NAIROBI "Subj: Found lost author!" I emailed home when I backtracked to Nairobi to catch my flight to South Africa.
This is how it happened. I stayed overnight with Murungis, and the next day, before my evening flight, Jane drove me across town for a cuppa tea with Sophie’s Nairobi daughter, Elizabeth. Then is when lightening struck. I tried one more phone call, and bingo! found my lost Maasai author!
I’d been trying all sorts of strategies to find him, but it looked like he was lost for good. Then I called World Vision where he worked five years ago. The operator remembered his name and asked, "Didn't he go to Daystar?" I called Daystar University, and the registrar said, "I was just in a class with him." Jane Murungi drove me straight there. When we arrived, he was called out of his next class, and, was he ever surprised, once he figured out who I was. We sat down together and I got to hand him his manuscript, and give him the name and phone number of a publisher in Nairobi who’s interested in his work! Whew! We talked and talked, sometimes both at once.
This guy, Eliud Neilliang, and I have been in correspondence for more than ten years, he sending me stories about growing up as both an educated and a bush Maasai, and I was sending him editorial criticisms and suggestions for more material he should write. We had more than ten chapters in the works when suddenly we lost contact with each other. It turns out that he sent me several more letters I never got and vice versa. We were SO HAPPY to get back in touch. He’s been collecting Maasai Mother Goose-type stories to add to his collection. And his wife wants to send me Maasai beadwork to sell for her. Know anybody interested?!
Well, all the other news seemed anticlimactic to me after
that, but of course you will be interested in some of my other encounters.
Like with Mrs. White Rhino in a national park down in South Africa, introduced
personally by Banie Penzhorn. At least it felt like he was personally introducing
me to all the wildlife we crossed paths with that magical day.