I watched a documentary yesterday entitled “Once in Afghanistan” that was produced by Jill Vickers (Afghanistan 1968). The documentary was done by Jill’s company Dirt Road Documentaries, and it is about 17 women who survive 3-months of Training (36 started) on an Indian reservation in Arizona and then they went to Afghanistan to vaccinate woman against small pox. The film is basically a series of quick interviews of these women. They recall themselves as young woman fresh out of college and off on this new adventure, the Peace Corps.
It is a wonderful case history; it is a long conversation; it is a reflection of another time and place, and it is a look at how these women-now in their sixties — had their lives shaped and changed by having once upon a time been Peace Corps Volunteers.
For those of us who made similar journeys there is not a lot new in what the woman say, but there is a lot of nodding in agreement at their comments about their PCV lives, and a lot of whispered, “me too” when we hear what they went through as Volunteers.
None of them think that they did anything special. They just did at the time something very different. They didn’t get married right after college, as so many other women did. They didn’t have children and a family and settle down like many generations of women had done before them. No, they went into the Peace Corps, which was still brand new and exciting and difficult and no one knew really what it was all about. They were pioneers. But still today, they are very humble about what they achieved, and what they went endured to save women and children in remote and isolated villages half way around the world. This was a difficult Peace Corps assignment, but you don’t hear that in their voices.
The documentary is 70 minutes long. It is like watching PBS all afternoon. But that’s okay. The women have a lot of good things to say that Americans should hear today.
“Once in Afghanistan” is a wonderful and effective Peace Corps training film. It is a wonderful film for high school and college students, for women’s groups, for anyone who is thinking about the Peace Corps. It is a film Michelle and Barack might want to show their daughters, and their daughters’ friends.
For more about the film go to Dirt Road Documentaries.
The film is for sale if you are interested in it, for yourself, school, or women’s group, I would suggest you contact Jill Vickers.
The address of Dirt Road Documentaries is:
4409 Town Line Road
Bridport, Vt 05734
You can also reach Jill at: jvickers [at] gmavt [dot] net
Tell her, “Coyne sent you.”