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August 29, 1979

Dear Mom,

… Iede is off to Addis this afternoon so I’ll be on my own for about ten days. He wants to see about school food, beans, corn, sugar, etc., since we hope to open the boarding school toward the end of September. It has been closed for over two years because of our having to leave at the time of the war with Somalia. Now the situation is very nearly back to normal, so we feel confident to begin again. We’ll be starting with only first grade as we did before and work up year by year. We had meetings with the elders in some of the different areas to give them the opportunity to register children, and if most of the ones come who have been written down, we’ll have plenty for the first grade. Our former teacher is now an administrator of one of the areas in Borana land, so we have a different one this time. He is a Borana from very near here, and it looks as if he is going to be very good.

The dry season is much more dry than usual here in the South. During the normal period of the long rains, we got almost nothing, and the short rains aren’t expected until November. The pond, which usually is an unfailing supply of water during the dry season, is just about dried up. So unless some unexpected rains come along, most of the cattle will have to move from here. The villages themselves will not move, but some of the younger people will go off to establish cattle camps where there is water to be found. Here, we will be able to supply water from the well for the two or three cows kept to supply milk for each house in the main villages. These people are very dependent on the conditions of the land and weather. Many people here are hungry and will be a lot more hungry before the rains finally come. And this because some months ago, it didn’t rain for as long as it should have and the ponds didn’t fill up.

Vince should be in Tanzania now and will perhaps be arriving in Addis Ababa next week. When he gets back, we’ll be discussing the opening of a new place to work out of. Our evangelization program is going well here in the center of Dadim, and since it doesn’t take three of us, we are thinking of starting in a second place. It would consist of just a place to live, perhaps a corrugated tin shack with a couple of rooms. Two will probably alternate spending time out of our main place here, carrying on the evangelization program as we have here and maybe doing some adult education also…

Love,

Ned

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