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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 5, 1975)
Afghanistan, home to professor
family under exchange program
12th & P STS
For the next two vears Marvin Johnson IFMT
professor of engineering, and his family will get
their water from an embassy instead of a faucet
and will attend church on Friday instead of
After attending orientation sessions in
Washington, D.C., the Johnsons left last week for
Afghanistan. Of five UNL professors
participating in an exchange program with the
University of Kabul, Johnson was the last to
Others participating in the program, which is
sponsored by American Industrial Development
(AID), are: Gerald Board man, professor of
education; Otis Cross, Ted Doane and Joe
Young, professors of agriculture.
Johnson, an industrial engineer, will attempt
to update teaching methods at the University of
Kabul. He will also program Afghanistan's only
computer, his wife Anne said.
Mrs. Johnson said her family is anticipating
major cultural adjustments. For example, she
said, Afghanistan has no radio or television.
"We're prepared to play a lot of games. And
we're putting a lot of books-about 12
dozen-into our baggage quota of 66 pounds. We
love to read, and English books will be hard to
Because weekends in the Islam country are on
Thursday and Friday, Mrs. Johnson said, the
family will attend Christian services on Friday.
Communication in the trilingual country will
present the biggest problem, Mrs. Johnson said.
The Afghanistani speak Dari and Farki, both
dialects of Persian, and Pushtu, the language of
Because of the change in sanitation standards,
the Johnsons will receive water from the
American embassy. Mrs. Johnson said her family
will also take along their own water distilling
She said they also must wash all their fresh
food in iodine and air dry it. After the food is
dried, it is soaked another 20 minutes in distilled
Although Mrs. Johnson said the Afghanistan
people are more accustomed to poorer
sanitation, "they don't adjust to it as well as they
might think." Digestive problems, she said, are a
major cause of death among Near Eastern people.
The opportunity for sightseeing, Mrs. Johnson
said, is "part of the reason I'm going." She said
her family plans to visit the Great Wall of China,
the Taj Mahal and the Bantyan Valley - three of
the seven wonders of the modern world.
Perdomo: things work out
Continued from p. 1 1
Finally, in 1969, he came to the United
States. He went to Norfolk, where a friend he
had met in Havana lived.
"These people were very instrumental in
getting me to the United States," he said.
"Norfolk is my home. I go home after maybe six
'months away and still my toothbrush is in the.
Perdoma studied vocational rehabilitation as a
graduate student at UNL.
Worked on dorm staff
After living in Schramm Hall for a semester,
he said, he decided he would like to get involved
in working with the dorm staff. He applied and
was accepted as a Student Assistant (SA) in
"I believe that possibly I was being tested," he
said "that possibly I was one of the first, or the
first, foreign student hired by a resident hall.
Being an SA was or.e of the best times I've ever
had in the States. I had to relate to people with
entirely different background interests. It was a
surprise to me and other people that we got
A year later, Perdomo became Residence
Director of Selleck Quandrangle.
"I think that because I was there (at
Selleck)," he said, many foreign and minority
students said 'he is there, okay, I can make it,
too.' Because I was different maybe I got some
of the support I got. A lot of people helped me
Moved to New York
Two years later, he moved to New York to
work in the programs office of Adelphi College
in Garden City, Long Island.
A year later, he decided he wanted to return
Lincoln to go to school.
But, at the same time he heard his mother and
brother might be able to leave Cuba, he said, so
he decided to get a full-time job to support them
when they came.
Perdomo's family never came, but he did get a
job as the executive uiiector of the Lincoln
P fl O O O H ' O O 0 & O ' IB 9 jMlh-tt Ifr 1" fl1 1
"I felt I had to make a commitment to work
with minorities at that point," he said.
This fall, he began working in the scholarships
and financial aids office at UNL, but he still
works with the Indians at the Nebraska
Penitentary one day a week.
Perdomo said that now that he is in the
United States, he feels freer than he did in Cuba. '
"I am here, I guess," he said, "because I have
confidence and trust in the democratic process,
thought sometimes I feel shaky. I'm not a fanatic
anti-Communist. I'm not a fanatic anti-anything
for the sake of being anti-anything.
"I think it's a matter of degrees," he
continued. "We know we have limits. Our system
allows us a few more, although economics and
other things put a limit on us."
He said, he thinks that the Cuban government
possibly has helped some Cubans.
Soon to be citizen
Perdomo said, he will soon be a citizen of the
"It's been five years and a lot of thinking," he
said. "I promised my mother I wouldn't become
one until she came to this country, but . . ."
Perdomo said he has changed much since his
youth in Cuba. He said, from a quiet,
conservative, "bookish" child who won many
awards for his research and studies in Cuba, he
has come to consider his social contacts the most
important part of his life.
"I'm concerned with helping people more,"
he said. "As my mother used to say, give, give,
give, until you have no more to give. And I do, of
myself and my things. Some people may think
I'm foolish. Maybe I am.
"But money has never meant anything to me.
I can be as happy with two cents as with two
thousand. I love to travel and I can still do that. I
just do it with less money.
"I h ve never lacked for anything for too
long. Somehow things always work out," he said.
Every Wed. Nile
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