Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with John R. Ratigan
RATIGAN: Yes. And he came around and shook hands and I think the DCM was there and some cultural people. They also brought in one of Tanzania's most provocative politicians, a guy by the name of Babu, who was from Zanzibar. He held one of the somewhat power positions in Zanzibar, one of the key figures in making the whole Tanganyika-Zanzibar merger work. He was quite the sort of you could almost say racy figure. He was known to smoke Cuban cigars which of course made it even more exotic, because he had been to Cuba, etc. He talked to us for I don't know maybe 45 minutes, including questions. We had a lot of questions. He was fascinating; we just loved it. He stayed around and talked with us and said whenever you are in town let me know and we will have lunch or something like that. So that was a terrific experience for us. He gave us a sense of the political scene at the time and there certainly was an active political life in Tanzania and that he was definitely part of it.
Q: Did you ever get to Zanzibar?
RATIGAN: We never did, and we still regret that we didn't. I can't remember why, but we didn't. We have a Zanzibar chest however in the American Museum of Natural History downtown. We bought a Zanzibar chest while we were in Mombassa one time, you know, one of the classic old Arab chests with lots of brass studs and carried it around with us through the foreign service. Used it as a linen chest and so forth. We got home and couldn't figure out what in the world we were going to do with it. So we gave it to the Smithsonian. It is now on display at the Museum of Natural History with a plaque with our names on it and stuff, right next to a big, very impressive Arab door that really just steals the show down there.
Q: OK, anything else to be said about the period of being a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania, '65-'66? You said that after you left the Peace Corps basically did not continue in Tanzania. I made a note of that. That was essentially for political reasons?
RATIGAN: Maybe a year or so after we left, the Peace Corps was “banned” in Tanzania. It was a foreign minister, a rather dashing foreign minister by the name of Oscar Kambona who I believe was successor to President Nyerere. Kambona was the one who really arranged for the banning of the Peace Corps and maybe even bringing in the Russians, I don't know. But it was definitely a political move.
Q: OK, so you went home form the Peace Corps. You decided you needed to practice law. Where did you do that?