October 29, 1991

Life, Here and There


I'm on my bi-monthly writing binge, trying to get a stack ready for tomorrow's mail truck. I've got two of your letters (from a month ago...) in front of me, so I will begin with normal, obsolete, polite responses to your life events before I delve into my own.

Thanks for the stamps. The climate here effectively stuck them all together, but I soaked them in water to get them apart and immediately adhered them to envelopes. Thanks for the basketball motif.

I think Community Service Program expansion in Kansas is silly. If the focus is to be teams (as you suggest) then I would say that KSU's program is not sufficiently "overloaded" to warrant expansion. Heck, we don't even get enough community applications to be at all selective. Sure, a concerted effort could probably shake loose quite a few more applications, but that is still the role of a single institution. When that mechanism is in place, then maybe expansion is warranted. I always felt that our CSP was really into shallow expansion expansion expansion before it concentrated on getting any depth. That way, you get a lot of nothings instead of a few real somethings. Replication of the model in other states might be viable, but replication at KU is silly.

Thanks for the football and baseball news. I'm VERY much looking forward to the mail tomorrow to hear more. If you didn't tell me the outcome of the KSU-KU football game, I'm going to be pissed. The World Series should have ended last night or the day before. I think I heard that the Series was tied at 3-3, but I haven't heard the result of that last game.

International Newsweeks have been pretty good about keeping me abreast of Presidential primaries. I was glad to see Kerrey throwing his hat into the ring.

My journal is blank. Are you keeping my letters?

My seminar essay is taking shape in my mind.

You should quit smoking.

Teacher's strikes continue here. Tomorrow is a Union meeting, but I have no reason to believe that anything significant will come of it. I have been keeping busy, however, moving full swing into these latrine businesses. Rob and I took a whirlwind tour of twelve or so villages this past week. He told me that it had been the busiest week he'd had here. This is the first real chance I've had to sit down and relax (?) for about a week now. I'm getting constant visitors, but I'm knocking out a few letters and hope to read some today.

I'm hoping for a good haul of letters tomorrow. I haven't heard from Peg or Carol, or T.J. or Chet for that matter. Generally, I have been really pleased with how my friends have been holding me, but there are exceptions. Experienced Peace Corps Volunteers report that letters from home really go downhill after the first months. I know that you won't let me down.

I'm still frustrated that my camera isn't working. There has been quite a few Kodak moments in the past week that have got by uncaptured. Many times, I have been an honored guest with wine, food, and fowls; yet I haven't captured the experience on film or paper. I guess its kind of like smoking -- I know that one day I will regret not capturing these experiences, but I can't bring myself to do anything about it.

I've also been embroiling myself in the local economy. I've got seeds for my small garden, and I hope to do some small-scale farming next year. I'm soon beginning to raise chickens in my backyard, and I've got a pig across town. My neighbor is trying to get me involved in some mining. He's got the miners, but just needs to get his licenses and his exporting connections.

Already the day is half over and I've only got to my second letter. I wanted to get out 13, but I'm not going to make it. Visitors keep poring in. Sometimes I just want to lock my doors. Twenty-one months 'til I make it home. Just as I was warned, sometimes I love it here and sometimes I hate it. Either way, it is a terrific experience. Either way, I'll be glad to see my friends and family again.

The Catholic sisters put up a new radio tower. They can call a phone patch in the States and make collect calls. Don't be too surprised when you get a call from me. I look forward to hearing your voice.

Love, Mark