Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The changing world (29) Aug 1974

Maiduguri hot and sweaty. Visited Smiths at Molai, Margaret Shapcott and Barringers, medic, there. This was the original SUM work in the far north, the leprosarium. In Maiduguri preached to a congregation of around 1000 in he English service. August 5 Smiths accompanied us to Limankara. Visited Bama and Mbuliya with lunch a Gwoza (Gulas). Big welcome at Limakara where schoolchildren helped us unload. Met Pastor Zakka who is in charge in Gwoza. The house is large with a sleeping verandah where between us and the world was mosquito netting and zana (grass) matting for decency. On successive nights hyenas were to come and take our neighbours dogs and we knew nothing. The hyenas would also dig up bodies buried at Gwoza hospital. There were jackals too. Leopards and lions were extinct. The large herd of elephants came near. We saw the signs in broken bush and spoor but never saw the herd. The most beautiful sight there was the full moon arising from behind the hills that marked the Cameroon border. Less than two hours one could climb into cameroon. The hills were terraced by the locals who rotated crops annually, millet and beans. All animals were housed in the huts for the growing season. Locals were naked and pagan except where our Nigerian missionaries like Daniel Wuyep of Langtang had planted a church. When one preached, even down at Limankara, one was used to the women topless. Accustomed as one was to the milk bar side of the church (all feeding on demand0 a topless part of the church was new to us. Te story is told of the Brethren missionary inched who supplied calabashes for female topless worshippers to cover their heads. This part is credible, the next perhaps apocryphal. When they ran out of calabashes the women removed their body cloths for head covering. I do recall climbing the Gwoza hills with Kathleen Guls. Two stark naked women were showering under a waterfall and they greeted us with embarrassment. It was the custom there that women had to cover themselves to come down from the hills to the town market. Leaving town the women took off their body cloths, folded them and carried them as headlands. Also banned in the market was beer. The beer market was outside the town. I had signed the pledge and tasted neither local beer not the palm wine. Away from our church people I did not feel obliged by a rule that went beyond the Bible. With no CRC friends I smoked and drank. With non-vision people too. I recall also being given a very sherry laden trifle. John Lang's comment was he had pledged not to drink alcohol but had said nothing about eating it.I was raised in a teetotal Methodist family though Dad would later have the odd drink. As a teenager in sixth form I was introduced to alcohol. Beer had no attraction. I like rule and blackcurrant and once came home late, drunk and vomited. After that I was temperate. At university there was sherry with the tutor and little more than the odd cider.At ANCC my future father inlay introduced me to his home made wine but I refused his beer. I never developed a taste for beer until about 1980 and whisky later. From 1984 in England I home brewed beer and wine. The former from kits, the latter fruit and kit, later only kits for IPC communion wine. Alcohol like fire is a merry servant, a gift from God, but a bad master if it enslaves you with drunkenness.
   Aug 7, in this big old house Katy lost a contact lens. We payed, searched and found it. PTL!8th Brian and Sharon Evans visited with elief grain supplies. Accountant Brian helped me with the station accounts They stayed overnight then we took the to Gwoza, 10 mils, to see Gulas and church leaders. Evangelist Ayuba (Job) a Plateau church missionary her on the plain at Isge visited.The plains used tube Muslim or depopulated as pagans fled to the hills for safety from slaving Kanuri Muslim cavalry. The horses could not climb the hills.
   Aug 12 Bible school term started. Students must be church members and have Christian marriages. Two students were admitted despite no proper marriage. Basically I disagreed with the church on marriage as they did not recognise marriage outside of the church as binding marriage. IMO thesis no better than the RC sacramental view. All marriage is marriage whether church, Islamic or by m=native law and custom IMO.
   I started teaching Islamics., Katy arithmetic. She fund the women were having problems. The reason was that had little Hausa only local languages. David was not well. Diarrhoea and no appetite.
   Aug 13 cooling rain. Church elders insisted the two students with no church marriage must leave the Bible school. Sunday 18th climbed the hills to Ngoshe where preached.All teaching and preaching was in Hausa. Aug 20 Keith and Betty Black (Aussies) visited and told of persecution with killings in Chad. They stayed overnight. Temperature up to 100F in shade. That means the kerosene fridge struggled together water below blood heat and hot wind blew through the Landrover windows.
   Church morning prayers are summoned with the bell at 6 am before dawn. People come and then may go back to bed. Sometimes I slept in not waking.
   Aug 29 a tough of malaria so felt rotten. A reformed Baptist from High Barnett, Ray Tyrell stayed. I took him round and up the hills to Ngoshe  too.
  31st called on Cubitts road construction camp beyond Gwoza. Their air conditioning is a luxury. We ourselves have no electricity and paraffin Tilley lamp heats up the evening. On the verandah it attracts insects.
   Visitors from England, Scotland, Holland, Nigeria and Australia.

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