Letter from Pat Grunnet to her mom, dated August 1978


I don’t know what I can say to convince you guys of the complete contentment, the satisfaction, the challenge of a new life here that we share. Look around you to see what peace and security people there have.

Our kids live in the fresh air – it’s like always being at the park. They don’t know allergies or additives. They are free to choose whatever they want to do with no age or sex restrictions – they don’t have to wait till bananas come into season. I mean they can repair shoes, make soap, drive heavy equipment, train for medical or teaching positions and dozens of other opportunities. We’ll be sending them to schools throughout the Caribbean and elsewhere for advance studies, where needed. Our seniors have a life you wouldn’t believe either. They have their own gardens, stay in cottages if they prefer – or in a care facility closer to the medical people if they need special care. Remember we have folks over – well over 100 and lots of them are out exercising, playing soccer, dancing and using the kids playground equipment daily. They do handwork to decorate here & to sell up river at our little store – quilts, rugs, etc. I can’t tell you how many years have been added to their lives here. They don’t have to worry about walking at nite – like in the city. I guess they even mug folks nowadays in the daylight! Like I said – you can’t believe what you read in the press. You’d have to see it to believe it. I always knew the press was bad – ever since Tanzania – witnessing things there and then reading about them in the press. But I never knew it could be this vicious. It’s because they are making$ — you know: anything to sell papers and mags. And it’s worse than that – it’s a conspiracy. We have alot [a lot] of friends there in the States – important pastors and influential community leaders and it’s so bad – that when they talk on the radio – they can’t even use names over the air. Somebody even stepped forward with an affidavit in San Francisco that our mail has been interfered with by order of the government. What are we doing? Living in Orwell’s 1984? – At any rate, life continues here much the same – baby pigs, baby cows, baby chicks and baby babies. Each week people from around the NW district come into our medical clinics and bring their families. Most have babies & Diane and Angela Casanova (Mary Ann’s oldest girls) spend all day with them. I wouldn’t be surprised that they end up being pediatricians. Since I always wanted to do that – but couldn’t – it’s great having some of my kids follow thru for me!

Nawab is working in the machine shop and has come alive. No where else could a kid his age have that kind of opportunity! The legal problems involved not to mention every other road block – would keep him out of a shop until he was ½ grown and too discouraged to try. Our kids are in every area here from food preparation to watch repair to intensive gardening – yes we are doing intensive gardening. We want to get the most out of the land without depleting the soil – and without the use of heavy equipment. We have the machine – but use them to clear bush and improve the roads, etc.

That’s wild about Bob going to Guatemala. Is it a training program or what? – and what country are they training for? Glad you are passing on my letters – I have good intentions of writing – but time gets away

Sure glad you sent the school stuff. Heard you got a visit from Vee Hollins. She’s nice. Huh. I keep telling you that we are doing fine here – I’m sure she confirmed alot of what I’m telling you. Haven’t had a chance to write Ben & Mary Ann yet. Maybe I will tonite??

Both Bob and Linda wouldn’t take any prizes in the correspondence department – so I don’t feel too bad!

Glad you are enjoying your painting. Will enjoy seeing some of them. Our kids are writing poems & stories about life here. When we get them printed up – I’ll send you a copy. Tell Germaine to let me know what the latest info on new methods of teaching reading is. We don’t use Sullivan for all – just for a few kids that need the organization and follow thru. We use all approaches that work. I prefer Language Experience for lack of materials and rich expanse of ideas that the kids have to draw from here.  It’s so nice to see them transformed – they’re not angry anymore. We still get visitors all the time from everywhere – since this is quite a model community. Prime Minister Burnham is on his way soon – which will be quite a thrill for all of us.

You mentioned in your letter you always get all the “details” about us. What do you mean? Who from? In what form?

Write soon, I quit worrying. I’m beginning to think you are just jealous! Ha – ha.



p.s. went to the jungle w/ the kids again today & collected buckets of plants that you guys would pay hundreds of $ for. Eat your heart out! [smiley face]