Tuesday, November 29, 2011


The British Colonial Office during the 1930s came up with the notion that the Kenya highlands could be settled by Englishmen who were experienced farmers and adventurers. This was thought of as a sort of second try at what England meant New England (USA) to be during the 1700s. 

map of KenyaWell, it worked pretty well. Englishmen who felt hemmed in by their neighbors, and by the changeless class status into which all Englishmen were thrown, took the opportunity, sold out, and went to Kenya to seek their fortune. They settled in the Kenya Highlands west and north of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

They made the highlands produce all sorts of commodities, including coffee, tea, wheat, oats, vegetables, cattle crossed with local breeds, and much more. Men like Lord Delamere cashed in huge fortunes and estates in the UK and came to Kenya and developed farming and commercial business from scratch. They really must be credited with laying the foundation of commercial and agricultural life in Kenya as it  is today.

Among the settlers were many rough and ready characters. They developed their own oddities, and it was almost essential socially to be just a bit strange in some way. Jim Hodson was a personal friend of my parents when they were missionaries in Kenya, and our family used to visit his farm. The Hodsons were Bible believers and a delight to be around. Jim had some amazing tales to tell of life in those early days. 

One settler, living not far from the Hodson farm, had some wild pets he had tamed. His pride was his full grown pet lion, which was actually house broken and pretty much had the run of the farm. As with all settlers, this man and his wife had beautiful gardens and flower beds all around the home. The perfect climate in the Kenya Highlands made it possible to have a year round paradise with minimum care and effort.

Jim Hodson raised cattle and had a large vegetable garden, but his main commercial product was wattle bark. Wattle is from the Acacia family of trees, and its bark has medical use. In Kenya, Wattle bark was used to extract tanning acids for leather processing. Jim's wife once said that when someone called on the phone, and when Jim was out on the farm removing the bark from the trees, she did not know whether to tell the caller Jim was barking or stripping. Alas, trade talk.

Jim Hodson told us the following story about one of his neighbors.

All settlers had an African hired hand to simply keep the grounds immaculate, and a popular Kenya innovation was the "sun downer," a cocktail gathering at sun down for other neighboring settlers. 

This white farmer came in from his farm one day, and walking through his flower garden and grounds, found that they had been dug up pretty badly. He was furious, and he knew just who had done it-- his pet lion. He had broken the lion of rooting up the flower beds, but he figured the lion had backslidden. 

"I will teach that beggar to muck about in my gardens." 

The settler, like many of his fellow farmers, carried a walking stick about with him, though he was not at all lame. It is a British thing, and if you don't understand it, you must ask them about it. I don't understand it either. 

He took his walking stick and went looking for his pet Simba, lion. He found him, and he promptly gave him a good caning. The lion was hardy, and the caning did little harm, but the lion cringed, and finally the lion slunk off into the shadows humiliated. 

"That will teach that rascal." The settler felt good about his being a firm disciplinarian with his pets around the farm. He then walked into his living room, and what do you think he found lying in front of the fire in his fire place? 

SIMBA !! His pet lion. 

The settler had just given a totally wild lion a good caning. He was terrified, but it was too late for that. He became quite a legend in the highlands, and his friends loved to invite him around to cane the lions on their plantation. 

I suppose there is a moral in this. 

If nothing else, it simply shows that man is master of the wild kingdom, BUT, only if man has no fear. That is very hard to accomplish unless man believes he is in charge. 

Try it, and let me know how it works for you. We have some very wild feral hogs here in Texas that are known to be very vicious. I would like to invite you to come and visit us, and you can show me how to cane a wild hog.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011


It seems that China has a record of confrontation with its best customers

What does this mean. We know that China is heavily invested in trade with the USA, which is mostly one sided as China makes most US goods in the market place. At the same time, China makes missiles that they inform us can reach Nebraska etc etc.

Now, look at the dispute of the border between India and China. This is the same picture. China agitates India while making trade agreements. 

China keeps the heat on Taiwan also, and other Asian nations resist China while trading with China. It seems to me that this is some primal notion of international relations from a thousand years ago. I wonder if the history of China would bear this out. 

So, if China keeps this up, it would seem that a stand off with the whole world is in the offing, like two gun slingers with their hand poised to draw, China wants to look aggressive while cooing like a dove about more trade.

Bah. What fools we are to turn out back on Mexico, South and Central America, Africa and much of Asia to pamper the dragon.

Here is the story of the Big Red Bully of the North:

Sunday, November 13, 2011


He would be considered dangerous by Australian authorities today. If he were not their national symbol of the past, the government agents would sock him away in prison.

When someone shows too much individuality, he must be watched. He may well be a terrorist or illegal immigrant. The USA Homeland Security also watches anyone who is a bit weird.

In past days in Texas, Arizona, and the Outback or Australia, life was spiced up and made colorful by these odd fellows.

In Australia, it was the Swagman.

swagman, also called a swaggiesundowner or tussocker, is an old Australian and New Zealand term describing an underclass of transient temporary workers, who travelled by foot from farm to farm carrying the traditional swag (bedroll). Also characteristic of swagman attire was a hat strung with corks to ward off flies.
Particularly during the Depression of the 1890s and the Great Depression of the 1930s, unemployed men travelled the rural areas of Australia on foot, their few meagre possessions rolled up and carried in their swag. Typically, they would seek work in farms and towns they travelled through, and in many cases the farmers, if no permanent work was available, would provide food and shelter in return for some menial task.

Another form of the swagman was the "pack horse bagman" who rode a horse and led one or two pack horses in his travels, typically in the Northern Territory. The pack horse bagman called in at stations where he would work shoeing horses, mustering, repairing bores, etc.

In the USA the same exact era produced the Ho Bo. He did the same thing. In the 1970s I pastored a small church in the California desert on the Union Pacific Railroad. Our town station was a shift change point, so all trains stopped for a while. Ho Bo's would get off the train, and ours was the only church in town where the parsonage was occupied all the time. So, I had many visits. 

Most of the men "riding the rails" were not Ho Bo's anymore. They were basically down and out beggars. But, I knew a genuine Ho Bo because they would always insist on working before I fed them. It has always been a point of honor in that profession. You must give the Swagman of Australia and the Ho Bo or the USA high credit today for not accepting entitlement. They had an ethic that many millionaires don't have.

The following discussion of the Swagman is uncanny, for it describes the American Ho Bo in all details. There must be some sort of quirk in human social behavior which produces these odd fellows. The following is from Wikipedia:

Swagmen were often victims of circumstance who had found themselves homeless. Others were rovers by choice, or else they were on the run from police (bushrangers). Many were European or Asian migrants seeking fortune on the goldfields. One such swagman was Welshman Joseph Jenkins, who travelled throughout Victoria between 1869 and 1894, documenting his experiences in daily diary entries and through poetry.[11] Swagmen ranged in age from teenagers to the elderly. Socialist leaderJohn A. Lee's time as a swagman while a teenager informed his political writing,[12] and also featured directly in some of his other books. Novelist Donald Stuart also began his life as a swagman at age 14. Several of his novels follow the lives of swagmen and aborigines in the Kimbereley and Pilbara regions of Western Australia. Many swagmen interacted with aborigines along their travels; bushwear designer R.M. Williams spent his latter teen years as a swagman travelling across the Nullarbor Plain, picking up bushcraft and survival skills from local aboriginal tribes such as cutting mulga, tracking kangaroos and finding water.
At times they would have been seen in and around urban areas looking for work or a handout. Most eyewitness descriptions of swagmen were written during the period when the country was 'riding on the sheep's back'. At this time, rovers were offered rations at police stations as an early form of the dole payment. They roamed the countryside finding work as sheep shearers or as farm hands. Not all were hard workers. Some swagmen known as sundowners would arrive at homesteads or stations at sundown when it was too late to work, taking in a meal and disappearing before work started the next morning. The New Zealand equivalent of a sundowner was known as a tussocker.[8]
Most existed with few possessions as they were limited by what they could carry. Generally they had a swag (canvas bedroll), a tucker bag (bag for carrying food) and some cooking implements which may have included a billy can (tea pot or stewing pot). They carried flour for making damper and sometimes some meat for a stew. They traveled with fellow 'swaggies' for periods, walking where they had to go, hitch hiking or stowing aboard cargo trains to get around. They slept on the ground next to a campfire, in hollowed out trees or under bridges.

And, we could not leave this topic without giving you the most famous literary story about a Swagman.
Waltzing Matilda.

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Down came a jumbuck to drink at that billabong,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred,
Down came the troopers, one, two, three,
"Where's that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?"
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"
"Where's that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?",
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong,
"You'll never take me alive", said he,
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me."

And Rolf Harris captures it all:

Have any of our readers known a Swagman from long ago? Also, what is the equivalent of a Swagman in your corner of the Empire? Leave comments please.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Refugees..... all over Africa, and in nearby countries to Africa. Why is this happening?

It seems that some nations in Africa do not care much for the people they hurt and frighten off. Many of these refugees were productive at one time. But, they somehow become classified as non-persons who are no longer wanted. So, they run.



Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Having lived at the epicenter of the Mau Mau during the 1950s, as well as in Eastleigh in the 70s, I see the Kenya Government having a very similar problem. Somalis who fled Somalia to escape Al-Shabaab are elbow to elbow with Al-Shabaab terrorists who also fled to Nairobi to find safe haven and stir the pot of hatred.

So, like the Kikuyu in Kiambu in the 1950s, like the Kikuyu chiefs, there are mixed loyalties. The Kenya police, military, and navy suffer the consequences, and the tourist trade is down. Same issues, only this time it is in the name of Allah and the bondage of Sharia Law, not freedom.

Two videos:

Monday, November 7, 2011


The word "Wog" has been badly used over the years. It came to be a slur on the "natives" in much of the British Empire. Winston Churchill once said, "The Wogs begin at Dover." This was taken as a subtle slur on Europe, which was out of character for Churchill. So, he must have had another meaning.

Perhaps Churchill used Wog the way many of us used it. The African or Indian was a potential faithful friend, servant, and nuisance. It all depended on what sort of relationship you and the Wog had.

When I was in secondary school in Kenya I one day opened an old dictionary from England to see if they included the word "Wog". They did, and the only definition given was "Worthy Oriental Gentleman". Revisionists today on the Web have come up with several other definitions which make it very clear that they are young hot heads who love to make up facts as they go along.

In my era in Kenya, the word Wog was used by the sons of British colonial staff and missionaries as a form of recognition of status. If a kid had grown up playing with Africans, learned Swahili or a tribal language fluently, and if he really felt partial to the Wogs in his life, the rest of us noted that, and we would call him a Wog. It was a mark of one having reached a rite of passage. 

I remember as a kid in Rift Valley Academy being told I was a Wog. I really felt like I had arrived. To this was added the affection I felt and received by several of the African Kikuyu workers around the school and in the kitchen. I liked Africa, it was home, and certain Africans were close to my heart. In fact, I did not feel much distinction at all over racial issues.

Even today, when I meet a long lost friend from the past in Kenya, he may say, "How are you doing, you old Wog?" This sucks me at once back in time to sweet memories of good days.

So, you now know who we are talking about at this blog. If you are a younger African from the post-colonial era, you may have been taught that the word Wog was a racial slur. Sometimes it was, but other times it had nothing to do with race or status.

The Title of the Blog tells you what an expatriate is, and if you add the two words together, you have the idea. Now, not wanting to be a snob, I want to make it quite clear that any "native" of the British Empire is as worthy of being called a Wog as the best of us expatriates. 

So, I do welcome you. But do remember that there is no place here for preaching and complaining about the past. Nor do I tolerate revisionist history. Many nations in the Commonwealth remade their history to make heroes of despicable characters, and many worthy "natives" were cast away because they thrived under colonialism by using it as an opportunity.

Those of us who were there know the times when Britain behaved badly, and we know when the "natives" behaved badly. It is pointless for any of us to try to put a good face on the bad. It is equally wicked to toss out the good done by Great Britain simply because it makes national leaders look bigger than life.

In fact, there have been many discussions of the various colonial masters, and Great Britain is always seen as the most self-conscious master. That is, the English usually realized that they ought to lift up the level of life in a possession before they set up shop in that nation to do business. The Raj in India had its warts for sure, but if one notes the flow of order in India today, one sees "Great Britain" everywhere.

I trust you will send in your experiences and stories. There is much to learn in such an exercise.


It is the rather arrogant assumption of most Aryans (especially Anglo-Saxons) that our Western cultures are superior to that of Africa. Anyone living along the equator of the world is looked on as someone in need, perhaps backward, often pitied. How sad. The following is meant to be in good humor, but in about 1955, and even today in some parts of Africa, this is the secret observation of many Africans.

Are we indeed as advanced as we imagine?

When an African leaves his home in the morning, he has not brushed his teeth. This is planned on purpose, for along the way he will find several varieties of bushes growing which are known as tooth brush trees. Each tree or bush will give a different flavor from the wood. 
This African will break off a piece of the bush, cut it blunt with a knife or machete, and start chewing it. After a while, the end will be all worked to a pulp, and the effect is that he now has a brush with which to brush his teeth. Once he is finished with it, he will toss it into the bushes and go on about his day.
Now, the White man has a much better plan. He pays a lot of money at the store for some very special paste packaged in a collapsing tube. There are at least 50 choices of flavors, chemicals, whiteners, and brighteners designed to gag anyone. These various tooth pastes are often rather deadly and one dare not swallow them, but on the side of the tube there is a little message telling you that nine out of ten dentists think each brand is the only thing on earth that will keep your teeth from falling out of your head. Others promise to make your girl friend swoon as she smells the remains of these chemicals on your breath. 
After paying extortionist prices for tooth paste which is 90% talc, a kind of rock in the ground, you will buy a tooth brush which is ergonomically designed to fit your hand perfectly and turn into a disgusting bird's nest within six days. You may buy this toy in various designs which give the impression they belong on the dash of a Ferrari. This brush then hangs in a holder or vase in the bathroom and mysteriously coats everything near it in a scum of paste and mold between uses. 
Certainly, anyone can see that the Anglo Saxons have the most advanced plan.
See an African with his toothbrush
The African, that is, who lives in the bush, wears no shoes. How sad. His feet also develop heavy callouses over the years, and he even has to scrub them off with a rock at times. When an African walks down a path, he steps on a pebble from time to time, and he walks on. He only steps on any given pebble one time in his life. 
The Anglo Saxons wear shoes. How advanced and civilized this is. These shoes are designed so that as the Anglo walks around all day, from time to time, he also steps on a pebble. These shoes are mysteriously designed to flip pebbles into the shoes of the wearer. The Anglo then walks on the pebble in his shoe for some time, and eventually starts saying things which we cannot include in this story. Anglo Saxons are the only advanced culture in the world who talk to rocks in their shoes. Once they have convinced the pebble in their shoe how wicked and rude it is, they stop, balance on one foot, take their shoe off, shake the pebble out on the ground, and fall over before getting the shoe back on. 
Certainly, no one would imagine that the African in the bush would have a better plan.
The White Race is most genteel. They do many things to deal with their body needs in public in such a way to give dignity to various primal bodily acts. The African deals with life's issues suddenly, and walks on, and there is not much to think about later. 
The African walks down the path, and when his nose seems full, he places the index finder against one nostril, turns his head, and blasts the other nostril empty on a nearby bush. No one pays any notice except the bush which may feel a bit overwhelmed. A little later, the other nostril will get the same treatment. 
The Anglo Saxon is so much more advanced in this art. He puts a clean white cloth into his back pocket in the morning in preparation for the cleansing of the nose. The ladies carry a lovely cloth made of flowered print to honor their nostril's deposit. 
The cloth is removed several times a day to deposit loads of snot into it while hiding behind a post or the fat lady in the check out line at the grocery store. Then the cloth full of snot is carried around in the pocket of purse all day, eventually dampening the man's trousers, giving a warm impression that snot is forever, and calling for his wife to say, "Dear, you have a damp spot on your trousers." 
This cloth then needs laundering regularly, and over time, the cloth becomes yellowed and dingy and must be hidden in the hands while in use so people don't think you are a beggar and have holes in your socks as well (from pebbles in your shoes). 
Again, we can see the advantage of culture and White Race attention to detail which the bush African lacks.
I am told that one can purchase a toilet in Japan for $40,000. The Anglo Saxons, and Asians, have mastered the art of making a royal lounge of the place where they defecate. They have porcelain thrones, while Caesar had gold thrones. The Western custom is to have this toilet inside the home near the rest of the activity areas so that the aroma of human leavings can be shared with the guests at a dinner party. 
This toilet is connected to some very involved plumbing which includes other fixtures for hand washing and laundering cloths. This system of pipes and traps is made so that, from time to time, the things that should flow along and be sent to the city sewer system clog instead and stop the flow. This then gives the observer the opportunity to see water run uphill as the toilet overflows. This practical arrangement provides a whole range of employment opportunities for men who specialize in moving the suspended movement on to its destination. 
The destination of this highly honored effluent is sometimes a septic tank. This is a large cement tank in the yard, deeply buried in a location that everyone has forgotten, and designed to digest what the White Race was unable to digest completely. The septic tank is also designed to not digest things that do not suit its finicky tastes. This results in the septic tank backing up and stopping its task of receiving contributions from the nice toilet in the house nearby. The septic tank is designed to do this at 5 o'clock just before your dinner party guests are to arrive. 
This way, your guests will arrive just as the plumber is digging up the front yard, after five experimental failures to find the septic tank, and your guests will get to read that clever and disgusting slogan the idiot has printed on the back end of his big tank truck. 
Perhaps the most amazing trick that is accomplished by toilets is that they are designed to reject the process of life if they are over worked. Thus, when some klutz uses an excess of paper to cleanse himself, the toilet automatically stops passing contents onward and cleverly deposits the contents of the toilet on the floor. This way you know that you need to "plunge" the thing and clean up the mess. Many a happy soul has been awakened to the howl of Johnny in the middle of the night, "Hey, Daddy, the toilet's running over." 
The backward bush African, when out and about in the countryside, steps behind a tree, does what he was created to do with the left overs of last nights feast, and (avoiding the stinging nettles nearby) cleanses himself with leaves which God created for this purpose, and he walks home. 
Back at the village, a corn stalk out house is built over a pit with a hole in the middle of a floor over the pit. There is no flushing as in modern Anglo-Saxonia, and the paper used for cleansing need not be biodegradable. A Sears and Roebuck catalog, or last year's corn cobs, will do just fine. When the pit is full, it is topped up with dirt, and the loo is moved over a new hole nearby. A papaya tree is planted over the old hole, providing the sweetest papayas on earth. 
Just think of all the many modern advancements this bush African has missed by not participating in the civilized contortions of the White Race.
Ah, the motor car. It sits there for days, phlegmatic and cool in the garage, waiting to carry you to the uttermost parts of the earth. It is loaded with features which pamper you with infinite consideration. It will tell you the outside and inside temperature, it will tell you when to add petrol, it will tell you how stupid you are to leave the door ajar, or the lights on after locking the door. My, My, and it will cool you when it is hot, or warm you when is it winter. 
When the automobile is in the garage, it is ready, "good to go," it is the pinnacle of the White Race's creative motive invention. But, when you climb aboard, insert the key, and turn it, the lovely automobile simply says, "Garrrrump," and that is all you get for you effort and down payment. This means you indeed left the trunk open when you last used the car, and the trunk (boot) light has ever so gradually murdered the battery. Now, you must push the car out of the garage and beg your neighbor to bring his own car and jumper cables around, which all wise car owners have (except you). Your neighbor then starts your car for you and testily suggests that jumper cables are on sale at Wal-Mart. 
The Masai warrior in Kenya wraps up his overnight needs in a bundle, hangs them on a stick, flips the stick over his shoulder, and walks twenty miles over the plains to visit his uncle in Sultan Hamed. How utterly primitive. Think of all the information your auto passes out as you travel over the city, information which the Masaai warrior never learns. Like, "low on fuel."
The White race has perhaps no greater zeal to show creativity than in its ablutions. There are endless devices for this purpose. There is first the sink, which is found in the bath room, the kitchen, the breeze way, the garage, and in the back garden even. Sinks are so urgently part of Western life that no one ever throws them away. Discarded sinks are used as icons of progress as they sit propped against the back fence. 
A well made sink must be thoughtfully and incessantly managed because it is designed to cover itself with water spots and scum whenever your back is turned. Some sinks can even grow mold right up out of the drain. Sinks also have a way of trapping hair in the drain so that one night, Johnny leaves the faucet dripping, and the sink fills with water and runs over. This gives you the opportunity to mop the floors in the middle of the night. 
The White Race also has large tubs which they fill with hot and cold water in which they sink in reverie and cleanse themselves of the filth of life. They then sit in this filth which has been dissolved into the water, and wish for better things. The lingering odor of the filth that did not quite come off when they dried with the towel is then concealed by a variety expensive perfumed solutions. These solutions are marketed to make women more alluring and to make men more macho. Thus, the bath has been a success. 
The alternative is the shower where the White men can wash all the filth down the drain without leaving any residue on himself, a much preferred plan. This is accomplished while his wife and daughter turn on the washing machine and the kitchen faucet and freeze his buns off. The civilized White man deals with this by roaring in rage and saying unspeakable things to the whole world. But, he is clean. 
The last place of ablution is the laundry. This includes two devices, the washing machine, and the dryer. Much improvement has been engineered into these devices since the first primitive machines were invented long ago. The washing machine has all sorts of sensors now which detect the load size and carefully meter out just enough water to run over on the floor. This water is impossible for you to completely clean up because some is always under the machine which cannot be moved. This water keeps a lovely mold farm thriving under the washing machine. 
The modern washing machines now have the ability to balance the load in the event that you load it unevenly. This assures that the machine balances the load in such a way to allow the machine to bang bang bang its way clear across the room before you can get there to shut it off. Woe to the idiot who sets the washing machine running and goes to bed. This is when it always goes into hip hop mod  
It is always exciting for a young man to learn to use the washing machine for the first time. It is a rite of passage which is usually learned in the laundry room at the college he attends. His first venture in this skill will result in a wardrobe enhancement when he puts his new red shirt in with his underwear and ends up with ladylike pink Fruit of the Loom jockey shorts. My, how the lads will compliment him on this innovation. 
The dryer is a great invention in its own right. It is designed with all sorts of settings for every conceivable kind of clothing so that you don't over heat your undies and turn them into doll clothes which only Barbie could wear. The nice thing is that dryers are capable of figuring this out for you, and when you come to empty the dryer, the clothes are still dripping wet. This is troubling, but at least they never shrink this way. 
Dryers also have a stealth feature by which they extract many of the threads in the clothing, bit by bit, and deposit them in the most obscure places in the dryer and down the tube to the outdoors. This allows the owner to periodically play a hide and seek game with light gray lint. Dryers are also very good at turning Johnny's crayons into lovely decorations in your new white frock. And they can extract the ink from the most dried up ball point pen and deposit it in Daddy's dress slacks. 
Both the washer and dryer are wisely designed to break one week after the warrantee runs out. 
The bush African lady, the poor abject, picks up her load of laundry, walks to the lake, and washes herself as she washes her laundry, and dries the clothes on the nearby bushes. Her pots and pans are scrubbed at the edge of the village using water and ashes from the fire, which is a mild antiseptic. Think of all the variety of activity she misses by living in the bush in Africa? Why, there are African women who have never had to mop up the floor under a washer in their whole life. So primitive!!
As you can see, we have clearly distinguished the bush African from the city African. The bush African has simply not come along into modern life as he should have. 
The modern African, such as the business man and politician in Nairobi or Lagos, have abandoned the bush life of course. They are now almost as advanced as any Anglo Saxon in Frankfurt of Boston. They buy Chinese washing machines, which have incomprehensible speak a make small place, add soap, turn around large knob, make go half fast, and close upper door now. 
They also can buy Italian, Russian, British, and American machines and automobiles which all have different sorts of bolt and nut sizes, thus giving them the opportunity to buy four times as many tools as Anglo Saxons who stayed home in Boston or London and bought locally. 
Furthermore; the plumbing in African cities is modern indeed, for it stops up much more often then in Anglo Saxon countries, thus providing many more jobs for the unemployed as miles of drains are regularly dug up clear down the street and under the President's palace. Signs of progress are everywhere in African cites where one can easily fall into sewer excavations as many as three times a day. Also, much fellowship is enhanced as African city dwellers are forced to borrow the loo of their neighbors on a regular basis. This gives opportunity to speak freely and fondly about the appointed official who manages the drains of the city. 
So, you can see that the bush African, the man who lingers in the back woods of the "Developing World," is lagging farther and farther behind the modern Anglo Saxons and the down town Africans.
"Say, do you have a plunger? We are having a small problem over here."

Sunday, November 6, 2011


In the mid 1970s, while we were missionaries in Ethiopia, we lived in the heavy forests of the Rift Valley on Lake Langano about 200 miles south of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The area was still rather primitive, and we were very isolated from the world. Our neighbors were the Arussi Galla people who are thought of as backward and primitive. They were not exposed to the outside world in many respects, but they were NOT backward.

Missionaries have opportunity to have unique pets. We have had several. The most puzzling pet we ever had was our monkey at Langano. Some Arussi kids brought a young monkey one day and asked if we wanted it. They must have heard that white people from America craved strange animals. To an African, a monkey is about as exciting as a rat. 

We were delighted, and we tied the monkey to a tree and got busy building the critter a cage. This must have seemed even more strange. The Africans would have tied the monkey to something and left him there probably. Here was the European (Fagangi in Amheric) building a nice palace for a monkey, the scourge of every African gardener. 

Well, the first order of business was what to feed our monkey. My wife Elizabeth and I recited several stories of monkeys which we had heard and came up with an obvious list of delicacies the monkey would certainly like. We started with a banana, which we handed to the monkey. There are thousands of stories about monkeys and how they love bananas, right? He looked it over carefully and threw it down. So, we just knew he would love peanuts.

Peanuts are what the African farmer used to catch a greedy monkey in his garden in a well known monkey story. Well, when our monkey was given a dish of peanuts, he sniffed them thoughtfully, and then he went and sat in the corner of his cage and squawked something in fluent monkey which we dare not translate here. 

The same thing happened with fresh corn (which baboons love), boiled rice, bread, and everything we came up with. We had visions of this monkey dying of starvation because he had not read the books telling the civilized world what monkeys love to eat.

I decided the monkey needed some exercise, so I put a leash on him and took him for a walk. After wandering around a while, I walked through some knee high grass. 

As we went along, grasshoppers would jump out of the grass ahead of us in all directions. The monkey went crazy. He would grab them in mid air and cram them into his mouth as fast as he could. Our monkey was a gourmet. None of this common book food for him. He would only eat grasshoppers.

So, in the early evening every day, you would see this "missionary statesman" walking his monkey in the tall grass. It was either that or the monkey would starve. And, he associated me with the whole process, so I had to walk him because I had been the one who first pleased his delicate apish palate. The Ethiopians were amazed though. To them, a man walking a monkey would be the same as a man walking a rat would be in our culture. Imagine a man taking a walk with a varmint.

You just never know what you will be called upon to do in the line of duty.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


There was a day quite a few years ago when millions of people, whether subjects of the British Empire, or simply people far from civilization, sat down to listen to the evening news from London. The BBC was the virtual anchor that held the empire together as a community. 

From Simla to Singapore, from the Bahamas to Halifax, they were all present for the golden Oxford plum-on-your-tongue mellow cooing of the announcer. And, when the reigning sovereign of Great Britain wanted to call a family gathering, he or she could use the BBC and know that their subjects were hanging on every word.

Some will disagree with the above assumptions, but I have lived it, and I still long for those evenings gathered in the sitting room of the mission guest house to listen to the news from London. Some of your poor beggars haven't a clue what I am talking about because the empire is gone and replaced by a mongrel community called the EU. How very dull.

Before we go on, listen for yourself-- This was the signature tune and voice of all things final and worth knowing about the world.

Some listeners were British civil servants stationed in the Empire in distant places where they ruled an area the size of Texas with maybe twenty British soldiers and clerks. These people lead a lonely existence, for they seldom saw any other Anglo-Saxons for months at a time.

They would never think of coming down to the level of an ordinary Australian or American if they were back with their Oxford set in the UK, but being "in the bush," they welcomed anyone from civilization eagerly. Entertainment would be offered, and it was grossly rude to decline to stay at least overnight. All the formal teas, tiffins, and a five course meal would be included, as well as the help of house boys in the guest house to run the bath water and bring morning tea in bed.

But, one ritual was always anticipated above every other. After the evening meal, everyone retired to the "sitting room" of the presiding official or the guest house. Coffee would be served, and possibly special cheese and crackers. Then, everyone would sit down, the short-wave radio was turned on and tuned to the BBC call sign, and silence fell as the announcer spoke, "This is London," and the bagpipes played the theme music. As the six blips sounded, some would quietly reset their watches, for this was the world's official time- Greenwich, England, Anglo-Saxon time.

Any of you who were missionaries in the past era will recall that we all did the same thing, as an absolutely essential end to the day, in the living room of the mission guest house in the central city, or out sitting under the fly of a tent in the bush.

I have often wondered what those early era African workers thought of this ritual. Some may have thought the missionary or British Sahib was listening to his gods. But, by the 1960s any civilized educated African and Indian had joined in. Indeed, many Africans in the bush and Indians in the Hill Country knew more about world affairs than the average American.

After the news, and the radio was switched off, there would be a lengthy discussion of the news and how it would affect life in the world. There were clues as to how reliable a news item was.

"From our correspondent in South Africa...." would be followed by a (sometimes live) quote from the correspondent. That was pure gold.

"Our correspondent reports that....." meant it was about 90% certain to be true.

"Reliable sources tell us that......" meant it was pretty sure news, but we better see what happens tomorrow.

"It has been reported that......." meant that it was pretty much a semi-reliable bit of international gossip and not something to count on too heavily.

What was dreaded was to hear: "We interrupt this program to bring you the following announcement...." To a District Officer in Gaita, Tanzania, or a magistrate in Madras, even to an African headmaster in Nigeria, those words chilled the bones. What followed was the death of the King, or a war had started, etc. Everyone held their breath and it was silent as a morgue in the sitting room.

British Empire civil servants, and missionaries, were people of the world, not just the nation they worked in. This is something the average Englishman and American today cannot understand. I find it a bit lonely as I am getting older, for I miss people who can talk about the world and not just the stupid Democrats or some famous quarterback.

I hope you will use this blog to amuse me a bit, and leave comments for your friends and children who don't have our memories.

After the BBC news and a lively discussion, some elder missionary would read the evening page for that date from the Daily Light, and prayer followed. In some lonely hill station in northern India, the visiting Anglican vicar was asked to read and pray. 

Often, prayer went around the world because some news item made it very clear that missionaries, empire officials, or expatriates in some other corner of the globe were in trouble due to political unrest or some horrible weather event. Again, I miss having people around me who pray outside their little box, but who pray with full consciousness of the urgency of some need far away. I am not talking about that classic prayer, "God bless all the missionaries in the world."

The BBC was much more useful than the US version, the Voice of America. The VOA was classically a propaganda tool. The BBC, unlike today, was totally unaffected by politics. The staff at the BBC were fired if they got a divorce. They were to be absolutely proper all the time, at work and off duty. They spoke perfect Oxford English, and you could tell an African who learned English listening to the BBC English lessons. You could detect the Oxford pronunciations. The BBC today is not remotely close to the BBC or the 1950s professionally, and they are a propaganda tool for the British left all the way.

And, the rotters have dropped shortwave service to North America. Pray tell, where do they think we went. The only way I can pick up the BBC in Texas is to come round from the other side, which is a rare event with the ionosphere. It is just not the same to get the BBC on the internet. No static-- it just ain't right folks.

Also, long ago, the British Foreign Office used the BBC to inform all British subjects of what to do in an emergency. The Voice of America never did this because the US State Department were notorious for not informing Americans overseas of what was good for their health.

If the BBC news announcer said, "British subjects in Bombay are being told to avoid all unnecessary travel during the crisis........," that was the official instructions to British missionaries and government officials. It also meant, start thinking about where to go if the next night the news announcer says, "British subjects are being advised to move to points of departure and prepare to leave the country........" No other message need be sent from the British Embassy in the country. You had your orders to clear out at once.

We Americans listened to the news just as thoughtfully as our British friends, for the BBC was all the help we might get from the outside world. We basically did what our British friends did.

And, if you were up late, you heard the sign off.


There was one program we just had to listen to from the Voice of America though, at least us boys in the dorm who had short-wave radios-- Willis Conover and the Jazz Hour. It is said that when Willis Conover traveled to other nations around the world, he drew larger crowds at the airport than kings and presidents. No one around the world knew what he looked like, but if they heard him talking in a hotel or restaurant in Hong Kong or Singapore, someone would come up and ask, "Are you Willis Conover?"

You must hear him for yourself:

Every jazz program announcer in America during that era honed his voice to mimic Willis Conover. Also, there are many observers of recent American history that claim Willis Conover made more friends for America than any other single man. His show was almost never jammed by the Societ jamming stations.

You doubt that, don't you? Well, here is a RUSSIAN tribute concert to Willis Conover.
Tell me, what President or Prime Minister has had his very own tribute concert?

Don't you love those KGB looking boys playing the trumpet and sax, and Kruschev's little brother on the piano. I love it. They cannot get along with us, and they cannot get along without us. Makes you feel good to be an American in an age when we are blamed for all the world's ills.

Conover benefit in Poland

By the way, Vladamir Putin rides a big motorcycle-- a "Hog,"-- a Harley Davidson. Stay tuned folks for the next invasion by America into Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Cuba. It will be lead by Time Warner I would think, or maybe Wal-Mart.

The "A Train" sure got around the world.

So, America made its mark, but after the Jazz Hour, it was still the BBC that everyone on earth wanted to hear to get the unadulterated news. There used to be two things that said "British Empire"-- the BBC and the Rock or Gibralter. I sympathize with you folks in the UK. Times are not the same.



The Protestant Boys

The strange thing is that both tunes are based in resentment for British rule in the United Kingdom. I have not yet figured out why the tune was chosen by the BBC.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


This is Post Number One of my Expatriate Wog Blog. 

Some who enter here will be offended because they have no memory of the days when certain offspring of colonial officials, missionaries, and foreign workers had kids who were so absorbed in their adopted nation that they indeed felt they were Wogs. This man was there and still feels like some part of him was left in Kenya long ago.

To you who understand, I trust we get some good comments and old memories added by you to the blog items. I shall indulge in memories and musings about my own experiences in Kenya and Tanzania.

I begin with a video from Tanzania that simply makes it quite clear who belongs here:

That was the Mwanza Town Choir of Mwanza, Tanzania. My Dad put them on the radio in the 1970s by publishing their music all over East Africa for the Africa Inland Church. Unlike the allegedly "civilized" nations of the world, every bar in East Africa would have several records of the Mwanza Town Choir for patrons to listen to when requested.

I lived for a while on Makongoro Road and out of town on Lake Victoria at a spot named Bwiru.

Where did you become a "Wog"?