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Ohio Wesleyan, Strand Theatre Host ‘Once in Afghanistan’
Documentary Recounts Experiences of Women Peace Corps Volunteers 40 Years Ago

November 17, 2008

DELAWARE, OHIO – Seventeen women recount their life-changing experiences as Peace Corps vaccinators in rural Afghanistan in the new documentary, “Once in Afghanistan.” The 70-minute film will be screened at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at The Strand Theatre, 28 E. Winter St. The event is free and open to the public.

Three women featured in the documentary are scheduled to attend the event and answer audience questions afterward. These women include film director Jill Vickers of Bridport, Vt., and former Peace Corps volunteer Rita Hackett of Seattle. Hackett is the sister of Ohio Wesleyan University sociology professor Mary Howard, Ph.D.

The event is sponsored by Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, International Studies Program, Film Studies Program, and student chapter of Amnesty International.

“The film provides a perspective on Afghanistan that most of us don’t have,” said Howard, who spent time in Afghanistan with her sister in the early 1970s.

Like many of the women interviewed in the film, Howard recalls the tremendous caring and hospitality of the Afghan people once they came to know the Peace Corps volunteers and understand their life-saving mission of administering smallpox vaccine.

“Now we think of Afghanistan in terms of the post-Sept. 11 world,” Howard said, with people angry and afraid of the Taliban and, by extension, the Afghan people as a whole.

“Oftentimes crises make the world black and white,” she said. “This film helps to make the world more complex and gives a better understanding of the Afghan culture.”

Click here to read more about “Once in Afghanistan” and view the film’s trailer.

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university’s 1,850 students come from 47 states and 50 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.