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And so we carry on, aided by the National Geographic Society, which strongly supported our work in earlier years. We recently celebrated another anniversary of my first landing on the shores of Gombe, with my mother, Vanne, back in 1960. On the pebbly beach of the lake all the staff of the research center, together with their families, gathered round a big fire. We spooned out huge helpings of rice and stewed goat from the great cooking pots. My husband, Derek, my son, Grub, and I sat on the beach and, like the others, ate with our fingers.

After the feast, as I listened to rhythmic native songs, I recalled that day when I first arrived in this place, strange in the beginning, often inhospitable. I conjured up my first three chimpanzee friends, David Greybeard, William, and Goliath—all three dead now, but vivid in memory. I thought back to 1964, when my first assistant had arrived to help record chimpanzee behavior. Many of the chimps had become accustomed to the presence of humans and, in order to make observation easier, we had started a banana feeding station.

Ten years later, at the 1974 anniversary, what a different Gombe it had become. About twenty students mingled with the Tanzanian field assistants around the fire. Mostly they were from the U. S., but some came from Europe and from the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

In my mind I contrasted the happy 1974 celebration with the one in 1975. I wish I could forget parts of the year that intervened. It was in 1975 that four of the students were kidnapped by a rebel group from Zaire. They came across the lake, about 40 armed men in a little boat, at night. They took the hostages and chugged away into the darkness. Two agonizing months passed before the last of the four was finally released.

In 1975, therefore, it was a small and somewhat bewildered group of people that gathered around the fire. There were no students; it was no longer safe for non-Tanzanians to work at Gombe. The Tanzanian field assistants felt lost without the students to guide them: They had not yet realized how much they themselves were capable of contributing.

Yet that 1975 anniversary, somber though it was, marked the start of a new era for Gombe. During the awful time when the students were held hostage, the Tanzanian field assistants had struggled on, maintaining the daily records. Then, when the young people were safely back with their families, Derek and I had set to work to start a new research program at the old station. Gradually, as the seasons passed, the Tanzanian staff developed a new self-confidence and with it a new enthusiasm and reliability. Today Gombe is as flourishing a research center as ever it has been.

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