Where were you when…?

My wife's families have an e-mail network. One of her sisters asked what they remembered and were doing when John Kennedy was shot. My wife wasn't expecting much until a letter was posted that had been written by one of her uncles. My wife's uncle was a mechanic in Dallas and had serviced the car that Kennedy was riding in. The mayor of Dallas had gone on TV and talked about the bad reception for Adlai Stevenson in Dallas years earlier and urged all citizens to welcome President Kennedy with respect etc. It was a gem of a letter with a viewpoint not usually known .

I was thinking maybe we should solicit reports from our members with postings in our newsletter and website. And with some possibilities for placing them in the Peace Corps archives in libraries in Boston, Portland... ? Hopefully this will encourage more participation in making submissions to
Yachaspa and our website... Ken Rustad

Where were you when…? Ken Rustad

Where were you when…?
Carolyn Kinsman

On November 22, 1963 I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia. I was standing outside my office in a kiosk in the village of Chilimarca which had a toll pole to collect fees which were used to pay "peons" to maintain the farm-to-market road to the city of Cochabamba. This was done by pick and shovel, mostly to rebuild the section of the road which crossed an arroyo and was often washed out during the rainy season.

I and a local crew were taking a break from making CINVA-RAM blocks (compressed with ten parts dirt to one part cement and water.) A Mercedes car stopped after passing through the raised tronca.

The driver a man of German descent was walking back, leaving the car door open. As a member of the ruling revolutionary MNR party he had been able to retain about a hundred acres of his hacienda which was about the maximum allowed in the mountain areas of Bolivia by the Land Reform.

Recently, he had been the Bolivian Ambassador to Germany but had returned with a pregnant unmarried

daughter. He had never stopped or talked with me before.

In a solemn voice, he told me that President Kennedy had been shot and was dead.

I helped finish up another batch of CINVA-RAM blocks. News in Bolivia was not reliable. I remembered a radio account that Germany had attacked Great Britain with thousands of airplanes. I knew Germany had not had that number of airplanes since World War II and figured that someone had their signals crossed again. No half-rational explanation for Kennedy's assasination came to mind, however.

I went to the Peace Corps offices in Cochabamba which were on the fifth floor on the Hotel Ambassador, most of which was the roof where Peace Corps volunteers could often be found talking. I went into Peace Corps-Heifer Project administrator's office and asked if what I had heard was true.

The next thing we knew, Bolivians were showing up at the Peace Corps offices to express their condolences.

(Continued on page 8)

Oh, I remember so well.

I was a volunteer in Ayacucho, Peru, working with mostly Quechua speaking artisans to reclaim and preserve their folklore traditions. My husband at the time was designated as the volunteer coordinator for our area of the country, as we were quite removed from the central Peace Corps office in Lima.

We had gone to Lima, then, on Peace Corps business. I'm not sure, but I believe we went to pick up a Jeep that was being issued to us for use in going out to the sites of volunteers even more remotely located and for whom we had some level of responsibility.

We would be in Lima only a few days before making the approximately 24-hour trip back, the first half to Huancayo, 12,000 feet above Lima, then on to Ayacucho on a one-way, unpaved road along the Montaro River valley.

We were busy in Lima, picking up supplies, getting our instructions

(Continued on page 8)

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Volume 14, Issue 4

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