Tuesday, November 19, 2013

September 8, 1937 - Aba

In which Ralph writes with proud, fond words about his two daughters, home for vacation from Rethy.

September 8, 1937
Left to right: Unknown, Edith, Miriam Hodgkinson?, Esther, Mary Grimshaw.
Taken about 1936-1937, at Rethy.  Mom remembers that they were allowed
to take their dolls to Sunday School (or sometimes their teddy bears)
and afterwards the girls taught the lesson to the dolls.  From the
collection of Mary Grimshaw Janish. 

Dear family,

Coralee reminds me that it is a long time since I wrote to you. We trust though that you have not been without news all that time.

We are glad to be able to report reasonably good health this time. And we are now enjoying having the girls home with us for vacation. Near the end of last month Coralee and I went for a medical trip to Aru where there were some surgical cases to be done and other patients to be seen.

While there we had a chance to run over to Arua where Miss Souther(1) is temporarily stationed. [Personal portion redacted.] She has just recently returned to the field after a long time at home. Then we went to Rethi in time to attending the closing exercises of the school for white children (“Rethi Academy”).

This was the first time we had been to such an event since E & E had been going to school. They had a very interesting program in which nearly all the children took part. A new feature was the Honor Roll and Edith came off with the highest grade of the whole school. Esther was fourth with two points less than Edith.

The next day we had a real load in the car for we took Mr. Pontier with us and his two boys(2), Ruth Stam(3) and Miriam Hodgkinson(4) – the adults and six kids and all their baggage. However all went well and we reached Aba the same day. Since then we have been having a great time with the girls at home. All during last vacation we had visitors with us which meant a lot less time to spend with E & E, but this time we have been alone so far and have been making the most of it. Not quite alone however, for Mr. and Dr. Maynard(5) of the A.I.M. in Tanganyika(6) were here for a visit and stayed at the hospital having some meals with us.

The children have been keeping quite well and seem to thoroughly enjoy school life. They seem to be developing a bit too fast to suit us though for they are rapidly getting out of the little tot stage. At Rethi they are having piano and organ lessons and it has been fun to hear them practice on the little organ here at home. Their birthdays always come along when they are in school and so we are arranging to have a second birthday for both of them together while they are at home. They have chosen tomorrow as the day. 

Fortunately there are some visiting children on the station and so they should have a good party. They had accumulated a little spending money and we had the fun of taking them to the poste to spend it. I guess all the above sounds as if they were brand new babies and the first one at that. But you know how it is.

There have been unusually many white patients in the hospital lately but today the last one was discharged and so now the place is empty. These have all been non-mission people and that means a certain amount of financial help for the hospital, but just the same we are glad to be alone for a while. The dispensary attendance has been higher than usual this year. August is always a slack month in the native hospital but now it is filling up again. Today we had a very unusual operation for Congo – a cancer of the breast in a native(7).

The next day:
The children party has come and gone, and they had a great time. There were eleven present, a large number for Aba these days. And now we are all tired and it is bed time, and so good-night!

With love,
Ralph and Coralee

  1. Miss Ann Souther (pronounced sow-ther), a close friend of Coralee.  An American AIM missionary.
  2. Mr. Bill (and Marty) Pontier, their sons were Paul and Raymond “Ray”.  Mom remembers them as being full of pranks.  Both eventually became missionaries.  The Pontiers were based at Aru.    
  3. Ruth Stam lived at Aba. 
  4. Miriam Hodgkinson was a child of British missionaries.  Mom doesn't think she became a missionary herself, but was involved in support.  She was about the same age as Edith and Esther.  The Hodgkinsons may have lived at Dungu
  5. Ruby Arnold Maynard, 1912-1998, AIM missionary at Kola Ndoto, Tanzania.  According to the Billy Graham Archives, her work was largely medical, managing a hospital and later running a leprosarium. There are 3 reels of audio tape in the archives.  William J.  “Nangi” Maynard was her husband. The trip from Kola Ndoto to Aba is a long one, estimated on Google Maps at 1,326 kilometers.    
  6. Tanganyika became Tanzania (A short history of the country can be reviewed here).
  7. This cancer was also rare in the Kimpese area, where the Meyers’ were missionaries for several years.  

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