Greetings from El Salvador
Bill and Sue Hasse spent
eight days visiting their son over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Editor's Note: This is the fourth and final installment
in a series of reports from Ben Hasse, BS '01, about his two-year stint
with the Peace Corps in El Salvador.
– Connections Editor
From: Ben Hasse
Organization: Peace Corps
Date: December 2002
Dear Friends and Family:
Life has been full and busy here in El Salvador since my last e-mail.
I've now been in country for more than a year, and as of Jan. 7 I'll
have been in my village, San Luis, for a year ... it's funny how quickly
a place that is wonderfully strange and new becomes "my village"!
My folks and my sister Libby came down for Thanksgiving. The visit
was challenging, but joyous. It was very, very good to see my family
and be able to show them a little bit of El Salvador. Thanks be to God
my Dad has recovered almost fully from the whole bout with surgery.
What we thought was pancreatic cancer turned out to be a rare benign
tumor, albeit a big one. The surgery was very invasive, but that was
it. And the fact that Dad was able to come down and gallivant around
El Salvador for eight days, as well as being back to working in the
woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula winter, means he's good to go again.
And yesterday I had a surprise visit from one of my best friends from
college, Matt Houser. The dirty dog has been working in Alaska, and
Monday night he just calls me up from San Salvador! He's traveling through
on the way to Costa Rica with a friend who wants to buy land and plant
teak down there. It was a short visit but wonderful to see him, all
the more so because it was so unexpected.
It often strikes me as I help my buddy Calín tame his new yoke
of oxen or go to pick corn or engage in any of the daily activities
here that it feels completely normal and right that I am in El Salvador.
In my first weeks here I felt strongly a sense of being a stranger in
a strange land, although not quite an alien. So many things were so
different. I have not felt that for months.
Recently I helped put on an environmental camp with 10 other Peace
Corps volunteers and 11 students from the American school. We trained
the high school students from the American School (all Salvadorans)
as facilitators, and they helped us put on the camp for 22 middle school
students, two from each volunteer's site. We did it at a Scout camp
up in the highlands, in San Ignacio, Chalatenango. It brought a lot
of very good memories from Scouts ... trying to keep a bunch of youngsters
warm, fed, occupied, out of trouble in the woods, trying to get the
tents set up, running wild all day ... I loved it. We played a bunch
of Frisbee and soccer, hiked to a beautiful waterfall, and did a bunch
of activities focusing on the water, the land, and garbage.
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