11.13.2014

Letter, October 24, 1975

Dear Mom, Dad, & all,

Glad to hear things are going along on schedule there. I’m sure going to have a lot of catching up to do when I do get back up there, what with ya’ll changing cars and selling cows & replacing them, and the remaining family at home dwindling fast. I haven’t really pictured in my mind yet what Bruce would be like as a college student & he’s already well into his first semester (shucks I couldn’t even picture him as a highschool senior!)! [If you show this to him, I bet he’ll write me.]

Things are moving along here too. That sorghum we planted is ready to cut & the silo isn’t done yet (because my boss insisted on making it out of brick & that takes time). We plan to fill silo Tuesday if everything works out. We are going to use a chopper loaned by a government experiment station & make a demonstration out of it (hopefully). It’ll be a relief to get that silage made & get on to buying cows & building the milking setup! Things go so slow, but enough problems come up to make life hectic anyway!

Day before yesterday I finally succeeded in climbing a coconut tree! It was a short one, but my pride of accomplishment was not diminished! I drink quite a bit of coconut milk to boost the nutrient content of my diet. It quenches the thirst & comes in a vacuum sealed container untouched by human hands (extremely rare for food in El Salvador).

I rode my bike to Acajutla (18 kilometers) 3 weeks ago. You can really go distances on a 10 speed & it doesn’t wear you down because you shift down going uphill & take advantage of downhills by putting ‘er in high {gear} & pedaling like mad! Acajutla has modern port facilities & a few modern homes & the rest of the town looks like any other campo (rural) town, except for a disproportionate number of curtain-fronted bar doors & “street ladies”. The port used to use a lot of labor, but they have mechanized it all now, putting another section of the population out of work. They seem at times like they’re trying to take the industrial and export-farming sections of the country & make them just as modern & mechanized as the U.S. & Western Europe, and leave the peasant farmers, the unemployed & under-employed to fend for themselves (& there are a lot of them). I really don’t know what’ll come of it all.

We have pepinos (cucumbers) now at El Maizal and I’ve been eating my share. They put them in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator (peeled), then eat them half frozen with salt & lemon-squeezings on them. Pretty good, but hard on the teeth if you get a well frozen one! Tonight we had fried fish for supper (another PCV {Peace Corps Volunteer} & I bought it at the next town & the place we eat at fried it up) and boy was it good. I also get small shrimp from the marshes near the ocean at the place where I eat now & then. I’m really getting into seafood, great protein source!

Well take care,

Dean

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