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Title: Oral History Interview with Katushka Olave, December 9, 1998. Interview K-0659. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Olave, Katushka , interviewee
Interview conducted by Rouverol, Alicia
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 112 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-10-02, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Katushka Olave, December 9, 1998. Interview K-0659. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0659)
Author: Alicia Rouverol
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Katushka Olave, December 9, 1998. Interview K-0659. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0659)
Author: Katushka Olave
Description: 112 Mb
Description: 29 p.
Note: Interview conducted on December 9, 1998, by Alicia Rouverol; recorded in Durham, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series K. Southern Communities, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Katushka Olave, December 9, 1998.
Interview K-0659. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Olave, Katushka , interviewee


Interview Participants

    KATUSHKA OLAVE, interviewee
    ALICIA ROUVEROL, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
This is Alicia Rouverol of the Southern Oral History Program. I will be interviewing later today Katushka Olave. Today's date is December 9th, 1998. This is my tape number: 12-9-98 K0.1. This is a continuation of the interview that we conducted last week as part of the New Immigrants Project. The Listening for a Change Project funded by Z. Smith Reynolds. And we'll be conducting the interview at Durham County Literacy Council.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Yeah, just to follow up on a couple of quick questions from last time. Yeah, I realized I hadn't gotten your family's names or your grandfather's name, or any of that.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Well, my grandfather's name is Jose Caballero Mendez who died two years, no it was five years ago. And then, my grandmother, Emiliana Andia de Caballero, which we used "d-e-," like "of" translated into English. When you get married you use your single last name, and your marriage last name. My mother is Alicia Caballero Andia—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
That's my name.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah. My father Silvano Omonte Rocha. I have two siblings, Eduardo Omonte, Maria Teresa Omonte. Both are married now. I don't know what is my sister's last name. [Laughter] I don't know, but anyway. But my single last name is, or the way they should call me originally in my country is Katushka Omonte de Olave, which means my marriage last name. But being here it's just short and it's easy I think to say Katushka Olave, which is my married last name. Okay?
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Great. Good.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
I have another brothers also, but they are for my father's side. He had had

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two boys and one girl.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
You mean cousins:
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Brothers.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Brother. So you have two brothers. And, did you have any sisters or no?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
I had one sister.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
One sister, so four. Okay, great. And I guess I had wondered when you had said something about that your mother had been involved in some causes I wasn't sure what that was, precisely. Whether those were social, or political, or some combination.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Okay. Well, my parents—, well, I would say my father, have never been involved in any political things. My mother, which—, my memory is not really too clear on that because I never asked her actually. But I hear some saying that she was involved, not deeply, but at least having connection with what we called the "guerrilleros"; it was the time of Che Guevara, in my country. And one of her first best friends was part of this movement, the Guerrilleras. She was the first Guerrilleras in Bolivia, which is the first women in the political or whatever it is.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
That's pretty remarkable.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
It is. [Laughter] And so she was somehow, but it was not really till—. Okay she talks more about her friendship and she said she was talking more about, you know, their political life. She never said too detailed but she was never detailed. But, I don't know.
So, perhaps that background could be, or perhaps because I have in my blood, since my name is Katushka and I'm a Russian [Laughter] but also another factor was when I said before that I realized and I knew that how life was when I started volunteering to become a missionary, when I was in high school. I just see how different

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society is and how we can change. I mean kind of like doing a social change, just living whatever I had and be part of them. And I think that was the main reason why I changed. I was just getting tired of being involved in the same—, like staying in the same dress all the time. I wanted to do something different, I wanted to help people, instead of them helping me. It's more, kind of like, what I would say, kind of like—, sometimes we talk too much, we are too educated, we have too much knowledge, but it's different what you do in the practice. You learn a lot, I mean you can read books and tons of things, but it's not the same way as you need to do it.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
It has to be out there, yeah.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
It's different and I think for me, and I value a lot of what humanity is, and I value also the rights from the human beings, it's because I saw them, I live with them, with the community in order to value. That would be different and that's what I was doing before I get involved. I just saw them from like, it's the same like you are watching a Christmas party. You know, you're out watching and you love it but you don't know how much those people they need to train themselves or, I don't know, practice or whatever, you know, get involved. How did they get those consumes? How did—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
In order to really learn.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Right. You know, so those are little things that make, and brought me to—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
And so were you hopeful, initially when you got involved in that political organization, were you thinking this might be an avenue for social change? Or what were—, you had talked about your boyfriend being involved—.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah, well—.

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ALICIA ROUVEROL:
But we didn't really talk about the nature of the organization.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah, for me it was more kind of like, curiosity. You know, before I get involved in the political group, I was reading books about Lenin, Marx and all those, you know, talking about the Communists and whatever the Socialists. Which are also differences between those two denominations. So, and the popes they tell you really incredible things but when you see the practice, I mean that's, I mean like saying if it's a left party then they are doing what they need to do, I mean they follow those rules but not exactly the way it is because it's going to change depending on the social content.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
In which you apply that.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Right.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Right, and how would you define that organization that you were, had been involved in?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Well, that's what we called movimiento de izquierda which is the left side, which is Communist. So it's the "red" political thing. On the other hand would be, like is the right hand, which is "Derechistas," o "Capitalistas." Which, you know is divided that way. [Laughter] But, you know, in my country, and I think in most of the Latin American countries, there is this difference between—, there are some parties that they call the Communists and then other parties they call the Socialists.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Right, exactly.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
And, you know, and it's different. It's—, they have different ideals, you know, so it's kind of like—, but for someone it's the same thing. You need to know it, more about it.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
So this group, was it leaning more toward Marxism?

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KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Not really, not too much. I would consider this group between.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Between Socialism and Communism?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah. Kind of like neutral—, not neutral but they have a little bit of the Marxists and a little bit of the capitalists. You know, kind of in-between.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
So their goals would have been, I mean, with some groups in Latin America, sometimes it's land reform, or sometimes it's government ownership of companies—.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Right. I think it's more like land reform. Land reform and not getting too much foreign companies coming into the countries. Which is a good—, you know everything has its pros and cons. Yeah, so it's so hard to tell when is good—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Exactly.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
But, that was it.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
And then the community work, when you were talking about the participatory work in the community, more when you had been doing the work that you had been exposed to through the missionaries. Could you give an example of what one of those projects might have been?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Okay, as an example of what we were doing is—, as I said, as I remarked before we said that in Bolivia, it was only in the mountains in the valley, we speak two languages, which is En—, not English, Aymara and Quechua so if you go out of the city to the little village, little tiny towns, like if you go here you will see the hilly-billys over here, right? Over there you're going to still see the Indians, you know, the indigenous people, which they don't speak Spanish, they speak Aymara. So it's so hard for them to communicate so what we were doing, what is called in Spanish "alfabetizacion," which is teaching them to write and read in English—, in Spanish, right, which is "literacy"

Page 6
translated. So that's what we were doing. At that time there was a big campaign of alfabetizacion, or a literacy campaign in order to help them to get better education. At the same time, in—, just an example, one village, only one village, there were different other projects—, when I say different projects it's because they were leading for different organizations as what they call US Aid, or, what was it now, UNICEF, programs and they were coming into prenatal programs for women. Because of their viewpoint, the little village, they are not going to be people, I mean the women, they don't know how to take birth controls. You know they just have babies as much as they—. Which is good, we can grow our population. [Laughter] But anyway, what they wanted was to teach them, you know, how to take care of themselves, how to take care of the kids. That's hard work. That was really hard because we need to see them as a persons, as a community themselves. That they were having their own values, their own goals, and their own costumes. Which was hard. So, I worked with them, you know, teaching them, giving them lessons, like Spanish lessons, also maternal care lessons, being, perhaps, a counselor at times. Helping with the children, you know, things like that. That's what we did before I get in the university. When I get in the university, what's different—I did more like participatory communication. Which is, I did a program with them, this is still related, in literacy but we go a little bit further and studied the community. What is their ethnicity, you know it's more, kind of, sociological study. So it was still related, it was the same as I was doing, but it was juts a little bit more. I also see how communication is a big area. You communicate at anywhere, any time. So, but for them, for us also when I do this program is how to introduce to them the radio. How to introduce to them the newspapers. Even just doing one, two pages writing is

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communication. So we wanted them to see what they want. I mean we were not going down there and imposing on them. Because that is not participatory. We talked with them, we asked them what their needs are, how they want to be helped. And from them we, and also I learned to organize that way. Because organizing is not what you wanted to do, it is what the community wants to do, and you just help them to getting better or tell them how to organize. That's what we usually do, I mean that's what is participatory. And I like that. I don't like to give orders, and everybody do it for me. Because that's another—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
That's not the way, or that's not really that effective.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
No, it is not. Because you are still giving—, it's like you're treating your old servants. Do whatever you want and they will come with [unclear] and all this time. So it's wide open [unclear] that's what I, something like that, we need to let people show their thoughts, you know, what they wanted, how they really were like. Everybody has different ways to teach, so—, but there may be parts of their teaching that are weak, so that you can help them to reinforce.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
And when you said like some of those programs might have been supported by UNICEF, were any of them US Aid programs, because I know some of those were done internationally—.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah, there was a lot. It's a lot. And the bad thing of those programs, and that's why—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Kind of problematic, some of them.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
I think that was a period of time when we started doing this, when it was called "popular participation," because all these organizations they were coming and—.

Page 8
You know what, it is kind of coming back around the circle, because now I feel that there are a lot of organizations also here and projects, it doesn't mean they are bad or hurting anybody, but just in the communities, when I say "communities" I am not referring only to Latinos, any other communities, using them as a toy to do any project but you are not giving them any good. You just use them. And that's the way they were feeling. And they feel community when you just use them. You know, some of these organizations they did really nice work, but then there was for a short period, and then when their program or whatever, the project was ending they left and they forgot. And so they left all these people with all these dreams, you know hopes, with hopes, and that's what I don't like.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
It's true whether that's done internationally or whether that's done on a local basis it's still the same process.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
And it's so hard to be re-funded, because you never know whoever funded that program, if it's going to come back and follow up, but, you know that's the way the community felt—mistreated.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
No, I think that's true. There has been a lot of criticism of US Aid programs internationally and a lot of critiques about people overlaying their perspectives on health care or farming and, you know, whatever. So it's pretty loaded.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
I mean to say another, what is it, the Peace Corps. Well, depending, I think depending on what the Peace Corps will do, but—, and depending where they send their missionaries, you know, it's hard. But it's still the majority of the projects is just short-term but it's not any good living for them. So that's why they have the programs. So, there are other programs, like this one we do this participatory communication we

Page 9
actually get the office, the organization, which is a still now, it's a still and this is like more than ten years now since I move here. So, it's still going on. That's what we want—we want something established.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
It's longstanding.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Right. Not like just for the short-term and then just—, you know when I started doing this, what is it, participatory communication, I talked with everybody and say, what is the benefit of this—is this just a small program, is this just because we're doing—, because we are in a university and that's what they wanted us to do? What is going to be the benefit? So, when we find it out that it's not that, we wanted to introduce the popular, is that right, the popular communication inside of our communities. That was a good, you know, starting. And now there is more, there is more ways to do that participatory communication.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Yeah, and people here call some similar work participatory documentation projects. Which is a little different, it's not communication so much as it is field work projects where people are involved in ( ) it, et cetera.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
But, you know, down there it's growing, that's perhaps the difference because I see here these kinds of projects but they are not giving any hope. I mean they give hope and then you just leave them. But down there they started a project like when I went last time I went to visit a women's club, kind of like a women's club like healthy. And there was located in one of the poverties, one of the neighborhoods that they have a lot of poverty, in La Paz. But it's amazing how any hope for that but now it's the same community. I mean if you go to the community, if you work with them, if you know what they want, and project is going to grow.

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ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Right, exactly. And that's where it's more likely, much more likely, to sustain. People are trying to do that even more in folklore than in oral history but even in oral history people are trying to do more participatory, and have it be, you know there's this book, Listening for a Change, our project is sort of based on this book, that's about oral history projects that are participatory internationally, with the notion of, you know, where is the giving back and how do you create a project in a way that it does sustain, but it meets local needs as opposed to outside needs. You know, which is part of why Jill and I wanted you and Jackie to be involved is because we don't want it to be us coming in and trying to decide what—, I mean, we're in no position to understand the needs. So, it's—, but I think it's a huge issue and it sounds like actually some of the work that's being done in the Latin American countries we have a lot to learn from.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Oh yeah, it's a lot of, and there are some projects that are working really well and they help big communities, I mean little villages that they make bigger villages now, just really great It's really great and I think most of the countries this participatory education, what is participatory education, participatory communication, participatory everything—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Wow, that's great.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
There is—, I think the movement is really big and I think it's not only set in one country; they also have this in Brazil, with this, I think I talked a little bit about Pablo Freire, who write the Pedagogía del Oprimido, which is talking about education. You know, how to teach community, how to teach—. It's totally different the way you teach in the university and the way you need to teach—. And you know it makes a lot of changes. And that's actually a really good book that you can read. It's really interesting

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and you will see a lot of what is participatory education.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
And Brazil also has the Augusto Boal, who is the father of the Theater of the Oppressed, so the whole nation of performance of oral history has really grown a lot out of that movement, so there is some wonderful stuff. And, in fact, there are some really wonderful oral history projects that have happened in Brazil too.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah, I saw a few of those. And I think with this Pablo Freire, I think he was the first one who did all this, you know, movement. And he showed them.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
So it sounds like the work—to take, to kind of look a little bit at the community work that you have done there and now the community work that you have done here, can you talk about how some of this work has translated for you here? I mean, in what ways is it different, in what ways is it similar?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Well, perhaps the similarity will be the language, because I work with also, I mean, Bolivian people but they didn't speak Spanish. And now here I'm working with Latinos who are Hispanic but they don't speak English. But they speak Spanish. That's a similarity, but also the difference is I speak Spanish, but when I was doing this in Bolivia with the indigenous, I didn't speak the main language.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
So you're really in a much better position right now here.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Right, I mean it's more—, it's easy to communicate with them, you know, it's not too hard. It will leave out of the slangs that each country has, you know. I mean the way they speak Spanish, you know. And we have different slangs that we use. But it is still, you will be able to communicate. So that would be kind of like a similarity. And the difference is that I am in a country that is not my country. [Laughter] And we're trying to fight for the rights. And—, you know this is more of a free country. You know,

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it is not the way that you would work in any Latin American country, where you don't have too much freedom. So, over here you can do it but at the same time they say you have freedom, the community doesn't have freedom. You know? It's so hard to get, oh okay, this is a nice wonderful country but—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Who's free?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah, everybody's free that's why everybody does whatever they want, you know. But that is not really the point, or the community here. And also the community over here since we are talking about different countries, also I see different cultures. We are not the same. That's what disappointed me a lot when I just came, and still there are people here that they don't know the difference between the Latinos. I mean that doesn't mean that I'm—, that I don't want to recognize the Mexicans. But there is a lot of difference, there is a lot of difference with the cultures. Because if you go to the history, you will see all North America, Central America, and South America was, they were living, I want to say they were Incas, I mean there were indigenous peoples that they are different also. Different tribes. Like in Mexico there are the Aztecas. In all Central America are the Mayas, and in South America, some of the South America, not the whole South America, we are the Incas. It is still a difference. There is a lot of difference. So that's because we have, you know, this different cultures meet those. There are stereotypes also that we have, so that's a difference also.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Yeah, and I think also people, as you are saying, they tend to group Latin Americans or Hispanics in general, you know as opposed to understanding that there are huge differences culturally between Bolivia and Mexico or Puerto Rico.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
And there are countries that they didn't have this indigenous—, like in the

Page 13
Caribbean they didn't know who the Mayas were or the Incas, or the Aztecas. So if you also go with them and say, "What is that?" I mean if you started talking about history they were like, "Oh, really?" Each country they had their own ancestors. Like Brazil, well, say in Puerto Rico, they have their own tropical, what we call Caribbean [Laughter] ancestors.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Yeah, so it sounds like that's, you were saying that's been a frustration for you. What about, as you've gone about this work with the different groups, I mean, we talked last time about El Centro and El Pueblo, the organization in Raleigh, it sounds as though you started with translation and then you moved more into cultural work and then from there really back into literacy, it sounds like. Can you talk a little bit about that, both as the development of that but also we need to go in and fill in some gaps a little bit on, I'm a little confused on when some of these organizations, so this is really, I think, kind of important historically.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Well, it's a lot to tell about. But I think as they say, sometimes you go in a circle and you want to get out of the circle by yourself and come back to the circle.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
[Laughter] There's no getting out of—, you're going to come back to where you started kind of notion—.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah, right, right.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Yeah, exactly, exactly.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
I mean, if you have your own goals in life and I think for me it's real important to value my people. But when I saw people, not people that they are up on the top. The queen. My people, my hard people, my work people. You know, and I think there is another saying in Spanish is "Que pequeño es el mundo." And also is—, when I

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started here, I think, because of the development of the community here was so small was not the way that was in another the states. And I started with a group which was more social—, they were having more social activities. Which was okay, but somehow they tend to go more to the cultural thing, but not really the fund. Perhaps because that was a new, you know, beginning group in this area. But as the time goes, I just go—, I mean I think I make my [Laughter] myself. I just decided for a kind of social thing that I was doing in my country And then my goal, the second step, I founded another group that is going and trying to keep our culture, our traditions, you know. And the reason I was involved in that is because while I was here I felt like I was—, not losing myself, but I wanted to share with others. Perhaps from my experience at present I have it. I was always, every time I met somebody else, I was supposed to start talking from the beginning, you know, geographically, historically. Then like that I was like, "Wow, what is this?" So I think that not only myself, but other Latinos we really wanted to keep our culture, and I think that is the most precious thing that any, any immigrant in this country could do that. And that was the purpose of El Pueblo, I mean, which was called La Fiesta del Pueblo. You know, keeping our traditions, showing them, sharing. And we started that way and later on La Fiesta del Pueblo crossed and became El Pueblo, which is a nonprofit organization, which is, I would say that it's not an organization that gives services, but provides resources, that's what it is. Because it is not any working directly with the community, you know, it's giving to the community. Which is still, was not still my [Laughter] my way—, it was not going as [unclear] my goals. You know, because I was still working with the community, I was still keeping in touch with families that live in the area and helping them. And then later on came this, the third step would be El Central. Which is targeted

Page 15
in my road, in my goals.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Your path.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Right, so that's great. I like that—. Then when I found out that that was not really the way it is supposed to be, I just said out. You know, even though they are still serving the community, but not in the way—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
So, El Central?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
El Central.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
So, how would you define their way of serving the community?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
They provide services, yeah, that's an organization that provides more services.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
In terms of?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
In terms of language, education, because they have ESL classes, and, what else. Sometimes talks about and they try to fight for the rights. You know, things like that. And then later on it's coming and why go up on causa multicultural and they were—I think getting in my path. It's really what I wanted to do. You know, get with the people, live with them. I mean that doesn't mean that I want to live next to them. But—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
More frontline still?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Right. Because I—, and perhaps it's because with my volunteering experience, I wanted to do, because I was volunteering with families and helping them and helping there. And also for my personal knowing, you know seeing what was the difference in this area. How people was treating our people, how you can help them, you know, to understand that thing. So, [unclear] and that was great and then I introduced myself

Page 16
into a new social context, which I started going and working for Duke University and the NECD Program. Which was really a big change [Laughter].
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Duke. That's funny.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
A big change. You could just see it, you know, every organization has their own policies, their own—, how do we say in Spanish, línea politica.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Their own political line.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
So, you just need to play it. I mean, and sometimes I find that people that they work in the place because they need. You know, if they're interested in economics only, but they are not happy at all. And I don't know, I'm not that type. I would prefer not having too much money, but being good and doing good work. So,—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
And NECD is a community organization, but it's got some Duke support. Doesn't NECD have Duke support?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
NECD is North and Central Durham. [interruption] Yes?
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Come in. [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Should I turn it back on, or should we hold off?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah but I think that—, oh I was saying about the NECD. Well, that is community service and they put that name because it is located in north-central Durham. So, and that's where the Afro-American community lives. You know, so it's a special neighborhood in Durham. What was I trying to say?
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
We were talking about how different it was getting involved in that organization in comparison to El Centro and Causa.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Oh, okay. Well, the difference in being involved in that they show you more about the difference. You know, the human being difference

Page 17
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Meaning?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
What we call, or what we say—, I don't want to say that. I don't use really frequently that word, racismo, or racism.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
And are you talking about this in terms of the Afro-American and Latino community?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Right, in terms of Afro-Americans, Anglos and Latinos on other cultures. It's a lot. And also being in another, you know, as Latinos we're considered a minority. And being part of another minority, you know, culture is hard. But I think there is a difference. The Afro-Americans are, I would say, the high level minority. And then would come the other ones. You know the other cultures come down. But, you know, what's really strange for me is working with them. When I say it's strange, it's not because I don't like them—the way they were accepting me. They wanted me to be involved in little tiny things that they were doing. Which I was like, "Why do they want me? Are they playing with me or what?" You know, you never know what could happen. But I think it is because I was really open and I was telling them and I talked with them, how communities, how we organized this. And showing them, or giving them information about that, what it is about the community, what the needs are of the community. And when they realize that they are the same needs that their own community has, they were like, "so we're in the same shape?" We are in the same shape, you know, it's the same. So, perhaps that's why we link really good.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
To realize that the needs are the same.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Right.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Do you want to talk a little bit about what those needs are, that African-

Page 18
Americans and Hispanics share?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Well, I think the big need is housing in both communities. There is not any support from the city about that, and you know for some reason our community won't establish, or put their seats in the same community where we have the Afro-Americans. But there is not any help, there is not any support at all for them. So that is one thing. The second one, I would say, is violence. You know, it's—, they have their way in violence the Afro-Americans, and Latinos they have their own way. It kind of like in the beginning the Afro-Americans going for the drug thing and Latinos have this violence because of the alcohol. You know—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
A lot of folks are here solo. A lot of the men are here solo. That's what I—.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Right. It's the sadness of missing family that brought them here. But it's—, I sometimes feel like I would rather be an alcohol rather than a drug user. You know, which neither of those are good. But if I need to decide, or maybe smoker or something like that. So those are the two similarities, you know, the same needs. Talking about education, not because I want to hurt them, but I think the percentage of illiteracy in Afro-Americans is really high, in their, you know, English language. And for the Latino community, of course it's going to be higher in English because it's not their main language. But it's not as bad as we thought, you know, comparing their—, talking their, speaking their own language.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
So you're saying that their literacy in their own language is good, the Latinos, but not English? What, I'm not sure—.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah, their own native language is not as high literacy as gonna be English because they don't—, I mean comparing to the Afro-Americans we have a high

Page 19
percentage of illiteracy in the Afro-Americans.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Here at the Durham Literacy Council what is the make-up of the population that you work with here?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
The majority is Afro-Americans.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Do you have ESL programs for the Latino community here?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah, that's what I do here. I do the ESL programs. But in another program I have the ABE and the GED. There are more Afro-Americans that are taking those exams. But, anyway, so that was, you know, the same needs that both communities has. Also health. A lot, perhaps. You know, birth—, what is it, maternity.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Right, prenatal care.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Prenatal care.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
HIV.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
A lot, a lot. I mean a lot of health education needs to be done in both communities because it's just getting worse. Not only HIV, also the development of the community, the growing of the community. I mean more babies every day. Young people, I'm talking about sex. Sexuality education is a big issue. I would say in the Afro-American, maybe eight years old they're having sex now. That is a lot. Then I would say another is educated themselves, I mean educated into the system.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Sort of learning the system?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Learning the system, right.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
So that's an issue in both communities?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah, in both. Because that's still, you know, they are Afro-American, they live, they're born some of them here but they have in their blocks and their roads and

Page 20
their ancestors, whatever they suffered, when they just come here. So it is a little bit of promise of what is inside, and Latinos have the same but, you know, Latinos came in a different way, I mean, if we are comparing the way they came.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Exactly. Different heritages, yeah.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
So, also what else is there? Well, now it's the same needs.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
When you were talking more about the racism, were you meaning in the organization or do you mean just in the community?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
In the community. Not the organization, the community. No, there was not any racism in the organization. That was vice-versa was really open. You know I belong now to different organizations inside of that community and they want me to be a liaison person with the Latino community and themselves but I—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
How do you feel about that role?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
I like it but it is really—, you need to be really careful about those things because nobody—, I mean when you do that you don't need to feel as a person, you need to feel as a community member what another feels. You know, I'm a little bit sensitive about that because that's not my type to get enemies or something like that. For me—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Are you worried that people will take that, will judge you from your own community if you are working in the African-American community?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
No, I'm not talking about that. What I'm saying is—.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
As a liaison person is—, when I say be careful it's because kind of like you

Page 21
need to know really careful to introduce the littlest point inside. You know like when you are feeding a baby the first time, you don't know if it's going to eat a lot or too much. But if you give him a small—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Doses?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Doses, then he will get really good. It's the same thing being part of a different organization because you need to start from the beginning and when I say, what was it I said before, the promise or something?
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
The—, I thought you said promise.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
No. The proud. When did I say that before then. I forget.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
You were talking about working in the African-American community—is that the part you are thinking of?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Becoming a liaison person, I just lost it from my mind. Anyway—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
It will come back.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
So, it's like you're feeding the baby, it's like the same you're going to start doing with them. Because the community doesn't know about what is really in other communities. You know, it isn't that the community's big but they are closed mind.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
So they don't understand, probably, a lot of what is going on in the Hispanic community?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Right. So they need to know, get aware of what is going on, what is the community, what is—, you talk this way or why you don't talk this way. You know, just the only examples are in the way they talk. They—, from nature they speak a little bit louder and they don't speak like, blah, blah—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
So different cultural differences and all of that stuff, yeah, so are you

Page 22
meaning that it's a long process for people to learn across those cultural boundaries or to start to connect across those cultural boundaries?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Well, it's not a long way. But what I'm saying is like you need to know when, you know when you're feeding the baby, you feed the baby but you don't know how much it's getting or not. Right? So that's what you do with them. I mean not only with them but with any other organization that they don't know too much. It's just give them a spoon and a spoon and a spoon and they assimilate all that stuff and then they say, "Oh, that's right. That's the way. We are looking in this way for saying for us what's green, but you are telling us that it's not green it's like blues." And things like that. So, they are getting to know more about that, the community. They don't have—, when I say closed mind, it's because some of them they don't know. They don't know.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
It takes a while for people to learn across those, about different cultures.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Exactly.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
It really, really does.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
And they, I would say, not a majority, but there is a percentage of the Afro-Americans there, they don't like Latinos because they are taking away their jobs. You know, because Latinos are also considered hard workers, as they are. But—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Yeah, there's also some studies that say that that issue is overrated, that that's not—, that doesn't really hold up statistically, some people say, but that it's perceived. So as long as it's perceived then that's how someone may respond if someone's taking my job, you know But it points to people fighting for scarce resources.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
So, you know—. But it's really good. I like it. I like to be involved in that because I learn more about them and they learn also more. And I think my mission is to

Page 23
give them the right information, the right concept from the community and not giving the wrong concept. So that's perhaps, I was saying before, you need to be careful about that—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Okay, so that's what you meant by the carefulness, is that in some ways there's a responsibility in the liaison role. You know, that that's maybe what you're pointing to; the weight of being a contact person, because it needs to go well. Or that's a bad—.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yes, and you need to give them good information, because for one thing that is not really good you can cause—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Right. You had said there was someone else involved at NECD that was less, or maybe it was at Eastway, I'm not sure, where there was someone who was Latino who wasn't connecting quite as well to the community, or in some ways, wasn't as frontline. I mean we don't need to talk about who the person is at all. But I just mean more the notion of—.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Well, what happened is sometimes we have our own people that they don't want, because they don't have these experiences, they don't want to be or they don't want the community to be involved with other ones. Do you know what I'm saying? It's like, why do I need to do, why—that's their language—why me, Katushka needs to be or I need to talk with this Afro-American community, while they are mistreating my people. But that's not my vision. But, you know, somewhere they have that vision. So you know—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
And what is your vision then? I mean I—.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Well, my vision is that in the world we have bad and good people and it's

Page 24
just for the quality of life things sometime happen, but you need to know them. I mean, you need to know in order to say, "Oh, yeah these are really bad people." But that's maybe because they did in this part, I mean it's affecting me but what I want them is to learn also that everybody is a human being in this world and we have the same necessity, the same rights. I mean it's just only changing their thoughts about ourselves.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
It is interesting because Jackie said something very similar in my interview with her. That in the end, as much as she saw the cultural differences she also said, you know, "We're all human beings and we all have a lot of the same needs and you know we need to be working together."
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Well, you know if you are thinking we are human beings and everybody needs the same, you know, you need to treat everybody, I mean, perhaps nobody will agree with me, but we need to treat everybody equal. [Laughter]
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Well, and see what's so interesting is how that's such an American concept and yet, you know how do we always see it played out? No we don't, you know?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
It is a little bit hard. [Laughter]
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Yeah, exactly, it is hard. We're pretty close to 4:15 here. Maybe to just close up because you really have to go, right?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
To just close up a little bit, maybe we could come back a little bit more to, you know, this whole thing of, you know, having decided to come to the States—you could have gone elsewhere I suppose—but why the States and what has been the hardest part about coming here and maybe just—.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
The hardest part. Well, coming to the United States is—. Perhaps when I

Page 25
decided to come it was the far, far away that I wanted to be from my—, from my country perhaps, not from—, maybe also from my family because you know there's—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
The complications there?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah, the complications of my marriage, blah, blah, blah. So, that's the reason I wanted to come here, not focusing because, "Ooh, let's go to the United States and make money." Because I was not valued that way, perhaps because I live here and know what it is. But that was different. And also it's because you have also more chances here.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
The opportunities. What about as a woman? I mean have you had more opportunity here as a woman at all, or—?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Well, I think women has opportunity here, more than in my country. Yeah, definitely. But, I would say, as a woman I think I realize, I mean I—, not realize, what do you say, I—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Discovered, no?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah, I would say I discovered that it's not only a stereotypes. There are not only stereotypes for the men; it's also stereotypes for the women here.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Here in the States?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
In the States, yeah. And I just didn't know that. I mean, this was for me a really big experience, that I'm learning a little bit of everything.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
I bet you are.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
That was, you know, even though I'm sharing with people and just for me what is linking this is when I started taking care of this child, the way they educated me that was not comparing the way people was educated here.

Page 26
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
So, the way they educated you, meaning the people in—?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Bolivia. In Bolivia, you know, values, manners, all those things. So when I came here, and I'm reflecting in this little boy the way they raised me, the way it is my culture—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Right, you saw your own culture probably being played out.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Yeah, and you see that way the difference. You know, and the stereotypes of women there, because over here there is not only one stereotype there are different stereotypes.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
So what are the stereotypes there versus here?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Well, I would say the one that is really clear is the one of like that women down there are conservative. You know, really soft, but here they are more liberal. You know, there are not any—, well, of course that was at the time I was because now it's changing also. But it is still, women has their own vanity in my country. But here, they don't care about it. You know, they don't care. They just go, "Ah." There is not any respect for themselves, they don't respect themselves. They don't let themselves be treated as women.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
They don't let themselves treat—?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Treat other ones, or see them what the values for a woman is. You know, I think it's lost all the values for a woman is lost here. Just perhaps for the way they live or, you know—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Are you talking about here?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Here, yeah.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
So there's less sort of—values of women are sort of less definition or

Page 27
constraint of what it means to a woman, maybe? I don't know, I'm just trying to see if I—.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Not the definition, I think everybody knows what is the definition. But, I'm saying like the values. Why there—.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
The values of a woman?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
A woman, yeah. That's really gone, it's more materialistic. It's not really—, everything is really superficial. It's not really—, everything is really superficial, it's nothing for the spirit, nothing for the heart.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Yeah, so that sounds like what would be the down side in your estimation of living here.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Right, yeah. Not only in the women also in the same society it's—, that you will not be able to change all of that. I mean that's the way it is over here and if you go to Bolivia you will say, "Oh my God, it's some sort of still but, you know, there's still time but they are just values I mean—, and so I have the and your life and your life and society that they still keep it.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
What would be the parts—, I think we should wrap up here. Do you still keep a link to Bolivia, I mean you're talking about the cultural differences?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
For me the most important, anywhere that I go, is to keep my own culture and that is what I'm doing with my own children.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Yeah, so you're keeping that alive.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
I want them—, I mean, you know, I still, and I think we talked before about that that there a lot of, it's sad to say, but there are a lot of Latinos that they don't want to keep that, they're the second or the third or the fourth generation. I think that is the most

Page 28
valuable and the most wonderful thing that you can do. Even though sometimes I know that it's hard if you have, but no I don't think so, nothing is hard in life. Only dead is hard. [Laughter]
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Only what is hard?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Dead.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Dead is hard, yes.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
What my grandfather used to say. But, I'm still keeping and I'm going to keep until the end of my last day.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Do you plan to stay in this country?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
I'd like to stay here, but I don't know for how long. I don't want to predict myself. Whatever is coming for the next day is going to come. I'm not really—, you see that's another thing that I don't really like here is too methodic things, you know, and I'm not. Perhaps I can be here for long but, who knows? You never know.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
So it sounds like in some ways it's a mixed bag, being here, from what you're saying. That there's—, I mean you've got some of the freedom from the social constraints, maybe, from what you came from. But did you find here what you wanted to find?
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Well, I find it perhaps, yeah. I find what I want. But I find it in my way, because I don't want it to belong in the same circle I was belonging in Bolivia. I belong to a different circle here.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
So you've created your own community here.
KATUSHKA OLAVE:
Exactly, my own ways. But I think that I like it. I like that a lot. And I would say that culture is the most important thing and precious thing that I will never get

Page 29
along with that and I want my children growing with that and they do it.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Yeah, that's great. That's critical. Well we should probably wrap it up. Thanks Katushka. This is the end of the interview with Katushka Olave.
END OF INTERVIEW