2.24.2017

Letter(2), August 29, 1976

Jan,

I’m becoming such a social creature lately I begin to wonder if I’ll ever be able to shut myself off enough again to study Physics & Math seriously. Now that I’m in the city all my friends from the “campo” {rural areas} stay with me when they’re in town and of course they like to go out for beer & pupusas, to eat, to the movies. Also my Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) neighbors invite me places & I reciprocate and that’s another whole cycle. Then there’s the people at the little store on the corner. I go watch T.V. and buy sweet bread & they invite me to soccer games, etc. I had the man who runs the place make me a pair of pants to go with my green suit jacket - they came out nice, fit perfectly. All in all I’m enjoying myself (except when my intellectual bent suffers guilt pangs!), but I can’t live cheap like in Metalío. The season of weddings & people leaving (with attendant fiestas {parties}) seems almost upon us. Two friends are getting married in September & October - to say nothing of Jaime in November. The first guy from my training group goes home September 18, and from there it’s a steady stream. I’ll be about the last since I’m staying ‘til December. Parties and weddings, more expenses!

I got you a Honduras hat (you can expect delivery by special messenger a little before Christmas!), and I like it so well I wish I could find one a little bigger for me. It was the only one I could find in the whole “Cuartel” tourist market.

I’m really glad I’ve gotten into my present job. It gives me more insight into what a career as an applied or research social scientist would be. So much politics and “professional bias” enters in. There is nothing approaching pure science when the object of study is human society. I find myself being continually amazed at how much government has gotten involved in the lives of its people. The old small farmer individualism flares up in my soul from time to time, and I wonder if we’re all destined to become workers under the mandate of a socialist state one day. The government here has initiated a big land reform project. They are taking a big chunk of land in the eastern zone, and are going to buy up holdings over 50 manzanas per person (about 75-80 acres). It’s a necessary thing and, even with the almost assured horrendous governmental inefficiency, it will do a lot for the peasants. I’m irrevocably for it. Still I wonder what Dad would do if the government told him he had to sell everything over 100 acres? He’d probably organize with other farmers (as has happened here) and try to resist it. Such a program might cause violence even in Wisconsin! Here there is talk of a coup, among other things. It will be a real test of President Molina’s strength in the military, and of the military’s grip on the government, this agrarian reform. A bomb has already been set off at the Catholic university {Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) or Central American University}. (They endorsed the project.) I hope more violence doesn’t follow!

No word yet about my extension / transfer to Costa Rica. I have my fingers crossed, but am afraid they’ll keep me hanging until the last minute.

Good luck with your Spanish. I don’t know about softball in Costa Rica, but here it is the women’s sport, and they have an industrial women’s league in the capital. I think they must play down there too. Hope you can keep the day care center going. Amazing indeed the political waves in social programs!

Love,

Dean

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