Images, June, 1976

{ A group photo of the planning office at DGRNR (Dirección General de Recursos Naturales Renovables, the Salvadoran natural resources agency), taken in June of 1976. Mike Shank and I are at the right end of the back row. }

{ Me talking to a member at a fishermen's cooperative in La Unión, El Salvador. }

{ Beautiful Lake Coatepeque, site of Peace Corps El Salvador volunteer conferences in 1975 & 1976. }

Entertainers playing typical {traditional Salvadoran} instruments at the Peace Corps Conference.

Native dancers doing typical {traditional Salvadoran} dances {at the} All Peace Corps Conference {at} Lake Coatepeque, June 1976.

Journal, May 31, 1976 PM

Dull day. I have been assigned to help Mike {Shank} revise the questionnaire for a study of fishing coops at El Tamarindo & La Union at work. I went to see Ed {Shiffer} in the hospital & watched him eat supper - yesterday it was lunch! I got home late and have had no time to read, just the paper. I feel I’m in the 9 to 5 rut & this is only my second Monday. Oh yawn!

Journal, May 30, 1976 PM

I was up and moving at 6 this morning. Steve Pamperin, Mario (son of the tienda {store} owner on the corner) and I ran 2 laps on the “cafetal” {coffee field} track (about 1¼ kilometers around) and played some catch with a football before breakfast.

Poor Ed, he couldn’t get out of bed this morning without help, and got a friend to take him to the hospital. It looks like they’re going to put him in traction. And he still doesn’t know what it is he did to his back!

We went to a soccer game in the morning, Steve, Mario & I (Universidad Catolica vs. a Santa Tecla team), and stopped by to see Ed. We had a late lunch at TIN, a Santa Tecla cafeteria, and I came home to write letters for the afternoon. I made yuca & güisquil {local squash-like vegetable, known as chayote in Costa Rica} for supper, and had another piece of meat with it. That meat was pork, even if it said “baby beef” on the wrapper!

I read about synchronizing fireflies in “Scientific American” and then got through a chapter of Claudia Lars’ {book} after supper. And tomorrow it’s back to the office.

Journal, May 29, 1976 PM

I played homebody today, only making a shopping trip into San Salvador. I cooked up my first pot of beans ever & had bean soup for lunch. Oh my did I fart in the afternoon! I poached 2 eggs for supper, also a first for me. I read a little “Scientific American”, took a walk, took a nap, felt generally lousy. Actually it was a nothing day. I didn’t get off my duff and go to a party for volunteers - Gary Miller’s despedida {good-bye party}. What a bum! I had half a bottle of Regina beer (3½ glasses to the bottle) and plan to hit the sack already at 25 to 9.

<I sent a letter to Sofia telling her the next one’s coming in English.>

Journal, May 29, 1976 AM

Well, it took me a while to get down to writing today, after breakfast. I had a night house guest, overflow from Steve Pamperin’s! I’ve forgotten his name, as usual, but he’s a forester interested in range management who is working as a pastures & forages man in the Metapán area. I quizzed him a little about the reforestation project DGRNR {Dirección General de Recursos Naturales Renovables, the Salvadoran government natural resources agency} has up there. He says they have a Norwegian volunteer working up there, & that they’re doing some strip-cropping & terracing experiments. I’m glad to hear they’re already that far along.

I went to the A.I.D. - P.C. - F.A.O - etc. {Agency for International Development - Peace Corps - Food and Agriculture Organization - and others} monthly B.S. session yesterday (at Chico’s {Rodriguez} house), and, unfortunately, it was a purely nonsubstantive policy session. They talked a lot about putting more structure into the meetings, setting a permanent site (the British Club) & forming a steering committee. No Salvadorans were there. They didn’t miss anything.

I had Peace Corps wheels (second time in one and a half years) so 5 of us went to an Avance {a nonprofit community development organization} party after the meeting. I had a drink (4 drinks & driving, the old boy was feeling pretty confident at the wheel!) there. I talked with an older couple who are training to work at the local university (he) and with small business (she). They were confident, ready to be patient & just thoroughly enjoying every experience as it came along I swear older folks are some of the most effective & stable PCVs {Peace Corps Volunteers}.

I took Kathy Wiesp (?) with me o Peace Corps {Office} to return the Toyota van. She lives in Santa Tecla also, so she accompanied me all the way over there even though we had to walk out again, several blocks, to the 101 bus stop. She is super nice, interesting to talk to & very sexually stimulating now that the tropical heat has taken off her “baby fat.” She was kind of making up to me last night. I told her in passing that I had a girlfriend in Costa Rica, but don’t know how seriously she took it. Poor Kathy, we got to talking about complexes on the bus & she says she’s always been one of those girls that’s “one of the guys” but that the guys pass her by as a woman. She resents them going after the “super-feminine” types. Sounds like Jan or Marcia {my sisters} talking, both were “one of the guys” types from way back. <I like Kathy & she’s certainly not unattractive to me sexually, but then there’s Sofia.> Sometimes I think there would be nothing wrong with a side relationship - especially to give me a little sexual release! But the guilt of it could get heavy. <I would gladly give Sofia the same freedom, but the cultural milieu she lives in wouldn’t permit her to exercise such freedom.> Nor is she ready to cope with it. <I’d have to do it on the sly, and I don’t know if I’m ready to stop being 100% frank with Sofia.> But then . . .

Journal, May 27, 1976 PM

The guest who slept on the other tijera {cot} last night was one of Ed’s CREFAC school children. He had run away from his grandmother. (I’m not sure if I wrote about the evening she & the other members of the family came over to see Ed to ask him to help them find this kid.) Ed had brought him home after he turned up at the CREFAC Office. Ed’s a real father figure for the kid, you can see, and a guy like Ed would be a good father figure for any kid.

The kid went along with us to eat pupusas {Salvadoran snack food} & celebrate Larry Allen’s departure. The most sacred of all intra-Peace Corps rituals has to be the despedida {good-bye party}. It was a mellow fiesta {party} - bittersweet as departure parties have to be.

I was supposed to go to Metalio today, but the Peace Corps pickup is in the shop, so maybe next week. Chico {Rodriguez} had promised me that pickup, but for the umpteenth time promised something he could not deliver.

So I spent another day at the office, reading sociological studies. Oscar, my counterpart, really tore into the Le Baron Association study (a study of sociocultural and economic factors affecting the potential for a big land buying & parcellation project to be financed with a lot of U.S. money). The thing seems pretty qualitative, a little shallow and somewhat stereotypic & even sensationalistic in a few of its findings, but Oscar has found some of their economic indices & methodology interesting. That will probably be the most useful stuff we can pull out of the study. Take their methods and apply them in a more thorough study with more respondents & greater detail in the data collected. Oscar is intelligent & seems to soak up whatever material you expose him to. I think his weak point may be statistics though. He had a heck of a time with some economic calculations Mike Shank worked out. It was simple marginal cost, marginal return stuff, which I looked at and picked up quickly. He finally talked Mike into redoing his analysis in a form which would be less rigorous but easier for those not versed in economic statistics to grasp. He’s a talker, tough to tell what’s pure B.S. and what he’s really sincere about.

I made up a whole pound of rice tonight. Never again, it took over an hour. I fried up a little piece of meat & part of a carrot to go with it. Ed had a visitor in for popcorn & beer, so I scarfed on popcorn too. I didn’t make supper ‘til late and had to forget about getting any reading done tonight.

<I got two letters from Sofia today.> One was very long and so full of her essential goodness it really got to me. I’m not over it yet!

Journal, May 26, 1976 PM

I had a good day at work, then a party for Larry Allen at night (pupusas {Salvadoran snack food}, popcorn & beer). I have a guest in the room tonight, it’s late and I don’t want to keep him up.

Journal, May 25, 1976 PM

The old lady who ran the boarding house near old Peace Corps Office, the one I’ve stayed at alone or with some of the pastures and forages group so many times, died yesterday. She was killed in a gruesome accident less than a block from her front door, run over by a bus. It made the front page of “La Prensa Grafica” {local daily newspaper}. I feel like I should do something, but they probably buried her today already, and I hardly know anyone at the place except her. And there’s nothing to be done for her now. She was a good, decent human being. If there’s a heaven she’s already there, and if not she lives on in her children. Here one day, gone the next, the suddenness and finality of death never stop being surprising (when it’s someone you knew).

Journal, May 24, 1976 PM

First day on the job at DGRNR {Dirección General de Recursos Naturales Renovables, the Salvadoran government natural resources agency}. They put me to reading MAG’s {Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia’s or Ministry of Agriculture and Cattle Farming} 1976 yearbook & their department’s 1975 one. I yawned profusely.

In spite of that, the thought entered my mind this evening that if things go well for me at DGRNR and I find the reforestation project worth my time, I might re-up with Peace Corps and stay ‘til next July. With the readjustment allowance increase, I could make a cool $1,000 extra in those 8 extra months. <I could marry Sofia in August, take her back to Wisconsin and start school only a semester later.> If I could get the expense paid trip home for a visit out of Chico {Rodriguez} & John {Jones, Peace Corps El Salvador Director} for staying 8 months instead of a year, I’d just about do it! <I’d be able to visit Sofia “seguida” {often} until we’re hitched & save a lot of airfare.> It’s a very sensible alternative to going back to the U.S. and coming back 6 months later, already “metido” {immersed} in a very different life, and picking up on the relationship. It all stays inside my head though until I see how things go at DGRNR!


Journal, May 23, 1976 PM

We went to the San Salvador cemetery today. I had heard it had some impressive and fascinating monuments, but even so was not prepared for the grand tour we got. Ed {Shiffer} knows people who live in the shanty town near the cemetery. He works with their kids through CREFAC. And it turned out the father of 2 of the boys who went with us & the family of another man who came along are tomb & monument builders. They knew the cemetery like I know the creek-bottoms back home!

We saw a monument with a stylized airplane on top, built over the grave of an Italian pilot who apparently was an aviation pioneer in El Salvador. We saw another monument which had, mounted on top (covered with a thin concrete coat), the motorcycle on which the man buried below had died. The front wheel was all bent up from the impact! We saw “la Novia” {the Bride}, a marble monument with a beautiful statue of a bride in front of it, which our guides said was erected in memory of a young bride who died at her wedding, emotionally overcome. We saw a monument with a huge basement where all Spanish citizens who die here are supposedly buried. We saw several graves of presidents and a few of martyrs to freedom or patriotism. God it is incredible the expense they go to to “honor” their dead here. They build tombs you can walk into the upper part of to place flowers on marble altars, with pictures of Christ or of the deceased inside. Towers & statues are not uncommon. One of the old presidents (Gerardo Barrios, I think) has a monument with a life-sized statue of him, lying on his deathbed, with his wife weeping over him, done by a local sculptor who still lives. He’s the guy who made the big push for the introduction of coffee culture here (our guides affirmed) in the 1870s & 1880s when the market for indigo went to pot, D.E.P.D. {Descansa En Paz Divino or rests in divine peace}. The Jews bury their dead in their own closed piece of holy ground - no admittance - and the boys claimed their funerals always start on the dot! The poor bury their dead across the road from the rich, and those who build the great tombs live in the shanty town on the other side of the cemetery wall near a big gully. But surely the tomb builders will have nice tombs one day if they teach their children well!

Claudia Lars has a precious chapter in “Tierra de Infancia” in which she recounts a favorite tale of her grandmother’s, “La Virgen Era Una Indita” {The Virgin Was A Native}, in which the virgin was an indigenous Salvadoran who by a bizarre set of circumstances left her native “pueblo” {country} and ended up having her son in far away Bethlehem. Por mala suerte {Unfortunately}, she stayed in Palestine and never returned to El Salvador where, surely, her noble son would have lived a long, full life & not been crucified by “los cheles y los judios” {the whites and the jews}!

Journal, May 22, 1976 PM

What a homebody I have been today. I went shopping this morning, and must have spent 17-18 Colones, but I have enough stuff to last me all week, I think. I made some salad dressing this noon, another lifetime first, and had some for supper (not bad!). I feel like I’m really becoming a cook because I looked at a recipe in a book, left a couple things out & added a couple more. I fried up the yuca in vegetable oil for lunch. <It came out surprisingly good, but not quite as good as what I’ve had at Sofia’s & Pilar’s.> But for a first try, stupendous!

I played homebody, as I say, all afternoon. I wrote 3 letters (Mary, Jan, home), read some Claudia Lars, the “Prensa Grafica” {local daily newspaper} and “Scientific American”. I continued reading after supper (meat loaf balls & a super salad, with my dressing), and have been left in a pensive mood, considering the ultimate insignificance of my life, and the futility of striving. Look at the great minds - Galileo, Da Vinci, Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, John Maxwell, Einstein (How many others?). They saw beyond the accepted model of the universe in their times, and yet the average highschool youngster today can get a better understanding of the physical universe (at least on an intuitive level) than any of them achieved before they died. And when you’re dead that’s it for this particular set of gray matter with its complex cross circuits and unique waves! Se acabó! {It’s over!}

All one puny human can hope for is to increment the body of knowledge (be it a millimeter or a country mile), and hope that that corporate entity somehow survives. Survives what? And for how long? Hope against hope.

But is it necessary to make science, surrogate religion? Science is fascinating to do & read about. I find myself excited about this socioeconomic study of the upper Lempa valley, the problems foreseen, possible techniques to overcome them, etc., etc. I get immense pleasure from reading about the latest theory of the composition of Jupiter’s 4 biggest moons, or the mechanics of the Jovian atmosphere, or the ingenious new instruments and techniques which made possible the observations which have led to the theories. Discovery, from learning to walk, to trying to conquer death, and all those “eureka” moments in between, has to be the basic driving force behind scientific man.

A person should hedge though, I’ve come to believe. I was a true believer in social science until I got deep enough into it to see what I now feel are its inherent limitations. The constantly evolving social context, for example, in which technology is so integral a part. I may find physics at its depths no less limited. The way to hedge is to put some thought and effort into your day-to-day life. Try to “marry well”, raise children “right” and do the little things around your home “que le da la gana” {that you feel like doing}. What to hell, chances are infinity to one you’ll never understand the universe, even if you arrive at the point where you think you do!

I made a mental note while on the bus today, coming back from the market, to enter in this journal a special phenomenon. That is the existence of indigent (usually blind) guitarists who enter a San Salvador city bus at one point in a route, play a song or two for the passengers, pass to the back of the bus collecting coins in a hat or container, get off the bus & wait for the next one to repeat the process. They are often grotesque looking individuals (dirty, missing teeth, stunted, stuped), but invariably deft guitar players. Those I’ve heard have not had fine voices, but have made up in emotionality what they lacked in smoothness & clarity. It’s a job for them. They are not beggars and they have a certain air of professional pride about them. I happened to be on the bus with such artists on both my trip into San Salvador {from Santa Tecla} & my return trip.

Letter(2), May 22, 1976

Hi Jan,

Que tal el Español {How is your Spanish}? Bien {Good}? Progresando {Progressing}? How are things at the day care? It seems like a while since I’ve heard from you, & I wanted to send you a couple clippings from the intra-Peace Corps newspaper, so I’m writing. Could you get me a copy of the solar energy thing? I have no use for it down here but would like to have it when I get back. Maybe you could show it to Tom & get him making a solar oven or something! I thought the other clipping might interest you since you’re into oriental cooking. Only thing is, the book’s expensive, but maybe it’ll be out in paperback soon!

I have left Metalío. I start work Monday with Recursos Naturales Renovables {Natural Renewable Resources}. Things have really come unglued at CREDHO and I decided I just didn’t want to hang around El Maizal anymore - seeing so much wrong & not being able to do much about it. The bosses at the church fired CREDHO’s two agriculture extension agents and Mr. Castillo, the most popular of the co-op promoters in a shakeup. They couldn’t have chosen a worse time to do it since it is now planting season & nothing is getting done at El Maizal. The priest got uptight about some heated remarks of a group of peasant farmers - impatient for their seed & fertilizer - and wasn’t going to give the promised seed and fertilizer to any of the co-op members in the area around El Maizal. If he had done that, CREDHO might as well have abandoned El Maizal and gone somewhere else! Most of the farmers are getting their stuff, but I wonder when El Maizal will plant! And now they have money from Heifer Project to buy cows & the administrators in San Salvador want to spend that as soon as possible. I wrote the 3 top people in CREDHO a letter recommending that they forget the cattle project, at least for this year, and concentrate on organizing what they have. I also told them I was quitting.

So now Jay will carry on alone in Metalío. He thinks the mess at El Maizal will open opportunities for his “projects”. Currently he is interested in building a windmill capable of generating electricity. Jay doesn’t feel the personal responsibility for the way things go there, so it doesn’t bother him that they’re so fucked up. Me, I just get upset thinking about all the wasted potential there!

Did I tell ya? Jay got your letter & said it was real good. That’s quite a compliment because Jay takes his letter writing very seriously!

I’m living with Ed Shiffer in Santa Tecla now. (Remember the guy who came with an older man & took us to La Libertad? We spent the night at his place.) It’s quite a change in lifestyle, having a kitchen, shower with hot water, cleaning lady who comes twice a week, etc. I really have to economize now to have money to go to Costa Rica in July, & money to take up to Guatemala & buy some stuff before I leave. Rent & all are expensive in the city! I’m going to try to eat at home as much as possible, so I’m learning to cook. I can make rice, fry platanos {plantains}, cook yuca, etc. And Ed has promised to show me how to bake bread. I bought a thermos in which I can make excellent yogurt also! I need a pressure cooker for beans! Guess I’ll survive.



Letter, May 22, 1976

Hi folks,

It seems like quite a while since you all have written me so I’m unsheathing the pen to ask: “What’s going on?” I imagine with corn planting, school finishing up & haying season just around the corner you’re plenty busy. I hope the weird weather up there has finally decided to cooperate with the farmers!

Here we are entering “invierno” {winter}, the rainy season, and things are just starting to green up. Some farmers have corn a few inches tall, but the majority are just planting. Early this month it rained 2 days in a row and some farmers planted, hoping invierno was here to stay, but then it stopped raining for 2 weeks and many lost their seed. This time it appears the rains will stay.

I am starting a new job, working in sociology again. This time I will be working for the Department of Natural Resources. They want to do a big reforestation project and need to study the present socio-economic situation in the region, and come up with an incentive program to get landowners to reforest their lands. The project is crucial for preventing the silting in of 2 hydroelectric dam reservoirs, and for long-range water supplies for the country as a whole. The problem is that their acute population problem causes people to try to plant corn & beans even on land with over a 50% slope, and only 3-4 inches of soil! Land pressure is as acute here as anywhere in the world! This country could serve as the textbook example of the problems engendered by uncontrolled population growth!

I am living in Santa Tecla now, which is a suburb of San Salvador and the major city of highest elevation in El Salvador. It is cool at night – great for sleeping. I’ve picked up a slight cough though, having been used to the blistering heat of the coast!

What is Bruce doing now? Is he working or still in school? What’s Donna going to do after her in-service training? Really, it seems like a while since anyone from home has written & I would like to hear what everyone is up to. Sometimes you may wish it weren’t so, but I’m part of the family so you can’t forget me!!

Just kidding!


Journal, May 22, 1976 AM

Miz, Ed’s cat is on the tijera {cot} here beside me. She came in & clawed me a good one in the tender part of my leg near my genitals this morning. Needless to say this got me moving!

I made up some yuca last night by boiling it in water and could only eat about half of it. <I’ll try frying what’s left to see if I can get it to come out something like the yuca Sofia’s family makes - delicious.>

I spent another day hanging around Peace Corps {Office} & never got to Recursos Naturales {the government natural resources agency}. Monday I’m going straight out there with Mike Shank.

I ate lunch at Todos shopping center, 3 bananas, 2 sweet cakes and a carton of milk. It’s cheaper than most any restaurant, I can do my shopping on the side, and they have some decent sweet cakes!

Today I’ve got to come up with a list and do some serious shopping. I have to figure out what to eat all next week. Tough problem!

Journal, May 20, 1976 PM

I picked up Anne Frank’s Diary at Peace Corps Office today. I don’t know when I’ll find time to read it, but it sounds interesting. It’s another classic I feel I should try.

Chico {Rodriguez} never got around to taking me to Recursos {the government natural resources agency} today. He took off for Los Cruces in the morning and never returned to the office. So I read up on the project, all the stuff he had given me. Now I’m fully prepared to face them at Recursos.

<I got a nice letter from Sofia saying she likes my English lessons.> I sent her a couple passages from poems to get her practicing English. I got a polite form letter from the City of Madison telling me they don’t have any use for me. So it goes.

Fred Tracy was in the office returning the Peace Corps pickup. He has got a million projects going and is working his butt off, and is happy. Fred more than anyone else from my training group needs to be working to be happy. That’s why he’s such a good {agricultural} extensionist.

I made rice, platanos {plantains} & hamburgers for my supper - ate like a horse. Then I read 2 chapters from “Tierra de Infancia” and an article on the possible weight of photons from “Scientific American”, and I’m ready to call it a night.

Journal, May 19, 1976 PM

No time to read Spanish or English tonight. <After frying up some platanos {plantains} for supper & unpacking, I only had time for another letter to Sofia.> Those letters certainly are time consuming!

I got my May “Scientific American” today. April’s never got here, although another volunteer got his for April. I smell more intra Peace Corps thievery. The thievery of books & magazines among Volunteers is absolutely atrocious. I wish I had a closed mailbox so I could at least not have to worry about my magazines. I want to start collecting those “Scientific Americans”.

I went over to El Maizal just to talk to Mr. Marques this morning and he wasn’t there! Well, now he’ll have to come looking for me. I won’t be hanging around El Maizal playing with rabbits and waiting. Sorry Charlie!

Tomorrow, to Recursos Naturales Renovables {the government “renewable” natural resources agency} to see what gives on my new assignment. Frankly, I hope they don’t push me too hard. I’d just as soon coast through my last 5 months, but I’ll do what I can for the Upper Lempa Basin Project. It’s a necessary project and one of a kind which is going to become more & more common as resources become scarcer & more precious.

Journal, May 19, 1976 AM

Last evening Jay sent off a balloon, sort of celebrating my leaving. It went straight up & stayed up a long time - no wind. Finally it began to come down, & the ball of cotton which fuels it actually went out while it was still high in the air. We were both jubilant about the length of time it stayed up.

I got over to El Maizal yesterday morning to give Marques the materials I wanted to leave him. However, we hardly discussed my leaving or the papers I was leaving behind. I wonder if he’ll make use of them. He wants me to come back today, presumably to B.S. again rather than for anything substantial. I’ll go today, but this is the end.

I treated a wounded rabbit while there yesterday, never fails. I told them it was necessary to tattoo the young rabbits right away. No one was listening. I told Marques & one other guy about the letter from the American Dairy Goat Association containing applications for registry. Marques gave no sign of being interested.

Jay & I collaborated to solve a couple physics problems that were giving him trouble in Chapter 5 of Bueche. The tables have turned. Now he is actively studying physics & I am only talking about it. I can’t use his book while he’s using it, & I am trying to do my sociology “homework” right now.

I read 2 chapters from “Tierra de Infancia” last night. I have to get into the habit of reading a chapter before bed every night. Only like that will I finish it reasonably soon. I enjoy reading it, but having to look up words constantly tires me out quickly.

Journal, May 17, 1976 PM

Another day on the move, at a snail’s pace of course. I started for Metalio at 1 PM and got here in time for supper. I’m about done with all this senseless traveling to & from Metalio. I have to go to Recursos Naturales {the government natural resources agency} with Chico Rodriguez on Thursday, so I plan to pack a suitcase & go into town Wednesday afternoon, and stay there until I can get the Peace Corps pickup to bring my shit in. I put in a request for the pickup for next week. Hopefully Ed Shiffer will be receptive to my moving in with him earlier. This way he’ll get some money to help him get through the rest of this month.

<I wrote & mailed a letter to Sofia in the morning.> I swear I don’t miss her half bad until I sit down to write her. I guess ‘cause it gets me thinking about her, logical.

Chico gave me some more stuff on the Río Tamalasco Project to read, so I’ll have to buckle down and read tomorrow. I will go to El Maizal to tie up what loose ends I can also. Tomorrow they are supposed to give out seed & fertilizer, so I feel more sure than usual that Marques will be there.

Journal, May 17, 1976 AM

I got away from San Isidro yesterday without running into the guy who had invited me to drink “chicha” (corn liquor). I was worn out from lack of sleep & didn’t need any rot-gut {liquor}. It wouldn’t have taken much to wipe me out. I promised to write to Doña Julia Varela, & send her the pictures I took. I’ll send a card to Francisco Mendoza when I get back to the States, too. He was so good to me.

I’m in Santa Tecla at Ed Shiffer’s this morning. I came in last night while 3 of his young friends & he were having a heavy political discussion over Costa Rican / Salvadoran relations. He never seems to be alone. I wonder how I’ll fit into his ‘open house’.

I read through this volume of my journal coming in on the train. I misspell and leave out words so much that I felt obligated to correct things as I went. Some of my moods seem so distant and weird when I read about them later.

Journal, May 16, 1976 AM

Morena wasn’t on the train or at the fiesta. They didn’t get a band for the dance, & that’s probably why she failed to come. Ismael Peña, who said he’d come, didn’t either, but I’ve had a good visit. I wouldn’t want to do it more than once, but one last meeting with some of the local folks is decent. The trouble is that the ISTA {Instituto Salvadoreño de Transformación Agraria or Salvadoran Institute for Agricultural Transformation} people I know are serious drinkers, but they treat me real fine and all. Chico Mendoza found me a girl to dance with for the dance last night, & later took me aside & told me she was “easy”, if I used a little tact. A real old fashioned frat. {fraternity} brother! I didn’t probe her virtuousness, but enjoyed dancing & talking with her.

I got pictures of Don Torribio & Doña Julia, of the grave of Don Pedrito, and a few extras thrown in. They had a good soccer game. San Isidro’s “primera” ended up in a tie with the opposition 1 to 1 in a game which, despite the score, was full of action. This year’s fiesta had a feature last year’s didn’t, an event in which local horsemen tried to take specially made up ribbons off a rope stretched across the road (above the level of their heads when mounted) using pencils. I wonder if it came down from something the early Spaniards might have done with swords?

The physical works of the irrigation project are going ahead. They seem to have all of the roads put in in this sector, and have leveled some good-sized hills. The local farmers are impressed by the heavy equipment being used, & the speed with which it does “impossible” tasks. One farmer said the crews had been working day & night and weekends during the dry season. The project will go ahead, damn the social upheaval & inequities that may result, and certainly will be a big long-run benefit for the country and for local landowners smart enough to take advantage of it.

An old joke was revisited upon me by one local. San Isidro has an enormously fat ISTA nurse working here, and while I was working here she was constantly after my body. One night she grabbed right ahold of me and tried to warm me to the task! I would have none of it, & the agronomos {agricultural extensionists} never ceased ribbing me about it while I was working here.

I slept (from maybe 2:30 to 5:30 AM) in the ISTA office. The dance this year was held right around me on the porch that extends about two thirds of the way around the “hacienda” {large farm or ranch} offices. I was pretty well obligated to stay for the duration of the dance!


Journal, May 14, 1976 PM

<I wrote the letter to Sofia & mailed it today in San Salvador.> I left Metalio about 10 AM and got to Sonsonate in good time only to get on a wrong bus. It said ‘San Salvador - Sonsonate’ on the front, and was parked in the area where the “directo” {nonstop or express} buses to San Salvador usually leave from, but when it got out to the highway it took a left & headed for the coast! I was pissed, but was not the only person fooled.

Then, getting back to the bus station in another bus, I ran into one of the sisters of Conrad Ebish’s girlfriend. She suggested waiting until one PM for the big Greyhound-style bus. We did & it was a pleasant trip, chatting and riding in a bus with leg room & reclining seats.. It made only one (required) stop between Sonsonate and Santa Tecla.

I checked in at the hospedaje {guest house} near the old Peace Corps Office, bought a flashcube & headed for Peace Corps {Office}, mailing my letter on the way. Chico {Rodriguez} was in, and we talked some about the Río Tamalasco thing. He says we should get together and write up some possible questionnaire questions some time late next week. I don’t know if I’m ready for that stage yet.

I saw Jay, and got a letter from Mary & David. Would you believe they’re going to have another baby in November or December? Yup, just like Mom & Dad, once they got started they just couldn’t stop! I do hope they stop before 10, the world is not ready for ten more Olsens! Sounds like Mary is real busy and very content. Good old Mary is well on her way to becoming a grandma some day! She always reminded us younger kids of one, even at 18.

Wisconsin State Government sent me shit on career positions, like social worker up in Chippewa Falls. Nothing fitting my qualifications or my needs. Looks like I’ll have to just wait & see what’s open when I get there. I’m thinking my best bet is to get a job in a physics lab if at all possible. That way I’ll be learning physics, getting to know faculty, en fin, building reputation in the department, and if my academics are also up to par, they’ll see that I make it financially somehow. I’m thinking again that I want to try taking the Physics first and second courses both at once. That will get me admitted to the department for the fall (which should open up scholarship possibilities) and further establish my seriousness of purpose & reputation.

Tomorrow, it’s the 6:15 train for San Isidro, and a trip into the past (last year at this time I was working in San Isidro). I’m going to the Patron Saint Festivals, to see Don Torribio & Doña Julia, to visit the grave of Don Pedrito, to see some people one more time, etc. The infamous Morena R. {Rodriguez} may go too. That would indeed make the weekend complete. I have never gotten around to calling her & yet I want to say good-bye and tell her to visit me if she ever does make it back to the States. Now that I am a “promised man” maybe we can be spontaneous friends like we were when I first met her. I hope she’s on the train.

Journal, May 13, 1976 PM

I hung around the house all day. I read some more about my new job, a study that some economists and engineers did as a training course. it has some interesting stuff (since I know nothing about the Tamalasco area), and a lot of garbage.

I also washed the canvas on my tijera {cot} and read a “Scientific American” article on a new gadget for separating cells by weight & phosphorescence differences. Reading “Scientific American is bringing the work of scientists more down home for me, taking out the mystery & art. Scientists are just clever, mentally sharp folks, trained extensively in problem solving techniques and a specific field, and paid to try to discover solutions to particular complex problems. I expect to enjoy being one of them some day.

I rode up the beach on my bike after getting my clothes from the lady near where Jay & I used to live, who washes them. What a trip, to speed along the hard-packed sand at low tide, & be able to look over your shoulder at a deep yellow near-full moon just above the treetops. I got caught off guard by a bulging in-wash of water and it splashed up to my thighs. I sat on my bike laughing ‘til it subsided, and then extracted the sunken wheels and tripped off again.

<I was going to write Sofia & I better do it tonight ‘cause I won’t if I wait ‘til morning.> If only I could capture moments like that bike ride & send them on down. A natural high in an envelope! Special delivery?

Journal, May 12, 1976 PM

I just finished reading the UN FAO {United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization} “limited circulation” report on the projected Tamalasco River basin Project. Sounds like the guy who wrote it was most interested in reforestation, and most concerned about the speed at which the reservoir of the ‘5 de Noviembre’ {November 5th} dam is filling up. The job description for the sociologist to be employed in the feasibility study reads like it was written by a forester or soil conservationist as well: “Qualifications: Preferably expertise in rural development problems with experience in organization of low income farmers, subsistence economy and obtaining owner cooperation. Demonstrated on-the-ground experience is the most important qualification.” I swear they divide up all the realistic tasks, & then say, “Gee, I don’t know how we’re going to pull that part off, let’s assign it to one of them smart-assed sociologists, and see what cockeyed scheme he proposes!” What they really need is an LBJ {Lyndon Johnson, former U.S. President} type arm-twister.

Oh well, it’s not my job description, I can just offer my ideas and observations to my counterpart. I’ll give him a little rope, and see if he lays claim to being experienced in “obtaining owner cooperation.” I have to rap some more with Chico {Rodriguez} about exactly what my role is going to be. He probably won’t know much more than I do!

I wrote to Jay Mathes, to Gert {Verberkmoes}, and to Harry Brokish in the morning. I wanted to tell Jay what has happened at El Maizal lately. I expect it will change his mind about coming down this summer, if he still intended to do so. I haven’t heard from him in some time.

I opened up the thermos this morning, & the yogurt was just perfect, about the right thickness and everything. I had some for lunch & supper, & left the bottle in Don Tin’s refrigerator. At last I have successfully made yogurt. Next I must make bread! Ed Shiffer promised to help me realize that ambition.

I buzzed over to El Maizal after lunch to leave off some materials I thought they might find a use for, and see if Marques was there. He had come & gone in the morning. I turned over my rabbit & goat records and technical info., officially, to Aristides. (I felt a wee bit like Pilate washing his hands!) I gave the rabbits some salt & hay, and I watered the eggplant and peanuts. I can’t seem to stop doing chores, it’s a long-standing habit.

The lawyer and some other folks from the {Episcopal} Church showed up, but they didn’t seem to be in a mood for talking, and neither was I, so I left. They did say the coop members are going to get their seed and fertilizer - all except those from Culilapa. Don Santos will be happy about that.

I went out to the beach this evening. Again it had me agape & fascinated. The sun sinking & the moon materializing; the waves rising up, peaking and then tumbling over themselves with a thunderlike sound from the fall of tons of water; the clouds draped in satiny evening wear, and the string of glimmering lights which is Acajutla. I could stand there for minutes, maybe hours, just taking in nature’s ‘Metalio Spectacular.’ “But me I have appointments to keep, and miles to go before I sleep . . . I’ll be more productive farther from this temptation, tal vez {maybe}!

Journal, May 11, 1976 PM

No Marques today at El Maizal. Don Santos says he may go to San Salvador to ask for his fertilizer. He says he hasn’t the money to get it anywhere else.

I left Santa Tecla right after breakfast, and got to Don Tin’s {restaurant} just in time for lunch.

I made some yogurt in the afternoon, at least I think it will turn out to be yogurt. I’m making it in a thermos according to a method Steve Hayes uses & claims is fool proof. We’ll see if it can lick this fool!

<I wrote to Sofia just now.> I may have been a little nasty. She demands so much lovey dovey talk. I don’t know whether I feel I’m above that kind of thing, or whether it just embarrasses me to write it, & I don’t want to admit to my embarrassment. I lean toward the latter explanation in my more objective moments. Anyway, I told her to take it easy, and let the thing move at its pace (maybe I meant my pace, I don’t know!). She’s so honest & good, I’d hate to offend her. (I hear sister Joyce’s most sneering voice: “Yea, wait ‘til yer married buddy!”) Who knows what the “boda” {wedding} will bring, ever?

Journal, May 11, 1976 AM

I got my letter typed and carried over to the church yesterday. Today I’ll be out to El Maizal where Freddy promised that Mr. Marques would be. I hope he’s out there. Then I will assure him that I am indeed leaving, and it will be settled.

I got some info. on the Talmalasco project from Chico {Rodriguez} to start reading this week out in Metalio. One “limited circulation” report & another giant & mostly useless collection of statistics.

I spent the night at Steve Pamperin’s and ate supper at Ed Shiffer’s. I just walked in as Ed was barbecuing steaks & got one. I also had some boiled whole wheat. It was good, & is cheaper than rice. I must remember to try making it myself some time.

Ed says I could probably stay with him starting June first. He’s looking for a roommate to cut down on expenses, and he has a stove & small refrigerator. It looks like a perfect setup for me. I’ll be able to do some cooking, & hopefully save some money that way. He knows how to make bread & is willing to teach me. Beautiful!

<I got a very emotional letter from Sofia.> She wants more letters, and says she wants to know everything I do and think about. She hasn’t gotten any letters since the mochila {shoulder bag} got there, and has no patience. About two letters a week is all I can manage, especially now that I’ll be working more, so she’ll have to be content with that.

Journal, May 9, 1976 PM

Has anyone in the entire world ever tried making oatmeal in coconut milk? The feat was accomplished folks, by none other than Jay Hasheider and Dean Jefferson, (Please spell the names right!) on the morning of 9 May of 1976 in the sleepy village of Metalio, El Salvador. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to try that in a couple thousand years, but I had the oatmeal mixed with powdered milk, & ready to add water, when Jay says, “Wait a minute, I want to see if I can get some cocos {coconuts} to make it with their juice.” It was good, thick and filling, and super nutritious, combining milk, oats and coconut milk.

We hung around the house this morning. I finished my letter to CREDHO, adding my resignation, while Jay struggled with physics problems. I helped him with a couple, & he’s been going like wildfire ever since. I think he just finished the chapter now (9:30 at night), and picked up his banjo.

I went to El Maizal after lunch, & missed Marques who had been there in the morning. I left when the doctors did (Sunday is clinic day), and was halfway to Metalio when I met the CREDHO lawyers on the road. I went back and sold them the two rabbits they have wanted for the longest time. I told them about Don Pedro and some of the other co-op members who knew nothing about the heated meeting in San Salvador, and still were expecting their fertilizer and seed. I said if they let the folks like Don Pedro down, they would have their minds set against CREDHO for good. They promised to mention it to Freddy, and asked Don Juan to take down names of people who still want the stuff. They won’t get things straightened out until they send a promoter around to the cooperatives, and find out what the general sentiment is. I hope CREDHO acts prudently for once, but have my doubts.

Conrad Ebish, his girlfriend and 3 of her sisters were here when I returned. “Why hadn’t I stopped by to visit her?”, his novia {girlfriend} wanted to know. Jay & Conrad sent off a tiny balloon. Twice the flame went out after short flights, and then on try #3 it burst into flames at treetop height. You can’t win them all. The women folk and Conrad left shortly thereafter.

<I wrote a letter to Sofia tonight & packed for the trip.> I hope to catch Chico {Rodriguez} in the office, & perhaps Jaime will be in town. I have to get my letter typed up and take it over to CREDHO. No chance left to lose my nerve.

Journal, May 8, 1976 PM

Well, there was no Señor Marques at El Maizal this morning, but there were some campesinos {peasant farmers} waiting ever more impatiently for their seed & fertilizer, and some others who were in the group that went to San Salvador yesterday, & were still hot with “colera” {anger} from their meeting with Padre {Father} Serrano. I heard about the meeting first from some dude from CREDHO in San Salvador who came out last night to “look after” the seed & fertilizer being stored at El Maizal in the wake of what happened. He said the campesinos were pretty angry to begin with, and they demanded the resignations of Freddy Salguerro and Lionel Marques. In response the Padre said he’d rather lose the coops than those two men, so as it stands now (apparently) CREDHO will give the seed & fertilizer to other cooperatives in other areas, and leave the “socios” {members} from around El Maizal to buy on their own. If they go through with that threat, CREDHO will be all through in this area. No amount of promotion will make farmers forget they got left high and dry by CREDHO’s cooperatives. Apparently, the angriest & hottest headed farmers went in for the meeting without telling the rest what they planned to do. Maybe they didn’t even plan to ask for resignations until something riled them - like the Padre’s selfrighteousness perhaps! Anyway, many farmers (maybe the majority) still want their seed & fertilizer, are counting on it.

I decided this mess was demonstration enough of why it is ridiculous for CREDHO to start a cattle project. Shit, if they get their corn planted after all this they’ll be lucky. It took me ‘til tonight to reconvince myself that I should write that letter I promised Marques saying why I think the cattle project ill advised. I just might include my resignation in the letter. The neatness of it appeals to me.

Lord, the mosquitoes are horrendous today! And Jay strums away on his banjo as I consider reading a little bit of “Tierra de Infancia” before retiring to my hammock.

Journal, May 8, 1976 AM

I have a double-edged assignment from Marques as of yesterday. He wants me to continue working out a budget for the milking shed. But I got to talking with him about the reasoning behind starting the cattle project in the first place. I told him I thought the administrative people (i.e. Freddy Salguerro) started “projects” dependent only upon what they could get money from somewhere for. Heifer Project gave them goats & rabbits, so they have goats & rabbits. Now they got money for cattle, so they want a cattle project. They haven’t stopped to consider the effect of a cattle project on the self-sufficiency (in the short run) of El Maizal, or the need for a cattle project in terms of its usefulness in training their students. I got him to agree with me that a cattle project seems ill advised at this stage. Now I have to write up a report defending my position.

I also stopped by to chat with Chico Rodriguez before leaving town yesterday. He is all ready to go on the socioeconomic study of the upper Rio Lempa watershed. They apparently will expand from one tributary to the whole thing. He says the head of Recursos Naturales {government Natural Resources agency} has agreed to help him work on it now, even though the project doesn’t officially start until August. He will help me too, says Chico. Chico says at the least he wants me to talk with Recursos Naturales’ sociologist once a week or so to exchange ideas with him.

I cooked up my first pot of rice for lunch at Steve Pamperin’s {apartment}. I threw in a pound of rice and 3 cups of water, and it was more rice than I could eat. I left Steve some. Steve got back from Metapán just as I was leaving, so we chatted a while about El Maizal. He too agrees that El Maizal is not ready to manage cattle.

I took the slow bus (by way of Izalco & Armenia), and didn’t get to Metalio until nearly 5 PM. Jay was making another paper balloon & up for talking meteorology, politics, etc. Sometimes he goes on & on upon some speculations of his that I could give a shit about, but he stares right in my eyes, pleading for & demanding my attention, so I have to listen. He cleaned out the kerosene stove, & I made tea. I put vegetable oil on my sandals to soften the leather, & I read the {New York} Times while he smoked dope & listened to short wave {radio}.

Journal, May 6, 1976 PM

Why can’t I just quit? I ran into Profy Gomez over at the {Episcopal} Church this evening, and he said, very diplomatically, that it was “bad politics” for the Church to fire the 2 agronomos {Agricultural Extensionists} and Mr. Castillo “de un solo golpe” {all at once}. What an under-statement. it appears CREDHO had two agronomos from BFA {Banco Fomento Agripequario or Agricultural Development Bank} interested in taking over the jobs of Mejia & Flores, but when they heard about how they had been fired without warning, the BFA guys backed out. Agronomos here are all like fraternity brothers. You mistreat one and none of them want anything to do with you. So it goes.

But I’m still trying to put together a budget for building the milking shed. Steve ran out on me this morning. He went to Metapán with the two FAO {United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization} guys. I think he’ll even spend the night up there.

I went to see the cattle show that is at the Feria Internacional {International Fairgrounds} this week. They had all purebred stuff {cattle}, big breeders - nothing for the small cattleman. I saw a few Holsteins, among them some daughters and a son of Paclamar Bootmaker, a well proven & popular sire in the U.S. Through the wonders of artificial insemination they can have quality Holstein cattle in Central America or anywhere in the world. Whether they adapt well to the climate or not is another thing entirely however. I didn’t see a single crossbred {cow} at the show, but that is what the average ganadero {cattleman} here has.

<I wrote and mailed a letter to Sofia today.> {some text not transcribed} Love by letter is not very emotionally satisfying. Intellectually it’s reassuring enough, but I have no one to touch, embrace, hold onto. Protestant ethic, delayed gratification and all that rot - stiff upper lip lad & no backsliding!

I also bought a 1 liter thermos and some yogurt for starter. I plan to attempt to make yogurt by by the Steve Hays method, without the help of the mighty Sun God. May José {Joe} the Canadian forgive me! I hope I have better luck than I had with José’s method.

Journal, May 6, 1976 AM

I’m in Santa Tecla at Steve Pamperin’s. I’ve had my oatmeal, and am ready to go down to the bank with Steve, and try to work out a budget for building a milking shed with feeding & watering facilities, and establishing pastures. Steve is still in bed, but his roommates are up & getting ready for work. Steve Hay’s counterpart is here, & he & Mike Shank are B.S.’ing.

I got sidetracked in my intention to quit CREDHO. I told Mr. Marques I thought that the best thing they could do would be to not get cattle. He wouldn’t listen. I told him we needed pastures and a corral, etc., and he asked about a design for a milking set up. There I was ready for him. I told him about the plans the people at the Banco Fomento {Development Bank} had given us last fall. So we went over to the bank to talk it over, and see what we could do about getting a budget for the whole setup. So here I am. Steve & I will see what we can do this morning.

I attended a meeting that Padre {Father} Serrano and Freddy Salguerro held for the CREDHO coop presidents at the {Episcopal} Church. What a waste. They called those peasant farmers in to the capital to cry on their shoulders about how someone had been going around saying that CREDHO was making big profits off seed & fertilizer sales. They bristled with self-righteous anger. What a joke. The farmers were, of course, very agreeable (apologetic even though they had nothing to apologize for), and made touching statements of their personal confidence in the Padre & CREDHO. After it was over, one farmer asked, “And what price are you selling Gramaxone (a weed killer) at?” It was as if to say, now that your egos are patched up, let’s get back to business.

A couple Gringos {North Americans} who work for one of CREDHO’s funding agencies were supposed to go to El Maizal at 1 PM, but didn’t show up ‘til after 2. A couple of cheerleaders - my first impression. They decided not to go, to wait ‘til there were students at El Maizal. But isn’t it all so wonderful what they’re doing here!

After that is when Marques & I went for a bite to eat & got talking. Why can’t I just quit?

Journal, May 4, 1976 PM

Tomorrow, San Salvador, but alone, Jay decided he wants to stay at El Maizal for the time being, so he doesn’t care to rock the boat. Padre {Father} Serrano has asked the presidents of the cooperatives into San Salvador for a meeting at 11 AM, so I may walk right into that. A whole bunch of folks were at El Maizal this morning expecting to get their seed and fertilizer. Someone from CREDHO showed up & told them the presidents had to go to this meeting, & then maybe they would get the stuff next week. They were none too pleased! As Don Juan says they add the cost of a trip to San Salvador onto the price of the fertilizer, & it comes out cheaper to buy the fertilizer from a local dealer. The {Episcopal} Church is really blowing it. They are losing in days the confidence it took Profy {Gomez} & Señor Castillo over a year to build up among the people.

I helped Jay plant some marijuana seeds this afternoon. He fertilized them with commercial fertilizer, & plans to water them until the rains come to stay. A real farmer!

I’ve got several errands to run for Jay while I’m in town. If I don’t forget my list that is. Really, now that I have it written down I shouldn’t have to consult the list. Usually writing something down is enough. I’ll have to get right on finding a cheap place in the city. It has to be cheap so I can save up for the Costa Rica trip & an engagement ring. Hassles and more hassles just ‘cause I can’t say no to that Tica {Costarican woman}.

Journal, May 3, 1976 PM

Another day, still no Marques. I spent another morning at El Maizal doing big zero. I got my bike back together in the afternoon, but am afraid I put a pinhole in the tube in the process.

The most exciting event of the day was Jay’s return. <He showed up about 8 PM carrying the {Peace Corps} Volunteer newsletter & a letter from Sofia.> They printed my article on the Animal Health Seminar in the paper, with only 2 missing “a”s, plus a disclaimer for all grammatical errors made by the “hick author”. The paper had a couple serious articles in it - more than usual.

<Sofia says she has vacation from June 26 to July 20, or there abouts, so I’ll probably go down there with Jaime about the first week of July.> She says she’s going to start putting together a list of interesting places I should see in Costa Rica (with her). Now you’re talkin’ woman! She put more jive in this letter than any previous one, & wrote more informally (even a little disorganized). That’s fine ‘cause I don’t like formalities, & she continues sayin’ she loves me. I can dig it.

Jay says he’ll go into San Salvador with me to talk to the Padre {Father Serrano} if Marques hasn’t shown up by tomorrow. I don’t know exactly what we’ll tell him, but I’m ready to take some serious action. First, find out what’s going on, & if it’s what I think it is, get out of this mess, and go tell Chico {Rodriguez} I want to try one of his suggestions.

Journal, May 2, 1976 PM

Marques didn’t show. A bitch {female dog} has been into the “conejera {rabbit cages}” and killed two rabbits. There is a whole lot of fertilizer in the storage shed at El Maizal now, & they can’t sell it or the corn seed until Marques shows up to get things going. This was gleaned from my morning at El Maizal.

This afternoon I took the back wheel from my bike apart, trying to straighten it, & to take off the sprockets so as to put in a new spoke. No luck on #2. I’ll put it back together tomorrow, minus one spoke.

<In the evening I wrote a letter to Sofia.> In fact I just finished it and am about to call it a night. The insects have been merciless since early this afternoon. I don’t believe a worthy thought has emanated from my grey matter in all day! I wonder if Einstein had days like this one? A saber {Who knows}!

Journal, May 1, 1976 PM

Tonight we find the author in Metalio preparing to go to bed in his hammock. His tijera {cot} is loaded down with his books because the floor of the beach house is still wet in places from a recent rain storm. And so on!

I mailed my job-probe letters to Madison & Wisconsin State Government this morning (actually I left the them in Peace Corps Office with the money because today is Labor Day). I didn’t get to Metalio ‘til about 4:30, so I just ate, showered, read some of the {New York} Times, drank some tea, and read some of “Tierra de Infancia” by Claudia Lars. The book is my latest attempt at improving my Spanish. She writes simply and cleverly, and the story is about Armenia, the town she grew up in, near Sonsonate. <I’ll read it to my kids some day, if I marry Sofia.> It would be a fitting book to read aloud to children.

I saw Jay this morning (at Peace Corps Office), and he says that Señor Castillo and Señor Flores have quit working for CREDHO and moved their shit out of El Maizal. Looks like things are deteriorating rapidly over there. I hope I run into Marques there tomorrow or Monday to find out what’s going on. I’m not going to spend the whole week waiting for him! I’ll go into San Salvador and wait on Freddy Salguerro if he hasn’t showed by Tuesday.

Journal, May 1, 1976 AM

My watch says it’s the 31st today, and it might just as well be. I’m still under the influence after doing quite a bit of drinking last night. I had my first beer at Spanish class at 1:30. I had some more at the A.I.D. meeting at 4:00 to 5:30. Then we went to El Yugo, a steak restaurant, for a despedida {farwell} for Ron & Nancy Shiflet, who are flying home as I write this morning. Then we had another beer at El Cantón {Chinese restaurant}, and then we went down into a rough section of town (sorry, I forgot a stop at the Bamboo Room first), and heard a little band play as we drank. I was drinking Coke by then. Diego & I went home about 1:30, but Jaime & Mike kept going.

I saw the last few rounds of the Ali-Young fight too. Lord, we really got around!

I stopped by the Episcopal Church at noon yesterday. Padre {Father} Serrano was busy, but I spent some time talking to the wife of a Bishop from the U.S. that is down here. I told her about some of my problems - she was sympathetic. She’s from Vermont, & knows a little about what it takes to take care of cattle. Then I met Padre Serrono’s “old lady”. What a surprise. She is young, pretty, sweet as sugar and a Costarican. What a small world, but her hubby still rubs me the wrong way.


Images, May, 1976

Doña Reina, Don Tin and some of their younger children, in front of the garden beside their home, store and restaurant in Metalio.

{My friend} Santos in front of the ocean {near Metalio}.

Don Adán, his wife and their children {in front of their house in Metalio}.