Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with David W. Schodt, May 20, 2021

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

 

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00:00:00 - Deciding to go into the Peace Corps / Peace Corps application process

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Partial Transcript: Hi, my name is Joyce Jenkins. I'm a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, uh, who served in Cambodia 2011 to 2013 teaching English to, uh, rural high school students.

Segment Synopsis: David Schodt describes what he was doing before he decided to join the Peace Corps. He talks about why he decided to apply for the Peace Corps and the Peace Corps application process.

Keywords: Application processes; Background checks; Community economic development; Competitiveness; Cornell University; Electrical engineering.; Electrical engineers; Engineers; Job hunting; Job markets; Medical clearances; Medical examinations; Peace Corps volunteers; Personal interests; Returned Peace Corps volunteers; Service; Texas Instruments Incorporated.; Travel.; Volunteer service; Work.

Subjects: Career moves; Ecuador.; Education, Higher.; Education.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Ecuador

00:03:10 - Peace Corps training

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Partial Transcript: So, did you have training in the United States before you left for Ecuador?

Segment Synopsis: Schodt talks about training in Montana with a group of other Peace Corps volunteers to prepare for their service in Ecuador.

Keywords: Agricultural extension; Agriculturalists; Cultural trainings; Electrical engineering; Electrical lines; Engineering; Engineers; Group demographics; Group sizes; Group trainings; Language classes; Language skills; Language staff; Language training; Montana State University; Moritz Thomsen; Peace Corps staff; Peace Corps trainings; Program trainings; Returned Peace Corps volunteers; Spanish (Language); Survival skills; Survival training; Training staff; Transformers; University of Arizona

Subjects: Language transfer (Language learning); Montana; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Ecuador; Spanish language.; Training.

00:09:03 - First impressions of Ecuador

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Partial Transcript: Okay, so you take off for Ecuador. Did you have any kind of staging prior to your flight?

Segment Synopsis: Schodt describes first landing in Quito, Ecuador, his first impressions of Quito and Ibarra, and what it was like to adjust to living in Ecuador his first two weeks there.

Keywords: Adjustment periods; Assimilation; Community development; Community development volunteers; Cultural adjustments; Cultural assimilation; First impressions; Flights; Illnesses; Indigenous peoples.; Language barriers; Minorities; Minority experiences; Mountain towns; Peace Corps trainers; Peace Corps volunteers; Processing; Sicknesses; Trainers; Transitions; Traveling

Subjects: Acculturation; Communication.; Ecuador.; Ibarra (Ecuador); Language and languages; Lifestyles; Manners and customs; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Ecuador; Quito (Ecuador); Transportation.

00:22:06 - Work in community development

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Partial Transcript: I take it after your two weeks there, you were not afraid of community development? You're still interested in community development, is that right?

Segment Synopsis: Schodt describes his work in community development and with the Corporacion de Fomento del Norte Corfonor in his first year in the Peace Corps.

Keywords: Amazon Rainforest; Colonization; Colonizers; Colonizing; Community economic development; Corfonor; Corporacion de Fomento del Norte Corporacion; Homesteading; Jobs; Language skills; Peace Corps volunteers; Regional development; Regional development organizations; Roads; Spanish (Language); Spanish language.; Volunteer workers

Subjects: Community development.; Ecuador.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Ecuador; Volunteers.; Work.

00:26:15 - Living accommodations in Ecuador / In-service trainings in Ecuador

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Partial Transcript: We came back and spent a couple of weeks, uh, with families--living with families in Ibarra, which was also a, uh, uh, an important cross-cultural as well--and learning experience, but after that, we had to find our own accommodations.

Segment Synopsis: Schodt talks about living with host families in Ibarra, Ecuador and then having to find his own living accommodations. He describes his living situation and foods he ate there. Schodt talks about the lack of in-country training received by Ecuador Peace Corps volunteers.

Keywords: Cooking; Debriefings; Formal trainings; Houses; In-country trainings; In-service trainings; Living accommodations; Living conditions; Local Peace Corps coordinators; Local foods; Meal tickets; Native foods; Peace Corps coordinators; Peace Corps trainings; Peace Corps volunteers; Restaurants; Training programs; Volunteer workers

Subjects: Culture; Ecuador.; Food habits; Food.; Housing.; Ibarra (Ecuador); Lifestyles; Manners and customs; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Ecuador; Training.; Volunteers.

00:29:13 - Colonization and land reform in Ecuador

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Partial Transcript: So you're there, um, in Ibarra for the first year or so.

Segment Synopsis: Schodt talks about his participation in land reform and colonization efforts in the Oriente region of Ecuador during the last two years of his service in the Peace Corps. He talks about helping start and maintain a first aid dispensary in Ibarra, Ecuador.

Keywords: Assisted migration; Colombia.; Colonizing; Construction; Cooperatives; Ecuadorian Institute for Land Reform and Colonization; Farmers; Farms; First aid dispensaries; Healthcare; Healthcare services; Homesteading; Instituto Ecuatoriano de Reforma Agraria y ColonizaciĆ³n (IERAC); Medical services; Medical training; Military governments; Nationalism; Natural resources; Oil resources; Pastures; Petroleum; Pipelines; Political moves; Roads; Transportation.

Subjects: Colonization.; Community development.; Ecuador.; Land reform.; Oriente (Ecuador); Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Ecuador; Teachers.; Teaching.

00:45:18 - Travel during Peace Corps service / Indigenous peoples in Ecuador and South America / Ecuadorian government

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Partial Transcript: Um, did you have the opportunity to travel within the country and within a greater region? Columbia? Peru?

Segment Synopsis: Schodt talks about his travels during his Peace Corps service. He talks about the Indigenous peoples in Ecuador and South America. He talks about the state of the Ecuadorian government during his Peace Corps service.

Keywords: Amazon Rainforest; Amazon region; Andes.; Argentina.; Bolivia.; Chile.; Colonists; Ecuador.; Ecuadorian government; Elected officials; Government officials; Government stability; Governments; Inca people; Land conflicts; Military governments; Mountainous regions; Mountains; Peace Corps volunteers; Peru.; Quechua (Language); Quechua language; Regional Peace Corps meetings; Safety; Settlers; South America.; Transportation.

Subjects: Incas.; Indigenous people; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Ecuador; Politics and government; Travel.; Vacations.

00:48:50 - Reflections on career moves and Peace Corps service

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Partial Transcript: Um, was the government fairly stable during your time there?

Segment Synopsis: Schodt reflects on his career choices to pursue Peace Corps rather than engineering, the greatest accomplishments and disappointments of his Peace Corps service, and his career and educational choices after Peace Corps service.

Keywords: "Ecuador: An Andean Enigma"; Accomplishments; Authors; Cooperatives; Disappointments; Economic development; Economics; Ecuador.; Ecuadorian governments; Engineering; Engineers; Families.; Family supports; First aid dispensaries; Government negotiations; Health services; Healthcare; Latin America; Medical care; Medical dispensaries; Medical services; Oriente (Ecuador); Peace Corps volunteers; Personal accomplishments; Personal disappointments; Personal reflections; Public policy; Research; Researchers; Students; University of Wisconsin; Volunteer service; Volunteer workers

Subjects: Career moves; Careers.; Education, Higher.; Education.; Peace Corps (U.S.); Peace Corps (U.S.)--Ecuador; Reflections; Teachers.; Teaching.