Thursday, August 18, 2016

ABFMS Missionary Pamphlet, November 1928

I do not know if my grandparents would have known the Reverend and Mrs. Brown.  Their travel up-river from Matadi to Kinshasa seems to have occurred four years after Ralph and Coralee made their way on the same path. Missions were separated into geographical regions at least in the beginning. It's not clear to me exactly where Ntondo and Gombe are, but I'm hoping my Baptist friends will enlighten me.  

First Impressions of Belgian Congo, 
By Reverend and Mrs. Harry D. Brown
American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, November 1928

Purchased on Etsy, August 2016.  

First Impressions of Belgian Congo, cover page
First Impressions of Belgian Congo, pages 2 and 3

First Impressions of Belgian Congo, pages 4 and 5
First Impressions of Belgian Congo, pages 6 and 7
First Impressions of Belgian Congo, pages 8 and 9
First Impressions of Belgian Congo, pages 10 and 11
First Impressions of Belgian Congo, final page

Sunday, July 31, 2016

At home, Aba, Belgian Congo - March 7, 1946

In which Coralee writes of local news and a trip to Faradje and the coffee plantation and sugar factory at Kurukwata. 

Dearest girls,

It was so nice to received your letters telling about your Christmas. Every detail was interesting. We are so glad that you had such a happy time. Our thoughts and prayers were especially with you at that time. Be assured that even tho every day is very busy, you are always remembered in prayer and our love ever remains the same.

Yesterday we were especially wishing that you had been along with us. We and Mary and Eddie and Nellie, left here about 10 o'clock. Daddy and I were in the rumble seat all the way to Faradje.[1] It was real nice back there. Eddie wanted to get a permit to import his guns. Then we went on to Baki where Yoiafa and Araba live.  We had a nice visit with them.  They have a new baby girl about 6 months old. Taniara and Affia and Turupina have grown a lot. They are a lovely family.

Yoiafa brought a table and we had our picnic lunch under the mango trees like before. Only this time we had a birthday cake for Eddie.

You'll be surprised to know that your old wagon looks much like it used to look. Araba uses it to go to her garden.

On our way back we stopped at the Faradje outschool and at three other schools on the way back to Kurukwata. It was so nice but very hot. We were very thirsty and dirty when we reached there about 5 o'clock. After tea we went with Mr. Schlippe to see the plantation and sugar factory [2]. It was all very interesting. The elephants were very interesting to Nellie.
1946 Belgian Congo bank note featuring
elephants working in a plantation. 

Mr. Pere of the Shipu Coffee farm[3] has announced his engagement to the daughter of our official at Faradje. This is a family of five girls. They are close friends of the Schlippes and their oldest girl and Marissa are very good friends.

Yesterday Eddie received a telegram saying his car and trailer has arrived at Mombasa and eight of their boxes. He plans to go down to Juba on a truck tomorrow and fly to Nairobi. Nellie is going to stay with us.  She is studying Bangala. We hope to have some good times even while Eddie is away. It'll be lots of fun to have a little pal like when you girls were here.

The teachers have given Eddie such a warm welcome back. How we wish they might remain here while the need is so great and there is such a fine opportunity.

The Logo pastor Timiteo has just returned from the Kaliko conference. They had 1005 people on Sunday. We would have liked so much to have gone but it wasn't possible.

Catherine is working here in the hospital now. Her husband has treated her so awful she doesn't want to return to him.

Did I tell you that each week I go to Aba Poste to the chapel for Sunday School?  Last Sunday we had 151 children.  I teach the lesson each Friday to the volunteer teachers; Christian women here on the Station who go down with me in the car and also the O.S. teacher and their wives.  It is very interesting. Every week I wish you were there to play[4].  I'm thinking of learning to play in my old age. Just hymns would be enough. Pray for these children.

Daddy took Aunt Rose Mary to Todro today. The car didn't play up for a wonder and he missed the heavy rain we had today. The Bakua rain. Picture Nellie eating our first white ants in a few days.

Mary is working hard to learn French. She hopes to go to the Gilles plantation with the Littlejohns in April so they can get a lot of practice.

Mrs. Schlippe has an orange bougainvillea and she is going to give me a slip. I wonder if it is not the kind you saw over there. The one on the Appendix has grown real big. Mary has a pretty red one. Nearly all my roses have died. All the bushes by the bedroom window. I'll have to start in new, I guess. Time is a such a premium I don't have much to spare. The ice plant I brought from Florida is growing nicely.

[Personal notes.]

Now dear darlings I love you across the miles and send to you a heart full of love and prayers.

Your Mother

1.  About 65 kilometers.
3. An interesting article about Starbucks Congo coffee. I cannot find any reference to the Shipu coffee farm - no doubt it has changed hands many times since 1946.
4. Mom and Edie played the organ.
5. I'm not sure I transcribed this word "Bakua" correctly. Hopefully Mom will give me some pointers.
6.  "White ants" are termites, which typically swarm after the first good rains of the season.  We caught and ate them at Kimpese too.  See here for a post about our experiences with these delicious little creatures.

Aba, Belgian Congo - January 28, 1946

In which Coralee writes of the heat, various visitors, and the slow delivery of mail. 

Dear girls,
Your letters have been so lovely. Thank you for each and every one. The details you both have written help us to know more of your life there. We are so thankful that you both are happy there. I'm glad you have good food and such a lot of happy events together with such a good spiritual environment.  All this we know is a very definite answer to prayer and it is precious to us.

These have been very busy days and those just ahead will probably be even more busy. We will need your special prayer help. The Brills expect to go to Aungba tomorrow. The boy's school and women's school open this next Friday. Then seeing to the press and bookroom as well as the Station workmen and all the church and outschools it will simply be stiff going unless the natives really help.

It has been so nice to have the Hubers back. Maratha is a big girl of 13 years in 1st year high. I feel real homesick for you when I look at her. Vivian is a pretty little girl of 9 and her brother Lester nearly 7 years. They are nice children.

A Miss Shade of the U. F. M. [1] travelled with them. Mr. McMillan [2] and Miss Walker of the U. F. M. arrived at 1:30AM on Friday or I should say Saturday morning to meet her. These folks were here the weekend also. The Hubers are staying in the Stam house as we had a couple of Greek families here in the hospital. The U. F. M. ladies were in your room. We are putting new mud ceilings in the Appendix as the old ceiling fell down.

We have had a shower of rain, the first since we came to Aba. [3]

Pray especially for the S. S. [4] that has been organized in the Poste. It was begun the week before we came. I have been down each week with Mrs. Bill and several of the Christian women.  Yesterday I had charge alone. There were 134 children. We believe there is a wonderful opportunity there. Eleya Akulu takes us but I'm hoping soon I'll be able to drive down after I've a few more lessons. [5]

Last night we had the white service in the evening in our front yard. Mr. Huber spoke. It was a lovely service. Often we sit out in the yard evenings now since it is so hot. Often you are in our thoughts and conversations.

[Personal notes.] I can hardly wait to receive your next letter. It will tell us of your Christmas. Yours of last week was written on December 23rd and we received it January 21st. That's a shorter time than before. I really don't know why it should take that long when there is air service all the way.

Must close here with a heart full of love to you both with hugs and kisses too.


1.  Uganda Foreign Mission?
2.  Hector McMillan
3.  The Kleinschmidts returned to Aba from furlough on December 7, 1945.
3.  Sunday School.
4.  Coralee learned to drive quite late in her life.

Aba, Belgian Congo - January 27, 1946

A brief note from Coralee to the girls

Dear Girls,
Just a note to come along with the Bangala Conference items. I thot you'd be interested in it.

One hundred Aba natives and also Daddy, Miss White and Miss Lutz went from here. They had a lovely conference. The other whites at the conference were Mr. Brand, Mr. Litchman, Evelyn, Brashlers, Mr. Paul, Mr. Miller, Mr. Harris, Dr. Williams, Mr. Brill, Seuffs, Littlejohns, Misses Sutter, Short, and Wrightman.

Mr. Bill and Mr. Seuff shot five buffaloes. It has been very hot and dry.

Aunt Rose Mary arrived by plane last Monday January 14th. It is so nice to have her back. We expect the Hubers on the 25th. We didn't even know they had sailed until last Monday.

Your letters have been so nice. In last mail we had the Thanksgiving program and menu, and also your air mail written just before Christmas. They mean so much to us. I stop here and hope to get an air mail ready to come in just a day or two.

With much love,

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Aba, Belgian Congo - January 27, 1946

In which Ralph discusses the Bangala Conference, a Logo proverb, and the cost of flying to Aba.  

Dearest girls,

I'm starting out with small writing as if I expect to write a long letter, yet I don't know if I can fill all this paper this time or note.

We are now in the very hot part of the dry season and during the day are unable to find a cool spot anywhere. Maybe that cave on the back of the big hill would be a good place. But fortunately it cools off quite a bit in the evenings. We have not gone swimming yet. Guess we'll have to wait until Eddie & Nellie arrive before going. It doesn't seem so inviting when there's not a crowd.

Since writing you last time I have been to the Bangala conference at Aja. They limited the native attendance to about a thousand otherwise there would have been far too many to accommodate. And only those missionaries who were on the program or who helped look after the meals were supposed to go.  It was a very fine conference, the general theme being "Kulika" or triumphant Christian living. Each morning a native and then a missionary would speak on the same topic for that day, and it was interesting to see how the different aspects of the same subject were brought out in that way.

This morning the Pastor, Timoteo Tiriable used an interesting native proverb to illustrate a point in his talk. He said the Logos have a proverb which says:  "If you want to buy a wife, don't look for one at a dance", the idea being that at a dance a girl would be all dressed up with a lot of lipombo and have a new hair-do, etc., trying to look her best to make an impression.  But when you married her and took her to your house you might find she was a lazy wife, and not at all what she appeared to be.

Miss Hayes has finally arrived. She became quite ill on the Congo steamer and had to stay in the Government hospital at Stanleyville for a couple of weeks. She wired us asking me to come get her, but I was then at the conference and our car was not in good order. Besides to go there for just one person would cost much more than for her to come in a plane.  And so Mother wired her to come by air, which she did. It took about 3/4 hour to get to Buta, the only stop on the way, and then only 3 hours from there to Aba. So she left Stanleyville about 9 AM and arrived here at 1PM. Quite a contrast to our trip on the Courier!  Did we tell you that there is now a landing field at Aba, just beyond the SHUN farm?  Every Monday a plane arrives here from Costermansville and it leaves about 8AM on Tuesday for Stanleyville.  Then every Friday a plane comes here from Stanleyville and goes to Costermansville (at the southern end of Lake Kivu) on Saturday. It costs 3000 francs to go to Stanleyville from Aba. The planes are converted British light bombers holding about 8 passengers. They have two motors and are very pretty and very fast.

Mother will write you about the arrival yesterday of the Hurber family. And now we are eagerly looking forward to the arrival of the Peter Stams III, and of Eddie and Nellie.

A plane full of love,

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Aba, Belgian Congo - January 8, 1946

This letter is just a fragment, from Coralee to the girls. We are missing any pages beyond the first...  

Dear girls,

I'll send some Bangala letters along and also one I received from Frieda.

Daddy, Mary and Miss Lutz left this morning with Mr. Brandt for the Bangala Conference. So tonight I am all alone on the hill. Even the strong gara[1] wind died down this evening and it seems so still and sultry.  Maybe it will rain.

Sydney Parkinson, 1768
Orange bougainvillea
watercolor by Sydney Parkinson, 
1768, in Brazil while traveling with
Captain Cook on the Endeavor. 
Some odd details you'll be interested in.  The dead branch is still hanging in the eucalyptus tree, the one Eddie and Daddy tried to get down.  Nearly all my rose bushes have died. I brought cuttings from Rethi and I think one or two will grow.  Oh, yes, the first night after we left Orlando we stayed in a tourist home where the lady had a lot of cactus. She gave me slips of several... I passed them on to Mother Schuit. But one called an ice plant I brought. It suffered much enroute but it is growing. It makes me think of you and Florida. I was so interested in what you wrote about the orange bougainvillea. Wish I had one. I'd especially like a white one. The gold shower is simply beautiful these hot days.  There is a bouquet here on the desk...

1.  The gara wind is a strong north wind from the desert, very hot and dry.  Mom also remembers the east wind, which is the one that brought the locusts. She remembers seeing a great dark cloud of them coming relentlessly towards Aba.

Aba, Belgian Congo - January 3, 1946

In which Ralph talks about burning grass, a new car, and air service to  Aba!  

Belgian Congo
January 3, 1946

Dearest darling daughters,
We have been thinking a lot about you during these Christmas-New Year days.  We remembered that Christmas is a really big day at DuBose and have no doubt you had a very good time.  To you a Christmas without ice and snow does not seem so strange as it does to a lot of others. We hope to hear all about it soon.  Except for the early morning Christmas Carols and the presence of a lot of natives from the outschools, our Christmas this time was pretty much like any other day. You may be sure we missed you mingi pinza[1] and that made it hard to even think about Christmas.

We are happy to have received a couple of letters from you since our arrival here, but there have been almost none other from America except one from Eddie[2]. No second class mail at all has reached us so far, but I guess that's just as well for we haven't had time to do much reading anyway. We are just about floored by the prospect of having to look after almost the whole of the station besides our own department until someone comes to take over. We wish it were going to be Eddie and Nellie, but they have been assigned to Blukwa, for the present at least.

We were thinking of you a lot the other night too when the grass was burned on the station. One part, the north end, was done Saturday night and our end Monday night. All the whites came up our hill to watch, including Mr. and Mrs. Littlejohns and Miss Short who were passing through on their way to Adja where the Bangala Conference is to be held. They were going early to help do some hunting so that there will be meat for the crowd.  All went well on our hill until after we had nearly gone to bed and the natives had all left. Then some wind blew up and started the fire again which came up the back of our hill and nearly reached the big stacks of soli that had been cut for roofing. A lot of natives came back when they saw the fire and some of them stayed around until the night sinziri arrived to keep an eye on things throughout the night. However while he was looking at things around the hospital about 2:00 AM fire started up again and this time it reached and burned up the boys "little house" at the back of our hill.

You ought to see our swell "car", the nearest thing we'll ever have to a Jeep, I hope. It's a 1936 or 1937 Chevrolet Roadster with Rumble Seat (or is it Grumble Seat?). It runs fine but just at present it doesn't stop so well for something went wrong with the hydraulic brake system. Francis Sense, Jim LaFoureau's nephew, who now works at the SHUN at Aba came up to help fix it, but it still needs a small rubber part which seems to be hard to get. And so now the car is just part of the scenery, standing under the orange tree at the side of our house. It has 4 good tires and a good motor, but that is about all the good that can be said about it - except of course the Rumble Seat. It's not so hard to climb into that seat, but to get out is hard on a fat man, take it from me! It's a good thing we are having dry season now, because when it rains you have to put up curtains on the doors and they don't look very rain-proof to me. If we ever get the thing running again, or rather, stopping, I'm going to try riding with the top down just for fun. I wish I could send it to you when we have finished with it; you'd get lots of thrills out of it I'm sure.

One exciting bit of news to us, though it will be old to you when this reaches you, is that Eddie and Nellie are due to sail January 10th.  That's just about three months later than our sailing date. No doubt they are all excited now with only a week more left for "Sassparillas". And Aunt Rose Mary [3] must be very close to us now as she was due to arrive at Stanleyville 4 days ago.

But then there's one other bit of news that I'm sure will interest you. Aba is now an airport!  A new Airline has been started, running from Aba to Stanleyville and Costermansville [4]. A plane comes to Aba twice a week, arriving in the afternoon and leaving about six the next morning. They carry air mail, and one passenger.  The present planes are converted British light bombers we have heard, two-engined Blenheims. It is said that before long they will add two new American planes. Regular service was started last week. The planes fly over the Faradje road on their way to Aba, and so pass close to our house flying low as they near us.  That field is a little beyond the SHUN Coffee plantation somewhere on the ridge south of the swimming pool. We have not been to see it as yet as we have not had our car very long and haven't had the time anyways. Neither have we been swimming or fishing as yet, although they say there are a good many "big" fish in the pond now. How about you, do you ever go fishing?  That's where I'd spend my study hours if I were you.

And that reminds me, we are proud of your grades that you told us about, and hope you will have the fun of keeping them up like that. You won't do it by going fishing, but don't let the ambition for high grades keep you from having the fun and recreation you need. We're glad to hear about your "Orchestra". Keep it up! It will do you no end of good. I hope you both will be able to have regular lessons in music somehow and that you will keep up up the good work you have so well begun. You would be interested in hearing the natives sing at Aba these days. Elekana Yoga went to Rethi last year for the Fourth Year Course that was given by Miss Wambold, and he brought back an enthusiasm for song leading and has taught the natives here a great deal about keeping together and keeping time. There are also about seven of the school teachers who have been taught to sing in harmony, four parts; and they give special numbers at the services once in awhile and do it very well. One of them is Adolph, who himself is developing into quite a song leader on the platform! I'm sure Bumps and her mother would be amused to see him. There is a finer spirit among the Christians here than we have ever seen before. The Communion service the day after Christmas was a real inspiration to all of us. The new church building was about three-fourths filled by the Christians who took part in the Communion. That morning 18 were baptised in the baptismal pool in the new church.

Your Dad

1.  Mingi pinza =
2.  Eddie Schuit.
3.  Mary White?
4.  Costermansville is now known as Bukavu.