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induced to carry burdens as a caravan porter. He will
serve as a herdsman, being an excellent and courageous
defender of the cattle against all kinds of wild animals;
and when intrusted with modern arms he certainly makes
a splendid soldier. This tribe has from time immemorial
been accustomed to be the rulers of East Central Africa,
where it held all the other tribes in subjection — only the
Kikujus being able at times to defend themselves with
success against the Masai raiders. Enormous herds of fine
cattle composed the riches of this tribe, but the terrible



rinderpest killed off many thousands of their stock, so that
to-day the tribe is not nearly as wealthy as it used to be.
In former days they simply took from neighboring tribes,
after bloody fights, what they wanted, but to-day they do
not dare to attempt any more raidings, as they are well
aware of the authority of the white man with his destruc-
tive firearms.

The Masai generally live in villages composed of a
great number of huts, most of which are built closely to-
gether, and form either an oval or a circle. The backs of
the huts are turned outward, and so form a wall, which is
often strengthened and perfected by an almost impene-
trable hedge of thorns. This wall is a safeguard against
intruders of all kinds. The doors, or rather openings, of
the houses are on the inside, facing each other, and the
houses themselves are built of branches of trees and twigs
which have been put together like a kind of open basket-
work. When this is done the whole hut is coated over
with layers of cow-dung mixed with clay, which makes it
almost absolutely fire-and-wind proof. Most of the houses
have no openings whatever besides the " door," so that
almost all the smoke from the fire remains in the hut, caus-
ing different troubles to the eyes of the occupants. This
is also the case with all the other tribes in East Africa.

The Masai do not cultivate the ground, but live almost
exclusively from the products of their cattle, sheep and
goats. They are very fond of good meat and fresh milk.
This latter is poured into gourds which are cleaned out
with a solution of charcoal, cows' urine and water, making
the milk brought in an ordinary Masai gourd almost un-
drinkable for a white man.



rThe Masai women have to do all the work there is to
be done, except herding the cattle and fighting the foe,
whereas the older men generally stay at home to eat,
smoke, and gamble. The youngsters when about eight-
een years old are, with certain strange ceremonies,
taken into the " soldier class " and serve as warriors
or, as they call themselves. El Moran. These young
men enjoy all sorts of privileges; almost naked, and
tattooed with the traditional " war paint," these fellows
run in batches from village to village, where they are re-
ceived with open arms and allowed to indulge in all sorts
of vice, and after a few days' feasting they receive as a
special " peace offering " a fatted young bull or a couple
of sheep. These they drive away to some far-off cave or
other secluded place, but always near water, where they
kill the animals, and eat their fill of the fresh meat. It
was a former custom that when the young men were cir-
cumcised and became El Moran — which ceremony takes
place about every four years — the new warriors should
get into a fight with men of other tribes, and dip their
spears in human blood, but to-day, of course, this is not
tolerated by the British or German governments.

Even the Masai practice polygamy. Some of the
chiefs have over fifty wives, and old " King " Lenana
probably more than a hundred. The Masai women are, as
among other tribes, simply bought from their fathers to
become their husbands' wives, whether they like it or not.
They adorn themselves very much like their Kikuju
sisters, except that those who can afford it have an extra
leg ornament of brass wire wound all the way from the
knee down to the ankle in one piece. They also wear very


A Young Wandeiuii'.h. Ri ady to Shoot His Poisoned Arrow.




Masai El-Moran Warriors.
Two old chiefs are standing on the right.


large necklaces made of the same kind of wire, which is
wound in ever-expanding circles until they project fully
eight inches from the neck, looking very much like a wide
shining collar.

The Masai use for protection and warfare almost ex-
clusively their powerful spears, which they understand
how to handle with great strength and skill. There is
said to exist a secret organization among the different
Masai tribes, the members of which pay homage to their
old " king," Lenana. I have heard people who have lived
among the Masai for many years say that one word from
him would bring together thousands of these courageous
young El Moran, who would willingly stake their lives in
carrying out their chief's command. Many believe that
with the present state of affairs in East Africa, should all
the cunning and powerful Masai tribes rise simultaneously,
they would probably be able to kill off every white person
and all the government native soldiers in the Protectorate
within twenty-four hours !

The Wanderobos are a wild jungle people, living in
the forests of the middle and northern parts of the Pro-
tectorate. They are looked down upon by the Swahili,
Kikuju, and Masai as " washenzi," or wild bush-people,
which name they indeed deserve, for they have no chief,
no tribal organization, and do not even live in villages.
They are nomads, but without cattle or sheep, wandering
around a great deal from place to place, staying where
they happen to be able to kill some large animal, which
they devour until nothing is left of the carcass even to
attract the hyena, and then they move away again. These
people are as near to " primitive man " as any race living,



and yet, in spite of their wild life and habits, they possess
a good deal of intelligence, and are the very best big-game
trackers and hunters in East Africa. Among other inter-
esting people in this Protectorate are the Galla, Lumbwa,
Kavirondo, Nandi, Mbe, and other tribes, which are all
more or less like the already mentioned natives.

Of these latter tribes, the Kavirondo is, in a commer-
cial way, the most promising, for they are splendid agri-
culturists, and perhaps on the whole the hardest-working
natives in British East Africa. They live all around the
extreme western part of Victoria Nyanza, where the large
Kavirondo Bay is almost in the center of their country.
Strangely enough, it is not, as is usual, the men, but the
women of the Kavirondo tribe who go around absolutely
nude, even without the little loin cloth that otherwise the
most scantily dressed native woman carries. Until the
middle of 1909 one could see scores of these women,
young and old, coming right down to the railroad stations,
and there gazing at the foreigners as they passed, evi-
dently without the slightest feeling of embarrassment,
even if the tourist wanted to photograph them. Partly
owing, I believe, to one of Mr. Roosevelt's expressions
about the impropriety of this custom, they have now been
forbidden to come up to the railroad stations, at least with-
out some kind of covering.

When said that the women generally go around abso-
lutely naked, it should be mentioned that the older ones
carry a funny kind of " tail " of animals' hair, which
hangs down from the center of the back and is held fast
by a string around the waist. It is rather surprising to
hear in connection with the strange fashions of the Kavi-




rondo women that they are said to be the most chaste of
all the native women of East Africa. They are now be-
ginning, httle by little, to put some clothing on. This tribe
occupies the most fertile soil in the whole of the Protec-
torate ; and I believe that in the near future the Kavirondo
will make long strides in their upward march, as the men
already begin to cultivate a taste for better clothing, fur-
niture and houses, and are often anxious to be taught in
the various mission schools. It is from this country that
a great deal of wild coffee of good quality is secured, as
well as a superior kind of ground nuts and the semsem oil
seed. The Kavirondo are still very superstitious, and
their " witch doctors " and " medicine men " do a flourish-
ing business among the ignorant savages.



Intelligent and self-sacrificing men and women who
go out to live and work as missionaries among such tribes
as those partly described in the previous chapter, certainly
deserve a great deal of credit and commendation. For
the people of East Africa are, without exception, in their
native state revoltingly dirty, ignorant, superstitious, and
cruel. At the same time they seem to be possessed of a
great amount of false pride, one tribe thinking itself far
superior not only to the other tribes of the country but
also to the white man. Love, as we understand it, and
tender compassion they seem not to know at all. Not
only do they hate their enemies, which generally include
all other tribes than theirs, but they are exceedingly cruel
even to the people of their own household, often throwing
out the old and sick people into the jungle to be devoured
by carnivorous beasts.

One of the numerous superstitions of the natives is
that if a person dies in a hut, this will bring great misfor-
tune and grief to the other inhabitants. Therefore, as
soon as they think that a member of the household is so
sick that he or she is liable to die they carry the sick one
out and often even tie him in the thorn bush a few hundred
yards away from the village, so that he may be killed and



eaten by lions, leopards, and hyenas. I know of one in-
stance where an old woman was thus thrown out by her
own son. The poor old soul had strength enough to free
herself and crawl out of the bush, from whence she dragged
herself to a neighboring village, where a second son of hers
lived. As soon as this young brute saw the condition of
his mother he, instead of trying to care for her, took a
couple of other young men with him and dragged the
unfortunate old woman out into the bush outside their
village, where they mercilessly left her to the wild beasts.
Again liberating herself, and exerting her utmost efforts,
she succeeded in crawling to a nearby mission station,
where she was most kindly received and where the mis-
sionaries built a special little hut for her near their own
house. Imagine their joy and surprise when the old
woman a few days later had recovered sufficiently to be
able to be around ! She subsequently became a Christian,
and was still alive when I left Africa in February, 1910.

The position of woman in Africa is, as in almost all
heathen countries, most deplorable. She has no rights
whatsoever. She does not inherit with her brothers, and
when a man dies who has a great deal of property and,
therefore, a good many wives, these are inherited, with
the rest of his belongings, by his sons if he has any, or
else by the nearest male relative. A great deal of sickness
and many curable diseases play great havoc among the
tribes, where a little bit of care and instruction in the
very rudiments of hygiene would improve their conditions
greatly. Therefore, the whole of East Africa is in great
need of missionary work, which should not only be evan-
gelistic but also medical and industrial.



It is therefore a deplorable fact that many " globe
trotters " and settlers in heathen lands often criticise and
condemn foreign missions. Not only do they sneer at
certain individual missionaries for their supposed ineffi-
ciency, ignorance, bigotry, and selfishness, but they also
condemn mission work as a whole, maintaining that com-
paratively very little good is accomplished by these
agencies, considering the great amount of money spent
for mission work. They often say that not only certain
unwise actions of the missionary are objectionable, but
that even his very presence in the foreign fields is unnec-
essary, and that he only irritates the masses and provokes
them to hostility toward the white merchant and his gov-
ernment. Further, it is asserted by the opponents of
mission work that the missionary's influence tends to
make the natives lazy, dishonest, and disrespectful toward
their white masters.

The main reason why missionary work is so severely
criticised by a great many travelers and settlers lies in
the indifference they have toward the very Lord of mis-
sions Himself, and the missionary's Bible, which they
dislike because it tells the truth about men and condemns
corruption and sin. A number of years ago an old Afri-
can queen had heard of mirrors, and believing that she
was the most beautiful woman of her tribe, she ordered
one of these strange things to be sent to her " palace."
A mirror was bought and taken to the queen. But when
she looked into it and beheld her frightful features, she
became so infuriated that she not only threw the mirror
on a stone and broke it, but also forbade, by death penalty,
anyone in her kingdom to own a mirror. One single



glance into the glass had convinced her of the wrong esti-
mation of her beauty, and not wanting to be shown her
true appearance she hated and destroyed the looking-glass.

It is a sad but well-known fact that many white settlers
and travelers in heathen countries throw off all moral re-
straint, and live a life among the natives which is wholly
unworthy of a civilized man, not to speak of a professing
Christian. The missionaries, seeing this and hearing of
it from the people among whom they work, necessarily
have to reprove such people for their doings, and de-
nounce them for the very sake of civilization and Chris-
tianity. Thus it is that unprincipled travelers and settlers
conflict with missionaries and show the spirit of malice
toward their work.

In the different heathen countries where it has been
my privilege to travel — for instance, in India, Burma,
China, Japan, Africa, and other places — I have always
found the same thing. People who live questionable lives,
and who do not care to represent any higher ideals, always
condemn missionaries, just as the habitual drunkard and
saloon-keeper hate temperance work. Yet, wherever I
have found officials and settlers who were real gentlemen,
and who made a point of setting a high example for the
natives, they all highly respect the missionary and his
work. The more such people have studied these difficult
problems in the various heathen countries, the more they
have learned to appreciate the true missionary and his
unselfish work. Many wonderful testimonials to this
effect have been publicly given by eminent American and
British officials, as well as by heathen kings and prominent
statesmen. To quote only a few well-known statements :



The late President William McKinley once publicly
said in Carnegie Hall, among other things :

" I am glad of the opportunity to offer without stint
my tribute of praise and respect to the missionary effort,
which has wrought such wonderful triumphs for civili-
zation. Th^ story of Christian missions is one of thrill-
ing interest and mai velous results . . . The noble, self-
effacing, willing ministers of peace and good will should
be classed with the world's heroes. . . . Who can esti-
mate their value to the progress of nations ? Their contri-
bution to the onward and upward march of humanity is
beyond all calculation. They have inculcated industry
and taught various trades. They have promoted concords
and unity, and brought races and nations closer together.
They have made men better. They have increased the
regard for home; have strengthened the sacred ties of
family; have made the community well ordered and their
work has been a potent influence in the development of
law and the establishment of government."

The Hon. Theodore Roosevelt, one of the greatest
Presidents this country ever had, says:

" It was once my privilege to see, close by, the mission
work on Indian reservations in the West. I became so in-
terested in it that I traveled all over the reservation to see
what was being done, especially by the missionaries, be-
cause it needed no time at all to see that the great factors
in the uplifting of the Indians were the men who were
teaching them to be Christian citizens. When I came
back I wished it had been in my power to convey my ex-
periences to these people — very often well-meaning people
— who speak about the inefficiency of foreign missions. I
think if they could have realized but the tenth part of the



work that had been done, they would understand that no
more practical work, no more productive of fruit for civ-
ilization, could exist than the work being carried on by
the men and women who give their lives to preaching the
Gospel of Christ to mankind."

Colonel Denby, for a number of years the United

States Minister to China, says:

" I have made a study of mission work in China for
years. I took a man-of-war and visited almost every port
in the Empire. At each one of the places I visited and
inspected every mission station. They are all doing good
work; they merit all the support that philanthropy can
give them. I do not stint my commendation nor halt nor
stammer about work that ought to be done at home instead
of abroad. I make no comparisons. I unqualifiedly and in
the strongest language that tongue can utter give to these
men and women who are living and dying in China and in
the Far East my full and unadulterated commendation.
My doctrine is to tell, if I can, the simple truth about them,
and when that is known, the caviling, the depreciation,
and sneering which too often accompany comments on
missionary work will disappear, they will stand before
the world as they ought to stand, as benefactors of the
people among whom their lives are spent, and the fore-
runners of the commerce of the world."

The Honorable John W. Foster, once Secretary of
State, and successively Minister to Mexico, Russia, and
Spain, who was asked by the Emperor of China to be
Counselor of his Empire in making a treaty with Japan,
says :

*• My observation is that the mass of people in China
do not object to missionaries . . . China stands in



great need of Christianity. The teaching of Confucius,
among the wisest of non-Christian philosophers, has had
unhmited sway for twenty-five centuries ; and this highest
type of pagan ethics has produced a people the most su-
perstitious, and a government the most corrupt and ineffi-
cient. Confucianism must be pronounced a failure. The
hope of this people and its government is in Christianity."

General Lew Wallace, the celebrated author of Ben-
Hur, formerly United States Minister to Turkey, testifies :

" When I went to Turkey I was prejudiced against
missionaries, but my views of them and their work have
completely changed. I found them to be an admirable
body of men, doing a wonderful educational and civiliz-
ing work outside of their strictly religious work."

Lord John Lawrence, perhaps the greatest of all Eng-
lish Viceroys, affirms :

" Notwithstanding all that the English people have
done to benefit India, the missionaries have done more
than all other agencies combined."

At a large public meeting in Calcutta, Sir Augustus
Rivers Thompson, then Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal,
uttered these words :

" In my judgment Christian missionaries have done
more real and lasting good to the people of India than all
other agencies combined. They have been the salt of the
country and the true savior of the Empire."

General Sir Charles Warren, at the time Governor of
Natal, who was sent on a special mission of pacification
to Zululand and Bechuanaland, reported :



" For the preservation of peace between the colonists
and the natives, one missionary is worth more than a
whole battahon of soldiers."

Sometime ago the British Consul at Mozambique de-
livered an address in Glasgow in which he, among other
things, said:

" I must say that my ten years in Africa have con-
vinced me that mission work is one of the most powerful
and useful instruments we possess for the pacification of
the country and suppression of the slave trade."

The great Chinese Statesman, the late Li Hung
Chang, when he visited this country in 1906, said:

" The missionaries have not sought for pecuniary
gains at the hands of our people. They have not been
secret emissaries and diplomatic schemers. Their labors
have no political significance, and the last, not the least, if
I may be permitted to add, they have not interfered with,
or usurped, the rights of the territorial authorities."

The lamented Marquis Ito, the greatest statesman
Japan ever had, was not ashamed to say :

*' Japan's progress and development are largely due to
the influence of missionaries, exerted in the right direc-
tions, when Japan was first studying the outer world."

His Majesty Shulalongkorn, King of Siam, one of the
most enlightened and progressive monarchs of the East,
being a warm friend and supporter of missions in his
kingdom, admits:

19 269


" American missionaries have done more to advance
the welfare of my country and my people than any other
foreign influence."

It would be very easy for me to print many more tes-
timonials of the same character from a great many other
prominent statesmen and governors, but this may suffice to
confirm my assertion that high-minded and clear-sighted
men the world over understand and appreciate the great
value of missionary work, without which our own country,
as well as Europe, would to-day still be worshiping idols
and graven images, as our forefathers did.

On the other hand, I must frankly admit that there
are a good many missionaries who, indeed, are inefficient,
selfish, ignorant, and lazy. Such men would probably do
better as tailors, shoemakers, clerks, and teachers in their
respective home lands; and I dare say that such people
have many times unnecessarily provoked both white men
and natives ; they have been a hindrance to the very cause
they were sent out to further. The different missionary ,
societies know and deplore this very much indeed. But
to judge from such missionaries, and to condemn the great
body of noble men and women whose only aim in life is to
elevate, help, and advance the conditions of native tribes
the world over, is just as unreasonable and absurd as to
say that the Americans are no good, that they are drunk-
ards, crooks, and thieves, because there are some such
people in our great land!

As to the influence of mission work among the tribes
of Central Africa, may I here mention what, for instance,
Sir Harry Johnston, a former Commissioner to East



Africa and Uganda, said in his report to the home gov-
ernment :

" All the difference between the Uganda of 1900 and
the bloody, harassed, and barbarous days of King Mtesa
and his son, Mwaggo, is really extraordinary, and the
larger share in this improvement is undoubtedly due to
the teaching of the missionaries. I do honestly consider
that the work of the great missions in the Uganda Protec-
torate has achieved most satisfactory results. It cannot
be said that the natives of the Uganda Protectorate have
been spoiled by Christianity; they have been greatly im-
proved, and have, in the adoption of this religion, lost
neither manliness nor straightforwardness."

When this prominent colonizer once received a depu-
tation from the Basoga people, as he passed through
their country, he closed his address to them with these
words :

" Long ago we English were like the Kavirondo (a
people which are much despised by the more intelligent
and civilized Basoga), and we wore no clothes and
smeared our bodies with paint, but when we learned
Christianity from the Romans, we changed and became
great. We want you to learn Christianity, and to follow
in our steps, and you, too, will be great."

In regard to the settlers of British East Africa, I
regret to say that many of them are of an inferior type of

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Online LibraryOliver Howard] [WolfeBack log and pine knot; a chronicle of the Minnisink hunting and fishing club → online text (page 19 of 26)