January 26, 1969

Dear Mom and Dad,

Yesterday as usual we started out from our house at Soit Sambu at about 7am to have a lesson with the people of a Masai boma. This particular day it was in Curtalo about six miles from where we live, going by way of the road we cut through ourselves. About two miles from the boma, we crossed a patch of open level plain in which there was grazing a herd of wildebeest, some zebra and scattered Thomson’s gazelle. Since this kind of sight is as normal here as groups of children playing on the sidewalk is at home, we weren’t paying much attention, but were still trying to wake up. Off to the side we noticed one of the zebra with a foal, acting as if it were drunk, staggering and reeling all over the place. We stopped the land rover to watch, and after a minute of this kind of thing, and seeming to get weaker and weaker, it keeled over and began twitching. It died about a half a minute later. On examining the carcass more closely we found about half the shaft of a poison arrow buried in its side. It’s hard to figure who killed it. Although many of the Maasai warriors do have bows and arrows, I haven’t seen any with poison arrows. We thought of the possibility of young Maasai herd boys hunting the animal as a game. Often they do hunt the smaller gazelle for fun and practice; very seldom do they bring down anything. This is unlikely, since it would be the unusual elder, who would allow his son to handle, much less carry poisoned arrows. It is also very unlikely that Sonjo did it. They do carry poison arrows, and are the recognized experts in using them but this particular place is pretty far into Maasai land for a Sonjo to venture. Their relations with the Maasai are less than friendly. I suppose it could have been poachers. We have heard of them being in our area before. At any rate we left it where it lay and went on to teach our lesson. The next day we happened to pass the same spot on our way to another meeting. There was no trace of the animal at all, except for a few blades of grass stained with blood. No doubt a lion or a leopard carried it off during the night.



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