Serving in the First Year – Addis and Jim Chapman, West Pakistan 1961-63

 

Photos from Addis and Jim’s Service

Addis and Jim Chapman’s Peace Corps Story

Where and when did you serve? What did you do?

We served in what was then West Pakistan from 1961-63. Ours was the first multidisciplinary project in PC — nurses, teachers, lab techs, librarian, agriculture specialists, even a brick mason. Jobs for the most part were poorly thought out, so most of us had to create our own. Addis was an RN, started working in a govt. hospital in Lyallpur, but had nothing to do. She then created a program to evaluate jobs requesting future PCVs to insure the jobs actually existed. Next she worked with Jim at a rural clinic in Bucheki treating up to 90 patients a day, ad finally ran a hospital operating room in Sialkot. Jim was assigned to a veterinary college in Lahore with no defined responsibilities (totally unqualified, anyway), then helped to restore a crumbling 17th century Moghul bridge, taught medical microbiology to lab students in a mission hospital in Lahore, then on to the rural clinic with Addis, finally trained graduate doctors in new, improved syphilis serology techniques at med school in Larhore.

What is one of your favorite Peace Corps memories?

Probably when village headman invited us to photograph him and his wife (she was in purdah, so not to be seen unveiled by other adult males). They came to our little courtyard outside the clinic, she removed her veil, and Jim took their picture. (See photo — at this point she probably wouldn’t mind!) This was the point at which we finally knew we had been accepted in the village and could be trusted.

What is one of your least favorite Peace Corps memories?

Aside from the illnesses which were legion (Addis had amoebic hepatitis; Jim had malaria, severe foot infection; both had many bouts of dysentery, both amoebic and bacterial). Probably the least favorite experience, or at least most discouraging, was leaving our village after a corrupt doctor was assigned and we felt we could not have either ourselves or the Peace Corps associated with this jerk and undo all the good will we had developed.

What do you miss about Peace Corps?

First and foremost, the other PCVs, with whom we forged lifelong bonds (we have had regular reunions every few years since our return). The villagers, especially the children, and how they accepted us and learned to trust us (and, we hope, learned from us.).

What is something you learned in the Peace Corps?

An appreciation for other cultures, other religions. Living for two years in a Muslim country taught us that people are much the same the world over even though they might look different, dress different, speak different, and possibly even think differently. Plus, or course, a love for travel.

Do you have a favorite quote or local saying that you’d like to share?

Probably nothing better than “Salaam Alaikum,” the universal greeting among Muslims. Loosely translated it means, “Peace be upon you.” This greeting has opened doors and made friends for us during our travels (e.g. Turkey, Morocco) and even her in the U.S. It also is a recognition of the common God among those of the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths.

 

 

 

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