youth

00:51:41 - Art projects

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Partial Transcript: Okay--um--Lourrae, talk about the--(Ewbank sniffs)--and--you may have other projects you want to talk about too--(Ewbank sniffs)--

Segment Synopsis: Ewbank discusses an art project that she did with HIV-positive children. Ewbank also describes a camera workshop and a writing seminar she put on for the children. Ewbank considers how these projects impacted the mothers of the HIV-positive children. Additionally, Ewbank discusses some of the international attention that the projects received.

Keywords: AIDS; Appearance; Clothing; Club; Enjoyed; Exhibit; Film development; Good work; HIV; Handsome; Help; Interested; Lexington Public Library; Loved; Magazines; Male model; Nursing school; Party; Peace Corps projects; Photo-voice projects; Photoshoot; Priest; Refused; Results; Sad; Showing; Status; Surprised; Talking; U.S. Ambassador to Ireland; Unexpected; Willing

Subjects: AIDS (Disease); Age; Art; Article; Bucharest (Romania); Cameras; Change; Chemicals; Children; Church; Clinics; Community arts projects; Community development; Confidence; Culture; Directors; English; Fear; Friend; Gypsy; HIV (Viruses); HIV-positive children; HIV/AIDS awareness; Health; Interpersonal relations; Ireland; Lexington (Ky.); Literacy; Malnutrition; Manners and customs; Mothers; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Romania; Perspective; Photographers; Photographs; Public health; Reputation; Roma; Romania; Romanians; Sharing; Social workers; Storytelling; Teenagers; Translators; Understanding; United States. Department of State; Work; Workshops

01:01:55 - Funding for art project/impact of project

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Partial Transcript: . . . the way you did this project. You worked with somebody from the embassy--.

Segment Synopsis: Ewbank recalls issues with obtaining funding for the art project that she encountered. Ewbank also discusses the impact and influence of the project throughout the world.

Keywords: AIDS; Accomplished; Agreed; Collaboration; Decisions; Desk; Excited; Friends; Funding; Good project; HIV; Illegal; Impact; Information; Office; Opposed; Peace Corps director; Positive feedback; Projects; Rules; Small grants; Talking; U.S. Embassy; U.S. Embassy in Romania; Unable; Unhappy; Unsure; Waiting

Subjects: Community arts projects; Duke University; Email; Georgetown University; HIV-positive children; HIV/AIDS awareness; History; Independence; Ireland; John Hopkins University; Meeting; Military; Money; Mothers; Organization; Parents; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Romania; Population; Romania; Romanians; Speech; Storytelling; Successful; United States; Voice; World AIDS day; Writing

01:07:23 - Art to Break Down Barriers Project/organization structure

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Partial Transcript: So what about--you said you wanted to talk about another project.

Segment Synopsis: Ewbank describes another art project that she completed with HIV-positive and Gypsy children called Art to Break Down Barriers. The project involved collaborating on art projects with different organizations across Romania. Ewbank also discusses the structure of the organization that she worked for.

Keywords: AIDS; Barriers; Cards; Coach; Colleagues; Commemoration project; Contribution; Exciting; Funding; Graves; HIV; Important; Medication; Menu; Mixed; NGOs; Organizations; Overnight trip; Overwhelming; Peace Corps partnership; Place; Presentation; Restaurant; Signs; Special needs children; Supportive; Teams; Thankful; Towns

Subjects: Adults; Art; Beds; Brother; Change; Children; Choices; Cities; Communication; Community arts projects; Cooperation; Deaths; Disabilities; Diversity; Experience; Face painting; Families; Father; Flowers; Food; French; Gypsy; HIV-positive children; HIV/AIDS awareness; Honor; Housing; Institutions; Labels; Leadership; Learning; Non-governmental organizations; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Romania; Perspective; Poverty; Romani; Romania; Romanians; Schools; Shame; Sleeping; Special Olympics; Students; Time; Train; Training; Understanding; United States; Volunteers; Young adults; Youth

01:15:28 - Recreation/memorable stories

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Partial Transcript: (Ewbank sniffs)--What did you do for fun? For recreation?

Segment Synopsis: Ewbank talks discusses what she did for recreation during her Peace Corps service. Ewbank also recalls some memorable stories from her service.

Keywords: Orthodox Christianity; Paperwork; Romanian Orthodox Church; Romantic relationships; Saint days

Subjects: Baking; Bribery; Brownies; Christianity; Cooking; Families; Food; Holidays; Interpersonal relations; Knitting; Marriage; Memories; Neighbors; Offices; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Romania; Recreation; Romania; Romanians; Saints; Storytelling; Thanksgiving Day; Thanksgiving cooking; Volunteers

01:26:05 - Returning to the United States

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Partial Transcript: What was it like to come home?

Segment Synopsis: Ewbank describes what it was like to return to the United States after spending two years in Romania.

Keywords: Currencies; Drivers; Finances; Maxi taxis; Romanian lei; Romanian leu; Steak

Subjects: Aunts; Death; Families; Groceries; Grocery shopping; Parents; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Romania; Reverse culture shock; Romania; Transportation; Travel; United States

01:30:21 - Post-Peace Corps career

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Partial Transcript: I spoke to a lot of schools--um--when I co-came back because I had written--I'd, I did the--um--

Segment Synopsis: Ewbank talks about her work, career, and education in health education and nursing after returning from her Peace Corps service. Ewbank discusses the intricacies of language and language interpretation in her job and for interpreting as a whole.

Keywords: Donations; Landline phones; Language interpreters; Language tutoring; Mammograms; Medication donations; Medications; Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program; Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows Program; Prescription medications; Returned Peace Corps Volunteers; Student debt

Subjects: Baltimore (Md.); Careers; Careers & opportunities; Cell phones; Communication; Correspondence; Debt; Education, Higher; Health education; Interviews; Johns Hopkins University; Letters; Medical care; North Carolina; Nursing schools; Nursing students; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Romania; Pen pals; Public speaking; Romania; Schools; Student loans; Technology; Telephones; University of Kentucky. Children's Hospital; Volunteers; Work

01:46:14 - Various impacts of Peace Corps service

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Partial Transcript: I think, Lourrae that you've already answered these, both of these questions, actually, but--um--we usually finish up with impact questions.

Segment Synopsis: Ewbank describes the various impacts of her Peace Corps service on Romania, health education in Romania, and Romanians in general. Ewbank also assesses how Peace Corps shaped her views on the United States, privilege, and healthcare. Ewbank explains how Peace Corps influenced her career, family, educational path, and world views. Ewbank also evaluates the overall impact of Peace Corps and what the role of the program should be today.

Keywords: Bush, George W. (George Walker), 1946-; Communication; Cultural exposures; Global affairs; Healthcare; Impact; NATO; Politics; Projects; Ventriculoperitoneal shunts; Young adults

Subjects: Americans; Brain; Bush, George W. (George Walker), 1946-; Careers; Communication; Culture; Current events; Education; Families; Health education; Hydrocephalus; International relations; Medical care; Mothers; North Atlantic Treaty Organization; Parents; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Romania; Perspective; Privilege; Romania; Romanians; United States; World views; Young adults