Interview with Jessica Rosenberg, December 13, 2021
Project: Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project
Interview SummaryJessica Rosenberg and her (then) new husband went to the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, following their 1968 Oberlin graduation. After language and rudimentary pedagogy training with Micro7 in Laura village, Majuro atoll, they traveled to “outer islands” on a copra trading ship to teach elementary and middle school ESL on Likiep and Wotje atolls. Jessica also coached women about birth control and handicraft marketing. Her husband taught men square measurement math skills they needed for work with new imported building materials. The islanders initiated discussions about current events and the Vietnam War, and they were concerned with and still experience serious medical consequences of radiation from US nuclear testing. Nevertheless, the Marshallese were welcoming and generous. Peace Corps provided no health coverage for Jessica’s pregnancy at the end of her service and afterwards. Her cultural sensitivity skills proved invaluable in her career as a MSW psychotherapist in Massachusetts and Wisconsin. After 50 years of little interaction, the RPCVs of Micro7/Marshalls reunited in person in 2018 and now have frequent Internet contact, hoping to find continuing ways to serve the Marshallese people, who face climate change, cultural loss, and ongoing radiation issues.
Interview KeywordPeace Corps (U.S.) Republic of the Marshall Islands (country of service) 1968-70 (years of service) Education and Community Development (Peace Corps Volunteer job) Oberlin College Margaret Meade Escondido, CA (staging) Island Hopper (airline) Guam Majuro Laura (village) Micronesia J. F. Kennedy National Geographic Fiji and Western Samoa (alternate sites) Marshallese (language) shortwave radio (communication) birth control square measure math skills Vietnam War handicrafts marketing cowrie shells English as a Second Language Likiet atoll Wotje atoll colonialism pandanas (plants for roof) WWII ordinance (demolition) diabetes radiation hydrogen bomb test 1956 infertility nuclear claims tribunal modernization crime climate change Springdale, Arkansas Oregon banana allergy healer incantation fish poisoning Kwajalein Stop the War in Vietnam curriculum development public shaming University of New Mexico Boston Raging Grannies Rhea Moss Christian Princeton, NJ northern Wisconsin Boston University Cambridge, MA
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Rosenberg, Jessica Interview by John Croes. 13 Dec. 2021. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Rosenberg, J. (2021, December 13). Interview by J. Croes. Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Rosenberg, Jessica, interview by John Croes. December 13, 2021, Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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