Journal, October 8, 1976 PM

It was an interesting morning at ISTA {Instituto Salvadoreño de Transformación Agraria or Salvadoran Institute for Agricultural Transformation}. I met an economist, a sociologist and an ingeniero agrónomo {holder of a master’s degree in agriculture}, who are to be in charge of the relocation of the minifundios (families with less than 5 hectares [7 manzanas] of land) in San Isidro. I learned later that the economist is also a lieutenant in the army. I was pleasantly surprised to find they had really read my study, and were very conscious of the problems involved in the planned relocation. We had a lively discussion for almost 2 hours. I think I managed to inject all the major points I had hoped to. The three of them and their boss (the guy who came out to DGRNR {Dirección General de Recursos Naturales Renovables} yesterday) are all sharp people. They have a tough job ahead of them, but I’m encouraged by their systematic, thoughtful & concerned approach to the relocation problem. I hope they continue on their present tack. I’ve been here too long to not be a little cynical. Words are cheap, but the tone of our meeting was very positive. It made me feel good about carrying that darn study through! When I was walking in the hot sun down the railroad tracks to Las Pavas to try to catch a couple farmers at home, I never anticipated that my study would get the attention it has gotten. They’d like me to help them out as they get into the relocation process, but I told them I was Costa Rica bound, por una chamaca {for a girl}!

I devoured the New York Times weekly review, once out at DGRNR. I have nothing to even piddle at now! Having consumed the Times, I answered Pilar’s {Campos} letter and sent her a “vezo” (a mythical animal I invented, which sounds exactly like “beso”, the Spanish word for kiss, when you say it). Pilar is a near saint. Maybe she is a saint, who am I to say. She always puts the best construction on everything and believes and trusts people. I dearly hope she never has to fend for herself! She’s always had her folks to shield her and soon she’ll have Jaime {Olson}.

Zero from Peace Corps Costa Rica. I sent a telegram tonight to make sure they’re not still waiting on my letter. I’m so impatient!

I bought 4 birthday cards today! <Sofia’s adds one more to what was already my heaviest month.> In the family, Dad, Joyce & Carla all have birthdays this month.

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