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Russ and Harriet in the Peace Corps, part 7: Final Days in Brazil
Bar Harbor
Episode 7: Final days in Brazil

2/8/65 - 2/22/65 No. 35
Hello everyone! Well, back to the old grind again. The conference at Campo Grande wasn't much as far as conferences go but we had a ball. Everyone spent hours at the bars, sitting outside and talking, talking, talking. You already know all about the main thing that happened to us there. We left C.G. on the 6th and took the train to Tres Lagoas. The trains here run on a funny system. The Literina sells only as many tickets as it has seats. Not so the regular train. There are places for 12 in sleepers and for these you can get reservations. After that, you buy a ticket and scramble for a seat. So scramble we did but finally managed to sit down, though not together. We met an American couple at dinner on the train who are missionaries. They were on vacation.

Funny incident! We got the bright idea of going to the station before Campo Grande to catch the train in order to get seats. We got there early, went back for a coke and returned to watch the train pull out of the station. So it was a mad scrambleback but we beat the train in. Oh well!!!

We arrived in Tres Lagoas Sunday morning and spent the day with Jeff
and Jan. At 2:00 we and the kids from Paranaiba caught the bus and all stayed at the Novo Hotel for the night. We saw "East of Eden" in the evening, in color and uncut. Didn't enjoy as much as the last 17 times - guess I must be growing up a little.

Monday we were pooped so we slept all morning and spent a lazy day reading and catching up on our mail. Tuesday we got a whole bunch of stuff, books, newspapers and more letters. We were surprised and pleased to find that some work had actually been accomplished in our absence. There is hope yet! I bought a pair of black sandals in the afternoon - neat ones and I can't wait to get to paved streets again so I can wear them. Saw "Operation Mad Ball".

Wednesday we told everyone we are leaving. It is very difficult to explain in Portugese. They were upset and only want to know when more volunteers are coming.

Thursday and Friday having nothing of note to report. Saturday we went back out to Vila Oriente with the Sabin vaccine. We had lunch there (and it was a good one) with Dona Maria's sister-in-law. Less than 2/3rds of the kids actually showed up for their second dose of vaccine. Saw "Wreck of the Mary Deare" in the evening. I hope you think we do nothing but go to the movies but there really is nothing else to do.

Sunday evening we went out in the backyard after dinner and there were all the chickens roosting in the orange tree. They looked so funny. Russ went to get his camera. While he was taking pictures, one of the chickens lost her balance and came plummeting down, right under our noses. We were startled and she was too, but after a few minutes, back up she went. We spent the afternoon throwing things out and trying to get a little organized so we can pack. Saw "State Fair" in the evening - ugh! It was pouring when we got out and we decided not to wait so by the time we got home we were soaked all the way through. Monday we packed a little. Happy Washington's birthday to you all. Hope you had good thoughts on Girl Scout Thinking Day. Bye for now.

Russ and Harriet.

2/22/65 - 3/4/65
So little has happened since I wrote you last that it almost seems foolish to write again. But here I am again anyway. Wednesday, the 24th, we sent off our trunks to Rio. The railroad has a freight office here in Aparecida so we didn't even get a ride across the river. It cost Cr. $11,000 to send over 200 lbs, including insurance.

Thursday, Dr. Rocha stopped by on his way to Sao Paulo for a vacation. Phil Lopes (who was visiting in Paranaiba) had already explained to him that we are leaving so there was no difficulty there. In fact, he looked a little relieved. Now there is no one to tell him he can't use vaccines beyond their expiration dates.

Friday Jerry stopped by on his way home. He is just moving into a new house so we sent the curtains and our jelly glasses with him. We all went to see "The Black Dakotas" in the evening. Thursday we had cashed our pay checks and Friday we counted it all over again to fight the monotony. There is so much bulk and so little worth to it! Russ got such a kick out of having that amount of money around he spread it all out on the bed and took a picture of it.

Saturday was the first day of Carnaval. They have finished the club enough to use it and it is all decorated very nicely. We saw a Brazilian movie in the evening, a comedy starring Mazzaroppi, Brazil's Fernandel. It was very good, very funny. Sunday was the Count of Monte Cristo". It rained almost all day long. I don't think there havebeen three days in the past three weeks without grey skies and rain.

Monday night we went to the club to see what Carnaval is like here. Everyone squirts perfume or ether at each other and the confetti flies. The dancing is a non-stop affair with everyone sort of jumping around in a big circle. It was fun to watch for awhile but we really didn't dig it. Tuesday ended Carnaval and by Wednesday almost everyone in town was limping or just staying in bed. The girls at the hotel can hardly walk,
Wednesday we saw a Laurel and Hardy movie and there is supposed to be another one tonight (Friday). Mostly we are reading and playing cards, waiting to hear from Cuiaba. We have decided to leave Tuesday whether we hear or not. Enough is enough already.

Harriet and Russ

3/4/65 - 3/14/65
Hi there! Well, this time .1 waited for so long to write because I've been utterly exhausted. We've been running and doing and generally having a ball. But let me start at the beginning.

Saturday, the 6th, morning at 10:00 we received a telegram from Cuiaba instructing us to travel directly to Rio as soon as possible. Thereupon we rushed and flurried, like mad in order to get packed in time to catch the afternoon train. We said goodbye to everyone and some of our friends got us last minute going away presents, including a cake still warm from the oven. We took the 1:00 bus to Presidente Vargos. This is the rail head and a little before Santa Fe Do Sal in Sao Paulo. We caught the 3:40 train to Sao Paulo City and at last were on our way. We leave with some mixed feelings because it is unlikely we shall ever see Aparecida again and we have friends and interests there now. But, on the whole we were mostly glad and excited about leaving.

On the train we met a man who owns a large shoe factory in Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Sao Paulo. He had been in New York for 3 months but only as a patient in an Army hospital after the war. We chatted quite a bit and he even promised to send me a pair of shoes but we shall see about that.

Other than that the trip was very uneventful. The train was fairly comfortable but the seats didn't recline and, what with stopping everywhere, neither of us got much sleep. We got to Sao Paulo about 8 A.M. and took a taxi to the Airport. We weren't in a hurry but the taxi driver evidently was so we had quite a wild ride. We were just in time the catch the 8:30 plane to Rio and by 11:00 were all checked into the Hotel Florida. We probably set some speed records on the way!

We spent the first evening at the movies and thereafter saw many more films. But there really isn't much playing so we also spent some nights reading and relaxing.

Monday morning we checked into the office and discovered we had beat our papers and records to Rio. We have to wait until Mr. Fuller returns from the northeast (on Thursday) but in the meantime started our medical check-out and got re-imbursed for our travel expenses. We met a lot of old friends from the Rio project in the office and gabbed a lot. Then we had some chest x-rays and did some shopping. It is so luxurious not having to go down the hall to the bathroom and being able to open your window without the whole world peering in. We could be living cheaper in the annex of the hotel but we decided to forego on other things instead. This is just too delightful to end now.

Tuesday we had our medical exams and are both fine. Russ is down to 163 and I am 120. Rio should put back a few pounds on both of us - darn it! I have acquired a fungus which shows itself as little white spots on the back of my neck that don't tan, so the doctor gave me some ointment to put on. He says it will be gone in a few days and then we can go down to the beach and get my tan evened up. An that's all there is to that. We spent the afternoon looking at topazes (they're mined in Brazil) with the thought of buying one and getting it mounted later; But, cheap as they are here, we decided not to splurge and just have a little more knowledge about gems now. A real pity!

Wednesday we browsed and took it easy. After: months of comparative leisure, it is very hard to get used to an active life now. We tire out incredibly easy but I am sure will get accustomed to it soon.

Thursday I became a girl again! I had my hair curled and my nails painted and it's wonderful. We spent the afternoon shopping. Friday morning we saw Mr. Fuller and got all the paper work and red tape started. We will be in Rio for 10 days or two weeks more and then go to Washington for 4 - 5 days. From there we will go to Niagara Falls and plan to be in Chicago by the 1st of May. After that we tried to pick up our freight at the railroad station but the man in charge was out to lunch and we couldn't wait. We finished our shopping and then went to the dentist. Russ had 1 cavity filled (another one next week) and his teeth cleaned. I had a tiny cavity filled but he said I didn't need any cleaning. The dentist is a Brazilian who is very rich and very interesting. He has been in the States several times, always to study. He was very pleasant and we enjoyed talking with him.

Saturday we slept late and spent the whole afternoon at Corcovado, the mountain on which the statue of Christ the Redeemer can be found. The statue itself is not much to look at but the view from the mountain is spectacular. You can see just about the whole city and the bay and, of course, the ocean. Russ described it from the last time he was in Rio better than I can. He took gobs of pictures there so you can see how lovely it is.

Sunday (today) we went to the zoo but it was a disappointment - very tiny and not much there. Next week we are planning some sun-bathing, a little work and more sightseeing. I decided to pack the woolens along with us because after this 60°, it is going to be freezing for us! Oh well, into our third consecutive spring and summer. Maybe someday it will be winter again and we can see some snow. Well, that's all for now. Further adventures to follow.

Harriet and Russ.

Voluntarios da Paz / Mato Grosso Brasil / Palacio Alencastro / aixa Postal 254 / Cuiaba

March 5, 1965

Russell and Harriet Kay
C/O Peace Corps
Rio de Janeiro

Dear gents:

Please forgive my delay in contacting you following our conference. Your telegram prompted instructions which I hope arrived logo by my answering telegram.

Your letter of resignation was so very complete, honest and descriptive, I really did not need to add very much in my cover-letter. Mr. Fuller will undoubtedly ask you to read it and sign it.

Al Estrin will tell you how much of the subsistence paid you for March and April should be returned to my office. HOPE you were able to cash your checks finally!

By the way, we have solved our check problem at last. In future all PCVs will receive "Cheques Visados" — cashiers checks good immediately - anywhere.

Russ and Harriet, it is a pain to lose you. You must have done a good job at your health post! But, all things considered — especially your own wishes and feelings — I agree it is best for you to return home.

Boa viagem — boa sorte. I'm sure you'll have some saudades.

Write me about how things are going when you arrive and settle, will you? Also we'll try to send you, occasionally, news about MT.

Sincerely yours,

Jim Creasman


Washington, D. C. 20525

Harriet Kay - Brazil

Harriet Kay served as a Peace Corps Volunteer from June 17, 1964 to March 31, 1965. Her full term of Peace Corps service would have ended in June, 1966.

Before leaving the United States, Mrs. Kay successfully completed an intensive 12 week training program at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In Brazil, her assignment In Mato Grosso, was with the Secretary of Health. She supervised a health center.

Harriet Kay completed approximately nine months of service with the Peace Corps. Her last day of service was on March 31, 1965.

Warren Fuller
Peace Corps Director

Washington, D. C. 20525

Russell Kay - Brazil

Russell Kay served as a Peace Corps Volunteer from June 17, 1964 to March 31, 1965. His full term of Peace Corps service would have ended in June, 1966.

Before leaving the United States, he successfully completed an Intensive 12 week training program at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In Brazil, his assignment in Mato Grosso, was with the Secretary of Health. He supervised a health center.

Russell Kay completed approximately nine months of service with the Peace Corps. His last day of service was on March 31, 1965.

Warren Fuller
Peace Corps Director

April 23, 1965


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