Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Inger F. Sheinbaum
SHEINBAUM: At post, yes. And we were totally immersed in social things at home, at other residences. There was a very hostile Malagasy reaction towards the Americans at that time and we very strongly felt that that indirectly led to us leaving there prematurely, Actually the State Department pulled Gil out prematurely as a punishment to the Malagash regime because two of the staff members at the American Embassy had been meeting with college students, Malagasy college students, and that was very negatively looked at by the Malagasy government. And they were PNG'd, and because they were PNG'd Washington's reaction was that they pulled out Gil and waited for a very long time before sending an Ambassador again. So we actually only stayed at post for a little more than a year which was a very short and very abrupt leaving.
Q: So all of that language training and representation kind of was for naught?
SHEINBAUM: No, it was not for naught. We met some very unique people and I think we had some very unique situations. And it certainly wasn't for nothing, I mean my language came in very handy later on in our FS lives in Geneva when I was working as the Embassy nurse at the Mission to the UN dealing with local Swiss doctors. So that certainly did come in there. And I would say the crack course in learning FS and diplomatic entertainment and seeing people and dealing with people, it all came in handy down the line.
Q: Did you get to see any of the country while you were there?
SHEINBAUM: Very little. Very little. I was pregnant. Gil did quite a bit of traveling for the Embassy. But I did some as soon as Britt was born. I started doing some traveling with him and I did get to see Fort Dauphin and Majunga, both costal areas. And we did some local traveling but I don't know, if you're way up at Antananarivo, it's sort of on the high plateau of the island, forty five hundred feet up, so it's very high and it's quite difficult to travel around the country. But when you do travel around the country, you do see some of the most spectacular things. And I think, looking back on Madagascar that was maybe one of the most impressive places I've ever been in my life.
SHEINBAUM: Scenery, culturally, people wise. It was an incredible island. A lot of French influence, a lot of cultural background and such a mixture of Polynesian/Malaysian/African combination. Very interesting place. Too bad it's so far away.
Q: Were the medical facilities adequate for childbirth?