Boston Area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers


Kristina Engstrom | Afghanistan Training Staff 1968-1970

Kristina has had an extensive career in education and training in international settings, first as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and later as a trainer and developer for the Peace Corps, WHO, UNICEF, U.S. State Department, and many non-governmental organizations. Kristina was training director for the Peace Corps’ all-female vaccinator program depicted in the film “Once in Afghanistan,” as well as other programs, and moved to Kabul in 1969 to establish an in-country training center for volunteers. Kristina’s ongoing work with international organizations focuses on public health issues and the design of training programs and curriculum. As a writing consultant for contractors of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Kristina published the field guide “Immunization Essentials” in 2003. She recently traveled to WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland to participate in the 30th anniversary celebration of the worldwide eradication of smallpox. Kristina is an independent consultant and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. 

Deezie Stebbins | Afghanistan, 1969-1971

Jane Flower (aka Deezie Stebbins) served with the second group of Peace Corps smallpox vaccinators in Afghanistan from 1969 to 1971. She worked with male Afghan vaccinators in the northern part of the country, vaccinating women and children.  For the last six months, she worked in the Ministry of Health in Kabul, submitting reports to WHO.

After returning from Afghanistan, she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and moved with her husband to Costa Rica where she taught and helped run a small finca.  She has lived in Maine since 1973, teaching and volunteering in a variety of capacities.  Her husband, two children, three grandchildren and dog keep her busy and entertained.

Producer: Jill Vickers | Afghanistan, 1969-1970

Jill Vickers was a member of the second group of Peace Corps volunteers that served as smallpox vaccinators in Afghanistan from 1969 to 1970. This assignment seemed like a stretch for an English major who at the time thought Afghanistan must be in Africa, where she’d requested to serve. Actually it was more like a quantum leap to a different time and place, and it has taken years to absorb the impact of the experience.
After a long career teaching language in various contexts and grade levels in rural New York State and then a move to a new home in Vermont, Jill began shooting and editing for her local community access TV channel. Her mentor encouraged her to begin taping the stories of the women in her Peace Corps group, and thus began “Once in Afghanistan,” the documentary, about her Peace Corps experience.  It premiered in Vermont in the fall of 2008 after a sneak preview at the Peace Corps gathering in Fort Collins, CO that summer. It has been shown in dozens and dozens of venues large and small across the country, and all proceeds from admissions, honorariums, and donations, and profits from sales go to Afghan charities.
Jill has continued video work with the Vermont Movie, a collaborative film project premiering next spring. She lives outside Middlebury with her husband and dog and can often be found on her way into town to a yoga studio and the public access television studio.


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