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March 22, 1972

Dear Mom,

Got your two letters yesterday in kvedi boma, one dated February 8th and the other the 29th. Our difficulty here is that we have no regular delivery. The flying doctor used to fly out of Arusha and at that time he would pick up our mail at the main mission before he left. This gave us a regular delivery every two weeks. Now he is based in Moshi on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro, which is fifty miles from Arusha and so no longer brings the mail. As a result the mail sits at Kwediboma until we go and pick it up, which isn’t very often.

I’ve had quite a setback in my work. As you know the Maasai have a real fear of the medicine man, who dictates all that has to do with their religious life. Also they have a tremendous hesitancy to depart from traditions, since they believe any departure can bring disaster, because it upsets their very delicate relationship with God. I baptized my first boma two weeks ago, the one in which I’ve put most of my time since coming to Kijungu. Most of this time was spent in dealing with the kind of thing mentioned above. Well, the head elder died last week. He was not an old man but had a history of TB. He started hemorrhaging after three days of heavy drinking at a circumcision celebration. The blood and the operation were just too far away. I don’t know yet what the judgment of the people is going to be but I am not optimistic.

Love,

Ned

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