November 24, 1991

Where I Should Be

Bob --

Just a short note this time to accompany this rough draft of the essay. It's as polished as it's going to get, I'm afraid. It has its moments, I think, but as a whole it is a bit weak. The last academic writing I did was in early May. I'd appreciate a copy. My fellow Peace Corps Volunteers here feel that a version of it should appear in our Peace Corps Sierra Leone publication. Maybe I'll work something up.

Thanksgiving is Thursday, but I'll probably be eating rice instead of turkey. Peace Corps wouldn't let me go to Guinea.

Thanks for the football news. News from home has my old high school marching to another undefeated season. Hope the Cats were able to win a few more, too.

Hate to hear about the Community Service Program and the proposed budget cuts. Sure wonder what happened. I owe a lot to that program, but I, too, sometimes question how many people the thing really reaches. I know "if it helps one person..."; but it never really lived up to its potential. I can't help but understand the plight of the budget cutters. Maybe Marv and Carol will start to give some administrative attention to the program. It needs it.

Thanks again for the camera battery. I've been making up for my lost time in shooting pictures.

Got the package from Fran Irelan's class. Very nice. I need to sit down within the next couple of days and write a BIG letter to the class. This letter is rushed because Rob is carrying it to America for me next week. He is leaving tomorrow, so I want to get it in his hand....

I, too, would like to talk with you via the radio one day. Realize that Sunday night there is after midnight here. Maybe another time. I'll try to call collect via telephone next time I'm in Freetown.

Hate to hear that you'll be unable to make a visit. I certainly understand.

Haven't heard from Carol yet. In fact, the only KCRI-er I've heard from is Spuds. Carol has a University of Minnesota address that I want.

School started here a few weeks ago. I guess I probably said that in my last letter (which I know is running into some postal snags, by the way). Frustrating. Language barriers. Poor math foundation. Poor attitudes. Poor system. Ack.

Rob leaves me his latrine project in full swing. He's really leaving me with a huge chore. I guess I'll be busy for a little while.

Abu just came back from trying to buy some notebooks for school. He says, "Sierra Leone will soon turn into a hell." Yesterday he bought notebooks for Le 260. Today, they are asking Le 300. It gets harder and harder to make ends meet.

Hope your semester is ending well. Seems really strange that a semester got by while I was playing around in Africa. Could have been one step closer to that degree. But then again, I need to be in touch with what is really important. I'm here. I'm glad I'm here. If I was there, I would wish I was here. This is where I should be. I'm getting more of an education here than I could get in any school. This is a necessary step in my destiny. It's warm here. I have a house. I have an income. I have a cat. I serve a purpose. People bring me chickens. And bread. And oranges. My friends write me letters.

Bob -- this is a tough place to live and it's getting tougher all the time. What does the future hold for Sierra Leone?

Love, Mark