Boston Area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

Belmont World Film presents: "Once in Afghanistan"

Feb 17 2011 - 7:30pm - 9:30pm

A film by 
Jill Vickers and Jody Bergedick

website  |  Listen to a VPR broadcast interview about the film  | calendar


Location: Studio Cinema at 376 Trapelo Road.  Movie will start at 7:30PM. 


About the Movie

After 9/11, a group of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers documented their stories and images in the film “Once in Afghanistan.” They’d served in Afghanistan before the decades of violence began and still vividly recalled the hospitality of the people. The American women had joined teams of Afghan male vaccinators stationed either over the Hindu Kush Mountains north of Kabul or in the southern, more conservative part of this Muslim country. It was 1969 and the World Health Organization had made eradication of smallpox its top priority. Struggling with the challenges of vaccinating in a country of high mountains and vast deserts where many of the Afghan women and older girls could not be seen, much less vaccinated, by a male outside her family, the Peace Corps vaccinators began work. They got to the villages by jeep and proceeded on foot, going house-by-house and then village-by-village to cover an area. They stayed overnight with their team in family compounds and ate whatever the host family provided. 

Through the generosity of its viewers, the group has raised over $12,000 for Afghan charities. Their stories, from interviews and photographs, make people smile, shudder and also feel hopeful that today, when messages of hate travel faster and farther than ever before, this message of understanding can be felt so deeply and shared so completely. 

Two Vermont film festivals included it and an interview with one of the producers, RPCV Jill Vickers, was broadcast on VPR’s “All Things Considered.” Independent theaters, libraries, and colleges from Boothbay Harbor, ME to Albuquerque, NM and Seattle, WA to Key West, FL have featured it. “Once in Afghanistan” was shown at this year’s Global Health conference in D.C. and plans are to include it as part of Peace Corps Atlanta’s celebration of the 50th anniversary at The Carter Center.


About the speakers

  • Kristina Engstrom, Afghanistan Training Staff 1968-1970
  • Deezie Stebbins, Afghanistan 1969-1971
  • Jill Vickers (Film Producer), Afghanistan 1969  >> read speakers bios 

Buy the film or donate

To order the film or donate to the Afgan non-profit organizations, please click here. All profits support selected NGO's in Afghanistan and Afghan students in U.S. high schools.


Studio Cinema
376 Trapelo Road
Belmont, MA 02478
United States

By Anna - Posted on 29 January 2011

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