By Erica Burman on Friday, September 26th, 2008
One of the best things about RPCVs is the truly fascinating stories they have to share and the things we can learn from those stories. Dirt Road Documentaries, headed by RPCV Jill Vickers and Jody Bergedick, created a documentary about the experience of vaccinator teams in Afghanistan in the late 1960s.
The documentary, called Once in Afghanistan, focuses on spreading a message of understanding through the story of unlikely encounters and cultural lessons. Vickers (Afghanistan 68-70) was inspired to create the documentary after a group reunion. “I was floored by some of the women’s stories from their lives after Peace Corps, and I wanted to hear all of the stories,” she said.
The project not only serves to educate people about some fascinating events in Afghanistan, it also has helped bring together RPCVs. “This project of interviewing, collecting and digitizing all the photos taken by group members in Afghanistan, and of making them into a story has widened and deepened relationships with group members,” Vickers said. “We now know more about each other, write and call more often, and spend more face time together.”
She also says making this documentary is a way to reconnect with her own Peace Corps experience. Since starting her work on Once in Afghanistan, Vickers has found that while learning about and working to share the stories and histories of others, her understanding of her own has been enhanced. “My experience and its impact feel more immediate and more accessible to me. It has empowered me to act to raise awareness of the Afghans, their history, their wants and needs, and to raise money to help with some ongoing projects there.”
To learn more about the documentary and for a list of screenings, visit www.dirtroaddocumentaries.com