Interview Transcript This is an interview with Betty Roy on July 13, 2006, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, about her involvement with the West African Smallpox Eradication Project. The interview is being conducted as a part of the reunion marking the 40th anniversary of the launch of the program. The interviewer is Diane Drew. Drew: Would you mind telling me a little bit about your background, schooling, where you grew up, that kind of thing? Roy: Okay. I'm from the Midwest, from the Chicago area. I spent all of my childhood in that area. My father was a dentist. We were in, at the time, a small suburb of Chicago, Mount Prospect, Illinois, and he was one of the first 2 dentists in the town. Now, I don't even care to guess how many might be in that area. I did all of my elementary and high schooling in Mount Prospect, and then went on to my first year of university. I was in music at the time and went down to DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. And as is true of many young people, you sort of have a change of interest, a change of liking for the university, and I found DePauw and Greencastle maybe a little bit too small. I had done some studying with professors at Northwestern, so I transferred up to Northwestern, and I finished my studies there. Drew: In music? Roy: No, I transferred out of music 1 quarter after being there and went into the College of Liberal Arts and decided to major in French. So I did my studies in French and had to do a catch-up because I lost some credits. So I had quite a heavy schedule for the rest of my 3 years at Northwestern. I finished up at Northwestern, and I was not in education. I didn't have much interest in teaching, which in some ways I think was probably a mistake because I think I should have done that. But I went off to Washington, D.C., and worked-I guess I can tell you-I worked for the CIA. Drew: Oh, that's okay. Now you'll have to shoot me. Roy: It's been quite a number of years. But I worked in D.C. for a year and then went abroad to Dahomey with the "State Department." (I'll put that in quotations.) Dahomey is now, of course, Benin. I worked in the embassy there and had a 2-year contract. And it was in Dahomey that I met a certain young man called Jean or Jeannel Roy, who was working there with the Smallpox Eradication Program. Drew: So your courtship must have been primarily in Cotonou, the capital of Dahomey? Roy: Correct. I didn't meet Jean right away. He was actually in Frankfurt when I arrived, but he was working in Dahomey. But people said, "Oh, you must meet this young man." I said, "Okay." It was a small post, so you tended to eventually meet everybody. Jean was responsible for Dahomey. I arrived in late '68, actually around December of '68. Jean was already there; I think he arrived in '66. Drew: Now, what's dating like in Dahomey? Roy: Well, I don't want to get too much involved. Drew: Oh, no, no, no. Roy: Well, as I said, Cotonou, the embassy, and the whole community are very small, and being a French-speaking country, a lot of French expatriates were living there. In the American community, the embassy was very small, so you met everybody. So dating, okay. I had some overlap with my predecessor at the embassy, and she said, "Oh, you need to meet Jean Roy. He's a fantastic man," and da-da-da-da. So he was gone 3 weeks. But I guess when he came back, he had seen me at the cinema with some French people, and he said, in the back of his mind, "Oh, she must not be so bad if she's in the cinema watching French films with French people. Obviously, she's out trying to meet people outside the American community." Drew: Don't let me make you feel like I'm like probing, but it's fascinating, really, to think in terms of a young woman away from the country, kind of becoming used to that. It really sounds like the makings of a novel. Roy: There were not a lot of people, you know. It's not like you go to a local bar or something and meet people, or through education courses or something.So we eventually met up at a New Year's Eve party through somebody who was with USIS [United States Information Service] and sort of started going out. He had a horse and asked me, "Do you ride?" and I said, "Oh, yes." And he said, "You want to go riding?" and I said, "Sure." So he came by the next day. And he had a group of French friends who he used to ride almost every day with, and so I got involved with that. So we used to horseback ride a lot, and then we used to go to the beach a lot. And then I used to be able to go on trips with him for his work. Drew: This must have been your first exposure to public health. Of course, your father was a dentist, so you would have been a little bit on the periphery of health-related stuff. Roy: Yes. But as far as smallpox, the only thing I knew about smallpox was that I had my vaccination. Drew: Did you feel like gradually you could get to know more about the world of public health? Roy: Yes, definitely. Drew: And there were others there working with him, I assume? Roy: Well, Jean basically set up his own office. He worked under the supervision of Dr. Challenor [Bernard Challenor], who unfortunately has since died. But Bernie was based in Togo, in Lomé. But he would come to Dahomey and Togo. So I didn't get to know Bernie that well, only more so when we eventually went back to the States. But Jean worked under him, though basically Jean was his own boss. He worked with the Dahomeyans. And different people would come through: Rafe Henderson [Ralph H. Henderson] would come by and do certain surveillance activities; and then other people from Lagos came through. I think Bernie stayed with him a while. So I met a lot of the people as they were going through and staying with Jean. Drew: And I imagine over time, I know how it can be around public health people, or anybody who specializes. There's all this kind of inside talk. You probably . . . Roy: Well, that's what I said. I've never worked with smallpox, but I always say I learned about all this through osmosis, you know. Drew: You were fluent in French, but you probably weren't fluent in public health stuff. Roy: Yes. But it was incredible just to hear them talk, and especially when Rafe was there with Ilze [Ilze Henderson]. They spent, I don't know how long doing search and containment, what Rafe called "search and destroy." They had a team of 12 young individuals with motorbikes, and they were going out to search, say, for smallpox and destroy it. So it was a certain tactic, and it was considered the best way to curtail smallpox. I was able to go out on several trips with Jean when they were going up into the villages and looking for smallpox. And I went from village to village with him, from hut to hut. And I'll have to say that if I went around to CDC today, I'd ask how many people have seen smallpox. I mean, you see these children just covered with all the pustules, some inside as well as the outside. And then the miraculous recovery of those who did survive. But, obviously, so many died. Drew: So tell me a little bit, if you would, about living conditions, what it was like living there, what the weather was like. Roy: Well, West Africa if you're along the coast is very much like Atlanta, maybe even more so. I mean, it's hot and humid. You really didn't walk a lot. We didn't. We went horseback riding, which was great exercise. But we'd be just drenched. It was just typical tropical weather. Drew: Did activities tend to slow down around the middle of the day, to avoid the hottest part of the day? Roy: No. I was in the embassy environment, and I just think we all sort of worked the American work ethic, which meant taking their 4-hour lunches. But, no, we probably had an hour and a half. But we'd go out to the beach at lunchtime. It was just a couple of blocks away. Cotonou was right on the coast. Drew: Was it very scenic? What was the area like? Roy: Typical palm trees. People used to come up from Lagos because it was a French colony, and the food was very good. I was really exposed to wonderful French food. But I would have to say it was a hardship that you had to worry about the water. You had to worry about eating anything raw in the way of vegetables and fruits, unless it was peeled, or else you wanted to put it in a bleach mixture. So you had to be very careful. You had to worry about malaria. At that time we were able to take chloroquine, and the mosquito was not resistant to that. So healthwise, you had to be careful. But I never had any problems. Drew: It must have been kind of an adventure, really. Roy: Yes. But you were briefed on all this before you went. You were aware of what you should and should not do. Drew: And I'll bet that was reinforced by the people around you, too. Roy: Oh, yes. You know, you had to worry about amebic dysentery. And I remember 1 man had come down with amebiasis, and that was the last thing you ever wanted to get was amoebas. And the ambassador's secretary eventually died of hepatitis because she had not taken her gamma globulin at the time. So you knew the risks. But I guess being young, I didn't really worry about it. I did what I needed to do. But it didn't prevent me from going off to Africa. My mother never blinked an eye. "Okay, going off to Africa." Drew: Did you have siblings when you were going off? Roy: I had a sister and a brother. I'm the youngest. Drew: So your parents were completely supportive? Roy: Well, my father had died when I was in high school, so it was my mother. I think my mother sort of rolled with the punches when she came to me. I think I always had a few surprises for her, but she was so easy going. She's since died, but, yes, for her, any time we moved, my mother would always say, "Oh, I haven't been to that place." Drew: Would she come and visit? Roy: Oh, yes. She came to Dahomey with a friend of hers. It was marvelous because we stayed in Cotonou for some time. Then Jean had work up in the northern part of the country. And my mother and her friend took the train because Jean thought maybe it wouldn't be as comfortable in the truck, but we did take the truck back. Drew: Are these the famous Dodge trucks? Roy: Yes, yes, yes. Drew: My understanding is that a lot of people became expert at repairing them or whatever. Roy: Oh, yes. Jean had to learn how to do maintenance on the trucks. That was part of the training before they went over. So my mom and her friend came over, and we had a chance to go up-country, while Jean was doing work. We didn't see any smallpox at that time; I think this was further along when the number of cases was greatly diminishing. So she was able to visit different villages while the team was looking for cases. Drew: That's pretty amazing. Roy: The villagers would look at this woman whose hair was, you know, the fashion when you had gray hair with a tint of blue? Bluish hair- they weren't quite sure about that. And you asked me about weather, and what the town was like. It was a lovely little town. They had wonderful local markets, which all of West Africa has, very colorful. And we used to go there to collect lots of African cloth. I have trunkfuls of African cloth. Drew: Do you sew? Roy: I used to. Used to make ties. I used to make dresses. Drew: People would kind of know what they were going to get for Christmas. . . Roy: And a lot of African beads. So the market was something. That was a nice distraction. And the restaurants. We had 1 wonderful restaurant on the coast. Drew; Was it primarily French cuisine? Roy: Oh, yes. It was called Patty Snack. When Rafe and Ilze used to come to town, we'd go to the restaurant. They had wonderful frogs' legs, and so we'd all order frogs' legs. Later, the waiter would come and ask, "Well, would you like anything further, maybe dessert, coffee?" And Rafe and Ilze would say, "Another order of frogs' legs." I'll never forget that. It was the best food. We'd have a full meal and maybe, I don't even know if they had, with the equivalent of a dollar. Drew: Oh, amazing. Roy: It was superb, superb. And the Dahomeyans were just very, very nice people. I had a houseboy, which most people did, at first, but I was not used to having. We inherited him from my predecessor. I had him for a while, and I felt a little guilty when I said I didn't need him anymore, but I was usually not there lunchtime because we'd go off to the beach, and at night I was probably at Jean's, and he did have somebody to help him. So I said, "Albert, you're better off finding a position elsewhere." That was really my first experience having somebody cook for me and clean for me, and to this day I'm not really keen on having somebody underfoot. Drew: I could see where that would be kind of odd. Roy: If I have a special dinner, sometimes in Geneva, they'll have somebody come in and help clean up and serve and things like that. Drew: How long were you there before the 2 of you got married? Roy: Not real long. I initially had a 2-year contract. I was just finishing up my first year by the end of '69, when Jean was scheduled to come back to the States, about October. So I said, "Well, what's going to happen?" Drew: Sort of, "What's your agenda?" Roy: "What is your agenda?" I had to tell my boss if I'm going to continue for another year. With the State Department, if you go before your first year is up, you have to reimburse the government for sending you out there. Drew: That would be a lot of motivation to not go. Roy: So I said, "I'm going to stay my year, but I want to know, am I going to continue here with my career, or what?" So he said, "Well, okay. We'll get married." And he was old enough. Jean was like 29 at the time, time to settle down and get married. Drew: And how old were you at that point, about, 24, 25? Roy: I was 24. Drew: And did you come back to the States? Roy: We thought about getting married there. We had a wonderful ambassador, Ambassador Lorem, who gave us a wonderful engagement party. His wife is a former Rothschild, so we had lovely Duchene champagne, and I don't think I've had any since then. We invited as many people as we wanted. It was very special, very special. So, with all the bureaucracy that was involved in trying to get married, we decided no, we'd get married in the States. And we decided we'd marry in my hometown, Mount Prospect, and that happened in January 1970. So I did break my contract. And, of course, I didn't have to reimburse the government for sending me over there because I'd already been there a year, but I had to pay my way back, and I didn't have it covered. Drew: Where did you live? Roy: We came back to Atlanta. We were here in 1970-1971. Jean worked here in Atlanta on smallpox surveillance. He covered Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, that portion of West Africa, working for Bob Hogan [Robert C. Hogan]. Drew: But basically he was based here at headquarters and then made regular trips? Roy: Yes Drew: And was that your first experience in living in Atlanta? Roy: Yes. Drew: How did you like Atlanta? A little bit of an adjustment maybe? Roy: I basically said I don't know whether I want to come back here to live after we left Africa. Yes, it was very different. It wouldn't have been my first choice. It was very different back then, when you think of the way it is now. Oh, my goodness. You could count on 1 hand the number of ethnic restaurants in the city. In our wedding, we had a young man who was in the Peace Corps with Jean. (Jean was in the Peace Corps in Cameroon for 2 years.) His name was Freeman, and he was a black American. He was in our wedding in the Midwest. And I'm prefacing this because he came and visited us here-he lived in Atlanta, actually. But he'd come to visit us. We had some neighbors who weren't very appreciative of our having this friend of another color. So you knew those sort of thoughts maybe were held up north, but somehow they didn't say it to your face. So it was a little bit uncomfortable. So I guess through choice, I didn't work here. I said, "Well, maybe I should have pursued a career more." I sort of left it. Maybe back in that time, I thought, okay, I'm married now, and you start raising a family at some point. Drew: But that was much more common then. And I think women didn't feel like they had to justify that. It was just kind of the expectation for many. Roy: I had friends in school who obviously have gone on with careers. But we didn't know how long Jean would be here. We were hoping maybe to go back overseas again. Drew: Were you able to travel back with him at all? Roy: Yes. After the first 6 months, he had to go back to Equatorial Guinea, I think, for work. I went back to Dahomey and visited our good French friends and stayed with them. And then we met up in Paris when Jean was finished. So, we were in Atlanta from 1970 to 1971, as I said, working on smallpox surveillance. Then we went to Dakar, Senegal, for a year. Again, it was regional surveillance of smallpox because now smallpox had basically been eradicated from West Africa, and they needed to continue to survey, make certain that cases didn't pop up. But also at that same time, we were working very closely with measles because the ministries of health had told CDC measles was a priority. Drew: Yes. That was kind of part of the deal, wasn't it? Roy: Right. And at that point, because smallpox cases had almost completely disappeared, measles was becoming the bigger killer of children, so the emphasis was on measles along with the surveillance. So we were in Dakar for a year. Dakar is wonderful, just wonderful. The climate is wonderful, only hot maybe in September and October. Otherwise, you always have the trade winds. Beautiful temperatures during the day, and then the night was actually cool. You needed a light wrap at night. So we enjoyed that. Only a year, unfortunately, because the monies just sort of tended to dry up. Drew: Was the funding coming primarily from CDC or from WHO [World Health Organization] or . . . Roy: It was through the US government-to CDC through USAID [US Agency for International Development]. And when administrations changed, the funding would get bigger or smaller-depending on who was in office. So Jean came back to the States, and that's when he started working with the immunization program for CDC. So we went to Albany, New York, where he worked on immunization for the state health department. At CDC, you're assigned to New York to work with the state epidemiologist with the state health department. I was pregnant then. I had gotten pregnant in Senegal. We knew we were leaving Senegal. When we went to Albany, I was probably about 5 months' pregnant. And we had to find a place to live. We had rented an apartment and a car. Finally we found a house, but we couldn't move into it until February 1. Jonathan was due in January. So I went home to mother in the Chicago area. Jean stayed in Albany. We gave up the apartment; he rented a room. And then, when Jonathan was born several weeks later, we came back and we moved into our house. We were in Albany for 3 years. And Jean worked, as I said, with the immunization program. We got to meet and work with Al Hinman [Alan Hinman], who at that time was, I think, New York State epidemiologist. And then we went to Puerto Rico. So we're going away from smallpox, but all of Jean's work with smallpox had been in his relationship with CDC, but to his taking on a position with CDC and then continuing his career until 1998. And in those interim years, I won't go into detail, but we lived in Puerto Rico for 3 years, and we went to Olympia, Washington, for 4 years, where he worked, again, for the immunization program. Eventually he also worked with Oregon, where he helped develop the school laws that required children to have immunizations before they get into the schools. They didn't have those laws then. We lived in Olympia for 4 years. Then we got back into international health and moved to Zaire, Kinshasa, for 4 years, where he worked with the CCCD [Combating Childhood Communicable Diseases] program. And 4 years there. Then we came to Atlanta in '86, and that was our longest stay anywhere, 12 years. Jean was working with CCCD in the International Health Program Office (IHPO). Drew: What part of Atlanta did you live in? Roy: Northeast Atlanta. We still have that home. Then in '98, Jean retired, and we immediately, a couple of months later, went to Geneva, where we are now. He was a consultant to, but now is an employee of the American Red Cross assigned to the International Federation of the Red Cross, working with malaria in Africa. Jean's involvement with smallpox came about from being in the Peace Corps; he did 2 years of Peace Corps in Cameroon. Then he went on to Columbia University Teachers College. Drew: So when he was in Cameroon, he was not a physician? Roy: No, no. And he is not a physician. He's a public health advisor. And at the time he was doing his work in Columbia, he was going to go off to Africa anyway, but he found out about the smallpox program. CDC was looking for people with Africa experience and people who had French for the francophone countries. At that time, he was also possibly having a 1A status for Vietnam. So through various connections, he was able to come on board at CDC with the smallpox program as a commissioned officer, even though he's not a physician. He was able to do his military service that way. Roy: Yeah. He and Mark LaPointe have very similar career paths. Drew: Yes. In fact, I think I'm interviewing him tomorrow. So they must be folks that you know, too. Roy: And Mark's from Maine and my husband's from Maine. Oh, yes, we know Mark and Diane. So, in a nutshell, that's a little bit of what our life has been. Drew: It really sounds wonderful. Roy: I'll have to say-isn't this terrible to say?-that because of smallpox, I guess I've had a very exciting life. Drew Well, but it's interesting because I think it sounds really exciting, but I'll bet it made a lot of demands on both of you in terms of just adapting to different cultures. I would think you'd have to be a fairly flexible person. Roy: Yes. But, again, because I wasn't, obviously, a career person, I didn't have this huge career that I was starting to keep. But when you've been married 36 years, you're always going to have your highs and lows. And when you're in a foreign country, that might put more demands on it. But then, on the other hand, I think we've had so much wonderful advantages as far as making friends from different parts of the world and traveling. Drew: Really a great life. Roy: Yes, oh, definitely. Drew: And I'll bet you both have friends that you wind up interacting with who you've known in different parts of the world? Roy: Oh, sure. We have these friends, in fact, that we've known since before we were married. They live in France. We haven't seen them in a while, but we've kept up those relationships, from Puerto Rico, from Africa. Drew: Can you think of any particular challenges or problems that either of you encountered in terms of living in Africa? Roy: Well, I guess, as I said before, the health issues. I mean, if you did come down with something, in Cotonou, we didn't have a doctor at the embassy. The medical services for that area came out of Lagos. You just hoped you never had to have any medical problem there. Did I want to go to a local doctor? I mean, the French doctors were fine. But, for me, I was still very young and I thought, ew. So that was always a little bit of a concern. Drew: Sounds like you were pretty healthy, though. Roy: Yes, but sometimes you'd have some typical female problems, you know. Do I really need to go? Do I really need to see him? Eventually I broke down. Yes, I need to see him. In Senegal, I had an incident. I was going to the beach with somebody, and this young Senegalese came up. He had a crutch, and he sat next to us. Normally, I never brought anything of any value with me to the beach. But I had a bag with my car keys in it. This man was sitting next to us, and all of a sudden he grabbed my bag. And I thought, "Oh," so I grabbed his crutch. So he didn't get very far with my bag. I think today, in this day and age, the way things are, maybe I'd think twice about living here because of the situation with AIDS and everything. What if you were in an automobile accident or something and needed a blood transfusion? I think now probably many people take their own blood with them. But those are concerns that one might have today. And the fact that malaria is so resistant to medications that one takes... When my son was born, we lived in Zaire. He went with us when we went back to Zaire, when he was about 10. And we spent 4 years there. So for him, those were very formitive years, the middle-school years. And he still has a lot of his impressions from that time. So that's left very much of a stamp on his life. To this day, he loves to travel and spent time in Abu Dhabi for some work, spent time in St. Petersburg for some work, and was never quite domesticated. Drew: And when you were in Zaire, what program were you with? Roy: The CCCD. Which was great. We made some great friends in Zaire, and we were there during the good times. We were there from '82 to '86. And security difficulties started happening but we had very positive experiences. We belonged to a riding club there. We did a lot of horseback riding. And I used to be involved with the international women's club there and was president for several years. I was on the school board, the American school in Kinshasa, for 3 years. So I was very busy. Drew: Can you describe the school? Roy: The American school in Kinshasa was set up by missionaries years and years and years ago. It followed an American curriculum. It was quite good. Jonathan was there basically his 5th, 6th, and 7th Drew: And then you came back to Atlanta? Roy: And then we came back, and he started high school. That was a little bit hard for him, I think. Drew: That's what I was kind of wondering. Roy: Yes. Well, when he started school as a youngster, he'd gone to Montessori. So when we had moved to Washington state, and he was already reading, I thought, "And we're going to put him into kindergarten?" So he was tested and he went into first grade at age 5. But I think it was fine. Whether it was a mistake, who knows? Drew: You just do what you think is best. Roy: Yes. So he went into Lakeside High School at age 14. I think he had a little bit of a hard time adjusting, and he was bored, very, very bored. He couldn't get into certain programs. He's very good in music. He plays the piano, the violin, and the saxophone. But when he wanted to get into music, he couldn't do music. And he couldn't do art because it wouldn't be in his schedule. I was disappointed in the school. The bottom line is, he went there his first year and then we put him in private school, so he graduated from there. Drew: If you can kind of reflect back, did you or Jean have any opinions about things that might have worked better with the smallpox program, or do you think it worked pretty well? Roy: I had the sense that it was very successful. Drew: And that there were enough resources? Roy: Oh, I mean, I'm basically probably just parroting what Jean would say, you know, that they had a budget to work with. Drew: Sure. Roy: This was like $35 million or something, which is nothing today. And they succeeded in their goals in less amount of time than was anticipated, and under budget. So I think . . . Drew: That spells success to me. Roy: Yes, yes. And I think it developed a whole strategy of combating disease. And I think that has carried over into polio eradication, measles, and malaria. AIDS is another issue. Drew: It presents such unique challenges. Roy: But my impressions-obviously, this is not from being involved personally-is that it was terribly successful. I think you had a group of individuals who were so special and dedicated. Drew: It does sound like it. It really sounds like a bunch of really terrific folks. Roy: Yes. Do they exist today? I don't know. I don't know. You still have young, dedicated doctors. But, yes, they were a group of people who really had a goal. And smart. You had the Foeges and the Hendersons. Drew: That's a pretty amazing combination. Roy: Yes, yes. And then, later on, in '71, when we'd been living in Albany, New York, Jean went to Bangladesh for 3 months to work with smallpox eradication because they had the last few vestiges in Bangladesh, India, and probably still in Ethiopia or Somalia. And Bill Foege [William H. Foege] was there. And I remember, after Jean did his 3 months in Bangladesh, I, along with my mother, because we traveled and met Jean in Delhi, had dinner with Foege and his wife, Paula, who was so nice, so memorable. But the experience Jean had in Bangladesh was quite interesting. It was hard on him. It was difficult. Drew: Difficult living? Roy: Yeah, yeah. Drew: I wanted to give you a chance to kind of add anything.... Roy: Oh, just a little anecdote. When we were in Cotonou, Jean had a trip to Lagos for a meeting. This was a May '69 meeting with WHO [the World Health Organization] and CDC. It was quite an important meeting. Jean says, "Oh, do you want to come along and meet some of the other people?" And so I went with him. Unfortunately, this was the time of the Biafran war. The distance between Cotonou and Lagos is not great; if you look on a map, it's a short distance. But due to the roads and the barricades that you encountered once you were into Nigeria, what should take an hour took 4 hours because they'd stop you every 10 kilometers. And the reason they were doing this was that shortly before we went on this trip to Lagos, there had been a bombing by Biafran supporters, people from Biafra, in a USAID vehicle. They'd somehow commandeered a vehicle or else they'd taken a similar vehicle and made it look like a USAID vehicle, with the symbol of the helping hand. So that's the kind of vehicle we were in. It was the Dodge truck, but it had the USAID helping-hand symbol. And so they were always heavily scrutinizing this vehicle at each barricade. They'd open up the back. And they were young soldiers with these machine guns. It was scarey, so many of them. We were with some other people in the vehicle, including Chris D'Amanda [Christopher D'Amanda]. Now, Jean had done this many times, going back and forth, so he was fairly used to it-I won't say blasé, but, you know. But for us, it was the first time. Jean says, "Don't worry, don't worry." We'd stop and he'd say, "Look at this, look at this." Well, at the 4th or 5th barricade, a young soldier looked in and closed the trunk, and then we go on to the next barricade. But when we get to the next barricade, and they're taking us aside the truck, they discover that the soldier, when he examined our truck at the last barricade, had taken his gun off and he put it in the trunk. Drew: On purpose? Roy: No. He just forgot it. Drew: Oh, he forgot it. Oh, my lord. Roy: So we get to the next stop, and it was discovered. Drew: And you didn't even know what you had. Roy: And, obviously, the young man reported that he missed his gun, and it was just horrendous, just awful. It all worked out, but, you know. And then we were in Lagos that night, and during the day the streets were going in 1 direction, and at night, unbeknownst to us, all of a sudden they changed direction. And there was a blackout period. So you were just going by the headlights. So we're going down this street, and all of a sudden a soldier jumps out in front of us and points his machine gun right at us because we were going the wrong way on the street. Drew: A bit of an introduction. Roy: A little excitement. So, I don't know if I have any other notes on smallpox. I think we've covered everything. Drew: Great. Well, I really appreciate talking with you, and you've done a great job. # # #
Betty Roy Oral History
Betty Roy interviewed by
July 14, 2006
Betty Roy relates how she met Jean Roy (Operations Officer in Dahomey) while she was working abroad for the State Department in Dahomey (Benin) and became introduced to the work of public health and the Smallpox Eradication Program. Betty tells of Jean's work in smallpox surveillance and living in Atlanta and Dakar, Senegal and Jean's career working in immunization programs for CDC until 1998 when they moved to Geneva, where Jean now works for the International Federation of the Red Cross on malaria in Africa. Betty reflects, "I'll have to say...that because of smallpox, I guess I've had a very exciting life."