November 5th 1974.

Dear Folks,
  Thanks for your letters. I’m still out in the field again right now, came out on the 24th. As I think I said, there’s a pile of work to do back in the office, but I had to come out to do the experimental work on Ray-3. It only took three days, and the client was pleased, but, as usual, once I get out here I never seem to be able to get away. In fact, I’ve spent most of the last week on Ray-2, but I’ll probably be spending the next three or four days back here on Ray-3. The cheetahs I told you about before; there’s only one now, because other people claimed two of them. But she’s really grown since I last saw her; she’s called Princess, and she’s left free to roam about. She still comes to people for food and to play, but you couldn’t say she’s tame. She’s a beautiful animal, and of course quite at home here in the bush.

  Anyway, the latest addition to the Geosource menagerie is a lion. Someone here on Ray-3 found a lion cub abandoned in the bush, and brought it in. It’s in pretty bad shape, asleep just behind me as I write, but we’re bottle-feeding it milk and glucose, and I think he’ll pull through all right. The cheetahs were just as bad at first. I only hope its mum doesn’t come looking for it. Actually, if she was going to, she would have done so by now, so I guess he was left for some reason or another. The Somalis go lion-hunting every so often (as I mentioned before, ownership of this part of the country is disputed), because the lions kill their goats and camels. Our little one may be the only one left of a family. He’s been christened Leo, and Princess is now starting to get jealous. Funny, just like Moley, she likes her siesta, and today, after lunch, I decided to lie down for an hour. Next minute, Princess strolled in, and climbed onto the camp-bed next to me. I’m sure not too many people take an afternoon nap with a wild cheetah snuggled up to them.

  A guy on Ray-1—I was there for about four hours—has a pet bird. I don’t know its ornithological name, but it’s a beautiful thing. Turquoise breast, navy blue wings, red and yellow head with a green band, and a black tail, and this guy has found out what kinds of bugs it likes, and goes out hunting for them. When he finds one (the bird follows him from above), he throws it into the air, and the bird swoops and catches it.

  There are a lot of scorpions about right now, probably because it’s the rainy season. We get sudden cloudbursts (mini-monsoons, really) that last for a few hours, and turn the entire bush into mud, until the sun dries it out again. But all the vegetation responds; all of a sudden there are green trees and bushes, bright red and yellow flowers, the change is dramatic—and it all happens in an hour or so. But within a few weeks everything will be dead again. December is the hottest month.

  Strange, I’m really starting to like the life out here. Right now, emergencies excepted, I plan to go back to Addis Saturday, and come back out Tuesday, for about three weeks. And another thing: I’ve been zipping about so much lately, that all the bush pilots let me fly myself now. I’m getting to be quite a good pilot.

  I’ll finish here, because I can get this out tomorrow, it’s a plane day. I’ll try to get the second half of this letter to you within a week or so. Meantime, keep well, and so on,

  Love David.