Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rethy, Congo - December 12, 1945

In which Coralee reports on the Christmas program at Rethy.[1]

December 12, 1945

Dear ones,
As I watched this program alone (Daddy was in a medical committee meeting), I relived again those I had seen in former years.

Christmas Program at Rethy [7]
December 11, 1945
It was so different not to have two little girls taking part. I missed you terribly but I am so glad you are having an opportunity to study there in the homeland.  The program was in the girls dorm but no one lives there as there are even rooms vacant in the old dorm. I believe they have 25 students. It is small because of the lack of workers. Mr. & Mrs. Uhlinger [2] have charge of Rethi station as well as the dormitory.

It seemed so strange not to find Miss Wambold [3], the Longmans, Camps, Trouts, Lasses, Macintoshes [4] and Miss Clapper and the Millers.

The flowers at Miss Wambold's were lovely. I picked a bouquet of carnations from Mrs. Miller's garden.[5]

We stayed in the new rest house just beside the Miller's home. It is between the Miller and Lasse house. It has three rooms and is a neat little building.

Mr. Litchman [6] lives in Miss Jarrod's house. He has charge of the dispensary.

I'll stop here and go to the lepers. [8]  Then I'll write you an air mail. Always you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Much love,

1.  It is not clear why they would have gone directly to Rethy at the end of their trip instead of proceeding to Aba. But the date is firm because of the printed date on the program - the letter was written on the blank reverse of the program. The next letter I have from Aba is dated December 16, and notes that it is the first letter from Aba.
2.  Bwana Andrew Peter Uhlinger also served with the Meyers' at Oicha.  Mom remembers that she and my dad learned Kingwana from Mrs. Uhlinger.
3.  Burnetta Wambold.  See this footnote.
4.  Alan and Marjorie MacIntosh were in charge of the dormitory (the Old Dormitory).  They had 4 daughters - Janet, Marjorie, Catherine (Tassie), and Myrtle. They were from Canada and were very proud of being Canadians.  Mom has memories of Vespers in front of the fireplace and they also read the children stories, not just Bible stories but also other interesting stories. A special memory was of the story of Bob the cattle dog.  They had a small library including Amy Carmichael's books and poetry, which very much impressed Mom and began inspiring her to become a missionary.  Mrs. MacIntosh was a great one for brushing hair every evening before bed.  Mom remembers the big grosgrain ribbons that the girls wore to church.  The daughter Marjorie attended my aunt Edith's wedding (at Lubero in 1957) and her daughter Gracie was Edith's flower girl.
5.  Being at a cooler, higher elevation, Rethy could grow beautiful flowers.  Miss Wambold's garden was particularly memorable according to Mom. Carnations grew very well - there were red, pink, and white varieties, and redolent of cinnamon. There were also smaller varieties.
6. Jack Litchman (known as Bwana Jack) was a single missionary, greatly loved by the local people who came to chat with him and also for counsel. He ran a little "store" with pencils, paper and other little things.  A close friend of Ralph and Coralee. Mom remembers that he was engaged but that his fiance died of malaria before they were married.
7.  Christmas Program notes:  Miriam "Mim" Paul, daughter of Austin and Betty Paul, was a very good friend of Edith and Esther. She married Dr. Dan Fountain (his obituary here) and served as a missionary in Congo for 35 years.  (Her obituary here.) James was her little brother.  Fay Brill was a student, her father was Roy Brill, and the family was first stationed at Aba. (The Brills were on the ZamZam when it sank in 1941. You can read more about the sinking of the ZamZam here.) John Stauffacher was another student, son of Ray Stauffacher.  Verna Williams and Frieda Paul (Mim's older sister) did the Organ Duet listed in number 14.
8. There was a leprosy patient village walking distance from Rethy.

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