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News

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  • Purdue enjoys long history with USDA
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  • E-mails to Purdue Agriculture from around the world on 09/12/01
  • Flashlight, radio offer some security in Sudan
  • Terrorism at home teaches many lessons abroad
  • Students 'reminder of home' provides comfort in Sweden
  • Purdue puts its stamp on Farm Progress Show
  • Students put the hydro in hydraulics
  • Purdue pest research receives unique patent gift
  • Greetings from El Salvador
  • Fish Fry reels Bob Dole
  • '72 Grad leads Indiana Farm Bureau
  • 8 to receive alumni award
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    Photo by Ben Hasse

    El Salvador's version of the ol' swimmin' hole provided a much needed break from training for American Peace Corps volunteers.

    Editors Note: Ben Hasse was named outstanding male student at Purdue prior to graduating in May with degrees in forestry and Spanish. Hasse is putting his forestry and Spanish degrees to work in El Salvador as a Peace Corps volunteer. He also volunteered to write about his experiences for Connections readers. –Connections Editor

    From: Ben Hasse
    Organization: Peace Corps
    Date: November 2001

    I´ve been here a little over two weeks now, and all goes well. I´m living with a couple in their 50s (I think) named Josefa and Elías. They are wonderful people, with four children in the United States and one here in Santa Clara, a village of about 600 people about 30 kilometers east of San Salvador.

    I have my own room at their house, so it is pretty posh. There is no running water or flush toilet, but we have electricity. In all honesty, it is very comfortable, and Josefa is a very good cook! The food here is much better than in Honduras.

    If you ever have a chance to try a pupusa, the Salvadoran food, try it. It's basically a thick corn tortilla filled with beans or cheese or pork, etc. It's eaten with tomato sauce and what's basically hyped up sauerkraut!!!!

    I'm just finishing up the second week of Peace Corps training. The 27 volunteers in my group have nine weeks to go. We have class from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. We don't have much free time, but I have managed to keep up with my e-mails, swim, play hacky sack and hang out with the locals as much as possible.

    The people here are pretty friendly. I've had few basic communication problems ... I've got a lot of local slang to learn.

    Next week we'll be going out to stay at a volunteer site for four days doing fieldwork and seeing what the Peace Corps is really like.

    Training consists of Spanish, cultural and technical education. There are really only two of us in the group with a forestry background, a few with agriculture or agronomy backgrounds, some with biology/environmental science, and a good number of history, social work, or other degrees. I'm surprised there aren't a few more people with forestry/agriculture degrees.

    The 27 volunteers have been split into eight groups by language ability. I'm in the highest group, but the other two people in that group, Casey Miller and Rebecca Wheeler, definitely speak Spanish better than I do.

    We three live in Santa Clara. The other groups live in other villages around San Vicente.

    I was surprised by the uniformity of our Peace Corps group. We are all middle or upper class white kids between the ages of 21 and 27. Not much diversity in any respect compared to the U.S. as a whole. I guess I expected this for the majority, but not the totality! So, apparently the non-traditional volunteers, or minorities, just didn't get sent to El Salvador. In any case, it's a great group.

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