Collection of Papers on the VISA Program in Tanganyika
Held at: Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The VISA (Voluntary International Service Assignments) Program of the American Friends Service Committee was organized in the fall of 1960. The first volunteers arrived in Africa in the summer of 1961. Participants underwent six weeks of orientiation at Pendle Hill, then did further intensive language training in the field. They then did community development work and lived in the communities within which they served. Although many Quakers were involved in the program, volunteers came from a number of religious traditions.
VISA volunteers in the first group (1961-1963) included Werner Muller, Halen Tyson, Mary Anderson, Mary Mitchell, Joan Lerner, Mac Brasfield, Tony Henry, Mel McCraw, Oliver Wilgress, Gary Thomas, David Giltrow, and David Wallace. The program was led by Harry and Lois Bailey who brought their children, Jeannie, Glen, and Nancy. Later participants included David Elkinton, Arthur Larabee, and many others. VISA's involvement in Tangayika ended in 1967.
Collection of correspondence, reports, reminiscences, newsletters, and other memorabilia fo participants in the VISA Program in Tanganyika in 1961-1963. Includes the papers of Werner and Helen Tyson Muller, Oliver Wilgress, and Garry Thomas.
Weisbord, Marvin R. Some Form of Peace: True Stories of the American Friends Service Committee at Home and Abroad. New York: Viking Press, 1968. See Chapter 7, "Haki Ya Mungu," which is about the VISA program and the Mullers.
Collection of Papers on the VISA Program in Tanganyika were individually donated to Friends Historical Library by Werner Muller, Olivar Wilgress, and Garry Thomas in 2018 and 2019.
Processed by Patricia C. O'Donnell; completed May, 2018.
- Social service -- Religious aspects -- Society of Friends
- Volunteer workers in community development -- History
- Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
- Finding Aid Author
- Patricia C. O'Donnell
- Finding Aid Date
- May 2019
- Use Restrictions
Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce items in this collection beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns. See http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-RUU/1.0/.
(8) folders of written and printed materials relative to his and his wife's experiences in the AFSC VISA program from 1961-63.
Includes aerial and local maps of Tanganyika published by the Colonial Office (Protectorate).
"Dear Friends" letter (July 26, 1962), on roughly the first anniversary of arrival in Tanganyika.
"Visa Volunteer Report Form" (maybe March 1963), written in response to a questionnaire (but without the questions). Note that neither Werner Muller nor Ollie Wilgress remember being asked to respond to such a form/questionnaire.
A Swahili memoir, "I Remember My Singida," of Garry's time working with the Community development Division of the gevernment of Tanganyika in Singida District, March 1962 to May 1963. There is a brief summary in English at the back of the booklet.
"A Report from an (unidentified) VISA Volunteer in Tanganyika" not on AFSC letterhead, most certainly written in 1962 or 1963 by someone in VISA Tanganyika I or II.
Includes: Kazi za Maendeleo kwa Hiari" (August or September 1961), an article written about VISA volunteers in a regional (northern Tanganyika) newspaper at the end of their in-country orientation and Swahili training - loosely translated as the work of community development volunteers - which, in the first paragraph explains that VISA was not associated with the Peace Corps ("jeshi la amani"); "Conditions hopeful on independence eve" (November 28, 1961), an article Garry wrote for the Earlham Post, his college newspaper, five months after arriving in Tanganyika, three months after beginning work with "school leavers" and adult education in community centers in the city of Tanga; Little Peace Corps" (March 4, 1962), Philadelphia Bulletin Sunday magazine, which helps document that the AFSC was asked to participate in the development of the US Peace Corps, also established in 1961. The VISA volunteers arrived in Arusha, Tanganyika, in July 1961, and were plunged immediately into in-country orientation and Swahili training at Tengeru, just a few miles east of Arusha. Peace Corps/Tanganyika Garry arrived in September 1961, and had their in country training at the same training center in Tengeru. The Peace Corps program had so much more name recognition, being so closely identified with President Kennedy's first months in office, VISA volunteers were often asked if we were with "Peace Corpse," Tanganyikans often pronouncing the "s". It is true VISA volunteers were low key about being identified with the AFSC, at least typically saying that they were Americans working for the Government of Tanganyika; A Well is Wonderful" (c.1963), probably a Philadelphia Bulletin Sunday magazine article, Harry Bailey with his back to the camera, he the first director of VISA Tanganyika (1961-63), just a note about the pump head in the photo: the design was originated by the AFSC on a community development project in Barpali, Orisa District, India in the 1950s; "'Friends' call on Nyerere" (March 28, 1963), photo on the front page of the Tanganyika Standard, this after volunteers from Tanganyika I and II had maybe a half an hour session talking with President Nyerere in his office in State House.
Inventory supplied by donor. Twenty pages of field reports, volunteer lists, etc.