Monday, December 23, 2013

January 26, 1939 - Aba

Written just one day later, this letter covers some of the same ground but since it was written to a branch of the family that had medical training, there are a few new details.  

January 26, 1939

Dear family,

We had hoped to get a letter off to you long ago, but there has been such a rush of things and it has been so terribly hot it just hasn't gotten done. Now Ralph is away and since I still haven’t learned to write on the typewriter I wonder if you’ll be able to read this. Airmail weight is so small and I hope you won’t mind this being crowded together.

[Personal portion redacted.]

Thank you very very much for the lovely presents you sent us. The children were very pleased with their sweaters. Esther chose the angora one and it looked so nice on her. Edith found the blue one just to her liking and it was just the shade that is most becoming to her. Our Congo money fits in Ralph’s wallet just fine. He has it in his pocket on this trip. I am most grateful for the stockings. And so a real big thank you from us all. Our Christmas was a busy, happy time. It is always so grand to have our girls home again. They are such good little pals now.

You will be interested to know that Edith fell while skating and a skate wheel hit her thumb and dislocated it at the first joint. She had a very painful time of it and since it was her right thumb it interfered with her letter writing. They notice the heat so much after the cool climate at Rethi. This is our hot dry season and it has been fierce, worse than St. Louis in August. Week after week it has made us very weary.

We plan to leave the first part of February for another surgical trip in Azandeland. We will go again to Banda, 350 miles away. There are more than 200 operative cases waiting us there. Recently four new cases came there to Mr. Dix (1) and he said there was no chance for them, they might as well go back to their villages. There were so many ahead of them. They said give us a road pass and we will go to the doctor. They arrived here having walked over 450 miles. They are all convalescing now. Poor folks they will have over 300 miles to walk back home again. The medical work has been encouraging. Our cases are coming from far and near and many do not hear the gospel anywhere else.

I have been having special classes with our more advanced medical boys for they will be taking their government exam next month. Three new boys have just come from some of our mission stations for training. We have 12 medical boys.  There are many problems connected with them but on the whole they are a great help in the work.

Recently the head medical boy (Yoane Kusala) went out to an outschool 14 miles away on Sunday and held a service. While there the headman of the village, a baptized Christian, had a hemorrhage from his lungs. Yoane took the sick man on the handle bars of his bike and brought him here. It is a rough gravel hilly road. We wonder how he ever did it. The headman is recuperating nicely. We are praying and longing for electric lights and X-ray. We need it so badly for so many cases.

[Personal portion redacted.]

Ralph took our girls back to school on the 24th. I have missed them so terribly. I stayed behind because there is so much to see to. I have buried myself in work, it seems the only relief. Our girls hate to go but they are very brave about it for it is a sacrifice we must make in the Lord’s work here. He has wonderfully enabled. They are doing good work in school and have the highest averages in the whole school. I enjoyed their music so much while they were home. They were discussing what other instrument they want to play. I think they have about decided on violins (2).

Ralph expected to visit the dispensaries at several of our mission stations on his way back. I know he joins in sending our warmest love and thanks for all your kind help and the many joys you have given us all through the years. We send our best wishes too. 

With love from us all,

  1. Mr. Dix was a pioneer missionary with the Africa Inland Mission.  I've linked to a page in "Gifts from the Poor", and quote here from that book.  "Earl Dix, a self-described farm boy from Butte, Nebraska, was twenty-five when he felt "God's leading" to become a missionary.  In 1929, with his fiancee Helena, his "varmint rifle" and a few other worldly goods, Dix sailed to Africa.  The couple established a mission outpost on a hill in the village of Banda, building first a church, then a school and then a hospital. During more than a half century of services, Dix (who died in 1983) became "Papa Dix" to his flock. He tended not only to their spiritual needs but their physical ones with meat from the big game he hunted.  Learning that the root of the local Rauwolfia plant was the source of a drug used to treat high blood pressure, Dix sent locals into the bush to gather it. Then he sold it to European pharmaceutical companies. With the proceeds, Dix paid for mission projects including students' school. He even sent a few young men away for specialized medical training." Mom says it was the root and the bark that was gathered and dried. 
  2. Edith did continue with her violin studies.  

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