7.14.2016

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.

Love,

Dean

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