Where were you when…   Carolyn Kinsman    (continued from p. 5)

from the PC office, and seeing a few volunteers friends stationed there.

On this particular day, we were headed to the U.S. Embassy for a purpose I can no longer remember. Lima's streets were crowded and filled with the sound of frustrated collectivo drivers beating on car doors as an alternative to horn
honking, which was prohibited. We had the windows rolled up to protect
against fumes in the slow-moving traffic.

Things were nearly at a standstill when a large city bus pulled up on the passenger side of our vehicle and I heard someone shouting. I looked up; the bus driver was waving his arm out the window and shouting something, obviously at me. I rolled the window down to ask what he wanted, and he said: "Han matado a su presidente."  They have killed your
president. I was sure I didn't really hear him -- or perhaps I just couldn't
believe what I was hearing. In must have looked very confused. And again he shouted, "Han matada a su presidente; han matado a Kennedy."

The traffic began to creep forward, and the bus moved on. My heart was
pounding; I told my husband what

the bus driver had said, and getting to the embassy became even more important, to find out if this was true or just some strange misunderstanding.

As we neared the embassy, the traffic became more intense; and when the building was in sight, it was surrounded by throngs of people, all clamoring to get in the gates. We stopped the car and got out to become part of the mass on foot, all of us having such a need to be present. For what? To have the story retracted? To have our disbelief confirmed? It seemed so impossible.

I recall little of our Lima activities after that. I'm sure we continued in a kind of shock.

My next powerful recollection was the first morning back in Ayacucho when I went to the central marketplace to purchase the day's food. I turned down the aisle to visit the "tomato lady" who always saved fine, red fruit for me and gave me a "yapita" (a little extra), and whose babies I loved to tease and hold.
She was coming toward me, tears streaming down her cheeks.  "Mataron a Kennedy, mataron a su presidente," she wept. She put her arms around me -- this woman who

spoke so little Spanish that we hardly could communicate beyond counting tomatoes and soles to pay for them -- and we cried.

The loss of John F. Kennedy was a tremendous blow to me -- the beginning of a particular kind of loss of innocence, which would be intensified by the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy. Both of those events occurred when I was later living independently in Peru, after completion of my
Peace Corps volunteer service. But the intensity of my dear tomato lady's response to the killing of JFK, and the enormous, genuine outpouring of grief by the indigenous people with whom I worked, have always stood for me as evidence of the importance of one man's vision and its power to ignite the hopes and passions of a world. I long for that experience of connection and hope, across
boundaries, again.

Carolyn Kinsman
Peru '63-'65

Where were you when…   Ken Rustad    (continued from p. 5)

For the most part, they by-passed the large US Consulate offices on the first floor. As more and more Volunteers came into verify the news, they were put into the reception lines.

The rooftop was soon too small to accommodate them and lines extended to the street. Most of us were asked if this meant we would be leav

ing Bolivia. We tried to explain that the permanence of institutions was a trademark of democracy and did not come and go with each change of presidents. Most of us, including non-Catholics went to a Requiem Mass for President Kennedy. In spite of our extreme idealism, the Peace Corps has had strong bi-partisan support with a few exceptions (proposed

budget cuts that almost always have been voted down.)

I did have a secondary negative experience. This involved the United States Information Service (U.S.I.S) which the last I heard was known as the United States Information Agency (U.S.I.A.)

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