Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Evonne Weatherby, February 4, 2021

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

 

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00:00:03 - Life before the Peace Corps

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Partial Transcript: Today is February 4th, 2021. This is Randolph Adams who served in the Dominican Republic from 1966 to 1969 and I am interviewing Evonne Weatherby who was in Peace Corps--uh, a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay from July 1972 to August 1974 in the health sector.

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby describes her life in California with her family and talks about her college experience. She mentions how she first heard about the Peace Corps. She talks about the application process for the Peace Corps and her reaction to getting assigned to Paraguay.

Keywords: Application process; Background checks; College; College credits; Family; Outdoors; References; Traveling

Subjects: California.; Camping.; Families.; Home economics.; Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963.; Marine biology.; Paraguay; Peace Corps (U.S.); Travel.; Universities and colleges.

00:04:53 - How her parents reacted to her joining Peace Corps

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Partial Transcript: What was the, uh, uh, reaction of your parents?

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby talks about her parents and describes how they reacted to her wanting to join the Peace Corps.

Keywords: College; Family; Heart attacks; Reactions; Traveling

Subjects: Families.; Parents.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Travel.; Universities and colleges.

00:06:29 - Language and technical training in Ponce, Puerto Rico

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Partial Transcript: So now you're on your way to Paraguay. Uh, you heard about your assignment in May, when did you actually leave for the country?

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby talks about training in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and living with a family who almost entirely spoke Spanish. She talks about being taught to speak Spanish by Puerto Ricans and describes her technical training. She talks about having to learn the native language, Guaraní, since very few people spoke Spanish.

Keywords: Beaches; Flying; Food; Guaraní (Language); Host families; Language training; Native languages; Puerto Ricans; Puerto Rico; Spanish (Language); Technical training; Training

Subjects: Airplanes.; Bolivia.; Convents.; Flight.; Language and culture.; Language and languages; Nutritionists; Paraguay; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Paraguay; Ponce (Puerto Rico); Spanish language.

00:14:33 - Cultural training / Arriving at her assigned village

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Partial Transcript: In, um, retrospect, how did learning about culture in Puerto Rico help you with the culture in--in Paraguay.

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby talks about her cultural training and how it wasn't as beneficial as it could have been. She talks about arriving in her village for the first time and not feeling adequately prepared. She describes her living conditions in her village in Paraguay. She talks about being sent to a different village because of safety concerns in her previous one.

Keywords: Choré, Paraguay; Cultural training; Living conditions; Local resources; Puerto Ricans; Remote villages; Rural conditions; Tarmac

Subjects: Choré (Paraguay); Cooking.; Culture shock.; Culture.; Horses.; Latin America.; Lifestyles.; Paraguay; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Paraguay

00:23:37 - Being sent to a new village

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Partial Transcript: Uh, the new village was Quiíndy, um, and it was right on the tarmac. Um, my house was a block away from the main road through the country and so it made travel much easier to get into the, um, into the capital.

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby talks about being sent to Quiíndy in Paraguay after the Peace Corps had concerns with her last village. She talks about some of the work she did there, including starting a club and working to improve nutrition in the area. She talks about becoming friends with a doctor and setting up a desk in the local health center.

Keywords: Clubs; Doctors; Gardening; Health centers; Quiíndy, Paraguay; Soybeans

Subjects: Cooking.; Embroidery.; Food habits.; Lifestyles.; Nutrition.; Nutritionists; Paraguay; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Paraguay; Physicians.; Quiíndy (Paraguay); Villages.

00:28:32 - The school she worked in / The culture in Quiíndy

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Partial Transcript: The school you were working in, uh, how large was that?

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby talks about teaching at the local school and having to teach in Spanish. She talks about teaching some of the students English. She talks about having to adjust to being in a different culture and tells some stories about her time in Paraguay.

Keywords: Colleagues; English classes; Guaraní (Language); Hot water; Insults; Quiíndy, Paraguay; Running water; Showers; Spanish (Language); Tarmac

Subjects: Acculturation; Culture.; Education.; English language.; Home economics.; Language and languages.; Manners and customs.; Paraguay; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Paraguay; Quiíndy (Paraguay); Schools.; Students.; Teachers.; Teaching.

00:38:52 - Addressing local issues / Dealing with homesickness

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Partial Transcript: At night you would see young girls--you'd go to the, the stores, um, that had little o--like a little bakery or the hardware store and you'd see women sewing at night by lantern. Not by electrical light.

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby talks about working to improve the lighting in people's houses so girls wouldn't ruin their eyesight while sewing. She talks about keeping a journal and sending letters and tapes to her family while she was in Paraguay.

Keywords: Colleagues; Electric lights; Eyesight; Friends; Friendships; Journaling; Lanterns; Tapes

Subjects: Homesickness.; Letters.; Lifestyles; Light bulbs; Lighting.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Paraguay; Sewing.

00:44:10 - Traveling while in the Peace Corps

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Partial Transcript: But Paraguay was, um, beautiful. It was hot. I remember it being very, very hot in the summer. But the second summer was easier because I was more used to the weather.

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby briefly talks about the weather in Paraguay and about traveling during her time in the Peace Corps.

Keywords: Experiences; Traveling

Subjects: Chickens.; Paraguay; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Paraguay; South America.; Transportation.; Travel.; Weather.

00:46:48 - Life after leaving Paraguay / Teaching in Malawi

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Partial Transcript: Uh, because I, I went back to school. When I came back from Paraguay, I went back to school and got my master's degree in special ed. And I taught for a few years, uh--quite a few years in, uh, in the States as a special ed teacher.

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby talks about leaving Paraguay and going back to school to get a master's degree in special education. She talks about teaching English in China for a few years. She talks about using her background in teaching and special education when she went to Malawi to teach.

Keywords: Attendance; College; Graduate schools; Language training; Life skills; Master's degrees; Teacher training; Teaching skills; Training modules

Subjects: China.; Home economics.; Language and languages.; Malawi.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Malawi; Peace Corps (U.S.)--Paraguay; Schools.; Special education.; Students.; Teachers.; Teaching.; Universities and colleges.

01:01:27 - The climate in Malawi / Projects she did with her students

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Partial Transcript: Uh, Malawi was one of the most interesting places I ever went to because it was so diverse. They had mountains and cold, cold weather. There was like 7, 8 thousand foot elevation in some parts. Uh, some parts were very hot, Savannah places.

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby talks about traveling in Malawi and describes the weather and the environment there. She talks about some of the projects she had her students do when she taught in Malawi and the ways she worked to help them bring in more of an income. She briefly talks about a man who guarded her property at night.

Keywords: Communities; Fish species; Lake Malawi; Local resources; Projects; School uniforms; Sustainability; Traveling; Wildlife preservation

Subjects: Climate.; Education.; Malawi.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Malawi; Sewing.; Students.; Teachers.; Teaching.; Travel.; Villages.; Weather.

01:12:12 - Training teachers in Malawi

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Partial Transcript: What was the original focus of the education project that you were assigned to? Was it actually special ed or was it more broad? You said teacher training, but was it teacher training in a specific subject or teacher training as, as method?

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby describes the program she developed to train teachers in Malawi.

Keywords: English teachers; Methods; Teacher training; Training

Subjects: Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Malawi; Schools.; Special education.; Teachers.; Teaching.

01:14:27 - Her methods of teaching the students and families

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Partial Transcript: Second question is, what is realia?

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby explains what realia is in terms of teaching and talks a little about her methods of teaching. She talks about working with the families to give the students more opportunities and increase attendance in school. She talks about working with people to help them start saving their money instead of spending it all as soon as they got it.

Keywords: Attendance; Economics; Peace Corps training; Realia; Saving money; Teaching methods

Subjects: Culture.; Education.; English language.; Families.; Finance.; Lifestyles.; Malawi.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Malawi; Students.; Teachers.; Teaching.

01:26:27 - Making friends with the other teachers

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Partial Transcript: One of my fun experiences that I had there was I made friends with two--special friends with two of the lady teachers there. And we would take our walk to the ocean--we called Lake Malawi the ocean because we were too far from the ocean to go there actually.

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby talks about some of the relationships she built while in Malawi.

Keywords: Colleagues; Friends; Friendships; Relationships

Subjects: Interpersonal relations; Parents.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Malawi; Teachers.

01:28:03 - How Malawi was different from Paraguay

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Partial Transcript: How would you compare your service in Malawi to Paraguay in terms of were there additional lessons you learned from the Peace Corps service?

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby describes how volunteering and training in Malawi were different than Paraguay. She talks about how she changed in the years after leaving Paraguay and how that helped her in Malawi.

Keywords: Chichewa (Language); Communication; Cultural training; Emotional maturity; Host families; Language training; Nyanja (Language); Resources; Traditional foods; Training

Subjects: Culture.; Families.; Language and languages.; Lifestyles.; Paraguay.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Malawi; Peace Corps (U.S.)--Paraguay; Travel.

01:37:48 - Volunteering in Ukraine / How her Peace Corps experiences impacted her family

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Partial Transcript: Um, we have about twenty minutes left--(coughs)--on the, on the, um--this program. Uh, do you want to talk a little about Ukraine?

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby talks about volunteering with the Peace Corps for a third time in Ukraine. She talks about learning Russian and staying with a host family in Ukraine. She talks about some of her experiences teaching at a university. She describes how her children and family felt about her volunteering in other countries.

Keywords: Artwork; Colleges; English teachers; Learning; Russian (Language); Teaching methods; Traveling; Universities; Volunteering

Subjects: Culture.; Education.; Families.; Interpersonal relations; Letters.; Malawi.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Ukraine; Russia.; Russian language.; Students.; Teaching.; Travel.; Voluntarism.

01:53:30 - Life after the Peace Corps

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Partial Transcript: What are you doing now in retirement?

Segment Synopsis: Weatherby talks about her lifestyle after the Peace Corps and how her past experiences have impacted her life. She encourages people to travel and educate themselves in the future.

Keywords: Learning; Living conditions; Recycling; Traveling

Subjects: Lifestyles.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Self-confidence.; Sustainability.; Travel.