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Sandy Tyler Diary

 Collection — Box: MISC-14, Folder: MSS-0133
Identifier: MSS-0133

Content Description

The diary of Sandy Tyler includes her entries from December 1964 through 1965 while working in Pakistan with the organization Basic Democracies as a Peace Corps volunteer. Her diary entries document daily life, frustrations, and travel for vacations and when leaving Pakistan.

A partial transcription provided by the seller:


"December 1st, Tonight I am alone. Karen and Jack have gone to a party at Tinghi. Spent a good hour digging up a tree for xmas. It seems as if the earth is loathe to give up its own for it was a difficult job. I just started a fire in the fireplace and there's something about hot soup, decorating a xmas tree and a fire that gives me a great deal of pleasure."

"December 6th,....In Pakistan there is a frenetic urge to party, party, party while you can so I went to a party and had the frantic desire to escape from everything and everyone so I left causing much speculation etc. You see this party was very different from the ones I am used to with this group. During the first year we too seemed to be trying to escape from something, ourselves perhaps. But now we are comfortable with ourselves and more comfortable with one another. This group was like watching a movie about displaced, wandering persons. Everyone in a trance like state, escaping, escaping to god knows where with myself caught somewhere in the middle...."

"Surprises, surprises. On to Sheikhupura and the beginning of this diary."


"January 1st, This is of course out of date. I can't write my thoughts until I've had time to rehash them and form them in semi-coherent patterns. We moved into Sheikhupura last Friday night. The next 3 days are more or less one big party haze. Pleasant enough and good listening enjoyment with the Grundig tape a'la Air Force. Our big problem now is housing. Since the ADBD wants us in Sheikhupura we need a house and hopefully a place for Sugra who should live near us if we are to work closely together. At the present we are still hoping and filling in the spare hours with exploring old forts and touring Hiran Minar. Our neighbors border on the lunatic fringe. Mike and Jim Bichtal, some one from our group that Sheikhupura has caused us to quit contact with. But I'm getting restless for work wondering if there really is any and wondering where to begin with these giggling, adult, adolescent Pakistani women. Thank God our term is almost up. Always afraid to get too personal in a diary because of the chance of it falling into other hands is so great......."

"I do not have the interest I once had for the Peace Corps, it's work, etc. Yet I could live in Pakistan and be happy and perhaps find my own work. Tried explaining to my parents that I can't return home right away. Yes, I'm going to be a bum, a disgrace to the family. Traveling around with no permanent job in sight and no fiance waiting, the prospects delights me....."

"January 18th, Well, in the past 2 weeks there has been a change of plans. We've moved to Nankana Sahib after all. It's not as dirty as I expected. The people aren't necessarily hostile but the kids are brats! Maybe it's because we are unfortunate enough to be right across the street from the boy's school?? I am amazed that everything is being done so quickly. Our electricity is fixed. We have 4 chairs and a small table and 2 charpai (an Indian woven bed) that we can keep until we buy some of our own. We also have 2 servants that we pay, the sum total of 19 Rs a month for both, less than $4. Fantastic isn't it. The kids are brats but for 5 1/2 months as long as they don't attempt murder or arson (which they are undoubtedly capable of) we can breeze thru....."

"I sense that Karen is still a little nervous about being here but then she's walked thru these streets with kids following her and yelling and I haven't. Who knows, after my first trip thru town, I may buy a shotgun...."

"Actually what it all comes down to is that everything is farcical. Oh, of course it is worthwhile but you spend so damned much time sitting on your ass. I think I'll appreciate a little hustle and bustle in the U. S. A."

"Bahuman: The lady worker is sick and in Sheikhupura getting medicine. She says she'll be back by 12-so here we sit cold and tired to wait for 3 1/2 hrs. and she probably won't return. Jim and Mike have gone to India on vacation. 1 week.....You wouldn't believe it but there is some idiot who whispers "Mistress" outside of our window every night. Sometimes twice!! And now a "Platoon" of young men are marching and I do mean marching up and down our street. This is one hell of a strange hole, amen."

"February 6th, On Thursday before Jhelum we went to the Badshahi Mosque to see the special end services. The Mosque, the grounds around it etc. were absolutely packed with people. At 9:00 the Moola (?) began the prayer calls and thousands of people, in unison, point their salooms (?) to Allah. When thousands of pairs of knees hit the floor of the Mosque it was like a slow clap of thunder rolling thru the sky. And believe it or not, during the prayers you couldn't hear a whisper. Occasionally a baby would cry or perhaps a child would run down the aisle. Once 2 little boys ran from the back to the front of the Mosque by crawling amongst hundreds of pairs of knees."

"February 17th, Biki by bus and 2 miles to Bahuman. Shaid bus to Bahuman. After; hospital. Being in the Peace Corps is like being on a round-about at rush hour. Everything whizzes by so fast you have to look and listen doubly hard to find an opening when you can. We just got the news that Shelly is being transferred. We have say so at all. Our backs are to the firing squad and we must make the best of it all. We are actually in the position of being the clean up committee for Shelly McClanahan. But we are not going to live under her "cloud." And we will not have threats and gossip hanging over our heads......If I'm around Shelly for too long I might explode. It's a pity she's so little I can't hit her."

"It is bad enough working so precariously with Pakistani's and then feeling that you have no backing with your staff."

"February 24th, When I do get home what kind of Bitch will I be!??!!?!???!??!

"March 6th, Stupid doctor in Sheikhupura. He hardly looks at Sughra and then very pompously says, "There is nothing clinically wrong." I was mad and made him mad but we got the xrays. Now the crowd has something else to look at. A very very tall man just entered the station. They brought him over for me to look at yet! Sughra will have much to tell her children about her experiences with the Peace Corps. Remind me to tell you about the guy with the brick and red paint all over his shirt like blood, coming toward Selia and I like a madman. Today is one of those days! All Pakistan's to me seem full of staring dirty people. Women who out of their ignorance let their kids eat garbage off the ... dirty floor. Men who spit where children play. And people who just make me want to smash someone......I am so tired. Can you tell me please, what is my name? Where do I belong and why there is such a gray mist??? Everywhere....."

"March 11th, Now on route to Quetta, very sleepy. Been riding 11 hours. Think this is going to be a good trip. Hard to write when its moving. Taking the trains to Iran is an endurance test. We switched to 3rd class at Rohri in order to sleep. Well it was o.k. until the last 5 minutes when people began crawling thru windows etc. shoving boxes on top of anyone in the way etc. We got to Quetta with remarkable few bruises. Ellery and Clark were kind enough to let us take hot bathes, sleep and relax. Sat. began the trip to Zehedan. We finally after 1 1/2 days crossed the Iranian border. Now we sit and wait for the customs people. We've been standing for 3 hours. If we are lucky we'll reach Zahidan in time to get the plane on Monday afternoon....."

"April 5th, But really Jan-Feb 16, 1967. Would you believe it is January 67', 2 years later and that this is the same foolish girl, who, so long ago, wrote this little diary."

"July 27th, Today which is now 3 weeks ago, we flew from Lahore to Karachi. The weather was cool thank God! We stayed at the Farooq Hotel which wasn't much of a place but it's cheap (12 Rs or $2 1/2 U.S.) Our last night we went to the Intercontinental. The food and drinks are excellent. It's expensive however and the combo is overrated and very poor."

"July 29th, The riots in Los Angeles. It seems inevitable in the face of the violence and cruelty and stupidity which seems o inherent in the human race.....Such happiness to be leaving Pakistan but what are we all looking forward to? What a feeling you feel at home everywhere, no longer the naive excitement of being in a place that is "different."

"July 31st, Today, 3 weeks ago we sailed from Karachi and looked forward to the trip with a great deal of excitement and anticipation of meeting a lot of new people. My hopes were soon crushed. We were overjoyed about sailing. Drank too much wine and threw up all over the boat....."

"August 27th, Downtown Kyoto. At 2:00 leave for Yokohama. We stayed in Yokohama for 3 days during which time I acquired a pair of contact lenses. If my writing is a little blurred it is because "we" are not getting along too well during these early days. I think we'll go back for another check. At Yokohama we stayed on the Hikawa Maru, a ship featuring an exhibition which also serves as a youth hostel. There wasn't much in Yokohama so we left for Tokyo. We had troubles at the Russian Consulate. No confirmation from intourist so we couldn't get our visas......"

"September 12th, The Baikal passengers were so different from the Laos people. There was a group of German young people traveling with "Spitnick" agency, Japan's young (one of them) athletic groups and several Europeans traveling back to Europe thru Russia......After 53 hrs. on the Baikal we went 18 hrs by rail to Nakhodka. The same people from the Baikal accompanied us on the train. It was enjoyable and comfortable. We experienced our 1st Russian vodka thanks to a young intourist fellow on the train."

"On the train the Russians make no distinctions as to who sleeps where, consequently my roommates were a very interesting married couple and a crazy Hungarian with a real cigarette habit. After much confusion we finally got on the plane for Moscow, the biggest plane I have ever seen!...."

"And so it began our sojourn in Russia. Our 1st intro to Moscow was the Metropol Hotel and a bitch of a woman behind the desk. As it turned out we really stayed at the Hotel Berlin.....The night of the 21st we went down stairs to have a late dinner and were seated next to a "Georgian" party group who sent champagne over to us, danced with us and in short tried to pick us up, while the woman at their table frowned. We left soon after to avoid "confusion."


  • 1964-1967


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0.03 Cubic Feet (1 folder) : Diary

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Custodial History

Purchased on ebay from seller diaires on 12/2/2018.

Sandy Tyler Diary
Amy Schindler; Angela Kroeger
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Archives & Special Collections Repository

Archives & Special Collections
Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library
6001 Dodge St.
Omaha Nebraska 68182-0237 United States