In which Coralee catches the girls up on station news, x-ray machines, leopards, and steamers running aground.
Aba, Belgian Congo, January 13, 1947
Dear dear girls,
Best Wishes for a very happy and Blessed New Year. Every day you have been especially in our thoughts and prayers. We are looking forward to your letters, that will tell us about your Christmas again.
Since I last wrote to you from Oicha I’ll begin from there. We were able to leave Oicha on Saturday December 28 and Daddy drove to Blukwa that day. We started early and had a couple of hours at Nyankundi, then took the neuf highway, arriving at Blukwa about 5PM. It was nice to see Eddie and Nellie and Ruthie again. We stayed with them until New Years. We left them early January 1st and came all the way home, even with two hours at Aru for lunch. We got home at 4:30pm. It was good to get home even though it was hot, and a rush of things met us right away.
The days at Blukwa were very quiet as Daddy wasn’t very strong, and neither was Nellie, and Eddie was very busy after their 7-week stay at Oicha. It wasn’t cold, and since it was very dry, most of the pretty flowers were gone. We walked around the roads a lot and I was often remembering the weekend which we spent there together. The Hubers were there in the rest house. Williams were getting settled in Stough’s house. Verna and Martha were having nice times together. Also, Edwin and Lester Huber. [personal, redacted]
We had to come home on January 1st because of many things. One was that the Haggars from near Yei (1) were due to come to the hospital for a baby also Mrs. Carolides and a Greek woman from Faradje and Mrs. Ziehl from Aba Poste SHUN (2). Also, on the 1st Daddy began to be responsible for the SHUN Medical Clinic both white and black. He goes down each morning about 10:30 to a dispensary down there. It has been a busy time for him getting things started down there. Also there has been quite a lot of surgical operations.
The Carolides baby came on Saturday night, it is a boy. The other children were so cute when they saw it the next day. They are staying in the Appendix (3) and I am taking care of her.
Today the Schlippes were here. Mrs. Schlippe wasn’t well. The girls Marissa (4) and Titule will be going back to school in a day or two. Marissa is tall and needs glasses very badly.
Yesterday Francis Sevec was here. He said a SHUN car hit a hyena near Kurukwata and killed it. Daddy saw it in the Poste. He said it was huge.
The big news is that Yoane Kusala (6) killed another leopard. He set his trap for wild pigs that were ruining his garden and when he went down at noon he found it had caught an enormous leopard. (5) He speared it alone. We do thank the Lord for sparing him for that is a very dangerous thing to do. We will have the skin this time. It will be a nice souvenir but not such a pretty skin as the one before. Mary bought that one.
The other big news is that the X-ray has arrived. We were surely thrilled to have this equipment actually here after so many years of prayer and longing. Today as Daddy unpacked it, he was almost in tears he was so disappointed to find one big case missing. He will not be able to use it until this arrives. Pray with us that it will come soon. It apparently is in Congo as near as we can tell from the papers.
Mr. Langford arrived back from Mombasa (7) this evening with his new Chevrolet 4-door sedan and trailer. Just before supper I said to Daddy, "Let’s go over and see the Langford children", we hadn’t seen them since our return from Oicha. We met Mrs. Landford and the children out for a walk near the church, so I said to them, “let’s go and see if we can find Daddy (Langford)”, thinking they would love a ride and that we might find their Daddy at the Poste, as he had been expected for days. Sure enough there he was in front of the Customs. Were they ever excited! It was lots of fun to see them get out of our car and greet their Daddy.
He brought the news that Amstutz, Piersons, and the Herbert Downings and Kenneth Downings are due to arrive in Mombasa on the 15th. Also that the steamer that was bringing Van Deusen's car and trailer and also Harter's had gone aground on a reef in South Africa and that it may be their things are ruined. We are surely sorry about this delay and loss.
No more news as yet about a car for us. We have been hoping they would be able to get a new one for us and that we can sell this Mercury as it takes a lot of gas. But already it has been a real help to us. Especially enabling us to go to Oicha for Daddy’s operation (8) and now the daily needs here. It has been a real help to him to have a reliable car.
We have been praying very especially about your future training and are longing to know if there are any new developments. Also, we’d like to know how you’d like to spend this coming summer before going into school We would love to see you spend some of it – the biggest part – in Hawthorne, New Jersey. It might be possible for you to help in some way and get to know the folks at the church there better. I hope to get time to write to someone there soon and see if anything can be arranged. (9)
Also, did you apply to Wheaton? It seems to me you said you had. Did you have a reply? We wondered if you were accepted, if you’d be interested in going there and entering the five-year plan. No doubt Dr. DuBose knows what this plan is if you don’t. It’s an arrangement so you have more time to work and help support yourselves. If you’d want to do this, you know we’ll surely help in every way we can. Always we’ve wanted you to go to college, mostly because you are good students and deserve the best. Also, all the young folks in Daddy’s family have gone to college. We have hoped that you too might also, because of the testimony it would be to them and to others of how the Lord does care for those who are in full-time service. Let’s continue to pray about it all. If Moody is His choice, we’ll surely be happy about that, but if it’s Wheaton we’ll be equally happy.
So far, the dry season hasn’t been bad. We’ve had several rains and a number of days when there has been a cool west wind. It has been a real help to us. For about a week we slept with blankets.
They had a blessed time here Christmas, although we were sorry to be away and miss seeing the folks. There were 3,200 and 33 were baptized. Mary had 600 children in the special Children’s service on Sunday and again on Christmas morning. The Lord has been blessing. Keep on praying for greater things.
The hospital is full. We need more beds so much, and more houses for patients.
My time has gone and so I’ll close here. Much much love to you both and lots of greetings from many black and white friends.
Your loving Mother
P.S. Daddy is very well but thinner.
(1) - City in Sudan
(2) - SHUN. A transportation or trucking company. Headquartered in Aba Poste.
(3) - Appendix is a building next the Kleinschmidt house, sort of a guest house. Ralph nicknamed it the Appendix since it was an extra little thing.
(4) - Marissa grew up to be a translator. She knew English, Russian, French, Finnish. Mom remembers that the original family name was De Von Schlippe. Mr. Schlippe (prounounced "schlipp-ee") fled from Russia to Belgium, then finally to Belgian Congo and set up the plantation. Kurukwata was about 13 miles away.
(5) - Mom remembers a cave on the back side of the hill that she and Edie found, and it smelled very much of leopard.
(6) - Medical assistant who was Ralph's chief assistant during surgery. He also killed a python once on the way to work, with a club!
(7) - Mombasa is a seaport in Kenya.
(8) - Probably a hernia operation.
(9) - In the end, the girls stayed with the Paul family in Montrose, Pennsylvania at the Bible School that summer.