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November 30, 1978

Dear Mom,

…. One of the fathers from Arba Minch with five of the sisters from there have come this week to spend a few days with us. As you know Arba Minch is where the Irish Holy Ghost Father work. They are finding this area quite a contrast to their own places. They work among settled farming people where there are quite a lot of public services, etc. Here the isolation and the nomadic population present quite a contrast. Also the freedom with which the people spend time in our house, treating it much like one of their own (a lot like Kijungu, I guess) is quite a novelty to them.

Vince and I are still living in Borana villages; we are about 20 miles apart. I’m still involved in language learning. At this point I’m writing down folk tales and trying to get songs transcribed. As it was in Maasailand this is very difficult. In the stories and songs of various types is found the literature of the Borana. The poetry that is passed down from generation to generation, and therefore contains many archaic words and poetic expressions.

I’m also teaching the herd kids in the evening after milking time, mainly the three r’s. I have a few adults also who want to learn to read and write. I’m also doing the usual odds and ends of medicine.

We do our best to live much as the people do and most of all to take an interest in the same things they do. All this of course is aimed at making us less outsiders looking in and more insiders as far as the people are concerned …

Love,

Ned

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