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Gifts for the Children

April 24, 1988

Do take gifts to the Tanzanian children, contrary to Beverly Beyer and Ed Rabey's suggestions in "Only the Lions Sleep on the Serengeti Plain" (March 20). A pitiful schoolboy about 9 years old kept pointing at me in our station wagon.

I was wracked with malaria and did not get out of the car to buy trinkets. I held up my pencil but the boy shook his head. I held up the last of a cheap ballpoint pen. My husband had lost the other three we had. The boy did not beg. He did not hold his hand out. He only nodded. However, I couldn't give him the pen. It was the last one I had.

But my heart wept at the dignity of the youth's asking (not begging) for the pen. My mind and heart are still with that boy in Tanzania. The next time I'll have a gross or more of good ballpoint pens for any kid who wants one.

DOROTHY KEARN

Rancho Mirage

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