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February 22, 1967

Dear Mom and Dad,

…Two priests from America came out this week to visit one of the other missionaries. We took them up to Ngorongoro Crater to see the animals yesterday. It is about 125 miles from here to the crater and over roads that they had never seen the like of before. I think by the time we got to our school for lunch, which is on the rim of the crater, they were ready for bed. We had canned meat for lunch, which it became clear, was hard for them to get down. It was quite an experience for me to see the many small things that we take for granted every day through the eyes of someone fresh from America. All in all it was an easy trip up, only one flat tire and we met no elephants or African buffalo on the road (these except for the rhino are the most dangerous animals around because they will charge at will and need no provocation whatsoever to do so). After eating we went down into the crater itself and had the best luck I’ve had so far in seeing animals, hundreds of wildebeests, zebra, antelope of all kinds, at least 50 elephants, rhino (we saw two of the plains type and one of the forest variety which are huge black animals, about half again as big as the gray plains rhino and about twice as fierce). We saw five lions, two in one place and three in another. They got a chance to see every major kind of animal there is to see.

About 6:30 we took them to a Maasai boma, the house of a friend of ours. Here again, it was quite an experience to see a place that we feel quite at home in, through their eyes. They seemed scared to death of the people. We went into a house and sat down. After about thirty seconds one was clearly becoming sick and the other was getting whiter and whiter. At that point we went outside, they were both nauseous. It was really a revelation. When offered milk, their reaction was something to see. A Maasai boma is one of the places they don’t want to go to again. These are places we enjoy. When we told them we live on the milk frequently, for days at a time and sleep in the houses often, they were shaken. All in all, it was a pretty amazing experience for me and I guess for them too.

Love,

Ned

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