WILSON: Corps oral history interview, November 15, 2006 with Bill Davig. Jack Wilson, interviewer. Okay, Bill, if you would, please, start by giving me your full name and where and when you were born.

DAVIG: My full name is William Alan Davig. And I was born in Victoria, Texas, in 1937.

WILSON: And can you tell me a little something about your family and your growing up?

DAVIG: My family, my mother was, her background, because her parents were from Czechoslovakia and were immigrants. But she was born in Victoria. My father was born in Nebraska and he moved to Texas when 1:00we were about, when he was about ten. And he grew up as a farmer. He inherited my grandfather's farm. And then at about ten years old, when I was ten, we moved off the farm because of his health, and he ran a grocery store. And then I grew up, went to high school. And then I went to work after high school, I went to work at a local bank, and I worked there for about three years. And then I joined the navy for two years, naval reserve. So I was in Great Lakes, Illinois. Stationed at Great Lakes, Illinois for a couple of years.

WILSON: So that would have been, you graduated from high school in, what, fifty-

DAVIG: I think it was 1954.


DAVIG: And I worked in a bank.


WILSON: Right.

DAVIG: Victoria National Bank. And worked there for about three years. And then I joined the navy. My dad died while I was in the navy. He had a heart condition. So then I came, after the navy I came home and went to University of Houston.

WILSON: And you were in the navy--

DAVIG: Two years.

WILSON: Two years. So that would have been about 1959, '60?

DAVIG: I think so. I mean, I'm not sure exactly dates, like exactly the number of years I worked at the bank. I think it was about three. Then I went to University of Houston and got a degree in math. Mathematics. I did coop work and took me a little bit, and I worked, 3:00so it took me about five years to get through college. And when I got my degree, I had a math degree, and I could have used it in teaching, high school teaching, but I didn't do that. The only other offer that looked interesting to me was, or didn't look interesting to me, was working for an insurance company as an actuary. Sitting behind a desk. And I could see that's not for me. So I looked into the Peace Corps. And I thought well, in a way it was like postponing a decision for my career, but it looked like a good opportunity for me.

WILSON: So you would have graduated from the University of Houston when, then?

DAVIG: 1965, I believe it was.


DAVIG: 1965, yeah, 1965.

WILSON: And how did the Peace Corps-- how did you learn about Peace 4:00Corps?

DAVIG: Well, there was quite a, at that period of time, there was quite a bit of information, promotion of the Peace Corps. At university, there were recruiters there. But I didn't really, I looked at the literature and I just wanted to, you know, I just didn't want to stay at home, really, at that point. I wanted something a little bit more interesting after I got out of college. And I had, being in Texas, living in Texas, I had interacted with a lot of people from Latin America. You know, Mexicans would come up, and I felt some affinity with that. And I was interested in economic development ----------(??) 5:00So I just thought that this could be a good opportunity for me.

WILSON: Okay. So when you, you would have applied when? Before you graduated? Or after?

DAVIG: Well, it was fairly soon before I graduate, yeah. I mean, I don't remember just when it was, but I know that I got accepted and then went into training in the summer of '65.

WILSON: Do you have any memory of the application process itself?

DAVIG: No, I really don't remember that.

WILSON: Did you ask for a particular country or part of the world?

DAVIG: I just asked for Latin America because of my affinity with people from Mexico, and living around them all my life. So I felt that that was, I knew the language somewhat. I'd taken Spanish in high school and so forth. So I asked for that, and they gave me Peru.


WILSON: Okay. And so where did you train?

DAVIG: Kansas City. A group of, I guess we were about twenty-five in that group. Kansas City.

WILSON: And what was the program to be?

DAVIG: It was community development program. And so we all went into community, I think most of them were relatively small communities, but some of them, some of us worked with community development agencies. In fact, I think for quite a few there was an agency called Accion Ocular. It was the government, and the president had personally created this agency. His name was Allende. President Salvador Allende. Was that right? No. Now wait a minute. That's not his name. I've got the name wrong. Anyway, I can't remember the guy's name. I 7:00think that's the Chilean president. I can't remember what his name is.

WILSON: Let me back you up. In terms of the training in Kansas City, what was that like? What were the components of it? How long was it? Do you recall?

DAVIG: I can't. I mean, it's just been too long. I remember that, of course a lot of it was Spanish language training. We had some cultural training, and we had a couple of people that came in that were experts in Latin America, in Peruvian history and culture. And we learned about the Incas, the history of the Incas and the current culture, the Indian 8:00population in Peru. But I can't, I really can't remember the details.

WILSON: Was there a selection process? Did everybody who went to training end up going to Peru?

DAVIG: There were a couple of people that dropped out, I remember. And, but I can't remember any of the details of why they weren't accepted.

WILSON: Okay. So the training was over when, and when did you go to Peru?

DAVIG: I think it was in like September of that year, or August, that we went to Peru.

WILSON: And was there any orientation or training in Peru at that time?

DAVIG: Oh, I think we might have had a week at the most, a few days 9:00in Lima. When we met people in Lima and then, and then we went out to our assignments. And the interesting thing was, I went out to my assignment and I couldn't find the guy I was supposed to report to, the Peruvian. It took a while to find him.

WILSON: So did you just go out by yourself? How did that work?

DAVIG: Well in that case, that particular instance, I mean, they didn't all go out by themselves, but I did. And my situation was that I went, I was the only one local in that particular town, in location. I was assigned to teach at a local university, teach mathematics. And so I had the chair of the head of the department, I was supposed to 10:00report to him. And of course that was kind of a shock to me, because I had a math degree, but I was, you know, a degree in math, a BS in mathematics. And here I was going to teach college students math. And so I wasn't quite prepared for that. But it worked out all right. I finally got in there and taught a couple of, three courses. And that worked fine until they had the Communist Party in the university struck, a student strike. There were students struck and shut down the university. And they had a, threw a few fire bombs in there and it got a little violent, so they shut down the university. So I started looking for a job. You know, something else to do.

WILSON: So this was how long after you had--

DAVIG: One semester. I think I had one full semester. So it turned 11:00out that there were two other Peace Corps volunteers that arrived after I did.

WILSON: In the same community?

DAVIG: Yeah.

WILSON: What was the community?

DAVIG: It was called Huanuco. And it was up in the mountains. Actually, it was on the, you know how the Andes cuts right through the middle of Peru. And so you've got the west side, which is Lima, and then up on the other side is the jungle, where you come down. So they call it the montagna, a little bit higher than that. The eyebrow of the mountain. And so we were a little bit above there, about 10,000 feet. This is a state capital. And it was about forty-five minutes by air from Lima, but it was fifteen hours by land. Because you had to go up the mountain and back down again.

WILSON: And how did you normally go?

DAVIG: By land. Peace Corps did not pay for our-- I think I flew twice 12:00from Lima to Huanuco. And that was like when we finally, like when I left Huanuco, I flew out.

WILSON: Do you have any memory about that trip the first time you took it?

DAVIG: Oh, yeah. Because--

WILSON: Tell me about that.

DAVIG: We went up the mountain and with this old truck that was full of people. They'd usually have a few animals. Not a truck. It was a bus, right? But it was a bus like you'd never seen before in this country. (laughs) And very, you know, small seats, because I think the Peruvians are mostly small people. So they don't build them for big people. So they were pretty tight. And you first go up to, the first day, by the evening, a little after dark, by eight or nine o'clock at night, we arrive at Cerro de Pasco, which is the copper mine that's 13:00about 14,000 feet. And it's called, it had a bad name, they had a dirty name for it because it was a very dirty place and cold and ugly place. And that was the high, that was where you'd start then down on the other side of the mountain. And at that time, before we got there, the road had washed out. So we had to get out and try to get the rocks and stuff out of the way so he could drive through.

WILSON: So that was part of the work of the passengers.

DAVIG: The passengers, yeah. Passengers had to get out and help clear the road. Because we wanted to keep going, right? And it took a lot of work to get those boulders and stuff out of the way. So you finally 14:00got to Huanuco, right? Huanuco was a very nice town. It had a river going through it, the Huallaga River going through there. So then I found a place, a pension to stay. And this was run by a Chinese lady. And she kind of catered to Americans, or foreigners, in her pension. So there were other, I remember a couple of people from, anthropology students from the University of Wisconsin. So it was a nice little pension where you'd get some nice, interesting people that would come through there. And that's where I stayed when I was there.

WILSON: So you, and what was that living condition like?

DAVIG: Oh, it was nice. It was very nice. I mean, they had meals. 15:00Very--

WILSON: Electricity? Hot and cold running water?

DAVIG: Yeah. It was in the city. So we weren't living out in the boondocks. It was a nice, good sized town.

WILSON: But you could do that on the living allowance that Peace Corps provided you?

DAVIG: Oh, yeah. Yeah. It was cheap. I don't remember what we paid, but it's not, we didn't have much left over.

WILSON: So anyway, you taught at this university. What was the name of the university?

DAVIG: University of Huanuco. Huanuco.

WILSON: And what were you actually teaching in mathematics?

DAVIG: Algebra. And I think I taught some course in calculus. 16:00Introductory calculus.

WILSON: Okay. I interrupted you, and you said you did this for a semester, and then there was a strike by the students.

DAVIG: That's right. They closed the university. And so it didn't look like anytime soon that they would get back again going. And I was a little bit leery about going back anyway. So I looked for another job, and I didn't think there would be anything at the colle for me to do. In the meantime, I was doing some tutoring in English. You know, there's always people wanting to know, wanting to learn English. So a couple of other Peace Corps volunteers arrived. And they were working for this community development agency in road building, and school building. And what they were doing was helping the, some of the 17:00villages up in the mountains above us build schools and build roads. And the government would provide the materials and the planning, and the Indian communities in the community would provide the work to do the road building and the schools. So they had their central office in Huanuco. So I met these guys and they introduced me to the people in the agency in Huanuco, the office. And so I worked with them.

WILSON: Did the Peace Corps staff have any input to all of this?

DAVIG: No. I just kind of did it all on my own. I just found that activity and worked with them. And it was, you know, doing time, odd 18:00job things. I mean, I'd travel with him sometimes and do some design work. Help lay out some school plans and things like that. That was basically what I did. And then I taught some, so it was just kind of informal work for them. And I taught, like I said, I taught some English to some of the local people who wanted to learn English.

WILSON: Did the university ever reopen and they seek your assistance again, or not?

DAVIG: I think they may have reopened, but I was, or better work with the agency. So I didn't really try to get back into the university and teach there. Of course I did, I let the people in Lima know what I was 19:00doing, and they thought that was fine. That was okay.

WILSON: And you continued to live in the pension?

DAVIG: Well, what happened was, I think the latter part of the time of my period there. We found a house that was for rent. And so four of us, four Peace Corps volunteers rented a place. I don't remember how much we paid for it. But we moved out and had our own little house in town that we stayed in.

WILSON: And was that the same amenities that you had in the pension?

DAVIG: Yeah. It was a really nice little place. And it was really convenient for us. Of course, we had to do our cooking there, whereas before we had someone that provided a meal for us.


WILSON: That raises a question about what you ate and so forth. Can you describe that for me a little bit? Both at the pension and when you started cooking for yourself? What was the food like? And so forth.

DAVIG: I swear, I can't, I mean, I know that the pension, this was a Chinese lady, and she'd often give us some Chinese style food. And in Peru, that's very popular. So that's one reason she was popular, because she cooked this Chinese style food that was popular in Peru. But I can't give you much, I just can't remember much about that.

WILSON: What you cooked for yourself.

DAVIG: No, I can't, I don't remember how we handled it.

WILSON: Can you describe for me what a typical day would have been like 21:00when you were, well, either when you were living at the pension or at your own place? And sort of what you did through the day? What the work was, travel and so forth.

DAVIG: Well I can just remember certain instances where we traveled, mainly. The day by day stuff, I just don't remember anything, any special routine I had. One of the times that we, they asked me to go with them, the group that met, the action agency, to a village that was in the mountains. And I went with them. This was actually a village 22:00that had been settled by German immigrants and they wanted to build a road, find out the feasibility and the economic impact of building a road through this village, because they had been isolated for years. So I went with them on that particular trip.

WILSON: This is Peruvians, or other Peace Corps folk.

DAVIG: No, these are all Peruvians. I went with the Peruvian guys. An engineer, and a guy who's kind of a supervisor in the office, and another guy. So that was perfect for this trip. I remember that. But you know, I don't remember some of just the day to day details of what we did.


WILSON: Going back a step, when you first went, what do you, what did you find the most difficult adjustment to be, and how did you become acclimated?

DAVIG: I think difficult was the language. I think just communicating, and understanding what other people were kind of communicating. I didn't have any real difficulty adapting to life there, other than that. It was fine. I liked it a lot. And I became very friendly with some Peruvian people that I interacted with. Had a good time.

WILSON: And your language facility developed pretty rapidly?


DAVIG: Yeah, I think it did. In about six months' time. And I was able to communicate pretty well.

WILSON: What did you do for recreation?

DAVIG: Travel, mainly. Whenever we had, and I had some flexibility because not having any day to day specific job after I quit teaching and working with the agency, I had more flexibility. So whenever there was an opportunity to travel, I would take advantage of it.

WILSON: So where and how did you travel?

DAVIG: Well, the lady who had the pension had a daughter and a son-in- law who lived further down the, in the jungle. You know, further down 25:00on the other side of the mountain. And so I traveled there several times. And we went as far as, even farther, on a couple of trips. And then we took another couple of trips. And this was with other Peace Corps volunteers. We went to Cusco and we traveled to Lima a couple of times. So my free time was mainly, you know, when I did have any opportunity to travel around Peru. See other parts of Peru.

WILSON: And during the sort of normal work week or month, was there any recreational opportunities, down time opportunities?


DAVIG: Well, you know, there were things like parties. The place that we rented, the four volunteers, was this little house. But right next to it was a tennis court. Somebody that had lived in that house had built the tennis court. So we had a good time playing tennis. First time I'd ever played tennis in my life. (laughs) I thought, I'll learn to play tennis in Peru. That was one of the things we did.

WILSON: Did you travel out of the country at all?

DAVIG: No. Never did.

WILSON: Okay. What were your interactions with Peruvian nationals like? Did you have a counterpart or host family or anything? Describe that 27:00for me a little bit.

DAVIG: Well, I'd say the lady who ran the pension and her family, I became very good friends with them. And visited their chakra [Editor's note: field] or whatever they called it, and spent some time there. And traveled with them some. Also had another good friend whose son I taught over a long period of time. Oh, I tutored him in math. He was of high school age.

WILSON: This is a Peruvian.

DAVIG: Yeah, he was Peruvian. But he was a Peruvian Chinese. And so the parents approached me, I don't remember exactly how I met them, 28:00but I met the parents and they coached me and wanted to know if I could teach their son, tutor him in algebra. So I did. I spent a lot of time with him, and with the family. I became very good friends with his family. And then I had another guy that I would go fishing with a couple of times. We'd go fishing, he was the brother of the lady who had the pension. So I became friends, that was most of my, turns out, I guess, if you really think, hadn't thought about it, but there were Chinese Peruvians that I became more friendly with. I mean, they weren't all, I had other Peruvians that I knew. But these were the ones that I probably spent more time with.

WILSON: And what about your interaction with other Americans or other 29:00Peace Corps folks?

DAVIG: Well that was, like I say, we had a group of four of us that spent a lot of time together because we lived together. We met first in the pension. Well, one of them was not a, yeah, he was a Peace Corps volunteers. I'm just trying to think what he did, what was his-- there were four of us. But I can't remember now what the fourth guy was doing.

WILSON: But two of the others were working in the same agency that you were.

DAVIG: Yeah. Right.

WILSON: So you saw them on a regular, you were living on a regular basis. Okay. Is there a particularly meaningful event or story from 30:00your Peace Corps service that you remember?

DAVIG: No. Nothing in particular that has made any lasting impression or anything.

WILSON: What do you remember about the culture in Peru that was significant to you?

DAVIG: Well I think the culture, the thing that impressed me the most was the Indian. The strong Indian culture that still existed. And we went to several religious festivals. And they were Catholic, right? I mean, they were presumably Catholic. But the dances and the costumes were all from the old Inca tradition. They melded this. And the, 31:00it's just, the behavior, I never got to know many of the Indian people closely. But their behavior and the way it seemed, the traditions and the way they lived seemed like you were going back into the past, the old Incas again. If you saw their huts and went inside their homes, it was as if you're back in the past. There's a big discrepancy between their culture and their way of living and the Peruvians in the cities.

WILSON: And did they speak both Spanish and the local--


DAVIG: A lot of them just spoke the old Quechua. Now if they came to the city, they would come shopping. And that's the other thing, the kind of herbs and the foods and stuff that they would have in these markets for the Indians were stuff that, just for the Indians. The coca, the coca leaves were for sale. And the Indians would always carry a little bag of coca leaves around their waist. And that was, that impressed me. It was my first real introduction to a really different culture, different way of life, a different way of living. Because the Peruvians were Latin. The Latin culture I'd been 33:00introduced to, because I'd been to Mexico, it wasn't that much of a shock to me. But the Indian was, the Indian culture.

WILSON: Did you have occasion to learn any Quechua?

DAVIG: Well, I did. I can't remember any of the words, but I did know some of the words. We did learn a little bit of that. In fact, we were introduced to it in the training when we first did our training in Kansas City. We were introduced to some of the Quechua words and the culture and so on. But I can't remember those words now.

WILSON: But you might have used some of it when you were out in the mountains.

DAVIG: Oh, yeah. That's right. Yeah. Because I traveled, a few times we traveled with the other guys, the other two volunteers up to the mountains. Now they were the ones that had to communicate 34:00with the Indians, because they were the ones up in the mountains building the schools and helping with the roads. So they did have some difficulties. Because they had to learn some Quechua terms.

WILSON: So your time in Peru finished when?

DAVIG: I think it was '67, in the spring of '67. And that's when I came back to the US.

WILSON: And what was that like, coming back to the US? And did you come directly, or--

DAVIG: Yeah, yeah, I did. I came directly. I had applied to graduate school. And so I was, you know, I was looking forward to that. This was, it wasn't that big a change for me. I mean, it wasn't a shock. I 35:00already had my plans as to what I was going to do next.

WILSON: And what did that include? Where did you, you came back and went directly to graduate school where?

DAVIG: Northwestern in Evansville, Illinois. This was a degree in industrial engineering. However, the reason I was interested in this is my time in Peru, I think I became even more interested in the idea of economic development and the ----------(??) Indian, and I learned a lot about the economy of Peru and the problems and so forth. And so I became interested in that. We had some assistance from the Peace Corps in opportunities for graduate study. I mean, they sent 36:00us some information about ----------(??) and evidently there were some universities that were actually actively looking for returned Peace Corps volunteers, people with that kind of experience. Well it turned out there was a professor of industrial engineering in Northwestern that had a, that developed a program that was particularly, he was particularly interested in people that had experience overseas in other cultures, and were interested in economic development and particularly in the area of technological development. So I applied. And I thought it was interesting. Well it turned out there were about four other 37:00Peace Corps volunteers, I think there were three. Three returned Peace Corps volunteers besides myself that came in the program the same time. So we had a lot of things in common and we all had this same professor as an advisor. And it led to a lot of other kinds of things that you know, I got into later on.

WILSON: This was a master's degree program? Or PhD program?

DAVIG: It was a master's degree program, but I was into it about a year or so and I had the option to go for a PhD and skip the master's degree, and so I did. So I didn't, it wasn't really clear that, you 38:00could get a master's or you could go all the way to PhD. So I think we all went straight to the PhD in that program.

WILSON: Okay. And so when did you finish that up? And sort of what did that lead to?

DAVIG: I believe I finally got my degree in 1974 after my dissertation. But what it led to, after I got to Northwestern and then got into the program, it led to some activity, more activity in Latin America. Because it was a program called Research on Research and Development. And part of that was the technological development, information systems for technology in Latin America. That's basically what it was called. 39:00And so this was a program with the Organization of American States in Washington. It was based in Washington. So I was the, I went to Washington and worked in Washington with the OAS on this program as a student at Northwestern. And we did in that three-month period. And during that time we traveled to Latin America with the theme of people interviewing and collecting information from technological institutes, research institutes in several different countries. And that sort of formed the basis for my dissertation. Technological innovation, 40:00technological development in South America. So then I actually did my dissertation in Brazil on transfer technology in a couple of industries that I'd studied in Brazil. I went out and did interviews and collected data from Brazilian companies.

WILSON: You picked up Portuguese along the way?

DAVIG: Yeah. Right. Of course, I had to. I had to learn Portuguese because I had to interview. I had to interview all these managers of these companies. Most of them spoke some English, right? So it was a, it was kind of a cooperative interview. So it was partly in Spanish, partly in English. But it worked out. And I had a fellowship to pay part of my expenses, you know, travel expenses and so forth. That was the basis for my dissertation. But it all started with the Peace 41:00Corps. And actually, that was the beginning of my interest in economic development, and led me to Northwestern. And then that led me back to Latin America.

WILSON: And what have you done since then?

DAVIG: Well, after I, I taught, actually taught in Brazil for a couple of years. I actually spent eight years in Brazil. After my dissertation, and after I graduate, before I graduated, when I was doing my dissertation, I taught at the Catholic University in Brazil, in the MBA program. And then, after that, USAID had a program in Sao Paulo, 42:00Brazil, the state of Sao Paulo, which was working with their several technological institutes. They had an institute of agronomy, which is agricultural. And they had a food research institute. And then they had a technological institute. So we had a program, or not we, but the US and Brazil developed a program to train the managers. So it was the management of these institutes that we tried to help them with. And we went down there and then we brought some back up here. And I worked with them for four years. And that was with, actually with Vanderbilt University. It wasn't with Northwestern, it was contracted with Vanderbilt. So I worked for Vanderbilt for four years.

WILSON: In Brazil.

DAVIG: Right. Yeah, in Brazil. I wasn't teaching at Vanderbilt. We came up to Vanderbilt, and the only teaching we did was seminars for 43:00the Brazilian managers that we brought up here. And we toured and came around, the Kelly School in Ohio. And we took them around, took them on a tour, stuff like that. That was interesting. And I taught at the University of Sao Paulo part time during that time.

WILSON: And you said, but you said you were in Brazil eight years. So then you taught longer there?

DAVIG: Well, yeah. Because actually when I say eight years, I was in Brazil for four years before I worked for AID.

WILSON: I see.

DAVIG: And part of that time was teaching and doing my dissertation work.


DAVIG: And then I got into AID. And then after that program was over, I 44:00came back to the US.

WILSON: Okay, and so what did you do when you came back?

DAVIG: Well, I went to Auburn University.

WILSON: Auburn.

DAVIG: Auburn. And I was there for four years. And I taught there full time. And then I came up to Eastern Kentucky and taught there. And both at Auburn and here, I got interested in small business development. Small business. Small business administration, small business programs. The, what would they call, small business institute where the professors work with small companies, kind of consulting work 45:00with small businesses, helping. Consulting, basically consulting small businesses.

WILSON: All right. I've got to switch tapes there.

[Side a ends; side b begins.]

WILSON: Side two of interview with Bill Davig, RPCV. Interviewer, Jack Wilson. (pause) Side two. Bill, we were talking about your coming back. But in the break there, you were about to tell me a story that we need to get on the tape about how you adjusted in Peru to drinking, I think.

DAVIG: Drinking. Right. Beer drinking is something that they do at parties. And they have these big bottles, big, I guess, quart bottles of beer. And they would pass them around at a party. And they'd only have one glass. And so you pour your glass and you drink, and then 46:00you'd hand the glass over to the next guy, and he would pour his glass. And this would go around in a circle. Now this kind of, to me, was kind of difficult to get used to. But you didn't stop drinking. Part of it was the machismo. You had to keep drinking. And they wanted to see whether you could, how much you could hold, right? So there was a lot of pressure to keep drinking. So you had to make up your mind, are you going to try to go along with these guys, or are you going to go against your whatever culture or pressure to keep drinking? So that was tough to adjust to.

WILSON: Where did that kind of thing take place? And how frequently?

DAVIG: Oh, every week you'd be invited to go out to a party. Might be with the students, or it might be with people with the agency. This would happen on Fridays, you know, a Friday evening or a Saturday 47:00evening. They'd have some kind of dance or a party. But they only had one glass. I don't know if it's because they were short of glasses or what. But it was, or maybe it was a bonding. I don't know just the reason for the single glass. I don't know. But that's the way it worked.

WILSON: So how did you, what decisions did you make?

DAVIG: Well, I went ahead and drank from the glass. I mean, that was no problem. But I knew better than to drink too much. I had to stop.

WILSON: Okay. When we switched from the other side, you were talking about having come to Eastern Kentucky University.

DAVIG: Yeah. Right.

WILSON: And tell me a little more about the small business development 48:00work that you were doing there.

DAVIG: Oh, I taught courses in small business. I mean, that was the only thing I taught basically I taught that and the other management courses. But the main thing was working with small companies. And then I also got in teaching international business. Those are two areas which I focused on. International. So that's--

WILSON: What kind of small businesses? Can you give me an example of businesses you might have worked with?

DAVIG: Mostly retail. I would say retail businesses that were having problems of one kind or another.

WILSON: In the Richmond area or the east, in the mountains?

DAVIG: Well, mostly the Richmond area, and sometimes in Lexington. 49:00Sometimes in Lexington, probably. You know, it would vary a lot. Then in my MBA classes, I'd have them work for small businesses, too. Projects. Do projects for small businesses.

WILSON: So are you still doing that?

DAVIG: Yeah. Still doing it. Not now. I'm actually retired now. So I may start again next semester doing some of that. They're asking me to do it. I haven't made up my mind. We have an economic development center at Eastern, and they're looking for people to work with the small business.

WILSON: So when did you actually retire?

DAVIG: Actually, two years ago. No, about a year and a half ago. But 50:00I'm still teaching part time. I'm still teaching half time.

WILSON: Okay. Let me go back to the Peace Corps experience itself. What do you think the impact of your Peace Corps service was in Peru?

DAVIG: Oh, what impact I had on Peru and the Peruvians. Well, I think an economic impact, I don't think there was a lot. And I don't think, I would say maybe if I had been working in a job like the other two guys I was talking about, they were building roads. I think they had a real definite impact on the villages. But mine, I would say, not very 51:00much. I think, though, that culturally we had an impact because these Peruvians were eager to know more about Americans outside of Peru. And this was an opportunity for them to learn about people from abroad, learn from us. And I think that they, I think they, we had an impact there, bringing American, just to understand how Americans are rather than what they see on television or what they hear about in newspapers or so forth. I think it had a very good influence to bring American values and American ways of thinking to the people that we met. And we met a lot of people. We interacted with a lot of people.


WILSON: What about impact on you?

DAVIG: On me.

WILSON: Mm hmm.

DAVIG: Well, it had a very strong impact on me because it changed my whole direction in where I was going. If I hadn't gone in the Peace Corps, like I said, I would have ended up behind a desk, with a career with-- I may have been happy with that career, but it would have been much, much different than what it turned out to be. I met my wife in Brazil. I would have never gone to Brazil if I hadn't been in the Peace Corps. And I would never have gone to Northwestern if I hadn't been in the Peace Corps. So all of those things would never have happened to me. And I built up this connections with many, many people from other countries that I probably never would have developed. And I think it enriched my life just to be, to be aware and to be conversant 53:00with people in other cultures and other, around the world. It's been very beneficial to me.

WILSON: What about the impact of your Peace Corps experience on your family?

DAVIG: Oh, you mean my parents? Or what are you talking about?

WILSON: Yeah, it could be that. Or as you, I guess you've mentioned, you wouldn't have gone to Brazil and met your wife.

DAVIG: I wouldn't have met my wife, yeah.

WILSON: Is one thing. But, yes, I guess I was thinking about maybe your parents and other siblings. You didn't actually say whether you had siblings.

DAVIG: Oh, I have one brother. He lives in Houston. He's an 54:00accountant. And he visited me in Peru. I mean, that, I don't think it had any impact. My mother was a little bit concerned about me going to Peru for two years and not, they wouldn't see me. But she got over that. It turned out it was great. It worked out real well. She complained that I didn't write to her often enough.

WILSON: Well, we've talked about the impact on your career path. And you've talked about Brazil and so on. Do you look to further international experience at all, or travel?

DAVIG: Well travel, definitely. I look to more travel, if I can get the 55:00opportunity. Next year I can definitely plan travels.

WILSON: Where would you like to go and do?

DAVIG: I would like to go to Argentina. I would like to go to Italy. Probably back to Brazil, of course, because my wife has family there and I know people that live in Brazil. So those are the places, my first priorities.

WILSON: What would you say the impact of your Peace Corps service has been on the way you think about the world?

DAVIG: Okay. That's kind of a tough question because I keep thinking about that a lot. And I think it makes me think, you know, I've learned a lot about, I think, about the world. I've taught 56:00international business. But I've also looked at the other side, which is in the Peace Corps. You get sort of mixed feelings about what's going on in the world in terms of economic development and the impact of the economy and big business in these developing countries. And that's one of the reasons I think that I got interested in working in the Peace Craft. I mentioned to you this organization in Brazil--

WILSON: For purposes of the tape, talk a little bit about what Peace Craft is.

DAVIG: Okay. Peace Craft is a not for profit organization that tries 57:00to help small villages throughout the world and the craftspeople in these villages, we help them find a market for their products. And we guarantee them a fair price. And so one of the problems in a lot of these countries, and a lot of these people, is that they don't have any money to buy the materials they need to make their crafts. And then if they do, they're exploited in terms of the value that a product that they see is very low relative to what it's worth in the market like here in the US. So we try to give them a fair price for it. And 58:00I think that's the thing that to me, it's very useful and beneficial activity. That's why I'm involved in it.

WILSON: So this is a retail outlet for that in Berea or in Richmond?

DAVIG: Yeah. Berea.

WILSON: In Berea.

DAVIG: Berea. We're connected with, our supplier is called Ten Thousand Villages. They have stores, we partner with them. They have stores around the country. They have forty or fifty outlets in the US. They have representatives that go out to these villages and try to help them develop their market, develop their trade.

WILSON: So have you been sort of a small business advisor to this group? Or have you been on the board? Or you're just participating?


DAVIG: Right now I just started within about four months ago. And I'm just a volunteer and I work in the store. I'm just learning. I went to their sales conference about a month ago in Asheville. So I'm just kind of getting my feet wet with them. But it's very interesting, and I think they're very beneficial. There are several fair trade associations around now that exist around the world. And trying to develop more opportunities for people like this to build up their trade and build up their income.

WILSON: So how does that fit with your business teaching and training? You were saying, I think, that you have a little conflict if you 60:00think about larger businesses in the Third World and in community development, small businesses.

DAVIG: Yeah, I think that large businesses can do a much better job as they go overseas, similar to the kind of thing that Peace Craft is trying to do at a micro level. I think they could do a lot better job than they do, than they are doing. Particularly in wages and training and development within those countries. Indonesia, Pakistan and Kenya, Nigeria, and so forth. They're just not doing a very good job. They could do a lot more. And we're doing it, I think. But our impact is 61:00just very small. I think there's a lot more opportunity. But I think large companies are not following up on it. They don't see that as beneficial. In the long run, I think it is for them and for the people in this country.

WILSON: The local people.

DAVIG: Yeah.

WILSON: What do you think the overall impact of Peace Corps has been?

DAVIG: I'm really not sure. I have not kept up any, you mean worldwide, you're talking about.

WILSON: Yeah. And, I guess, US, too.

DAVIG: My feeling is that I'd like to see more of that. And just this, interacting with some of the returned Peace Corps people that I've met 62:00here in Kentucky, it seems to me that that has been very beneficial in terms of educating more Kentuckians, let's say, to international issues and how people overseas think differently than we do and have different values and so on. Maybe better understanding. But I don't know if the impact has been sufficient. I try to get a lot of my students interested in Peace Corps and I can't do it. I don't know, I don't think I ever, of course, I'm teaching business, right? These are business students. So if it was psychology students or general arts and sciences students, maybe it would be easier. But I can't seem to 63:00get any business students interested in Peace Corps work.

WILSON: What should the role of Peace Corps be today?

DAVIG: Well, I think it ought to be like what it was when I was there. I mean, just trying to, it should be a cultural role. To people that want to go to Peru or to Africa, and contribute where there's a need. And education, whatever. Wherever there's a need where they need people, they can contribute. And I think the main role, the main impact, I think, in the long run, may not be the contribution to economic development, it's the contribution to cultural interchange. Understanding. And I think that's the main objective should be that. 64:00Rather than show some meaningful increase in economic, I think you can do that if you go down to the local levels, you have a teacher in a small school that makes some impact because without that teacher, that Peace Corps volunteer there, there wouldn't be, there wouldn't be nothing. I think that's certainly important. But I think the main thing is cultural. And that's what it ought to be.

WILSON: Okay. That's sort of the structured kinds of questions that I have. But as we have talked, are there other, have other thoughts come to your mind as we've gone on that you would like to share? Or is there 65:00a story or two? Or is there some question I didn't ask that I should have asked you?

DAVIG: Well, not really. Probably something will come to me later on. Maybe I'll tell you about it later when I think about it. Right now, I don't think, I think the memory--

WILSON: Okay, Bill. Well, thank you for your time and participating in the program.

[End of interview.]

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