Journal, December 1, 1976 PM

Yesterday afternoon they called me from Peace Corps Office and said my ticket should be ready Friday. I think I’m going to make it home, only delays in getting my visa & permission to leave can hold me back. I got letters from {sister} Mary & from Ron & Nancy Shiflet. They were at Peace Corps Office yesterday. I also got paid. The salary is 1,953 Colonies. {At the time the exchange rate was 8.5 Costarican Colonies per U.S. Dollar.} <That’s what Sofia & I will have to live on starting in March.> “You knew the job was tough when you took it Fred,” said Super Chicken, famously.

We did some moisture tests on rice in the lab yesterday, and today we are husking & polishing rice for home consumption, for lack of other work. I’ll be interested to see who is going to take it home. Renán {Molina} gave a little to the “ordenanza” or cleanup man.

<Sofia served me up a banquet last evening.> We had rice with tuna & vegetables, beans with various spices added, platanos {plantains}, lettuce & tomatoes, cold milk, curtido (They pickle a whole combination of vegetables including broccoli, green beans, cucumber, carrots & others.) and a tortilla de elote {fresh corn tortilla} complete with a thick cream they call natilla here. {some text not transcribed}

<Sofia gave me more tamales.> Two regular ones wrapped in banana leaves & a piece of a large loaf-like one they make out of corn “masa {dough}” with spices & sugar added. The damn rats at Doña Carmen’s ate a hole in my shoulder bag & ate some of the “loaf” tamal. Now it is war. I’ll buy some rat poison today, if possible, warfarin if I can find it. Doña Carmen says they’ve tried everything to kill those rats. We’ll see what happens.

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