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By Kenda Mutongi
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Extra info for Worries of the Heart: Widows, Family, and Community in Kenya
Born in rural Illinois and educated at Urbana High School, the Reeses had been to Africa before; they had taught Zulu children in Durban between 1899 and 1902, and they had also preached among African gold miners in Johannesburg—both offered rare and valuable experience. 27 feeble little lads looking for food 29 Treating the sick in Maragoli (from Friends Collection and Archives, Earlham College) Their stay in Kaimosi was short, for they immediately identified Maragoli, with its dense population, as a particularly attractive area to seek converts.
And yet even as they struggled to cure their ailing bodies, the local people were beseeching them for remedies—Bwana, nataka dawa (Master, give me medicine). The ulcers, wounds, malaria, smallpox, and snakebites that pestered the locals cried out for immediate attention, and the three men were overwhelmed by these requests, for they had neither the medicines nor the training necessary to treat the sick. ”24 Now that the injured and ailing could be directed to the care of Mr. Blackburn, Hole, Chilson, and Hotchkiss could start working to establish their industrial training school, which, they hoped, would teach those who came to the mission station how to saw timber, make bricks, and build square houses (as opposed to the villagers’ round huts).
In those days there was a lot of hunger, you know. ” As he continued, he studied me to see if I believed him. “They were strange, and she was afraid that they would kill my father and eat him up. ” In due course Kefa let me know that his grandmother had worried that his father, as the firstborn son, would not take care of her as expected. He looked up and appealed to me directly: “If he died, who would protect her? Who would provide for her? ” “You are right, you are indeed correct that way. But the stories of whites as cannibals were too real, too scary.
Worries of the Heart: Widows, Family, and Community in Kenya by Kenda Mutongi