Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Congo (10) Brussels, Belgium, 11/14/1920 [BMS]

Nov. 14

Brussels, Belgium

Dear Mother and Daddy:

We wrote you last week that we had failed to get off on the November boat to the Congo, and that we would have to wait till about Dec. 10th. But we are pretty certain to get off next time as our reservations have been assured to us.

Everything has been moving along very fine for us. We have had enough studying, along with various odds and ends, to keep us busy nearly all the time. We always go out for lunch and this always takes at least two hours. We get our breakfast and supper here at the house, but our noon meal we get downtown at the “Caf├ęs” which are about fifteen minutes walk from the house. Our lunch usually amounts to something like this: soup, meat (either beefsteak, porkchops, mutton, roast beef, or Irish stew; vegetables, two, one of which is generally boiled potatoes with cabbage, spinach, or something similar; then for dessert one or two nice little pastries.

Nov. 16th – Just now we are somewhat busier, for two nurses are here with us, also bound for the Congo with us. They have a room just around the corner from us. Then we are having a Baluba lesson every day, the two nurses and the Hobsons in one class, and Dot in another as she is further along. The Hobsons have not been studying Baluba but putting in all of their time on French. Dot has put in most of her time on Baluba and has been doing well. I am glad that we put more time on this latter, for she could not have gotten enough French to help her whereas she has gotten a good start in Baluba. She also has had a few French lessons from her husband, but the two at one time is a little confusing.

It seems as though we would have plenty of extra time, but with breakfast at eight, and a two-hour dinner, with our classes, we don’t have much idle time. Our bed time is nearly always between 9:30 and 10:00 P.M., the same hour when we used to have to put out the lights, if you will remember.

Habit, you see.

In traveling, it is often difficult, or inconvenient, to have prayers every day, but we have been regular in this and have failed very few days. It is a link which always keeps us close together and a way in which we can each know that we are remembered by the other each day.

It has been right cold until the last two days, but the last two have been warmer with rain. Our hot water bottle has come in handy here, not that our room is uncomfortable for we have a good fire every day. Our overcoats and heavy underwear (Dot sought hers without any urging) have been in constant use. But the cold is not unpleasant as it is dry. Outside of the fact that we are anxious to get out to the Congo and to our work and home, we are really enjoying our stay here. Of course, Dot is anxious to try her art on me (and to burn her hands with our new biscuit pans).

We have ordered the following reading materials: “The Ladies Home Journal,” “American Magazine,” and “Literary Digest,” and we are hoping some of these will be there when we arrive as well as some letter from you. We have gotten a few books, two of Dickens’, “Ben Hur,” “When a Man’s a Man,” and “Pilgrim’s Progress,” which latter we bought here. Then, of course, we have our box of books, and I think you know about what we have in that.

Must say good-night here, as it’s after 9:30.

Later: This is a beautiful day; but the air is clear and the sun is bright. In fact the larger part of our time here the weather has been fine.

We do not know yet the exact date we are to sail, but it will no doubt be somewhere between the 12th and the 15th. So unless you get this about Dec. the first, a letter would hardly reach us here.

The Methodist Mission church is to have a Thanksgiving service next Thursday in English, so we shall attend an American Thanksgiving service. We are also planning to have a little celebration of some kind amount our own crowd. There are eight of us, seven of our own mission and a young man who is going out to the Congo for the Methodists when we also consider in our crowd. There eight are: Mr. and Mrs. Hobson (Kemp and Rowena), Misses Setzer and Farmer (two nurses), Mr Gilliam who is going to the Congo for us, but who is to stay here until January to study French, Mr. Kinman (the young man of the Methodist Mission), and ourselves = 8.

Trusting this finds you both in normal good health, and that the Lord is blessing your work, and with love to all.


The following is our Congo address.

B.M. Schlotter


Luebo, (Congo Belge),


(leave off the brackets on Congo Belge).

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