So well remembered — Judith & Michael Jerald (Turkey)

Judith Jerald

I received a note from Ken Hill (Turkey 1965-67) about the Instagram message from Judith Jerald (Turkey 1965-67) that he received and I contacted Judith who wrote back, “There are not many people who would be interested in this, but since many of you may have had similar experiences, I am sending it along to you.  It touched my heart and confirmed for me, once again, that although we were ( mostly) very young Volunteers, we perhaps had more of an impact on our students and neighbors than we thought at the time. It has been 50 years since we left Turkey, so I find this pretty amazing. Meral found me on Instagram, and the conversation we had is below.”

Hi Dear Judith this is Meral from Kozan.  |
If you are my teacher I will be very happy to find you. Because you have affected very much to our life by your kind dedicated work in small town, Kozan, Regards

Hi Meral.
Yes, I taught in Kozan in 1965-67. Tell me about yourself, please.

Hi My Dearest Teacher,
I am so happy. Thank you.  I was your neighbor very close to your home.  My father was your student too in your evening class for adults.  He was an agriculture officer, Durmus Sasoglu.  I attended to that class with my father very short time too.  Maybe you can remember or not, you with your husband visited our family at home.  We have loved all family.  Last year, Cemal mentioned about your visiting to Kozan again.

Dear Meral,
I do remember you and visiting your family. I wish we had seen you when we were in Kozan two years ago. Do you live in Kozan? Are you a doctor? Do you have children?  Your English is very good!  I miss Turkey and especially our Kozan friends.  We hope we can come visit again.  It is difficult now because of all the politics in both the US and in Turkey.

My Dearest Teacher,
I wish we had seen in Kozan. But I am living in Istanbul.  My parents are with me now.  Thank you, my language is not perfect but I am trying. Yes, I am a dermatologist. Prof. on dermatology. Now I am working on R&D some problem in my lab at Bosphorus University.  I have twin boys 36 y. married.  I divorced more than 25 years ago. We have never forgotten you.  Because you did a very good thing in our country. We saw your good treating to us we were so little children. You invited to your home often with your kindness and love.  Thank you.  My parents say their greeting to you and your husband too.  Regards.

Dear Meral,
you are very kind and bring tears to my eyes.  We loved teaching you and all the children in Kozan.  The people of Kozan were so good to us, especially our neighbors.

Please do not cry my teacher, because you are very nice people gave us very good things.  These are not seen by eyes but affected our mind.  Please pride yourself.  Thank you for everything.




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  • As a former teacher AND parent of a RPCV, this communication brings tears and hope.
    The wording, …You did a very good thing in our country says it all.
    Thank you for sharing and caring.
    Meg, San Diego County

  • I taught 80 boys in Eritrea (then part of Ethiopia) from ’62 to ’64. I’m still in touch with 13 of those who are still alive. They are all refugees, but doing OK. One of them has been a full-time revolutionary, trying to overthrow Eritrea’s drunken dictator, for half -a century. He is now the head of the Eirtrean Liberation Front. I’m hoping to bring him to the US next year for a speaking tour. Another ex-student called me the day before yesterday from Saudi Arabia to express his condolences over Charlottesville. One of his classmate makes $140,000 a year selling BMWs to the Saudis. We met twice in Europe when he brought his kids to seen Paris and Amsterdam. Other students are living in Stockholm, Qatar, Houston, Tucson, Richmond and Beltimore. My great Eritrean boss, Sheikh Hamid Mohammed el-Hadi is living in eastern Sudan at age 93. Five years ago a large group of us returned to Addis Ababa for our 50th reunion. We were welcomed by the then President of the Republic of Ethiopia in the same room that His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie used to welcome us all those years ago. Last week I had dinner in Philadelphia with one of my fellow volunteers, and the week before that I had dinner at her son’s restaurant (Tavern on the Green) in New York. It’s amazing to have all these good people still in my life.

    On June 10 my husband and I marched in the Gay Pride parade in DC. We planned to march with the New York City Gay Mens Chorus, of which I’m a member, but we lined up right behind the Peace Corps group. I chatted with some of the RPCVs in that group – a bunch of kids just back from Mongolia or wherever. One of them asked if I had been a volunteer. I replied that I was sworn in by JFK on the South Lawn with Jackie waving from the balcony. She asked me if I would carry the Peace Corps’ banner in the parade. I was followed by RPCVs carrying the flags of all of the countries that have received volunteers. My husband, a Jordanian, walked up to the woman who was carrying his country’s flag and he said: “I’m Jordanian.” “Then carry your country’ flag”, she replied. Next day as we were driving home from DC, I asked him if he understood how wonderful it felt to carry the PC’s flag in that parade. “Yes”, he responded. “Do you have any idea how wonderful it felt to carry the Jordanian flag in that parade?” Touche’, my love, you win that discussion.

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