Monday, October 1, 2012

Welcome to Kivuvu - September 1965

"Soyez les bien venus". Roughly translated by my now very rusty French, this sign reads: "They are the welcome ones". This sign was erected to celebrate and welcome the Meyers family to Kivuvu. Kivuvu means "place of hope" in Kikongo, as I recall. My father is a doctor, and this little mission station housed the leprosarium. Fortunately for the patients, my dad's specialty is leprosy and tropical disease.

We would live here at Kivuvu until 1973, with a furlough back to the States in 1969 (just in time to watch the moon landing!). Looking at the photo, I remember how desolate and bleak Kivuvu looked when we got there. Of course it was the very end of dry season, which didn't help. By the time we left in June of 1973 there would be rows of mango and oil palm trees lining the roads, and flowers too.

The house behind us was for Edna and Jean, two single missionaries from England. Edna was a nurse, and Jean a teacher. I learned a lot from both of them, and especially enjoyed their holiday celebrations. Edna's marzipan Christmas cake was wonderful! You can see that Edna and Jean were newly arrived as well, although I don't remember when they came. There are packing crates to the left, and those wouldn't have stayed out for long. Further to the left is their rabbit house. The rabbits were an experiment doomed to fail. Once the python population discovered these bite-sized snacks, they were constantly stopping by.

Our house was of similar concrete block and corrugated tin roof construction, and is located off-screen and to the right. I'll post another photo later.

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