At the beginning, Kristin, a high school student in Minneapolis, is encouraged to correspond with an African girl of her own age who lives in Rhodesia. Kristin's relatively affluent life in Minneapolis is in sharp contrast to that of her young African friend, Rachel, for whom life is a struggle against both poverty and indignity, as we see it almost simultaneously on the other half of the divided stage. As their lives become increasingly different, with Rachel involved in the struggle for equality in her country, the relationship between the two girls now growing into their maturity becomes closer and even more important. In odd, unexpected ways, they affect and help each other through the crisis of life. Kristin helps Rachel secure a little higher education that is of tremendous later importance. Rhodesia becomes an independent land and Rachel the Minister of Education. As she comes to Washington, D.C., on her country's business, Rachel is struck by the fact that she hasn't heard from Kristin. On impulse, she takes a plane to Minneapolis, where she's directed to a hospital. Kristin, now a victim of multiple sclerosis, is in a partial coma. Softly Rachel's voice pulls Kristin back into consciousness and, in what is one of the most moving scenes in modern theatre, the two lifelong pen pals have their moment of at last recognizing and then touching what is for each of them—their beloved friend.
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