Letter, August 17, 1974

Dear Mom,

I have 2 weeks of Spanish under my belt, but am still not communicating very well. The few phrases I know don’t go very far. 3 guys have left the program and gone back to the States. From what I understand an attrition rate of 25% is about average. In these three cases I think it was mostly a matter of them not fully realizing what they had signed up for until being down here a week. Last Monday a group of 5 nurses (and one special ed. major who is the husband of one nurse) arrived here in San Antonio. It is encouraging to see how much more Spanish we knew than they did, but they are catching up rapidly.

Wednesday another guy and I milked the cow at Basico (we are all taking turns). Dad would shake his head in disbelief! The cow is a little Brahman type and we milked her by throwing a lasso over her horns, tying her to a tree (with her calf tied beside her to make her give her milk down), and milking her by hand. Even though she has been fresh only about 4 months {meaning it is 4 months since the cow last gave birth to a calf}, she only gave 2¼ lbs. of milk! This is the common method of milking in northern El Salvador, and most of their cattle have some Brahman blood.

Wednesday at noon break I went for the first time to Ojo de Agua (literally eye of water) which is a resort right over the fence from Basico. It is unbelievable! There are 5 swimming pools ranging from Olympic size to a little kids wading pool, plus a small artificial lake for boating, a basketball court, soccer field, volleyball court and tennis courts. All the water for the pools comes from a huge spring (the Ojo de Agua). I’m going to have to take a picture of the place to show y’all how tough we PCV’s have it! Admission to the place is 3 Colones (about 35¢ - American) and includes swimming, etc.

Tomorrow (Sunday) I plan to go to a big soccer game in Tibas. The two best city teams in Costa Rica are going to play.

Don’t get much news from the U.S. down here. The last thing I heard about was when Nixon resigned. I saw a Miami paper yesterday that had some garbage about how Mrs. Ford said Jerry could still cook his own breakfast in the Whitehouse, but not much else.

I imagine Jan is getting ready to go back to school by now. Has she heard anything about where she is going to practice teach yet?

Imagine you have the oats & straw in, and are getting ready to make silage. We just planted some sorghum & grass trials this week here. There are crops in almost all stages in this area, apparently because Costa Rica has a rainy season almost year-around! Most planned activities (outside) here are held in the morning because it so often rains in the afternoons.

I think I’m one of the few volunteers who hasn’t had a good bout with diarrhea yet. Don’t see how I could get sick with all the shots they’ve given me here and in New Orleans!

Hope you’re as healthy as I am,


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