Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with William Scott Schiffbauer, December 7, 2013

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Overview of Peace Corps career

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Partial Transcript: I'm Jack Wilson interviewing Bill Schiffbauer for the Peace Corps Oral History Project at the University of Kentucky Nunn Oral History Center. [Nunn Center for Oral History] Bill was a Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan from 1966 to 1968.

Segment Synopsis: Schiffbauer summarizes his fourteen years of involvement with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan.

Keywords: Administrative work; Associate directors; Directors of administration; Graduate school; Healthcare; Healthcare systems; Medical care; Ministry of Planning; National needs; National wants; Population needs; Population wants; Project development; Regional directors; Sample census; UN; USAID

Subjects: Afghanistan; Career; Careers & opportunities; Census; Education; Education, Higher; Gardēz (Afghanistan); Ghaznī (Afghanistan); Harrisburg (Pa.); Herat (Afghanistan); Kandahār (Afghanistan); Management Sciences for Health (Firm); Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Afghanistan; Population; Public administration; Retirement; State University of New York; United Nations; United States. Agency for International Development.; University of Nebraska at Omaha; Volunteers

00:06:35 - Upbringing and education

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Partial Transcript: Okay--uh--thank you for that. --Uh--now let's go back--um--to the--the beginning and--uh--let me ask you first of all where and when you were born.

Segment Synopsis: Schiffbauer discusses his childhood and educational background.

Keywords: Coal mine strikes; Coal miner unions; Coal mining unions; Mineral economics; North Union High School (Uniontown, Pa.); North Union Township High School (Uniontown, Pa.); Work study programs

Subjects: Childhood; Coal miners; Coal mines and mining; Early life; Education, Higher; Father; Geography; Hopwood (Pa.); Joy Manufacturing Company; Mining engineering; Peace Corps (U.S.); Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania State University; Picketing; Unions; Uniontown (Fayette County, Pa.); Universities and colleges

00:10:43 - Joining the Peace Corps/Peace Corps application

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Partial Transcript: --Um--and how did Peace Corps come into the picture?

Segment Synopsis: Schiffbauer discusses what inspired him to apply for Peace Corps. Schiffbauer describes his experience with applying for the Peace Corps.

Keywords: American spirit; Applications; John F. Kennedy; National climate; National spirit; Recruiters

Subjects: Afghanistan; Americans; Idealism, American; Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963; Nineteen sixties; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Afghanistan; United States; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Volunteers

00:14:29 - Peace Corps training/first impressions of Afghanistan

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Partial Transcript: Where did you train and can you tell me a little something about--uh--the training?

Segment Synopsis: Schiffbauer recalls his Peace Corps training experience. He also remembers his first impressions of Afghanistan upon arrival in-country.

Keywords: Cultural training; Deselection process; Experimentation; Farsi; First impressions; Language training; Living situations; Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.; Physical stamina; Physical trainings; Selection; Teaching assignments

Subjects: Afghanistan; Climate; Couples; Culture; Deserts; Dupree, Louis, 1925-1989; Economics; Education; Geography; Health; Housing; Kabul (Afghanistan); Languages; Mental health; Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.; Mud; Orientation; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Afghanistan; Persian language; Poverty; Rain; Teachers; Teaching; Training; University of Texas; Volunteers; Wealth

00:25:22 - Peace Corps job assignment

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Partial Transcript: Okay--um--so tell me what your--you . . . you finished the training period, that was another six weeks . . .

Segment Synopsis: Schiffbauer talks about his and his wife’s assignment as English teachers at Baghlan Agricultural High School in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Keywords: "Factory City"; "New City"; "Old City"; Baghlan Agricultural High School (Kabul, Afghanistan); Classes; Construction; Dormitory schools; Farsi; Houses; Persian language; Roads

Subjects: Afghanistan; Afghans; Baghlān (Afghanistan); Cities; Demographics; Education; English; English teachers; Herat (Afghanistan); High school; Kabul (Afghanistan); Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Afghanistan; Persian language; Russians; Salang Pass (Afghanistan); Students; Teachers; Teaching; Travel; Tunnels; Volunteers; Wives; Work

00:31:55 - Housing and food

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Partial Transcript: And what was your living situation like?

Segment Synopsis: Schiffbauer describes his living and food situation during his Peace Corps service in Afghanistan.

Keywords: Bazaar days; Bazaars; Dry yogurt; Flush toilets; Living conditions; Mud houses; Pilaf; Seasonal foods; Servants; Small towns; Toilets; Traveling merchants; Utilities; Wood-burning water heaters

Subjects: Afghanistan; Beef; Chickens; Diet; Dried tomatoes; Farmers; Food; Housing; Merchants; Mutton; Onions; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Afghanistan; Potatoes; Rice; Spices; Toilets; Villages; Winter

00:38:30 - Typical day of Peace Corps service

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Partial Transcript: --Um--let me go back a half a step. I--if you would, can you kind of describe what might have been a typical day--uh--you know, on the job?

Segment Synopsis: Schiffbauer describes the various activities he participated in during a typical day of his Peace Corps service in Afghanistan.

Keywords: "Factory City"; Afghan bread; Baghlan Agricultural High School (Kabul, Afghanistan); Bazaar days; Bazaars; Daily routines; Equipment; Experimental farms; Farsi; Finances; German Peace Corps volunteers; Government; Jobs; Living allowances; Movies; Peace Corps offices; Russian refugees; School resources; Socializing; Teaching equipment; Technical schools

Subjects: Afghanistan; Basketball courts; Bread; Breakfasts; Cooking; Culture; Diet; Education; English; English teachers; Food; Germans; High school; Interpersonal relations; Islam; Malaria; Manners and customs; Mosques; Muslims; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Afghanistan; Persian language; Projectors; Refugees; Religion; Rice; Russians; Salaries; School principals; Students; Sugar factories; Teachers; Teaching; Warehouses; Work

00:52:22 - Recreation

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Partial Transcript: That makes me think. --Um--what kind of--uh--travel or recreational things did you do while you were a volunteer?

Segment Synopsis: Schiffbauer talks about activities, projects, and travels he participated in for recreation during his Peace Corps service.

Keywords: Activities; Administrative government heads; Construction; Incarcerated women; Projects; Sub-governors; Taxis; Women's institutes

Subjects: Afghanistan; Afghans; Building; Climate; Heat; Ice cream; Kundūz (Afghanistan); Mazār-i Sharīf (Afghanistan); Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Afghanistan; Prisons; Public libraries; Recreation; Transportation; Travel; Wives; Women

00:56:09 - Interactions with other volunteers/memorable stories

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Partial Transcript: Did you--uh--did you have--uh--much interaction with other Peace Corps volunteers?

Segment Synopsis: Schiffbauer talks about how much interaction he had with other Peace Corps volunteers in the area during his service. He also shares memorable stories from his service.

Keywords: Community relations; Farsi language; Final exams; Friends; German Peace Corps volunteers; National independence; Performances; Puli Khumri (Afghanistan)

Subjects: Afghanistan; Colonization; Communication; Community relations; Dynamics; Friendship; Germans; Interpersonal relations; Jalālābād (Afghanistan); Kabul (Afghanistan); Language and languages; Memories; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Afghanistan; Performances; Persian language; Plays; Pul-e Khumrī (Afghanistan); Schools; Storytelling; Students; Teachers; Volunteers; Wives

01:04:50 - Transition from Peace Corps service to staff

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Partial Transcript: So your--your volunteer service--uh--was over some time in 1965. Did you come back--

Segment Synopsis: Schiffbauer talks about what it was like to transition from being a Peace Corps volunteer to a staff member. He talks about returning to the U.S. during that transition and shares his first impressions of his Peace Corps staff assignment.

Keywords: Adjustment period; First impressions; Life transitions; Moving

Subjects: Afghanistan; Career; Careers & opportunities; Cleanliness; Home; Housing; Kandahār (Afghanistan); National Peace Corps Association; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Afghanistan; Staff; Uniontown (Pa.); United States; Work

01:08:03 - Impact of Peace Corps service

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Partial Transcript: --Um--what--what do you think the--uh--impact of your Peace Corps service was on people in Afghanistan in--uh--two years?

Segment Synopsis: Schiffbauer talks about his and his wife's impacts on their students as teachers during their Peace Corps service. He talks about the impact of Peace Corps on his life and his career path in the coal business.

Keywords: Coal industry; Cultural immersion; Global development; Kabul University (Kabul, Afghanistan); Migration; Personal growth; Sales; Student advocacy; Student impacts; TESCO (Organization); USAID

Subjects: Afghanistan; Africa; Career; Careers; Careers & opportunities; Children; Coal; Coal gasification; Coal trade; Communication; Education; Education, Higher; English; English teachers; Immigration; Interpersonal relations; Kabul (Afghanistan); Kābul Pohantūn; Language and languages; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Afghanistan; Perspective; Russia; Sales; Schools; Storytelling; Students; Teachers; Teaching; United States. Agency for International Development; World views

01:30:12 - Afghanistan after 9/11

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Partial Transcript: So tell me--tell me something about what you did when you went back to Afghanistan af--after 9/11?

Segment Synopsis: Schiffbauer describes the conditions in Afghanistan from his perspective after 9/11. He talks about his participation in rehabilitating the health system in Afghanistan after 9/11.

Keywords: AHSEP; Afghan Health System Enhancement Program; Ailments; Deputy directors; Deputy directors for operations; Doctors; Enumerators; Grants; Health systems; Health systems agencies; Healthcare; Healthcare personnel; Healthcare treatments; Licensure; MSH; NGOs; Policy development; Policy implementation; Rural expansion; USAID

Subjects: Afghanistan; Afghans; Clinics; Diagnosis; Diseases; Education; Evaluation; Health education; Hospitals; Johns Hopkins University; Literacy; Management Sciences for Health (Firm); Medical care; Midwifery; Midwives; Non-governmental organizations; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Afghanistan; Physicians; Russia; September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001; Soviet Union; Storytelling; Surveys; Taliban; Training; United States. Agency for International Development; Women's hospitals

01:54:48 - Teaching at the American University of Afghanistan

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Partial Transcript: --Uh--and Judy was hired--uh--was the entire faculty of the newly formed American University of Afghanistan.

Segment Synopsis: Schiffbauer talks about how his wife was hired to teach at the American University of Afghanistan. He discusses joining her on the faculty after finishing his healthcare systems work.

Keywords: AISK; American International School of Kabul (Kabul, Afghanistan); Construction; Healthcare

Subjects: American University of Afghanistan; Building; Career; Careers & opportunities; Education; Education, Higher; English; English teachers; Faculty; Kabul (Afghanistan); Staff; Teachers; Teaching; Wives

01:57:45 - Work as Peace Corps staff

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Partial Transcript: --Uh--let me . . . let me take you back a couple of steps--uh--because I never did ask you more specifically about--uh--(clears throat)--that time period where you went back as a Peace Corps staff person in Afghanistan for--that was three years, right?

Segment Synopsis: Schiffbauer summarizes his work as Peace Corps staff after his service in the Peace Corps.

Keywords: Jobs; Land surveyors; Living allowances; Networking; Sites; Volunteer nurses

Subjects: Afghanistan; Career; Career moves; Careers & opportunities; Education; Farāh (Afghanistan); Herat (Afghanistan); Hospitals; Jalālābād (Afghanistan); Kandahār (Afghanistan); Land use; Nurses; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Afghanistan; Staff; Training; Volunteers; Work

02:05:27 - Overall impact and role of Peace Corps

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Partial Transcript: So--(Wilson sighs)--what do you--what do you think the overall impact of Peace Corps has been?

Segment Synopsis: Schiffbauer talks about Peace Corps' impactful collaborations with organizations and individuals outside of Peace Corps. Schiffbauer considers what the role of Peace Corps should be today.

Keywords: Beekeeping; Cultural exposure; Experts; MSH; Program development; Program effectiveness; Program evaluations; Program functions; Skills; Thinking patterns; Young people

Subjects: Afghanistan; Americans; Beekeepers; Culture; International relations; Management Sciences for Health (Firm); Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Afghanistan; Volunteers; World views; Youth