Tuesday, October 29, 2013

March 5, 1925 - Excerpt from the H.A.M. Monthly Bulletin, May 1925

In which the Ralph thanks the Heart of Africa supporters for sending out a motorcycle (1)


Ibambi, March 5, 1925

Dear friends:

Your “lovely bit of news” received here last mail, and lovely it was indeed.  I happened to be away at the time it arrived, and Coralee was impatient for my return. I hadn't had a fair chance at the inevitable tea before your letter was produced and read and rejoiced over.

Yes, we surely are delighted over the prospect of a motorcycle, and almost as much surprised as delighted, for the idea of such a thing had only occurred to us as a sort of vague dream far in the future. It was characteristic of you, too, to stop with nothing less than the best. I am very glad you chose an Indian (2), for the roads out here demand a sturdy machine such as that.

At present there are regular motor roads between Poko(3), Bambili  (4), Niangara, and Wamba, and another will probably be completed before very long between Wamba and Botongwe. Most of the roads between here and Wamba are suitable for motorcycle, and the Wamba-Niangara road I understand passes within a few hours walking distance of Deti (5) and Nala. So you see what an asset a motorcycle will soon be. My warmest thanks to you all.


  1. This motorcycle took more than two and a half years to get to Ralph and Coralee. By that time, they were at another mission station, and working for another mission board! 
  2. Unfortunately I do not know which model Indian was sent, nor do we have a photograph of it.  Quite possibly it was a Chief or a Scout.  See here for photographs.
  3. Google calculates the distance between Ibambi and Poko today as 206 kilometers, and estimates travel time at 2 hours 48 minutes.  Given what I have heard about roads in the DRC at present, I would guess that is a wildly optimistic estimate.  
  4. Bambili lies at the confluence of the Uele and an unnamed tributary. 
  5. Deti doesn't appear on the map now.  Nala, on the other hand, is now near what appears to be a regular road. The distance between Nala and Wamba is calculated at 134 kilometers. 

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