Dad Writes!

A couple of years ago, while enduring the winter, Dad began to write down some of the history of his missionary life in his own words.

He was writing on a blog with our encouragement, onging for Africa.

Chapter 1
Saturday, January 24, 2009,

Greetings. My name is Ewen (Bud) Allison MacDougall, and was born into this world on June 18th. 1931. I married Marie Gallant on May 7th. 1955. Marie was a double amputee, with much stamina, and did her own housework with zeal. I became a “born again” Christian on April 1st. 1956. Three days later Marie gave birth to our firstborn—a girl. We named her Janet Marie. Three other children followed. All boys, Ronald James, Then Harold Reginald, and finely, for the time being, Bryan Austin.

It was some years later that I climbed up the short steps of a small Chapel where we had been attending for some years, and with trembling knees, I approached the elders of that chapel.
I feebly explained to the Elders that I had a desire to serve the Lord in Africa as a maintenance man to assist other missionaries with building and repair etc. at a mission station called “Nyankunde” so as to relieve them for more important missionary outreach.

By now, we had four children, and looking back, I wonder what went through the minds of those Elders and many others as they commended and blessed us as we began what seemed to be the impossible.
A rebellion was raging in the interior of the Belgian Congo, and we were advised not to go, but it was destined to be, so we continued with commendation in hand, and made our way to Prince Edward Island, the birthplace of both Marie and me.

It was winter when we headed to Morell, (my mother’s village) to say “Good-by” to my elderly mother and on the way, we had an accident that slowed our progress for some time, as we all were taken to hospital and the old car to the junk!
Marie lost her front teeth and Janet had twenty stitches in her scalp I also had a few in my eyebrow and five broken ribs, although I didn’t know that till many years later!
My memory fails to remember how much time lapsed but finely that day came. I waved good-bye to my dear old mother for the last time and we made our way to Halifax where we were seen off on our journey.
We landed in Montreal and transferred to B.O.A.C. airline and left Montreal in the evening and soon saw the light of the sunrise somewhere over the Atlantic. It was an exciting moment as someone pointed out important landmarks in the city of London. The Thames River, the Parliament buildings and other interesting spots.
As we ventured out unto the street it seemed strange to see streets seemingly to go right through buildings with small three wheeled vehicles all driving on the wrong side of the street I thought “a strange lot these English are”! One small vehicle whose driver saw us looking rather dumb, standing on the street corner, asked who we were and then invited all of us to squeeze into the rear seat of his tiny car and they gave us a wonderful tour over the London bridge and other exciting places. I failed to ask their address so I could thank them later.
As we made our way through the mass of people on our way to catch a train to another airport, I discovered Harold was missing. Anxiously I hurried back through the people and was much relieved to see him coming toward me! I suspect he was glad to see me as well!
We boarded our flight to Entebbe, Uganda, and as darkness came, I looked down on the city of Paris. It looked like a large hub with streets leading out like spokes of a large wheel. It was dark and the lights were amazing. Other sights I do not remember. Perhaps I slept over the Mediterranean Sea and on to the Sahara Desert and finely, to Uganda.
The aircraft landed at Entebbe and as we made our way off the plane, the hostess began to spray the aircraft and I asked someone what they were spraying for. Someone replied that it was for tsetse fly. As we descended the exit stairs, I felt the hot humid air and realized that we were truly in Africa. As we sat in the customs office I remember a large cockroach running across the floor. Totally unnoticed by anyone but us.
A kind lady from a travel bureau offered us a ride to Kampala. The Guest House where we were to be lodged was full, so she dropped us at the Speak Hotel where we were given a large room accommodating all of us. Soon the African waiters in the dining room chided us for going to that awful country of Congo. Little did they know that soon they too would suffer under the awful reign of the murderous President Edi Amin. We settled in to await Behring and Lois McDowell (I can’t remember if Lois was with them or not) with Pearl Winterburn to take us by car to the Congo.

After a few days, money became rather short, and I began to waver in my faith. I sent off a telegram and soon had a reply. I felt rather ashamed to have failed my first trial.
After some days, the McDowells arrived and we began the long trip by car. As we made our way out of Kampala, miles and miles of banana trees, loaded with fruit, flanked the road on either side. It was exciting to say the least. Then came the open plains with tall slender black men tending their cattle, and the strange thing I noticed, was that each cattle herder wore a black bowler hat!
We noticed a long line of some kind of palm trees, stretching for miles into the distance. I was told that these were slave trade routes and seeds had been dropped by the slavers and so took root along the way.
I have no recollection of crossing the Nile River but I have crossed it on many occasions since. It had a large scow-like ferry and the river was fast with many wild cabbages floating toward the Med.

At last we reached the town of Goli in Uganda where we spent a night with a missionary lady, and our first potty stop was to walk down a slight slope to a “long drop” we ventured inside with flashlight in hand. Flashing the light around we had our introduction to the famous little Gecko for the first time, Harmless little lizard creatures scrambling to hide from our view.
Next on to Congo and the border exit from Uganda was a simple shack. The main road through the country was a narrow single track such as we had when I was a boy on the farm where we would go to the “back fields”. A strip of land about three klms. Wide called “no-mans land”, then Congo customs—another shack, and finely on to the School for Missionaries children called Rethy Academy about thirty klms. from the border.
This was the most difficult moment, because we must part with our eldest two (Janet and Ron) once again. I can still see Janet running and crying after us as we left her to the care of teachers. Ron did not seem to mind so much but I’m sure he did. It was an extremely difficult moment and there would be more to come.
Our journey continued up and hills and through valleys. (Approximately one hundred and ten miles from the school to Nyankunde.) Now that I think of it I think of it, we did stop at Itendey (pronounced E-ten-day) on our way to Nyankunde. I remember the small house with a thatched roof and the neatly trimmed hedge surrounding it. The house had African straw mats for ceilings. I remember the story of the rat that urinated up there while Behring was sleeping; now you must imagine what happened next!
During the Belgian Administration, the Belgians planted Black Wattle trees (a species brought from Australia). We noted that these trees were planted along the ridges where the altitude was about six thousand feet. They had hoped that these trees would eventually spread and seed down the slopes, but that did not happen. However, these wattle trees were a wonderful benefit to the African population for firewood since it was very cold in that high altitude area.
Nyankunde Mountain was pointed out to us a few miles before reaching the turnoff to the actual mission site, a long ridge of low hills and Nyankunde was one of them. As we turned off the main road, I noted a tree with a battered sign nailed on it. It simply said “Massey Ferguson”! Perhaps an indication of more prosperous times gone by.
We climbed the grade to the actual station. It was located just at the foot of Nyankunde (Love Mountain) and nestled among tall eucalyptus trees. Also many beautiful flowering trees as well as a few mangos. A number of missionary homes came into view and on our left was the printing press building. A large building from where much Christian literature was being faithfully printed by Merton Wolcott and his faithful staff.
Many missionaries, such as William Deans, warmly received us. I do not remember exactly who all the others were, but it was thrilling to be with so many wonderful people, and to feel so welcome. Also, Africans were there to share their hospitality and cultural welcome. As we looked to our right we could see a palm lined road and a few Missionaries homes along the way leading to the Bible School and farther on, was the large chapel with a tin roof, which could seat at least one thousand. On our left, another road led to the Medical area of the mission where other staff houses were located.
Soon we were taken to our “home to be”, and found it to be large and fully furnished with bedding, towels, dishes and every thing else we could have wanted. My memory fails me but I think it was the home of Gertrud Koppel. (Perhaps someone reading this will remind me of whom it was).
Just down the hill a little way as evening approached, we could hear the thump, thump, thump of an old single piston engine with large flywheels. It was attached to a small generator. They started it at 6pm and let it run till 9 pm to provide electric power for cooking etc.
As days passed, and new acquaintances were established, we noted a sense of tension in the air. Missionaries were often huddled around the two-way radios and we became aware that something was amiss. I have forgotten the code name of the approaching rebels, but the missionaries would hear that code name and know that the rebels had arrived and that we would not be hearing from that mission station again, tension was on the rise!
After a week or so, word came that Mrs. McDowell was quite ill. She had had a mischarriage and I was elected to go with Pearl Winterburn. We went in an old Mercedes car to their mission station called Itendey (about fifty miles I think) where the McDowells were situated in their ministry, It was raining and I was experiencing my first bout of Malaria.
As we passed through military barriers, Pearl did the talking, as I had not learned the language yet. I found it frustrating. I didn’t even know how to swear in Swahili—yet!
For my first little job, Pearl asked me if I could put a door on a shed. She said she needed it to house a mother who had a small child. I looked at the shed and with my Canadian mind, wondered how could anyone live in such a shack? I didn’t have a hammer or a nail and didn’t know where to find such things. I was given a man to help with language and to “gopher” for me. I don’t think I ever got that door installed.
Missionaries had a Tennis court and played occasionally for recreation, and we had the pleasure one day, to meet a new family on there way in-land to Kisangani about (I’m guessing), four hundred miles from us. The name of the family was Sharp. They had several small children; and the youngest was a Downs Syndrome child! Lord willing, you will hear more about this lovely family later.
As tension rose a very high level, it was determined that all Missionaries should leave for their own safety; the single Missionary women were persuaded to fly out, and as I understand it, they did not know where they were to fly even after they were on the plane. But my memory plays tricks on me some times!
Two brave souls, William Deans (Bwana Bill) an amazing man who spoke four languages, and also had military experience and Mert Wolcott remained behind try to protect the mission Press, Hospital and many other things. Much later, we learned that the Press was saved with no damage!
In the mean while Behring McDowell and I went to town to look for tires for an old Chevy Carry-all. We found them, but they were a narrower size than we needed. What to do. We bought them anyway, and as we were returning to the Mission, we came to a military barrier!
We were told that we could not pass so we had to return to an other Mission called Bogoro some thirty miles, situated by the lake Albert. Next morning we tried to return and found that Bwana Bill had been there to speak to the Commander and he was persuaded to let us pass to retrieve our families. (No cell- phones back then) Permission was granted, so now what?

To be continued…