Letter, July 15, 1975

Dear Dad, Mom & all,

You can’t realize how heartening it is just to hear that you are having a reasonably normal growing season in Wisconsin. The growing season is so messed up here this year that at times it leaves me wondering if all those theories about the world’s climate becoming unstable in the near future aren’t true. We don’t really have a normal rainy season this year, it will rain 3-4 days in a row & then we will have a week or two with no rain, which with the heat here dries everything right up. Some of the corn I’ve seen in the drier areas is absolutely pathetic & farmers are talking of plowing it up & planting a crop of sorghum in August for the expected rains of September & early October.

Glad to hear you got all that painting done. It’s been a while since everything got a good coat of paint & it was badly needed. You’ll have to send me a picture of the house in bright sunlight to show off the paint job.

I could sure go for some home-made strawberry or raspberry jam! They grow strawberries in the higher altitudes here, so there is some (although Salvadorans don’t use jam since they eat little bread except sweet breads), but the quality just isn’t there.

I’m glad to hear that black walnut tree made it. One came on slower than the other last year too. Next spring before they start growing you ought to trim them back some to give the roots a chance to “get ahead of the tops” and really get established.

Thanks for depositing the money and sending Marcia’s address. I’ll get around to writing within a month or so!

Am sending some pictures from my site and a trip I took with a friend to baptize a child up in a mountain village named Tacuba. I think you’ll be impressed with the ruins of the old Spanish church, I sure was. The walls are 2 meters thick.

No certain word yet about whether I’ll get onto this feed response project or even if it will go. It is bogged down in administrative infighting. The Peace Corps agriculture coordinator feels that the volunteer who set it up went over his head to do so & so he refuses to give it more than minimal support (while recognizing the value of the project) and only assigning one instead of 2 volunteers. It almost seems like they want to set it up so it’s sure to fail, & then say I told you so to the volunteer who did all the planning & leg work. It sure has gone a long way to shoot down my last vestiges of idealism about Peace Corps. It is steeped in bureaucracy up to its ears & the administrators feel they have to “stick together” against volunteers who try to get around some of the red tape. I think the project will eventually go anyway though. It’s too good an opportunity to let go over some hurt feelings.

Well, I hope that inch & a half of rain puts some ears on the corn!

Dean J.

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