7.17.2017

Letter, April 27, 1977

Jan,

No I haven’t forgotten you, it’s just taken a while to find time to write. <My job has been intensifying at least insofar as quantity of work and Sofia keeps my off hours filled with all kinds of stuff - most of it very pleasant.> All in all it means I don’t often have one of those hours of complete inactivity in which to let the mind float & invent - something I had in such abundance back in Metalío. Something lost & something gained; I really enjoy my present situation too, but must make more of a special effort to find time for letter writing.

<Sofia is taking karate lessons as a special activity at the university.> It’s great to see her taking pride in her physical condition and gaining confidence in her ability to go places alone, be able to defend herself, etc. So many, many women are handicapped by their fear of physical assault, robbery by force, etc. It’s a psychological handicap (though the dangers are real!) that pushes them toward the sheltered life of the house (bound) wife. Now if she just doesn’t get ornery and break me up some day! I’m helping her practice at home & picking up a few tactics too!

Jay wrote a letter for the two of us. It arrived shortly after you and Barbara left. He has an apartment in Belmopan, the capital of Belize, about halfway between Benque Viejo and Belize City. He invited either of us to drop in, too bad the letter missed you. Anyway, you can write him c/o Ministry of Agriculture, Belmopan, Belize, Central America. He’ll be there 2 years. Perhaps you’ll get another chance to pass through there. <Sofia & I hope to go through on our way north in January.>

Money really is tight, being married on a Peace Corps salary. Living in rural El Salvador, alone, I had more money than I knew what to do with earning $165 per month. Now I’m earning $229 and wonder how we’re going to break even in the long run. (Right now with wedding gifts & money I brought from the States we’re fine, but that will trickle away.)

I sold my bike. A friend wanted a bike real bad & I planned to sell it before leaving here, so what the heck. <I have little chance to use it since Sofia & I go places together nearly always, & with school activities she hauls me to & family stuff, etc. I wasn’t riding at all.> The guy’s buying it on the installment plan so that means ¢100 extra coming in per month.

Things are really tense in El Salvador. The foreign minister was kidnapped and will be killed if President Molina doesn’t release some political prisoners. Molina is stalling for time, while searching house to house in San Salvador. I bet that means some poor folks get roughed up! It’s very different reading about a political crisis like that after having lived in the country. It is so much more real, not just something that happens in some obscure place on the map. El Salvador could be close to a military coup. If Molina and his protégé General Romero lose face in this thing, they could lose the support of both the military and the rich oligarchy. Indications are that Borgonovo, the foreign minister, is from a well-heeled & powerful family & he is getting praise from all over the diplomatic community. Heavy situation!

Bruce wrote me about the incident with Donna at the Edgerton Hospital. Sounds very fucked up; she better beat the wrap if she wants to continue working as a dietician. (Boy I talk tough!) Seriously, I find it all very strange . . .

I read a Time {Magazine} article criticizing Carter for not playing Washington backroom political games & for being impulsive and overly idealistic in foreign policy. Northeastern intellectual snobbishness I call it. Carter has made a lot of friends among freedom oriented Central Americans with the human rights “impulse”. I think he could push it farther, like cut off military aid to Nicaragua, Guatemala & El Salvador maybe. I hope Carter doesn’t listen to Time. He gives the impression he’s a moral person; I hope it’s so. I think maybe the press prefers a wheeler-dealer like Johnson, more exciting.

Enough B.S.,

Dean

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