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October 1957

AA Around the World

FROM ZULULAND <lbNews, comments and letters from and about AA's worldwide outposts and centers--gleaned from letters to the Grapevine and General Service Headquarters, and from the "AA Exchange Bulletin," published monthly GSH

IN THE OCTOBER 1956 GRAPEVINE we published a letter from our Internationalist Joe R. of the "SS African Rainbow." He described his thrilling experience speaking at the first AA meeting in Zululand. In this issue Joe brings us up to date on the news from South Africa and directs our attention to new friends in that active AA arena. . . .

Dear Anita:

Here in Kenya we have: Mount Kenya, and Mount Stanley in the Ruwenzori Range, the "Mountains of the Moon." Each is snowcapped all the year 'round. Here, too, you will find the Great Rift Valley, forty to sixty miles wide. The Valley is about 1,550 feet below the level of the surrounding country, runs north and south across the East African plateau, stretching from the Jordan valley in Palestine through the Red Sea and the Danakil country in Ethiopia down the coast to Portuguese East Africa.

And, too, we have AA which has grown from one member to three. . .but it is growing, slowly but surely. The seed is well planted.

Alcoholics are few here as this is the Muslim World. Our friend Ismail is doing a wonderful job, and tells me that he is going to put, AA on "the road to Zanzibar" where he has several friends. On the trip we had four priests, who will be located in this area. I gave them some literature and they promised to contact Ismail, with any alcoholics and their problems.

Back in Durban, South Africa, AA is going full speed ahead, and a fellow by the name of Harold H., a human dynamo, is playing a very important part. I can't understand how the guy holds up and can cover so much ground, because where you find AA or prospects of AA you will find Harold.

One of AA's best friends in South Africa is soft-spoken, mild-mannered and friendly Dr. Bernard Gampel, connected with the Department of Social Preventive and Family Medicine Medical School, Natal University. Recently Dr. Gampel invited AA out to the University to speak to a class of undergraduates. Dr Gampel himself gave a very interesting talk, as well as educational and enlightening: "From Social to Compulsive Drinking." He discussed some of the causes, and the actions and reactions to the arresting of this disease. And he made it very plain to South Africa's future doctors that "Alcoholism is a disease and not a disgrace."

After looking at Harold H., N. K. P. and myself they could see that alcohol is a disease--we three represented over sixty years of hard drinking. The good doctor also explained to his students that if these three well-rum-soaked gents were placed in a crowd of normal people, they couldn't tell them apart.

I don't know if the students got anything out of It or not . . . but I do know that the three rum-soaked gents--with fourteen years of AA and. sobriety split up three ways between them--did. I could tell that by the way their chests stuck out when they left. . . .

Truly yours,

P.S. Get a load of this: enclosed you. will find the Twelve Steps translated into the Zulu language. . .and there is more to come.

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