Letter, June 11, 1975

Dear Jan,

Thanks for sending me the loan deferment forms with the bill. I sent them notice of my change in address when I entered Peace Corps, and again a few weeks before the bill was due to make sure, but sometimes the message just doesn’t penetrate to the proper level of the bureaucracy. I changed the address on the bill too so maybe they’ll get the next bill addressed right. I have to get a form signed by the Peace Corps director every time they send a bill, to certify I’m still here.

Sorry to hear about all the problems Dad’s having with the crops. All he needs is a poor crop year on top of this recession! The crops here are growing like mad. The rains started coming about the middle of May, and the corn that was planted early is already knee high! Most of the corn is shorter of course, but it really is amazing how fast things get started once the rains come. They will be harvesting the corn by early August when your corn back home is just setting ears. They have tremendous insect problems though. All the farmers are either cultivating or applying insecticides to their corn and rice right now.

My study is coming along, slow but sure. I have interviewed 97 of the small land owners in the area here, and have about 70 more to go. My motorcycle is in for repairs again, & it is very hot when it isn’t raining so I’m not working at a very fast pace. I would like to get most of the leg work of the study done this month so I can get it analyzed & write up my ideas on the relocation plan next month. Depending on how my ideas are received, & what more they have lined up for me to do, I may terminate in late July or early August. It would be different if I could see what I was of benefit to the peasant farmers, but what my bosses really want is for me to help them “manage” the small farmers so the project comes off more or less smoothly, & they can keep their well-paying jobs.

Have you heard yet that the 1975 Miss Universe Pageant is going to be right here in El Salvador? The big show with the crowning of Miss U. is to be held July 19 with other public-attended affairs leading up to it. I wonder how much of El Salvador will actually be seen by the outside world through their T.V. sets. I imagine they will confine it to a tour of some of the tourist attractions with June Lockhart or someone! Even those will need a facelift if some of the “other” El Salvador is not to peek through the curtains. They ought to show the tin, straw, mud & cardboard shacks where the servants live, often within a block of middle class U.S. looking neighborhoods. It will be hard to miss showing some of the shanty town which surrounds San Salvador since you pass part of it on the road in from the airport (Maybe they’ll use a helicopter!). The candidates are scheduled to visit Gotera (which is getting a new road for the occasion) where a friend of mine is stationed, so maybe he’ll get a chance to see how they manage the situation. The Miss U.S.A. is from California, as is my friend, so maybe they’re old childhood buddies, & it’ll make good human interest stuff (just kidding). Anyway, watch the contest July 19th, & maybe you’ll see a little of the country I been hanging out in for 8 months.

Take care,

Dean Jefferson

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