Letter, September 21, 1976

Dear Mom, Dad & everybody,

I’m really slow answering your letter this time, but I’m fine – just kind of busy. I’m going to be here in El Salvador until mid-December, but it already feels like my days are numbered. We had a last party for the 7 people from my training group who were still here last Saturday. Only 7 of us out of 19 stayed the 2 years, and 3 of the 7 (including me) ended up in programs other than the one in which we started, not a very good average! But we all agreed the 2 years went by fast – perhaps it’s just that we’re getting older . . .

The first of the “magnificent seven” to leave flew home Monday. He took with him his girlfriend and her 4-year-old son – both Salvadorans. That’s what I call taking responsibility by the horns! He’s looking forward to it though, already teaching the kid to play baseball!

I still don’t know if they will allow me to spend a year in Peace Corps in Costa Rica. If they don’t I may look for a private job down there and spend about a year there anyway. <Sofia is doing very well in school so far, and I think with 2 years of university level studies in her country and some English lessons she’ll be ready to try college in the U.S.>

I am now scheduled to end my term of service in El Salvador on December 18, so that’s about when I’ll be coming home. I only expect to be there 3-4 weeks whether I get the extension in Costa Rica or not. Jaime Olson, the guy from Neenah, WI who is marrying a Costarican girl in November, plans to be home for Christmas, too, and may drive down to Costa Rica in January. He’s already asked me to go with him. I also told Jaime I’d do my best to talk you, Mom & Dad, into going with me up to visit him at his parents’ farm near Neenah sometime around Christmas. Sounds like it would make a nice Sunday drive, what do you think?

I had a suit made for me here, complete with vest for $80, and it fits so well I just don’t believe it! Don’t dare out on much weight though! I needed a decent suit, since I’m going to be the “major amigo” {best man} at Jaime’s wedding. I doubt there’s many places in the world I could afford to have a suit made for me, but El Salvador is one – labor is cheap here!

My housemate just pulled out a box of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (he got back from Pennsylvania yesterday). Oh what a treat. I had thought my taste for chocolate had diminished some, with the poor quality chocolate that’s available here, but give me good stuff & the old taste buds respond! It’s a tremendous irony, that they don’t make decent chocolate in a country where cacao beans were used for money by the Indians before the Spanish conquest! After the conquest El Salvador was a major exporter of cacao for many years – you wouldn’t guess it now!

Well, I hope you salvage something of a corn crop! September has turned dry on us here recently. It’s unusual because September is usually the wettest month of the year, characterized by “temporales” during which it rains or sprinkles for 2-3 days straight without stopping. We’ve had no temporales in September this year. Take care of yourselves. Mom, any color sweater will be fine – just make it warm! I haven’t seen snow since 3 winters ago.



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