I may never see Edward Shiffer again. He left for Colombia this morning. It was an emotional scene. There were perhaps a hundred people at the airport to see him off. He had tears in his eyes when he finally broke out of the crowd, grasped his carryon bag and passed through the gate to board. It was the end of more than 4 ½ years of work with the urban poor of San Salvador. The mothers, the matrons who are closely associated with CREFAC class him with the most fabled saints of the Catholic Church. He is amazing.
He’s one of those who found themselves, their roles, their niches, in Peace Corps. I don’t think he was ever as close to people, that he ever felt emotion so intensely, back in the conservative, reserved society of Pennsylvania. He became a messiah, a pied piper of the poor and neglected, and they repaid him a million times over with their boundless love.
He didn’t ride a white horse though! Ed exhibits a hard-boiled, wise guy attitude on the surface, and when a situation calls for it he is all business. He’s no advocate of liberal largesse, but a pragmatic conservative. He’s justly proud of having wrenched CREFAC’s purse strings from a few “do-gooders” and given it a good steady source of financing. Of course under his hard shell he is as soft as combed cotton. But only his friends know it.
I’m going to meet tomorrow with Dr. Roland Echandi of the University of Costa Rica. I finally made contact with him today by phone. It seems he is one of the people I’ll be working with for the next year. He works with the Grain and Seed Research Center.
Dr. Zavaleta says I’m healthy. I had my final Physical in Peace Corps El Salvador today. I’m a little fat is all. I need to get more exercise to feel A-1.
<My second phone call to Sofia went a lot smoother than the first.> I had more good news for one thing, that I’ll be there November 13 at 11:30 AM, for one thing. She’s wholly immersed in her studies. I get momentarily blown away by that, but quickly recall that I was worse! She’s into some kind of hassle with Pilar. Pilar wants her to go to the wedding with some friend of Pilar’s since I have to go with the maid of honor, Nuria. <Sofia for some reason just doesn’t like the idea.> I had to reign myself in to keep out of it. I’m sure I don’t know (or care to know) the half of it. Get ye behind me Peyton Place!