Letter from Pat Grunnet to her mom, dated May 1978

Hi! –

You’re right – writing gets me to sit down and answer before the boat goes out again. It’s unpredictable – so sometimes miss it. Anyway – got a letter from Cara Linn. She does seem to be doing well. Glad Linda got the job she wanted. Does she still live at the same place? Being in the school I hope she can hustle up some stuff for us. I wrote her and asked for specific stuff as well as general – but (for a change) she’s the one who didn’t answer. (I don’t think you raised your children to be letter writers!) Better yet – did raise them to involve themselves in what’s important and to do it as well as they can – and I’m sure you’d much rather have that than 30 empty letters each month!

Oh – you can tell Bob – believe it or not, we’re doing intensive farming here too! We’ve started some experimental plots and have done a lot of research and are planning towards this end. It’s interesting having heard so much from Bob about it — and then end up doing it here. If he ever wrote, he might have some advice for us or whatever. I’m going to write him too — believe it or not. [smiley face drawn in small on line] What do you know about Wing Beans?

We just got back from Georgetown for a meeting with the top educators in the country. We are now an accredited school and the Gvt. [government] wants to use our school for showing to others and training in new techniques, learning centers, team teaching, etc. (pre-school and elementary & Jr. High). The High School is a combination academic and apprenticeship program. The kids work in all areas of the community (shoe repair, soap making, saw mill, brick making, agriculture, pest control, nursing, sewing, food preparation and MANY more) along with their academic program. They really are interested in learning on the job and they feel a vital part of the community. Plus we can use their productive time.

We get movies from all over the world to supplement our video-tape library of documentaries, educational tapes and nature films – and still play classical music over the P.A. to ourselves and our plants.

Each time the boat comes in, they bring fish and last time my class went out and watched them cut them up – because they had sharks 15 ft long weighing over 300 lbs. & we were fascinated watching them find the organs and systems. No where else could kids watch fish that big. We’ve also watched the pork & chickens be cut up and studied them as well as the snakes they occasionally bring in from the bush.

I liked those ideas you sent for toys and the kids liked the snow photo. We’re making a lot of game boards and manipulative materials (blocks, puzzles) that will eventually be marketed throughout Guyana besides our toys. There’s a good chance the schools will pick up on our educational stuff. It’s really very exciting planning for all these things and then seeing them happen!

As you remember, I’ve never been bashful about asking for things. It occurred to me that you might approach your boss for donations of clothing for us. He could use it as a tax write off – (Agricultural Mission, Disciples of Christ) There’s a gal in L.A. at the church who will come out and pick up anything you have that you want sent over here (Vee Hollins). You can call and ask for her. We’re trying not to spend money where we don’t have to, so we can sink it into more specialized medical equipment and supplies because our outpatient clinic is growing. We’ve saved several babies and lots of emergencies around our area on the local Amerindians. We’ve got qualified personnel, and an amazing range of services.

You might ask Germaine for a few copies each of the worksheets for the Sullivan books. We put them into plastic covers and use a wax lead marker and re-use it again and again. They are called Webster masters for series I, II, III and also have Activity Books – for each series. One copy of each series would be o.k. Also if we could get a teacher’s guide for each series it would have lots of ideas.

Anyway, the clothes would be a great help – blouses, pants, dresses, tops, etc. etc. Even if they needed mending. See what you can finégal (spelling)?

See you later