Saturday, February 15, 2014

1964 Linda Hughes Peace Corps Ethiopia -Feb15

A 1964 aerogramme letter from Linda Hughes, serving in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, has a space removed where the stamp would have been.  Lines of the letter in which these missing words have been written are marked by [...]

Additional information about Linda Hughes Wilson and an October 1963 letter was published in the New Vienna Memories Blog on Oct. 26, 2013 and can be found at this link: nvhsmemories.blogspot.com/2013/10/1962-64-linda-hughes-peace-corps.html.  Transcription follows.

1964 Linda Hughes Peace Corps letter from Ethiopia -Feb15

February 15, 1964
Dear Uibles,
Thank you for the Christmas greetings, and now it's almost Easter.  Here in Keren it is definitely like Easter with afternoon temperatures up to 100ยบ and the hot season isn't here, yet.  I'm sorry that I haven't been able to find out the name of the author or publisher of the history book.  Rather hard to track it down that way, isn't it?

I wish all of you could have gone visiting with my roommate & I yesterday.   We went to the homes of several of our students and celebrated their Moslem holiday of "Ed-El-Fatar" – the breaking of their 30 day yearly fast.  All the girls & women were dressed in vivid colored nylon dresses, their black hair was shinny [sic] with oil, their pierced ears held gold dangly earrings and I couldn't help but noticed the air of pride which they carried as we walked through the dirt alleys to their houses.  The father was out visiting his friends, the mother always eat in the back room, and we were entertained by the school girls.  Always they brought in the baby of the house usually [...] 6,7, or 8, and we begged to hold it.  The babies under [...] were the best for us, because if they were older they [...]ry at the strange white face staring at them.  Even the  [...]t babies had on eye make-up; that is a black line [...]g the entire shape of the eye.  It's purpose – beauty.  The same as the circles of gold hanging from their mother's ears & nose.  For the same reason the redish [sic] brown tatoo-like markings on the women's hands, feet, neck's & throats.  And those 3 lines on the side of their faces made by cutting the cheek with thorns when they were very small children, these are partly as a tribal marking, but also beauty.  We were served hot spiced tea, peanuts, dried dates, cookies, and hard candies wrapped in cellophane.  As we left each home the girls took a bottle of strong smelling perfume and poured it into our cupped hands.  You can imagine how we smelled after 3 houses & 3 different perfumes!

They are always so kind & gracious; usually the set the things on the table then sit back and watch us eat.  "Eat, Miss Linda.  You must have another sweet – More tea – Please take more!"  So I came home last evening at 7 P.M. much too ful to eat any supper.  I enjoy doing these simple things just as much as last year and perhaps more, because now they aren't strange customs.  There is a reason & purpose for all ways I once found so strange and backward.

Goodness, how will I recognize your grown children?  Maybe I'll be teaching one of them, as I'm hoping for a position in the New Vienna School next year.

Until September....

Sincerely, Linda

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