AMERICAN PRESBYTERIAN CONGO MISSION
Luebo, Belgian Congo, March 10th, 1921
Dear Mother and Daddy:
We had notice this afternoon that the mail is to leave in the morning, so here we are just after supper to write to you first. There is a small steamer that comes about once every three weeks or month. However, we don't get mail that often.
Everything has been running along smoothly enough during the past two weeks; we have been quite busy and that means, as you know, that time gets away without your knowledge. We have gotten the house in fairly good shape, and are now turning our attention to the grounds. Dorothy is very much interested in her flowers and gets quite a bit of pleasure out of it. She has someone in Mrs. Stegall to help her as she is both interested in flowers and an expert in getting them to grow. Mrs. Cleveland also likes this kind of work.
We had a little diversion Wednesday afternoon in the way of a hammock trip to the sawmill and farm; the sawmill is about four miles from the station and this makes a nice little trip. We both enjoyed the trip, and this was Dot's first time to see the sawmill and the farm.
Wednesday night is our prayer meeting night, that is, our English service for missionaries. Our Sunday services are as follows: morning service at ten, Sunday School at 3:30, these two services being for the natives; then we have our English service for missionaries at 5:00 P.M. About seven the natives have their own prayer meetings on Sunday afternoon, and you often hear hymns coming from a half-dozen different directions at the same time about that hour. Dorothy and I do not go to the main shed on Sunday mornings, as I have charge of a service in one section of the village and we both go there at the hour for morning service and also for Sunday School in the afternoon. Where we have our service, there is no shed as yet, so we have a nice shady place under a thick clump of palms and have our service there, the attendance for the last two Sundays having been a little over nine hundred for the morning service. Having no roof, this means that the missionaries must keep their helmets on during service but one soon becomes accustomed to that. So you can imagine us sitting on chairs, our helmets on, and about nine hundred natives seated on logs, there being a few benches and a few scattered home made chairs, in the shade of a palm grove. This place is about twelve minutes walk from our house.
There are three motorcycles on the station, and they certainly are a great help, especially to Mr. Stegall, as he runs the sawmill -- four miles from the station, and the brick yard--about a mile and a half from the station. I am using a bicycle which I find quite a help as I have to run about on the station quite a lot.
Our cook is doing fine, and is certainly a big help to Dorothy, for she doesn't have much to do but to give him orders what to have and to give him the materials and presto! the meal. Our lunch today was as follows: roasted chicken, steamed rice, fried sweet potatoes, tomatoes and lettuce, corn bread, also lightbread, gravy and muffin cakes. While
I'm at it I'll give you an idea of what other articles of diet are on our menu from day to day: fried plantains, bananas hanging on the porch at least one bunch and often two bunches, pineapples, pai-pais (a native fruit on the order of canteloupe and fine breakfast fruit, Irish potatoes, peppers stuffed with egg plants, goat meat, native peas (very much like our cowpeas), greens (we had this today. I forgot to put above), shallots (onions), radishes, cabbage, and a few other items. You can see from this that we ought to fare pretty well. Then for breakfast, we have plenty of eggs and cornmeal battercakes, and coffee in our new percolator (however, I must add that I drink coffee only once a day).
I realize there are many things we might write you about our work, etc., that you especially wish too know, but it isn't so easy for one on the ground to pick out just what would interest others most. So we are hoping that you will ask plenty of questions, for this will give the information you want and like best and that is what we want to write.
In one of your recent letters you were writing us about some of the things that might come up in our life, giving advice and warning. You need not be afraid that I am going to take this in the wrong spirit, for I appreciate it and realize that you are in a position to give us quite a bit of help along that line, so anything that you feel would help us, just write it.
With much love to you both.