Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Inger F. Sheinbaum
SHEINBAUM: In a few places. But then I was always happy to help out. I never felt that it was an imposition and certainly nobody ever asked me to polish silver or carry the tray. And if they had, I would probably have done it. But, never anything that I could even recollect. I've met very nice people and very nice ambassadors' wives. I've never felt used or abused.
Q: So then you fulfilled your complete assignment there, and did you go back to Washington or on to another...
SHEINBAUM: We had two years there and home leave. Actually when we left from Madagascar, we never came back to Washington until '91 except for home leaves. We were out for 16 years straight. And that was, maybe, wrong. But that I will tell you about later.
Q: So you went on to the Philippines?
SHEINBAUM: Right. And that was possibly, I would say, all four of us, our favorite post. We had four fantastic years. Filipinos are — there's just nobody like Filipinos. They are warm, they are hospitable, they are fun loving, they're skin deep, but you can't help loving them and they will love you to death, and especially if you are Americans. It's amazing. They must be the last race in the world who put Americans in such high esteem. It was wonderful. We had very good friends there. We did a lot of traveling. Gil, in particular, did a lot of inside the Philippines traveling. And I went with him on many, many, many occasions. The children, at this point, were both in school. We had good help in the house. And I was able to do much more work there in a volunteer capacity, even with a very heavy social schedule at home and out. It was very manageable because we had good help. For the Consulate in Cebu, there were only two other official American families, so we didn't have our own health facilities as we had in Manila. There was no Embassy health unit in Cebu, so there was no way I would get involved with work there except checking their first aid boxes from time to time. But I also much, much preferred getting into volunteer work for the simple reason that if I had gone into any of the large hospitals in Cebu, and they had good hospitals, big hospitals; if I had gone in and asked for a job they would have given me a job at any time without asking for my credentials simply because of Gil's position. And I didn't want that; I thought it would be very wrong to deprive a local nurse of a job that she needed certain much more than I needed it. And there was plenty for me that I could do.