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September 24, 1978

Dear Mom,

….. Arrived here in Addis yesterday and found a letter from you waiting here for me. I’ll say those masses this week.

As you know, in March the situation in Yavelle started to look much better so Iede and I moved back. The Borana were still not moved back to their normal grazing areas, but the whole atmosphere was much better. I moved into a Borana village in March and continued my language and custom studies and also started a little reading and writing school in the evening for the boys and girls of the village who herd during the day.

Vince finished language school in June and also moved into a Borana village in another area. We live in Borana houses (woven sticks covered with grass – igloo shaped) built for us by the people. We are becoming integral parts (we feel) of our respective villages. My own has moved twice since I joined it (grass and water problems) so I’m beginning to feel like an authentic nomad. Beth Efus says that this living with the people much as they live, is by far the nicest thing that has happened to us so far in our lives as missionaries. The relationship is very different from that of going out from the mission to work with or visit the people.

Just in the past two weeks people have started moving back to our place at Dadim (one small village of five families so far). This means that within a short time many villages will make the move. They are hurting for grass where they are and our area hasn’t been grazed in a year and a half. Also unless there is major reversal in the trend toward peace and stability, our school will open by January – things are looking up ….

Love,

Ned

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