Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Elizabeth Yi, October 23, 2020

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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00:00:02 - Introduction / Joining the Peace Corps

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Partial Transcript: Uh, this is Evelyn Ganzglass.

Segment Synopsis: Evelyn Ganzglass, a former Peace Corps volunteer, interviews Elizabeth Yi, who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin. This segment serves as an introduction to how Yi gained interest in joining the Peace Corps.

Keywords: Benin; Colleges; Education; Graduate; Peace Corps; Students; University; Volunteers

Subjects: Benin; Community and health services; Culture; Education.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Benin; Universities and colleges.; Voluntarism; Volunteers

00:02:47 - Reaction from family and friends to her joining Peace Corps

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Partial Transcript: What did your family think about this?

Segment Synopsis: Elizabeth Yi is asked about what her friends and family thought about her joining the Peace Corps.

Keywords: Family; Friends; Letters; Peace Corps; Reactions; Travel; Volunteers

Subjects: Families.; Friends; Letter writing.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Travel.

00:04:53 - Details about training and staging

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Partial Transcript: So, uh, where did you, um, meet up? Where, where was the staging in this country?

Segment Synopsis: Yi talks about her staging location before moving to her assigned country. She also provides insight on her training, learning the native language, and cultural assimilation.

Keywords: Benin; Culture; Culture assimilation; International travel; Language; Peace Corps; Training; Travel

Subjects: Acculturation; Benin; Communication and culture; Culture; Intercultural communication; Language and culture; Language and languages; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Benin; Volunteers

00:10:00 - Health volunteer focus: Family planning and childhood nutrition

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Partial Transcript: My, and most of the, um, uh, the health volunteer focus, was on, uh, community health.

Segment Synopsis: Yi details the focus of her work in Benin, specifically with family planning, raising awareness of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV, as well as childhood health and nutrition.

Keywords: Benin; Childhood heath; Childhood nutrition; Children; Health; Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS); Human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV); Nutrition; Peace Corps; Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

Subjects: Benin; Child health; Child nutrition; Children.; Community health services; HIV infections.; Health.; Nutrition.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Benin; Public health; STDs (Diseases); Sexual health.; Sexually transmitted diseases.; Volunteer workers in community health services; Volunteers

00:12:37 - Living quarters

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Partial Transcript: So let me--did you live with a family while you were in training?

Segment Synopsis: Yi details where she lived while training for the Peace Corps, including the family she stayed with, details about the towns, and her living quarters.

Keywords: Benin; Home; Huts; Living quarters; Peace Corps; Towns

Subjects: Benin.; Families; Housing.; Interpersonal relations; Lifestyles; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Benin

00:18:35 - Details about her job

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Partial Transcript: And what was, um--for whom did you work in this community?

Segment Synopsis: Yi describes her work, specifically with mothers, children, people with disabilities, and orphans.

Keywords: Benin; Children; Health; Mothers; Orphans; Polio

Subjects: Benin; Children.; Community health services; Families; Health.; Mothers.; Orphans; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Benin; People with disabilities.; Polio; Volunteer workers in community health services; Volunteers

00:20:24 - Supervisor in Benin / Job description / Preparedness amongst other volunteers

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Partial Transcript: So, uh, you had a Benin, uh, supervisor, I guess.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Yi shares details about her supervisor in Benin, more details about her job, and information about her fellow volunteers in Benin.

Keywords: Benin; Community health services; Families; Health; Interpersonal communication and culture; Peace Corps; Volunteers

Subjects: Benin; Community health services; Families; Interpersonal communication and culture; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Benin; Public health; Volunteer workers in community health services

00:26:22 - Religion in Benin / Religious and cultural norms / Being an Asian American woman in Benin

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Partial Transcript: So, multi--so was this a, a Muslim community where you were?

Segment Synopsis: Yi shares the various religions present in Benin and the resulting religious and cultural norms. Additionally, she talks about her experience living in Benin as a Korean American woman.

Keywords: Asian American women; Asian Americans; Attitudes; Benin; Catholic; Cultural norms; Escorts; Gender roles; Korean Americans; Marriage; Marriage proposals; Multiple wives; Muslim; Peace Corps; Pentecostal; Polygamy; Protestant; Religion; Religious norms; Sex workers; Stereotypical Americans; Volunteers; Voodoo; West African Vodun

Subjects: Benin; Culture; Lifestyles; Manners and customs; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Benin; Religion.; Social norms.

00:34:37 - Diversity in the Peace Corps

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Partial Transcript: What was the mix of Peace Corps volunteers? Was there diversity in, in your group?

Segment Synopsis: Yi describes the diversity amongst Peace Corps volunteers.

Keywords: Diversity; Peace Corps; Volunteer workers in community health services; Volunteers

Subjects: Benin; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Benin; Voluntarism; Volunteer workers in community health services

00:38:09 - Friends of Benin program / Currency / Assisting women in the community

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Partial Transcript: So, you were--you benefitted from the Friends of Benin program, even before you--when you were there?

Segment Synopsis: Yi is asked about the Friends of Benin programming and the benefits she saw from it. Additionally, she details converting currency and assisting women in the community.

Keywords: Benin; Currency; Friends of Benin; Peace Corps; Volunteers; Women

Subjects: Benin; Families; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Benin; Voluntarism; Volunteer workers in community health services

00:40:50 - Travel experience

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Partial Transcript: So, so, you did that for two years. Did you get to travel around the country?

Segment Synopsis: Yi shares stories of her travels while working for the Peace Corps in Benin.

Keywords: Benin; Peace Corps; Safari; Travel

Subjects: Benin; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Benin; Travel.

00:43:09 - Relationships with members of the community

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Partial Transcript: Did you get lonely?

Segment Synopsis: Yi shares how she developed relationships with members of the community in Benin. Additionally, she provides an anecdote about when she was leaving the country, but security thought her passport was fake.

Keywords: Benin; Community; Friendships; Interpersonal relationships; Passport; Peace Corps; Relationships; Security

Subjects: Benin; International travel; Interpersonal communication and culture; Interpersonal relationships.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Benin; Relationships.

00:47:00 - Work after returning from the Peace Corps / Reflections

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Partial Transcript: So, when you came back, did you then go straight to graduate school?

Segment Synopsis: Yi talks about her work since leaving the Peace Corps. Additionally, she provides reflections on how her work in the Peace Corps prepared her for her later life.

Keywords: Education; Graduate schools; International; International travel; International work; Niger; Peace Corps; Work

Subjects: Education.; International travel.; Niger; Peace Corps (U.S.); Work.; World politics.