Letter, January 3, 1975

Dear Mom & all,

Sorry I didn’t write sooner, but I left San Salvador for Atiocoyo Dec. 22 and haven’t been back in town since. Am really sorry that I couldn’t get the license application back sooner. I really would like to get it renewed as I am driving a motorcycle now and it’s nice to have even if Salvadorans can’t read it because it looks very official! Thanks for going to the trouble of getting Dr. Forsythe to fill it out. I probably could have gotten the Peace Corps doctor to do it, but that would have meant more delays. I don’t want to risk sending dollars in the mail, so could you please send it in with a check; don’t know if they’d take a check from Banco Salvadoreño {my Salvadoran bank} or not. Am sending you a Colon for all your trouble. It’s worth about 40¢ if you ever get down this way so don’t spend it all in one place!

Donna should be back to normal by now, so I guess that leaves you the only cripple in the family, as I’ve had no problems at all with my head since it got bopped. I don’t know how you get things done with a sore foot like that; when I have a sliver in my foot I’m about immobilized!

Sorry to hear about Freda. Doesn’t seem that you ever lose a cow but what it’s a real promising one. I imagine Dad was real heartsick over losing her.

Sorry to hear about Dave Steiner’s accident, but at least it clears up my puzzlement over what Dave Stieber was doing driving recklessly in a Volkswagon! Hope Dave will be O.K.

Tell Donna that there is no way I’d ever get any food out of customs while it was still edible. If she sends any tell her to write Buen Provecho {common Spanish expression encouraging a person to enjoy what they are eating} on it for the benefit of the mail clerk or customs officer who gets it!!

I am sending another letter with this one (the same day). I wrote it over Christmas while I was journeying to Cerro Verde to climb Izalco, the country’s most famous & beautiful volcano. Hope you enjoy my disjointed journal. Please ignore my inquiry about Dave Stieber. I think I told you in that letter that I got your film O.K., but if not I’m telling you now. Took some pictures of Izalco, of a lake called Lago Coatapeque and some Indian ruins in Chalchuapa called El Tazumal, but haven’t finished the roll yet.

Hope you all are enjoying your beautiful winter. Here it is getting hotter, dryer and dustier. There is just no way I can keep my room in Atiocoyo clean as it fronts on the main road through town which is 6 inches deep in dust and government vehicles go back & forth by it all day. You really get to appreciate the value of water working with irrigation here. The ground is so hot & dry it is just powder & when the water comes down a ditch a little steam is given off ahead of it. Today I took some soil profile samples at 30 cm. {centimeters}, 60 cm., and 90 cm. of some land on the experimental farms. The topsoil was so dry it would keep filling in my hole & I thought I’d never get to 90 cm.! There is clay beneath the soil though at about 3 feet so it will hold the water well when they irrigate it. You wouldn’t believe some of the soil they work here! Just solid clay, full of big cracks when it’s dry and so sloppy when it’s wet that only oxen can work it. But then it beats working the hillsides which other farmers work! Lots of luck for the new year!


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