Interview with Leslie Ekstrom, September 7, 2022
Project: Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project
Interview SummaryNigeria, 1963-1965, TESL Leslie Simmonds Ekstrom was raised in California. Her father imbued in her an interest in science, nature and foreign cultures. Family camping in California wilderness and regular outdoor excursions developed her taste for adventure. As a sophomore at U of California, she was selected for a summer project of travel throughout India, interacting with college students there. To apply for PC as a married couple, she and Jim Ekstrom married in their senior year at UC Berkeley and sent in their application. They were invited to Nigeria to Teach English as a Second Language (TESL). Posted to the bush town of Funtua, they taught in a small secondary school. She presented a description of her small town and school, including a daily teaching schedule of English, biology, and after-school Spanish. Additional activities included establishing a school library, organizing student clubs: Chefs Club and Spanish Club, and prepping students for a regional Quiz Show. (They won!) She had a summer project at the town’s dispensary, exposing her to local health issues, especially those of women. She was fascinated to learn about Nigerian and Muslim culture and recognized the value of the Peace Corps in exposing Volunteers to other ways of life, and respecting the differences.
Interview KeywordNigeria TESL Sacramento, California family camping trip to India University of California-Berkley married in senior year Jim Ekstrom application Pre-Service Training Dracker Hotel housing training heavy on academics physical exercise training Western savior complex site: Funtua Provincial Secondary School banco: mud bricks Cosley: pre-fab house Muslim culture town description Mosque house description Igbo Sabon Gari: New Town Fulani: nomadic tribe coming of age ceremony Muslim wives school description students description bush school activities Chef Club Spanish Club book locker James Beard Cook Book established school library health dispensary: administrative duties value of indigenous knowledge social activity students families PCVs expats culture cultural gaps respect for culture differences vacations Kano MD available Kaduna: capital of North Kai-Kai bus achievement coming home 3rd Goal relationships barriers patronization Peace Corps values
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Ekstrom, Leslie Interview by Randolph A. Adams. 07 Sep. 2022. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Ekstrom, L. (2022, September 07). Interview by R. A. Adams. Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Ekstrom, Leslie, interview by Randolph A. Adams. September 07, 2022, 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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