Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Russell "Wolfgang" Bucher, August 9, 2020

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:00 - COVID-19 evacuation and re-entry into the United States

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Okay, today is August 9, 2020.

Segment Synopsis: Bucher was a youth development volunteer in Ecuador. His background is in art and therapeutic practice with disenfranchised youth. He felt that Peace Corps would be an extension of this work. Bucher extended his service for a 3rd year as a Peace Corps Volunteer Leader in the Youth and Families Program in Quito, Ecuador after having spent 2 years in Puerto Lopez. In Quito, he heard about the coronavirus and the changes happening in Ecuador. His was an atypical experience of evacuation since he was working in Quito, away from his original community. With another Volunteer Leader, he was thrust into a leadership position to help with the logistics of the evacuation. Standing fast and actually leaving the country stand out as pivotal times in the process. He deliberated staying in Ecuador with his significant other, but decided it was best to leave. Bucher returned to his parents' house; he was fortunate, however, to then move into a friend's mother's house that was vacant while quarantining. He, then, moved into the house with his parents. Americans' laxity in complying with CDC regulations regarding COVID was disturbing to Bucher.

Keywords: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); Ecuador; Peace Corps Volunteer Leader; Puerto Lopez, Ecuador; Quito, Ecuador; Youth and Families Programs

Subjects: COVID-19 (Disease); Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Ecuador; Unusual experience of evacuation; Voluntarism; Volunteers; Youth Development in Ecuador

GPS: Quito (Ecuador)
Map Coordinates: -0.233333, -78.516667
GPS: Puerto Lopez (Ecuador)
Map Coordinates: -1.566667, -80.816667
00:26:23 - Accomplishments while in service

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Uh, what do you feel you accomplished or what were some of your accomplish that you feel that, yes...

Segment Synopsis: While in service, Bucher was very concerned about the sustainability of his program. He was able to replace himself before he left and felt satisfied with this, especially since his work there built upon his work in the United States. He talks about helping start an arts and culture festival.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Arts and culture festivals; Continuation; Counterparts; Extension; Impact; Replacements; Sustainability; Tourism

Subjects: Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Ecuador; Voluntarism; Volunteers

00:30:12 - Value of Peace Corps in Ecuador

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So I mean, looking back with, uh, the organization, Peace Corps, how do you feel--do you feel the organization is still a valuable, uh, service in today's, uh, global, uh, you know, challenging.

Segment Synopsis: According to Bucher, Peace Corps is wanted among some people in the world. Ecuador has one of the longest-serving offices in the world. Needs within a country change over time. In his 3rd year, he was involved in site selection so he heard the confusion about the purpose of the agency. His counterpart had had several Volunteers; they valued the work and assistance provided by the Volunteers. How Volunteers use their time is critical; he was ready to work, as were his counterparts.

Keywords: Counterparts; Hard work; Misconceptions; Needed; Perceptions; Purpose; Service; Value; Wanted

Subjects: Interpersonal relations; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Ecuador; Voluntarism; Volunteers

00:35:25 - Concluding comments

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Uh, so we, we--just to finalize the, the interview, do you have any other thoughts that you want to, uh, add to your Peace Corps experience?

Segment Synopsis: In conclusion, Bucher said that his was a very beneficial experience. He was able to use the skills that he brought to his work, and he fell in love. In relation to the evacuation, he thinks that now is an inflection point for Peace Corps, to re-calibrate its work, and to question some practices. He didn't expect a perfect fit, but, to a large degree, he found one. He knows people who were disillusioned. Bucher plans to enter graduate school so is not planning to reapply to Peace Corps in the near future.

Keywords: Beneficial experiences; Inflection points; Recalibrate; Skills

Subjects: Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Ecuador; Voluntarism; Volunteers