9.25.2014

Letter, June 29, 1975

Dear Mom, Dad & all,

I’m really getting ambitious, huh, writing before I received your reply to my last letter! Actually, the major reason for this letter fell out when you opened it up. The check is not from the John Jones which you know up in Friendship, but from another John Jones who is the Peace Corps Director here in El Salvador! (His address is listed as Peru because he came here from there only a few months ago when Peace Corps was kicked out of Peru.) The story behind the check is very simple: I had ¢1,000 ($400) in a savings account in a bank here because I had managed to save a little money from my living allowance since I’ve been here. Presently there are rumors going around that they may devalue the Colon (El Salvador’s currency) relative to the dollar. So naturally I wanted to convert any spare money I had into dollars. Now the Salvadoran banks are reluctant to change money, only change it in small amounts, and charge a service charge. Mr. Jones gets his salary put in his bank account in the U.S. in dollars, so it was easy for him to trade me $400 in a Washington bank for ¢1,000 in cash. That way he too avoids the service charge & the hassle of spending 2 hours at the bank. If you can get it in by July 10th I should get interest for the next quarter.

Boy it took a lot of space to explain that! Jan wrote me recently & said your cows did real well when you classified. { Classification is a program of the national Holstein Association which gives a score, on a 100 point scale, to cows according to their appearance relative to an ideal established for the Holstein breed. Dad was participating in this program as part of a sire (bull) proving program through his artificial insemination cooperative. } If you haven’t done so already, let me know how Belle, Lisa & some of my other favorites did!

Mary wrote & said that they had been getting lots of rain lately. I hope you’ve been getting some too. The last I heard (from Jan) was that things were awfully dry early in June.

We had a conference of all Peace Corps people in El Salvador this past week. It was held at a beautiful crater lake called Lake Coatepeque (I sent a couple pictures of it home before when I spent a night there). It was very cool up there & the water was really nice. We also had U.S. style food including such things as ginger cookies, chocolate cake & banana bread. I talked to the girl who made the banana bread & she said you have to use old, nearly rotten bananas – I remember that’s what Mom always says. It was good banana bread too! The conference was a good chance to find out what other PCVs are doing & what problems they have. Also we got to know the new country director (John Jones) a little better. He seems like a very open & frank person with a real commitment to his job. That is encouraging after some of the stories I’ve heard about the old director.

There’s a chance I’ll be changing jobs within Peace Corps El Salvador. I may have the opportunity to work with a feed response trial Peace Corps is trying to coordinate with land and cattle of the Episcopal Church & financial & technical help from the Salvadoran government. I told my program director that if I don’t switch jobs I’ll quit my present job & go home in August, so I think he’ll take my request for a change seriously!

Wishing you all a happy 4th of July,

Dean

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