- annual reports made by Harold Wareham to the London Missionary Society (LMS) describing his work between 1902 and 1910.
- photo albums donated to the archives by one of his daughters.
I have written generally about the time he spent in Africa over this period in my blog and have necessarily cut out a huge amount of information I discovered in his reports. What follows are some of the notes I made while going through these reports with actual quotations from them in purple.
He says he only arrived in Kambole on 23rd August so this report is necessarily short. For the first three months, except for two hours spent dispensing, his whole time was taken up with other things including building their new house which they hope to move into.
Since then, he says, the medical work, though small, has been fairly interesting. The great majority of cases involved simple things like coughs, diarrhoea, occasional malaria, cuts, ulcers and simple eye inflammation. Most could have been treated by someone with a little training. If one had to depend for patients on Kambole and the little villages near at hand, a medical missionary would not be needed.
He says he has mastered the language a little and finished our house. He speaks of attracting more patients from outlying districts and his hope to eventually have a hospital in which to treat them . Until I have a hospital, my medical work will be unsatisfactory from a medical point of view, and to a large extent barren of result from a spiritual.
He says he has twice been called upon to treat Europeans at a distance. One was a colleague with dysentery and twice a colleague who had a severe bilious attack of malaria and subsequently Blackwater Fever.
Once they were in the rainy season he devoted more time to learning the language. Because of his ignorance of the language he hadn’t been able to take part in the preaching and teaching on the station but hoped to do so soon.
He had been superintending the printing press and the drainage.
Although he was only new to the job he was adamant that for the missionary to be married had a number of benefits : That to leave a man alone on a station for even a short time is to invite him to run great risks as regards health. When a man is attacked by a fever of a serious type, unless he has another European at hand to nurse him, his chances of recovery are greatly minimalised. To expect help, sufficient to meet the need, from a native boy however devoted or well trained he be, is to lean on a broken reed. The progress of a severe fever is so rapid that, generally, the man called to assist arrives to find that the man is either well again, or that he is dying or dead. I have already had three cases that would support this statement and my colleagues can give me many more.
He says the LMS tried to persuade him to go out to Africa unmarried so he had more time which he could devote to learning the language rather than looking after his wife. He wanted to point out to them that
- a man spends ten times the amount of time looking after his servants, his food and the house than he would attending to his wife.
- a wife can ensure his food is cooked well and served at regular intervals.
- his wife can keep the house tidy.
- he runs no risks from such things as unboiled or unfiltered water.
- she will help prevent unnecessary waste which generally occurs in bachelor establishments out here.
- a wife can have a positive moral effect on the boys. When there is no lady in the house the boys are rarely properly looked after. They become lazy and careless and in many cases steal. As house boys are often among the most promising boys on the station this is sad.
- a man’s health is better as he runs less risks and, for the sake of his wife, he is more careful.
- When a man is ill he has the privilege of an attentive and careful nurse.
From what I have seen and heard I can say that Central Africa is an unhealthy place for the careless man and the man who is not looked after.
He says when he did his first Report he had only just become acquainted with the Kambole Station. In this, his second report, he is in a similar position now at Kawimbe – the difference being he can now make himself understood by the native. During the last month of 1902 and the first four months of 1903, being the rainy season, he had spent a great deal of time learning the language. The rest of his time was spent on medical work, superintending the drainage, general sanitation and the work of the printing press.
As regards the medical work I have already informed you that it was far from satisfactory. Half an hour daily would cover the time spent. They only had 5 patients per day on average during the months when the work on the house was at a standstill.
They printed hundreds of sheets – alphabet, syllable and words. These are used in all their schools. They also provided Mbereshi with some hymn sheets.
Apart from some meetings his whole time was spent superintending the building of outhouses for the new house, brickmaking etc. In addition we would often spend three to four hours a day buying in food for the workmen. One’s odd moments and evenings were generally spent in preparing addresses. Very often one felt it was better to go to bed.
They arrived in Kawimbe in the middle of October. Until the end of November they were getting settled into their new house and picking up the threads of work there. Daily average attendance at the clinic had increased to 20.
For our good health during the past year we give thanks to God. My wife, though run down in health at the end of June, has enjoyed very good health. I have had excellent health. Kawimbe gave me my first fever which kept me low for a week.
He says they had trained a couple of people as potential missionaries. The woman I regret to say had to be suspended from church fellowship four months later because she was guilty of adultery.
As the greater part of the year was spent in Scotland and the journey there, my report for 1907 covers the last four months of the year only. During that time I have been stationed at Kambole where we spent the first year of our missionary life. We remain here until May 1908 when we return to Kawimbe to resume my work there. It is not easy to temporarily take charge of another man’s work for we necessarily all differ as to methods but I have done my best.
Most of my time has been spent getting a grip of the work and knowledge of the workers and people who use it. As I am only temporarily here I have let my medical work take a very secondary place. The teachers do not seem to have made much progress. This to me is the disappointing feature to Kambole. This is partly due to adverse circumstances not found at Kawimbe. I trust and pray that the teacher promised may soon be sent and our normal school begun. This would go a long way to the improving of matters scholastic at Kambole.
The first five months of 1908 I was stationed at Kambole, though for 3 months of that time I was off my station attending Committee meetings, the setting of the Translation Committee and answering professional calls. At Kambole my time was taken up in doing my share of the translation of St Mark’s Gospel, attending to the sick who came for treatment, taking charge of the teachers' school and generally doing my share of the preaching and teaching that is done on all stations.
At the beginning of June we returned to our own station, Kawimbe. It was pleasing to learn by the welcome of the people that they were glad to have us back. In order to be as concise as possible I will divide my work into :
During the 7 months of the year I have treated over 1500 people. As usual most of their sicknesses have been of a trivial character. There have been a large number of pneumonia, pleurisy, malaria and a few operations. I am in hope that the last will increase.
The outstanding event in my year is the building of our hospital. As the money at our disposal was limited we had to see that none was wasted. The result was that, from the time the ground on which the bricks were to be made was cleared until the building was near completion, we spent more than half our days with the workmen. I cannot say they approved of our zeal but we bore their looks of reproach without flinching as it was in a good cause. Now the building is roofed and next year, after the floors and ceilings and doors and windows are in, the hospital will be opened for patients. I have dreamt of and planned for this hospital for the last six years and therefore it is with satisfaction and thankfulness that I see it so nearly ready for occupation.
To you, one of the most pleasing things will be the fact that it has been built without drawing on the general funds of the LMS for one penny. The money has been obtained by the fees received from Europeans during the last 5 years and a few subscriptions. Our prayer is that the hospital may be the means of bringing to many, comfort and health in times of sickness and that many patients may be lead into the Kingdom of God by what they hear and experience within its walls.
2. Teaching and Preaching
The Sunday services have been well attended but there are still many, especially among the women who do not regularly attend. He talks about a couple of classes they run including one for anyone who seems to show the slightest interest in the teaching of Jesus. However, he questions the different motives of those who attend. Either because -
- they are really interested
- their friends come i.e because it is fashionable
- they come because they can leave work for an hour (i.e. they are one of his employees)
He mentions briefly that Mrs Wareham has conducted her class for women at which the attendance has been fairly good.
3. School Work
He says he took his share of work in the teachers' school with another woman and Mrs Wareham. The attendance was very large and progress was made. But here, as at Kambole, I realised how much better work could be done and how much more efficiently our teachers would be trained, if we had a central normal school.
Though we have nothing exceptional to report of the work of the past year, still we can look back and thank God for progress. The progress has been small, not all we hoped and prayed for but there has been distinct progress.
The people among whom we work are neither hostile to the gospel nor do they long for it. They are indifferent and it is difficult to persuade them to think of anything beyond eating and drinking and their daily work. They will listen to our words and agree with most of it but when we ask them to put them into practice in their daily life, most decline to take that step. But almost unknown to them the teaching of Jesus was influencing their lives. Many had customs, evil habits and old superstitions which were slowly disappearing. When they did practice them they did so more or less secretly because they were so ashamed of them.
He says at the end of December the hospital building was finished and they will be taking patients in 1910. Next year I hope to report a large number of in-patients. People come willingly from a distance for treatment. They are all unwilling to pay the small sum I ask but are beginning to realise that no pay means no medicine. They can afford to pay but because in the early days they received everything for nothing they fail to see why they should pay now.
He says that over the year one of their congregation has been removed by death and 5 others due to their adultery. This sin is the rock on which most of their members crash and is considered wicked. One of those they lost due to adultery was a very promising woman preacher and this came as a great shock as it was so unexpected. She was a woman they all liked and respected and she was one of only a few women preachers they had. We have about 30 preachers of whom two were women and the woman who committed adultery was considered as being in their top 6 preachers overall.
He ends by saying the Mission needs a Normal School and the other great need is women missionaries. Why this mission has been so neglected as regards women workers I know not. It is not because we have not asked for them. The women of this country are far behind the men as regards interest in any higher life. The men are indifferent, the women are terribly indifferent.
He talked about how in his early days there were no regulations dealing with those who drank the native beer and became intoxicated. So little has this question been touched that some of the church members habitually held and attended beer feasts which led to all kinds of evil. Some church members also took part in impure dancing and impure nature ceremonies. So strong was the feeling in 1904 that these abuses were in the very heart of our church that it was decided to hold neither church meetings nor sacrament services till the church had been purged and none were held until the following year.
During the year 1904 however were organised definite classes for the preparation of those desiring baptism.
There have been many disappointments during these past five years also. Some of our most trusted and most useful Evangelists have failed lamentably, morally and in most cases the fall has been distinctly traceable to drink and we are glad that it has been largely due to pressure from the native Christians themselves that at the present time we are able to incorporate a pledge against intoxicants amongst the promises made by Catechumens (a convert to Christianity receiving training in doctrine and discipline before baptism). This we feel is the greatest step in advance made during the last ten years.
We also rejoice that amongst Christians and almost among all our people the evil dances and the impure ceremonies have practically died out.
It is 5 years since I was at Kambole, the difference between what was then and is now is great. Kambole has participated in the awakening that has come to all the stations of our mission. A more intelligent interest is taken in the services and the classes are well attended. The most pleasing change is that among the women. Five years ago the women seemed untouched by the gospel, now none are more regular in their attendance and attentiveness.