An Arican Safari Uganda: 1965-1969

An African Safari

Uganda 1965-1969

Chapter One


In  less than three years these diaries will be fifty years old.  I thought they might be of some interest to those who knew me in Uganda all of those years ago and to my students, many of whom are now the same age as I was then.  They are naive, fragmented but do provide a bit of a picture of what my then wife, Fione (Fione Marie Picard, 1943-2001- Fione died of Leukemia in February 0f 2001) and I saw in a Uganda less than three years after independence. (Note: Sections in Bold and Italics were carried out and transcribed by Pauline Greenlick in 2008 and 2009 or edited by me in 2013).

August 18, 1965

This was my father’s 61st Birthday.

So we can start by saying that in 1965 I knew very little of Africa and did not really want to go there.  My idea was to go to Thailand or India because they seemed exotic.  I had always wanted to go to South or South East Asia. Except for Pakistan I still haven’t.

The Peace Corps asked if I wanted to go to Uganda and I will have to admit that I did not know anything about Uganda. I had heard a bit about Kenya.  I did not think anything of Africa.  I just took it as a given that it was controlled by Europe and was going through a decolonization process- though I did not know much else. I learned this through Time Magazine and most likely did read a bit about Africa through the print media.

When I was a kid, I don’t think I had many thoughts about Africa or much of the world outside of Europe. I knew about slavery.  I saw the usual Tarzan movies.  I must have known something about South Africa.  I ‘m trying to get my mood about 1965 Africa and I can’t.  I did take a course in history and geography and they most likely talked about Africa so I must have  known something about Africa.

In Michigan, I do not think it was my idea to join the Peace Corps though I was not against it.  I was thinking of going to law school, but Fione wanted to go to the Peace Corps; so we did.  She wanted to go because I think there was a sense to wanting to do good in the world.  She had taught the black kids in Saginaw reading and had hoped to do good work either through Social Work or service.  So I just went along. I guess we were in Ann Arbor in our little trailer, a small tin can outside Saline, Michigan. I would say we applied in February maybe January.  I do not remember.

Fione Marie Picard 1963 beside Ken's Porsche

Picture:  Fione Marie Picard in 1963

It was fairly quick because once we were accepted then we were for sure going to go. I just don’t know that we talked much about it.  I think it was something that she wanted to do more than I did. I was not unwilling but I was pretty passive about it. I knew what it was that I wanted to do when I got back, either go to law school or to do a PhD.   But I was originally interested in History and remember writing a paper on Imperialism and that generally led me toward Anglophone Africa.

I was not very excited when we got accepted into the Peace Corps; perhaps more nervous than excited.  It was something to do after the University of Michigan.  I had looked forward to getting out of Michigan.  I wanted to leave Michigan to see more of the world.  I kind of had it in my head that I wanted to go out of Michigan from the time I was in high school.  I had been accepted at the University of Hawaii to study political science and that is most likely what I wanted to do.  Of course I had no money.  Why Hawaii?  I do not know.  It was warm and sunny and exotic.  I was definitely eager to get out of the trailer park.  Though somewhat in contradiction, I was not eager to get out of Ann Arbor.  I liked the cosmopolitan feel of the town. I thought vaguely of moving back there someday. The attraction was that I was not really that keen in going to the Peace Corps.  I was just going along.  I don’t think that it was an  overwhelming love for Fione that led me to Uganda.  I just went along because that was what she wanted to do.

We never argued about going to the Peace Corps.  I was quite content to do it. We left Saline Michigan and sold our trailer in August 65 and went into the Peace Corps in August in 65 as trainees So we were in New York September, October, hand alf of Dec. in New York City.  We did practice teaching at Herran High School in Manhattan.  I was ready to leave the tin can in Saline.  I was happy to leave the trailer park because I did not like the trailer.  It was small, dirty and cold. We had some neighbors, but we actually knew actually just one couple. I vaguely remember they were from Kansas and in graduate school.

September 1

Only a couple of weeks after graduating from college we packed up and went off to New York for Peace Corps training.

We were only allowed 1 suitcase when we went to New York.  We packed most of our stuff, mostly books and took them to my parents where they stayed there for about 6 years.  We did not have a lot.  The trailer was furnished.  It was a small dinky, pink trailer and it was ugly with a white picket fence around it.  There were two lawn chairs that we would sit in outside. We did not do much dreaming about the future.  I became a dreamer when I got to Africa.  I spent that summer regretting not going to graduate school.  I don’t know what Fione’s feelings were about the matter. To me it was something to try.  Don’t get me wrong, it not was something that I was against doing.  I mean going to New York was more exotic than going to Africa.  The Pope’s visit and the Blackout occurred that fall.  Being able to buy the Sunday New York Times at midnight on Saturday night was great.

My family was against it, my father in particular.  He could not figure out why I wanted to go.  Because it was his idea that I go to law school; there were lawyers in my family, a federal judge, and this sort of got in the way.  My dad never achieved what he wanted to do and tried to live vicariously through me.  One side of the family was successful lawyers along with all of the status symbols that go with it- community involvement in the Saginaw Club, a Country club style of living.  I remember the day that I told my family. Oh not exactly, it was in the spring.  We drove up to Saginaw, though I honestly do not remember much of it.  We saw Fione’s mother as well, not her dad because she was estranged from her father.  He probably was around the house and he would most likely be in another part of the house watching TV.  He would not be part of the conversation.  Her mom’s reaction was that she sort of basically accepted it, resigned , passive, I don’t think she ever gave her blessing, her mother never reacted strongly about things one way or another.  I don’t remember her father caring either. We usually stayed at my parents in those days.  My dad grumbled but did not get mad at us. But his idea was to get over it, get back and then go to law school.  No one was going to pay for law school but I would get through with loans and scholarships.

My image of myself, I think I had already in my own mind that I did not want to do law but teach at university.  So when I came back I would get PhD. I have always thought of myself as an academic.  I’m a person who is interested in books and interested in studying.  Fione Marie Picard (her maiden name) was a psychologist. She was interested in social behavior.  She looked the part.  She was sort of slouched, she did not stand up straight; I think she might of felt that she was little to bit tall.  I think she was a little bit taller than me.  She had dark hair, glasses, a roundish face. Somewhat stocky, she became stocky in later years. She had Big hips; a little bit clumsy but very smart.  She sometimes appeared clumsy and would stumble. She wanted to go into the Peace Corps and I was going to go with her.  To all of our family and friends this appeared to work for us but my interests in the Peace Corps before I left was very limited.

If I had it my way I most likely would have gone to graduate school right away; a mistake I’m sure.  I could have easily started graduate school in the fall of 65 and finished my PhD by 69.  That is probably what I would have liked to do at that time.  Well it was kind of the line of least resistance that I chose not to go to graduate school.  Just because I could not think of anything better to do at the time.  But if I did not have a strong motivation to join the Peace Corps when I left, that changed when I got there.

At peace Corps training I did read something about Eastern Africa.  We read Allen Morehead, “The White Nile”, Katherine Marshall’s book “None of your laughter”  They were given to us during Peace Corps training.  Also there was a Paul Bohannan book on anthropology. My thoughts in reading these books:  I enjoyed the stories because the Moorehead book was about explorers.  We were taught a little about Swahili, about 45 hours a week on the language. The bulk of the time was spent on student education classes and student teaching.  I enjoyed student teaching.  I found the education books kind of dull.  I could not figure out why we were student teaching in Spanish Harlem and BellevueP sychiatric Hospital for training.

We were New York for three months on training:  Herran  high school and Bellevue Hospital.  I had a suspicion that they did not know what to do with us before they sent us out.  They thought it was good training because there were a lot of black people in Harlem and in Bellevue.  I thought Bellevue was horrible, those poor kids were nuts.  I student taught for about 8 weeks, History. I think it was 10th grade.  The kids were by today’s standards working class kids.  They were mostly black, some Hispanics and a few whites.

The male history teacher was white. It was a bad neighborhood.  Well you could tell by looking at it.  It was an inner city school.  We traveled by subway every day.  I liked the subway every day.  I did not feel too nervous in New York.  It was a lot of fun, lots to do.  We enjoyed 2 or 3 plays – “Funny Girl” with Barbara Streisand and “Man from La Mancha”  I think there was a third one but can’t remember.  We went to the movies a lot – the Bleacher Street theatre. They would show exotic French films.  We had gone to a lot of European films in Ann Arbor so there was an attraction.  The French films; I seem to remeber they were French comedies.  However, they were mature films with real themes and real issues; not like Doris Day.

During training, there was a lot of concern and discussion about the American invasion of the Dominican Republic. There was not much thought of Vietnam  Many of the Peace Corps volunteers were left wing.  They were heavily eastern.  The Midwestern and Southern  trainees really stuck out.  They were from Connecticut, PA and points northeast.  I  was not directly escaping from the draft and we were married.  Married exempted you from military services.

Strangely, I don’t remember thinking much of Uganda or Africa during the three months of training.

Chapter Two

Leaving and Arriving

 December 31, 1965

It is the eve of departure.  We are excited, eager to arrive in Africa and yet somewhat reluctant to leave.  We have spent the day packing and there is more to do in the morning.  We felt weary, hopeful, afraid, enthusiastic and determined to do the job. We feel a deep obligation to ourselves, and to the many people who have helped and shown interest in us and to our dear parents to do well. (Fione Marie Picard-FMP).

When we got off the plane in August we went for training for 3 months from August through mid December in New York City.  Then we spent the last 2 weeks in December in Saginaw.  Then back to New York. Then on the day after New Year’s we flew to Nairobi.

We started the diary recorded here on the day before we left for Uganda. The diary was a Christmas present from my mother. Fione wrote many of the entries in Uganda and by far the most intelligent. Fione was very motivated and excited about going to Africa.  She had a very strong moral value system.  She was going to go and do good.  Her interests were the individual, the psychological dimensions of people and her other interests were on the scientific side.  She was very interested in Astronomy and Physics.  She had worked in a planetarium at Delta College for several years.  She was interested in the logic of science; how science is based on evidence.  So from a human perspective she was interested in why people did the things they did and how behavior based on social behavior and psychology.  She liked to read Jung and Freud. So she had science and psychology and yes I had history and political science.

We might have been a good pair but Fione had to deal with her father.  That is just a speculation.  Her father’s name was George and he worked as a salesman at Sears, downtown Saginaw.  They were originally from Champagne-Urbana Illinois. I remember that he had a gap between his front teeth, which Fione inherited and that he was always friendly to me. I never really understood him. Fione and her father could never communicate.  I think she was running away. [I found out much later that she had run away to Mexico in high school and was forced to come back]. 

Fione Marie Picard was the dominant member of the family and for some time her siblings and mother (Clara) eventually followed her wherever she moved.  Her brother was named Philip and her sister was Marcie. 

She came to Africa as a possible idealist.  What can I say- most people are either running away or toward something for one reason for another; especially those who travel.  Her father was a mean guy and an abuser. I got this both from her and from how the others reacted from him.  They came from Central Illinois and their origins were French Huguenot.  Picard was their name though they were not from the Saginaw Picards. As far as I know, she remained estranged from her father throughout his life.

Fione was running away from her father.  As much as I can remember, that is what she was running away from.  She was a rebel.  It seemed that whatever she did was in defiance with her father. Keep in mind this was in the early 60’s a long time ago.  She would have not gone alone to Africa; she needed me or someone to get her there.  But she was the more adventurous of the two of us.  She really did want to go.  My image of it was that she was gung ho to go, excited, enthusiastic and could not wait.  She corresponded with her mother while we were in Africa but they seemed to fade away as we were there. 

Going back a few years, she had moved out of her house right after we met and lived with a woman in Midland, Joanna (who was a nurse) for about a year who also had been a student at Delta. She was only 19 when she moved out.  Basically she ran away from home.  This happened when she was at Delta College.

This was just after we had gotten to know each other. We both graduated from Arthur Hill in 1961.  She had a blow up with her father so she left.  She lived in Midland until she went with me to Ann Arbor.  We did not live together the first year.  She lived in a coop; I stayed in a room in a private home. 

She would visit her mother at home; it was not a total break from the rest of the family.  They sometimes argued about things; though I can’t remember specifically what, though I think they argued about George’s behavior towards his mother.  That is a guess.  I always had a feeling that George was not a nice guy.  She was very attached to her mother who was very nice; quiet even meek.  I believe George was an abuser.  He had all of the characteristics; he was duplicitous.  There was coarseness to the guy, lower middle class.  Nothing visible that I can remember, and an anger mainly towards her mother and Fione, and most likely the other two children. 

Fione did not like her father.  She was rebellious and I don’t know if there was physical violence involved; she feared him and did not respect him at the same time. To me he had all of the characteristics of the salesman of Sears, which he was of course.

I did not know Fione well during high school. We often sat together in high school because our last names were the same. We both attended Delta College. We started seeing each other in 1962. We did not live together while we stayed in Saginaw but saw each other regularly.  However, my parents did not even know who she was until a few months before we decided to get married. Prior to Fione, I had a couple of dates but nothing interesting.

 Before I was involved with Fione she was involved with a Turkish guy. He was older, heavy set but a friendly guy.  She broke up with him for reasons that I do not know.  He was a student at the school.  I think he was an engineering student.  He was very distinctive because of the blood birthmark on his face.

I was not running away from my family or Michigan but to be perfectly honest I was running away from being a lawyer.  I think it was more that I did not want to be what my father wanted me to be.  I had a strong interest in History and the international.  Though a part of me was ready to go to graduate school the moment I graduated from Michigan. [Bad idea].

The day before we left I was trying to pack everything and well we packed our big foot locker (a trunk from Liebermans), I guess it was over Christmas.  We left New Years Eve from Saginaw and I think my parents had a little reception sometime that week between Christmas and New Years.  I guess about 12 and 14 people.  We flew from Saginaw to Detroit to New York.  I think Fione was excited.  My relative lack of emotions, both on the eve of this trip and in Uganda, were probably better suited for Africa than Fione’s emotional reactions to it. Relative may be a stretch.  Perhaps I should drop the word.  I think they allowed me to have a life time involvement with the continent.

January 1, 1966

We are completing last minute packing.  Leave SBM (Saginaw, Bay City, Midland) at 2:50.  Madhouse at airport.  From there things got worse.  Mike Quill and the transit strike.  It took us two and one half hours to travel 2/3rds of the way around the airport.  All of this after the 1 ½ hours circling waiting to land at JFK (Landed at 7:30, arrived downtown NYC at 11:30.   Saw old friends and drank a few at Hotel Wellington then to bed (Five hours of sleep).  Tomorrow off.  (Louis A. Picard (LAP).

 January 2, 1966

 We traveled via Frankfurt on Ethiopian Airways (Boeing 707); Great excitement out to JFK at 7:00 pm.  Three and ½ hour delay in flight.  Finally set off at about 1:30 PM.  Many from Teachers College to see us off.  Bomana George.  Perhaps they’ll be in Tanzania sometime in July, a date if so. Caroline, Dr. Meder, John Fanselou and Joe Durham as well as Chuck Wozall and Rich Abrams all out to see us off. [We had great affection for the training staff; of course we never saw them again.  One exception was the course coordinator, Marie Gadsden, who I later interacted with on a project in Botswana] with the Phelps Stokes Fund. A web link to her biography and obituary is below. 28/local/35448692_1_train-teachers-higher-education-first-black-woman

There were about 100 of us going to Kenya and Uganda. It was exciting to be on the plane; there was a lot of noise and a lot of alcohol and a lot of nervous laughter.  We were all in our early 20’s; Fione and I were 22 years old [too young to be married.  Most were in their mid-twenties and a few were older.  The oldest were in their late 20;’s and they seemed ancient.  They were friends we had made just for the Peace Corps training and they were really no more than cquaintances. I had lasting contact with few of them.

  I don’t think we were afraid; we were just excited and more than a little nervous.  I knew we were nervous, demonstrably nervous, talking out loud, laughing out loud.  Most of them on the plane had never left the US before.  We had been on Ethiopian Airlines since New York.  I think most of us knew that Ethiopian was a subsidiary of TWA. 

 We stopped in Frankfurt and refueled. The Plane ride was long, 6 hours, and landed at 7:00 pm (1:30 AM) German time.  Thus very little to see.  Looks much the same as any other airport, cameras, tape recorders, radios, booze etc. on sale at deal prices.  Only difference noticeably is language as they really do speak another language. (From now on all entries will be East African Time.  LAP).

In Frankfurt there was nothing significant though I remember that I was impressed that we rode buses to the terminal.  It was common for planes to refuel there in Frankfurt.  I don’t remember what I drank; I didn’t drink a lot of whiskey at that time so probably a lot of beer.  I do not remember us talking about very much (Fione and me).  She was excited about the trip and she had made more friends during training than I had. I had a reputation as a bit of a loner. We had a group we started to hang out with in NY.  Some went to Kenya and some to Uganda. 

 There was always the distinction between the Kenyan and Ugandan volunteers; what about I don’t remember.  It was a typical charter flight where everyone was taking pictures; trying to memorialize of the event.  I did not take pictures but Fione probably took some since we have a few pictures of the flight.  I had bought a new Miranda camera in NYC that I took with me.  We also had a half frame camera that Fione used.  I remember that I kept thinking that there is not much you can see from an airplane.  It was a long, long flight. 

January 3, 1966

 We landed in Nairobi at about 6 in the morning. At the Airport we were met by a delegation from the American Embassy and the Kenya government led by the Minister of Agriculture.  We would later fly on to Kampala the next day.  I did not think much about flying Ethiopian Airlines.  What surprised me was the fact that the Kenya Minister of Agriculture was a man named MacKenzie, he was obviously Scottish and he was British rather African.  Kenyan had been only independent two years I thought. (Bruce R. Mackenzie was later said to have been I British Intelligence Officer who served in President Jomo Kenyatta’s first cabinet.  He was apparently assassinated in 1978 when I bomb exploded in his plane).

Two things surprised me. The light and the brightness of Kenya and East Africa, unfiltered in a way that I had never experienced before. That remains with me today. Secondly the sound of the birds in the morning as the sun came up.  Part of me wanted to stay in Kenya; it seemed interesting to me especially the presence of the Indian settlers and the British community and the powerful presence of President Jomo Kenyatta. 

The British influence was the first thing that I noticed because I had never truly comprehended the presence of the Indians and British in Africa.  I wanted to stay in Kenya for this reason because I was intrigued by this and remember that I did not want to continue onto Uganda.  I knew very little about Uganda and for some reason seemed less interesting than Kenya, though in the end it was the opposite.

January 4, 1966

(My sister’s 19th birthday). We are in Nairobi.  The flight from Frankfurt to Athens was uneventful.  Once we got on the ground however things livened up. It was a balmy 60 degrees in Athens and we enjoyed wandering around outside. It started to rain and we ran back to the plane with Pris and Joy. Once on the plane we heard a rumor that five people were missing.  Finally about 30 seconds before the scheduled take off, two of them came in. The twins and Mary Anne Fullerton were missing.  The pilot refused to wait.  We left Mike Fullerton waiting alone in the rain clutching his flight bag.

We could see the coast of Africa and then the Sahara.  It seemed to go on forever, looking like coffee with cream-colored snow drifts.  Later we flew over LakeRudolph and we were in Kenya.  We saw Mount Kenya and the great rift. [LAP]

January 4, 1966

We are in Nairobi, the flight from Frankfurt to Athens was uneventful.  Once we got on the ground, however, things livened up.  It was a balming 60° and we enjoyed sunning around.  It started to rain and we ran back to the plane with pride and joy.  Once on the plane we heard a rumor that five people were missing.  Finally about 30 seconds before the scheduled takeoff, two of them came in the twins and Mary Anne Fullerton were missing.  The pilot refused to wait.  We left him standing along in the rain, clutching his light bag.

We could see the coast of Africa and then the Sahara.  It seemed to go on forever looking like coffee with cream colored snow drifts.  Lastly we flew over Lake Rudolph and we were in Kenya.  We saw Mt. Kenya and the great rift.

At the airport we got lots of attention and speeches.  Then we were bussed to the Brunns Hotel.  We bathed and went out, walking around the city with Pris.  Later we walked up to the YWCA on a hill across the park at the end of Kenyatta Blvd. to bid joy good-bye .  It was sad  but hopeful   We then ate good food and rested (Roast Chicken and hot potato salad) at Dr. Gadsden’s who was in Nairobi.[1] In bed. (FMP).

Chapter Three

First Days in Uganda

January 5, 1966

We arrive in Kampala. A different type of city. Nairobi is pretty colonial. In fact very colonial. While Uganda as a whole depends much more on the U.K. than Kenya (Not sure why I said that) the city lacks much of the British (I suppose I meant Western) flavor. A clean and pretty down town, but not tourist.

Up early. Flew by East African Airways to Entebbe.  Then traveled by bus to Kampala. One thing colonial in Kampala, the Silver Springs Hotel. Where we are staying. Very nice for us though. Everything including a bar and swimming pool, two miles out of town however.  Still very tired. Fione went swimming; I went into town after the brief meeting, bought some things, and got lost.

Out for a great dinner and then decided to go into town to see “Mary Poppins.”   Second class seats, great fun. [My taste in films was pretty basic in 1966.]  Then to bed.  We even used the nets. (LAP).

January 6, 1966

Meetings from 10 to 3, following second struggle (one yesterday) at the bank.  Received Sh. 2,824 between us, bought travelers checks with most of it.  

Postings announced at noon.  We go to Aga Khan day school in Masaka. Seems like a great break.  Both Bill[2] and Jim Rusk raved about it.

[William C. Canby Jr. was the Director of the Peace Corps in 1966 and he later went on to serve as a Federal Judge in the United States Court of Appeals, for the Ninth District, Phoenix, Arizona. Rusk was the Associate Director who had served as a volunteer in Sierra Leone].,_Jr.

Know little about the school itself.  We hope to find out more about it later.

Met Ambassador Deming in the afternoon. (Olcott Hawthorne Deming).   Interesting but nothing new.  Then we went into town to do some bargaining.  I did well.  Bought a basket purse.  This morning we are trying to write and rest. (FMP). [Demming was a career diplomat, died in 2007.  His obituary is below:]

Meetings from 10 to 3. Following a second struggle at the bank (one yesterday).  Received 2,824 Shillings (about 7 to a dollar I think)  between us and bought travelers checks with most of it.

[1]  Dr. Marie Gadsden was Professor of Education at Teachers College, ColumbiaUniversity and long time Associate and one time Vice President and Director of the Phelps-Stokes Fund. Under her coordination, by 1965 Peace Corps training for East Africa began at Teachers College. During the same year, TEEA began at TC with appropriations from AID.
[2] William C. Canby, Jr. was the Peace Corps Director in Uganda in 1966. He later served as Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Phoenix, Arizona. Rusk was the Deputy Director.

January 7, 1966

Bad day.  Meetings which lasted way too long.  Last night however after the last entry , a knock on the door. Someone to see us. Mr, Kerr, our headmaster. Very Irish (Northern Ireland, from Belfast) and very potted. But we’ll probably get along.  He drinks his liquor hard and straight. Must prove that I do as well.[3]

Bob Kerr meant a great deal to me.  He was my first boss and he was a great first boss to have.  I was only 22.  He was tough and kind at the same time.  In light of the Asian expulsion by Idi Amin, I think the Aga Khan Masaka Asian kids got much out of their education there.  They were better prepared for a life in Canada, the UK, or the U.S. Most have done very well indeed.  

Bob and Rosemary Kerr, 1971


Met with people from the inspectorate (of schools) in the morning and afternoon- Mr. Garvey Williams and Mr. Alex Smith and Mr. John Kiwanuka. At the time, education in Masaka fell under the Buganda Government]. Interesting but very little that was new. Also Mr. Zake, the Minister of Education came out for a few minutes. Tragedy: My wallet stolen from my pocket in the Silver Springs swimming pool dressing room.  My own fault.  Foolish of me to leave it there.  Oh Well. (LAP). [Of course everything was new; I just could not see it.]

 January 8, 1966.

Not much.  Shopped relaxed and rested.  Bought a radio.  Pary at Bill Canby’s. A bit much.  Especially the AID people but interesting. A lot to drink but somehow it doesn’t appeal to me.

Dr. [Vivian] Chang certainly amazes me. Certainly does not act like an M.D. (at least my stereotype). She is certainly low keyed, and very friendly. Very close and interested in the PCV’s, but not just from a medical point of view. [She went on to serve as an Assistant Surgeon General in the U.S. Public Health Service].

Tonight [is] our last night at Silver Springs.  The real thing starts tomorrow around 6:00 (P.M.) (LAP).

[3]Robert Kerr was headmaster of the Aga Khan Primary and Secondary School (and after 1969 the Aga Khan Masaka Secondary School) between 1964 and 1972. He was born in Northern Ireland in 1922 and died in Wirral, England on January 11, 2011. He and his wife, Rosemary had two children, Pat and Elizabeth. His daughter, Pat Kerr Marr wrote to me about him shortly after his death.
“Dad was in the R.A.F during the war; when he came out, he started work as a Headmaster of a small school in Newcastle County Down, Northern Ireland.  In 1948 he married my mother and they lived there till the end of 1951 when Dad joined the British Army. He was in the Education Corp. They were then posted to Devizes in Wiltshire; then, in 1954 Dad was posted to Nanyuki, Kenya.  From there he was posted to Nairobi where we lived till the end of 1958 when he was posted back to the UK.  In 1959 he finished his time in the Army and joined the R.A.F as a civilian and was posted back to Nairobi to take over as headmaster of the R.A.F school which provided education for the children of serving men and women.
We were there in Nairobi until 1963; then back to the UK for a short while then Dad was posted to Kilembe, Uganda, to take over as headmaster of the school there.  He wasn’t there very long, I think about 12 months, when he was ‘headhunted’ to run the Aga Khan School in Masaka.  He was there from 1964 to 1972, during which time the school expanded and modernized under his headship, merging with Masaka Senior Secondary School in 1969.
 When he came back to the UK in 1972 he did a bit of supply teaching, then was offered a job as Headmaster of the Federal college, Port Harcourt, Nigeria so off he and mum went to Nigeria.  Again it was like the Aga Khan School where he expanded and modernized it.   He came back to the UK in 1976. Then he went out to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia for a year teaching adults at the Air force base there.
 When he finally came home to the U.K. he changed his career path completely.  He became a Golf Club Secretary, (as you know one of his great loves!)  First going to Worcester Golf and Country Club (3yrs) from there he moved to Broome Park, Kent where he was the General Manager.  Broome Park was Lord Kitchener’s old family estate and it was turned into a Golfing Time Share, with luxury villas, etc.  He ran that for 3 years.  Then he decided it was time to move back to this part of England and live in his own house.  He got the job as Secretary of Leasowe Golf Club here on the Wirral, where he stayed for 16 years till he finally retired at the age of 72.
 My Dad had a very full and eventful life.  He had many hobbies, and interests, Amateur dramatics, sailing, and was a very keen sports man, playing rugby, football and cricket, and when he felt too old to play he became a referee.  He also was very handy and made wooden cars, rocking horses and dolls’ houses, as well as many, many tapestries.  He is very greatly missed by all of us.”
Chapter Five


January 9, 1966

Today we said goodbye to everyone [Hotel employees I guess] and trundled off to our school. Along the way we saw men on bicycles with their wives and children on the wives’ backs. God, what beautiful people they are, and how relaxed they are as they do things I would find physically impossible.  I began to resent the way in which Kerr kept honking at them but he speaks highly of them so –si jui [don’t know]. I reserve my opinion of him right now because I want to observe him more fully. I can say however that I have might doubts. We had dinner with the Kerrs tonight here at the Tropic Inn.  It was interesting and we are a little more assured about our jobs. I now feel that they will be hard- but at least not impossible.

Everything is so different here- we are slowed down because of the tropics, the lushness of the flora is almost anesthetizing.  I feel that we should have to struggle to escape from the claws of creeping colonialism. By that I mean simply the leisure class hang up. We couldn’t really afford it but we almost could, and it could be fun for a while. [American understanding of the British relationship to its former colonies continues to draw me. After almost fifty years of academic life I am still not sure I have gotten it like. It’s historical significance cannot be denied].

Driving along the road today I was struck by the fact that the dung and wattle huts no longer seemed pathetic.  I think this is why- in America, such a rich land, it is sad to see anyone without- it is inexcusable.  Here, if a ‘man’ has a dung and wattle hut with s tin roof you are glad he does not only have a thatched hut; and if a man has only a thatched hut he has any hut. A man who lives in a hut here is rich not poor.  This is not to say that he is not deprived –it is rather only to say that he is not as deprived as he might be. (FMP).

January 12

 The biggest thing we’ve learned in the last three days is that everything here is pole pole. We needed to get the electricity connected Tuesday but there was no meter. A man also installed “the cooker.”  But when the third man came to turn on the electricity, he said, “Madam, there has been a mistake in the installation of the house.  We got it fixed today.”  Jim [Wilson] help us get curtains ordered yesterday. It meant taking the measurements and then drawing pictures of the window.  It took us forty five minutes to explain to a terribly young looking boy what it was that we wanted done- but today they were done, and done well…([Shillings]148/40).  We have no living room furniture yet.  If when we get it, it is as dirty as Jim’s, it will have to be covered immediately.  That could be fun to do if we can find the material.


Several men came to us. “Sir, I want to work.” One boy, John Seruada, won our hearts.  He was a shamba  boy however, and we don’t really have a yard yet.  Today we hired Stanley Makoba on a week’s trial basis.  He is supposed to be of an industrious tribe, And, I must say that he did well today.

The altitude is 5,500 feet here and I really feel it. I am so tired after some kinds of minor exertions that I can barely stand. I wake up feeling well however.  School starts tomorrow and I scarcely know what that will bring (FMP).

January 13

We moved in!

January 14

We made it into our house in record time.  At least that’s what everyone has told us. We received our trunks yesterday.  We were certainly happy to see them.  A great treat to open them and discover what we had packed.

So many things to see right at our door step. Still people come looking for work.  None available. No shamba work for at least a month. Put up curtains today. Makes the place look 100% better.  Must finish putting them up. The two mosques, the Ismaili and the Muslim (sic) and the Hindu Temple both in site of the houses  (FMP)

Shastri’s death [Lal Bahadur Shastri, the then Prime Minister of India] hit Asian people hard here.  It is hard to believe how much the Asians are still committed to the Indian sub-continent.  I think most feel that they are birds of passage here.  Their days are probably numbered. Most still have British citizenship.  Still, though traders, they are well meaning people. (LAP).

January 18, 1965

(morning). The curtains are up, the books are arranged, and we are settled in.  Hurray. Of course settling in can mean many things. Stanley, for instance, still has me a little unsettled.  I may have to learn Luchiga to make him understand me- but It’s worth it.  He cooked a roasted chicken dinner last night that was just great. We are very happy with the way he works, and I hope that we will grow accustomed to having a houseboy soon.

School has sort of started.  Lou has a class today and one tomorrow.  I won’t have any until next week.  I can wait. I hope we have some kind of biology text by then. It would make things easier.

We don’t yet have all of our furniture, but we’re getting it slowly. The grill on the stove doesn’t work, but we will get the Singh to fix it  (We picked up local derogatory language fast0.  And- if we’re lucky- our frig will come today.  I can’t wait to see if it does.  Man! What a help. We can have real meat & ice cubes and everything. I feel like I’m waiting for the Wells Fargo Wagon (FMP).

(evening). The fridge didn’t come but Mrs. Patel took me around and showed me all of the best shops to go to and introduced me and said she knew they’d give me a fair price.  She also got me a basket-quite nice. Those first days much of our energy and thoughts were on the domestic side; creature comforts.  Perhaps this was a defense but we appear in these notes to be absorbing very little of what was going on around us, socially, politically or otherwise.

Lou has spent the whole day fidgeting about teaching tomorrow.  My time hasn’t come yet- so I’m teasing him.  You’d think he was off to lecture to a group of Rhodes scholars the way he’s planning.

The fog on the valley behind the school reminds me of Pennsylvania (FMP).

January 19

Its going to be fun. Taught my first class today. I can’t get over how polite the kids are. Yes, sir, no sir, etc. They stand when you enter the room for the first time and the whole bit.

We got the fridge and our first load of meat today.  Also must mention the cows in the front of the house. Ankoles, Jim says.

Tea at Norman’s; a nice guy but a bit difficult at times. Extremely well meaning, and very good to us. [Norman Davies was a British contract teacher.]

A coup attempt in Nigeria this week.  Right after the close of the Lagos conference.  The military has taken over.  The issue was federalism. Needless to say, this is the only thing in Uganda which could cause an explosion [Little did I know].  Also Nigeria [is] the first Commonwealth country to lose constitutional government this way.  It could happen again.  Also this is the fourth or fifth explosion in Africa in the last few months. I wonder where Balewa is (LAP) [Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa who had been murdered in the coup]

Aga Khan Teachers, 1966

Masaka, Uganda.Back Row: Mr. Kiryyakidies (s.), Norman Davies, Mrs. K., Manuel Pinto, Mr. Dlamini, Zool A. Meraley, Bottom Row: Louis Picard, Fione Marie Picard, Mrs. Patel, Marie Pinto, Roshan Meraley, Grace Lebulwa, Mrs. Amadya , Vizzie Pereira


January 21, 1966

Yesterday morning I was awakened with a gripy pain in my stomach. All morning I had extremely severe cramps every time I moved. I would be sweaty when they receded and so weak that I couldn’t move. As the day wore on they grew less- but they were still painful cramps.  Today, I went to school, but have not felt well all day.  Without warning I get cramps, not in my abdomen, but in my stomach. If they don’t disappear by tomorrow I guess I’ll have to call old Dr. Chang.

This afternoon we started the library. We carted all the books over to the Hostel and sort of arranged them on shelves. Tomorrow we will arrange them into the Dewey classification.  Then we will be fairly well on our way.

Three Science Students in front of the Libary


Kerr came down to get his sports care out of our garage today. It was really funny.  He brought young Mr. Adams from the [National and Grindlay] Bank and Adams steered the sports car (while sitting on a makeshift seat with a packing box bearing down on the back of his neck) and Kerr pulled him up the hill backward with his Pontiac.  Some show! Mr. Kerr has been very good to us and is truly a very conscientious man.  He is as excited about the library as we are.  He is a good man to work for.

I’ve been reading the book that Chuck [Charles Hooks, long time friend and mentor and jazz musician] gave us,  Pictures from an Institution. Jarrell must have been a great man to have had for a friend.

Jim Wilson was over tonight.  We sure do enjoy him.  When we ask him for dinner (and it’s so apparent that neither he nor his houseboy can cook) he sort of grins, self consciously and says, “Well, I wouldn’t mind.” He’s afraid he’s putting us out.  We keep telling him we wouldn’t invite him if he weren’t welcome.  And its true, we would to.

We got our first letter from the states.  It was from dear old R.B.P. [Robert B. Pettengill long time Professor of Economics at Delta College and then SUNY Albany, 1904-1997].   He gets a medal. It was good to hear from him.  In a subtle way it was like a voice from the past; but that’s absurd.  The people we love are present every day.  I’ll be glad when we get some more letters.  We also had a card from Pris yesterday- and a note from old Patrick telling me how right he was.  I have to use that bait.

It’s been wet today and it’s so cold right now that both my nose and feet are frozen. Better hop in bed. (FMP).

January 23, 1966 (late morning).

Man! What a day yesterday was.  I woke up with my cramps better, though not gone so I got up to make an apple pie.  The crust took the better part of the morning, and it wasn’t completely cooked until noon.  By that time it was raining very hard indeed.  It was a real tropical rainstorm, and it lasted a long time.

It was still raining at 1:30 when we were ready to go to work in the library.  We scratched that plan, and came back from Jim’s (that was as far towards the library as we had ventured) and it was so cold that Lou took a hot bath and I made brownies just to have an excuse to turn the oven on.  Sue and Jim showed up for tea and the brownies were devoured forthwith.

We had invited Jim over to try out some of that steak for supper, so about six Lou and I walked down to get some beer to go with it.  When we got back Stanley said that a pair of pants (longs he called them) were missing from the line, along with a shati.  Norman had just been telling us during tea the other day what happens to thieves – they are beaten to death.  Now – I don’t want anyone to be beaten to death over about ten dollar’s worth of clothes.  Stanley went off briefly, but he came back and nothing was said.  I heard no strange screams in the night.

The steak swept the pall of the thief away.  Lou cooked it with his usual success, and listening to him show Stanley how to do it was like a cartoon before a good main feature.  The pie followed hard upon – and no one could move after it was over.  We sat and talked until two.

Lou has been bothered by a nasty, itchy heat rash and did not sleep well – he is still in bed.  Today is a better day to sleep; it is cool, but not bitterly cold as it was yesterday.  It must have been 40° last night.  (and here we are, 30 miles south of the Equator.)  FMP

January 24, 1966 (after lunch).

It got warm yesterday afternoon.  Mr. Kerr and his wife came by to take us for a ride.  We drove in a wide circle around Masaka and saw a lot of new things.  We even got a little lost and ended up in the middle of a coffee plantation.  It was really neat.

Today it is dark and cold and rainy again.  My fingers are cold and I have on my fur lined slippers.  I’m so grateful for that Christmas present! We’re supposed to go up and work on the library later on.  I wish I had ski pants!  (FMP)

We are now in the living room drinking coffee.  It still seems funny to have someone picking up after you and serving you coffee and tea.  Stanley works well and our only problem is one of communication. One thing that is hard to get used to is the variety of strange noises, esp. of bird and insect variety.  A kind of Oh! Oh! OO, OO, OO, OO–.  I can hear this right now.

So far mail has all been one way – outgoing hope to receive some in the next couple of days. Yesterday, I attempted to photograph some maps and pictures.  Hope to show them to the kids.  (LAP)

January 29, 1966

The days seem to just skip by.  We are approaching the end of the first month.

The sign came last week but the building wasn’t ready.  It was chaos.  Hope things turn out better this week.

The chili we are cooking today has turned out to be quite a project.  I burned the beans.  We couldn’t get any cayenne red pepper, and the chili powder has bugs in it. The sterilizing project has been about as bad.  It took the whole afternoon to do two sheets.

I can hear Perry Como on the radio – that good old American culture.  LAP

February 1, 1966

This is the evening of a long day.  I had those poor kids for six hours today, and there were no books, and there was really nothing to do.  I had made an error chart for English which we were able to get mimeographed finally.  Tonight I devised a “biology lesson” complete with an FMP rendition of a grasshopper (large-multi-colored) affliction?  We went to St. Joseph’s for our fungus; got pills, salves, and advice.  Lou is having continued trouble sleeping, and our first days on the job have proved long and trying.  I shall be so glad when the Big Itch leaves us alone again.

Stanley is becoming the joy of our lives.  He is better than television or a circus.  We are better able to make him understand us now – and he is beginning to be less incredulous at the chaos we live with and in.  But when he comes in and says, “Madam, the abalone is too big,” or “Is the Mister not having tea tonight,” I collapse.  He even has the nerve to laugh at me – and he was pleased when I told him “the Mister’s” mother sent him her greetings.

We got the maps I gave Lou for Christmas framed and hung them today.  They look good – cover up the bare spots.

The mail has begun to filter in, and we are so grateful for it.  It is such fun to pickle it all day and then scurry home to open it together and read it and talk it over.  Even the most common – place things are fascinating now that we are far away.

Lou is so excited about correcting his first S2 History Quizzes that I can’t get him to stop and go to bed.

A note on the “Chili of Saturday” – It was great…but the cake fell.  Sue and Jim stayed and talked and drank 30 bot scotch until 1:30 AM

In this multi-religious town it is hard to know whether to pray to God, Allah, or the Aga Khan himself – but I hope someone sends me the biology books.  [FMP]

February 3, 1966

The itch is going away.  Gave S1’s first quiz.  Did fairly well all things considered.

S1’s still is strange.  Tried the book of the world out on them but I’m not sure they understood it.

The kid’s knowledge of common everyday things and world events is pitiful.  Floyd Patterson and Cassius Clay is about their speed.  LAP

Today was the day of the GREAT TUPPERWARE PARTY.  Rashen Meraly invited me.  I was reluctant and almost balked at the last minute, but it was worth it.  I won a coffee measurer and was given a tomato slicer and a thing to hold curtains back.  I also ordered some covered dishes and two pitchers.

Stanley makes great orange juice from oranges William brings around.  William is that fellow who brings us eggs with real yokes and all sorts of good things from the market.  The oranges are ten for a bob and they are very good diluted with water and with a little sugar added.

I handed out the old mimeographed bug sheet today.  I don’t know how well they understood it, but at least it was something for them to look at.  Gee I’m tired of just talking to them.  Books I cry!  [FMP]

February 8, 1966  

This has been a long and difficult week and we are only three days into it.

Saturday, Stanley went off and I hung one on and didn’t get back for dinner.  He arrived worse for wear Sunday evening.

In a related but unconnected development, Stanley got into hot water with neighbors (?)  over a woman, or so they say.  They were drunk Saturday evening and came over in a harassed us for a while about it.

On Sunday, they broke a window and dragged Stanley up, demanding that we fire him.  That did it.  We went to the police and reported them.  They had disappeared when I returned.

Yesterday and today, though a lot of school work, we are getting into a pattern of living, though and are enjoying ourselves.

Had Vizzie Peirera over for tea yesterday.  She is Goan and very friendly.  Told us how she regretted Portugal’s forced exit from Goa.  Much better under them she said.

We are having Norman Davies over for tea tomorrow and Bill Canby will be coming through tomorrow evening so things will be pretty hectic.

I’ve just finished readying 35 compositions and 15 makeup History Quizzes Ugh. (LAP)

February 13, 1966

Today is Sunday, and it is a lazy type of day.  The sun is bright, people are out strolling.  I can see a little girl in a white dress go by with her little brother.  The library looks as though it will be open for business next week.  It has been a lot of work but we are happy about it.

It seems as though Dr. Obate’s government is in for a bit of trouble.  He has been accused by an MP of getting rich by smuggling gold and Ivory into Uganda during the Congo crisis of last year.

This next six weeks seem to be crucial here.  If they get by the election without any trouble things may be ok.  However it doesn’t look too good.

I guess it’s pretty cold in the United States has described it as the worst blizzard in thirty years.  I’m happy to be here, where it is a balmy 78°.

 February 14, 1966

Valentine’s Day and 80° in the shade.  Everything is so different here that I forgot it was Sunday, a last minute rush.

Bought one (sob!) bike today, the other should come on Thursday.

Hurrah seven letters today.  (LAP) We were obsessed with letters in those days.  It is hard to believe in this age of texting, e-mails and social media.

February 16, 1966

My bike came – and it isn’t even Thursday yet!  I’m so thrilled.  We started to get the library set up today for real.  Well, we went down and bought the cards, envelopes and glue anyway.  What fun!  We also had a meeting, and we will work out a schedule by Monday.  It’ll be so good to get it open.  Sue is here talking to Lou about some goop.  G luck. (FMP). (I revisited the school in 1997 for the first time since 1971.  Of course all the books were gone and what had been the library was empty of all furniture.  A visit in 2009 to the Masaka Senior Secondary School did not reveal any evidence of the earlier library.  It was an important lesson in sustainability).

We just tried to make out a reasonable seating chart for those kids.  It’s a real trial – and now I have all four classes.  Biology forges ahead.  (FMP)

February 19 and 20, 1966

Our first trip out of Masaka.  Jim Rush and his wife came down Saturday to take us to Rwashamane (a big name but a small place).  There was a party at Dee Gerald, and Ken’s.  People from Uganda II, Ken, Bob, Roy, Bruce and Trudy.  They had and we had many notes to compare.  Both the story of the cab driver and the Saza Chief and the Cobra and the Lion fascinating.  The farmer we witnessed and agreed taxi fare of 30/ became 135/ upon arrival at D and G’s after an Askana.  Bruce (aided by Dee) called upon the Saza Chief for assistance.  The whole thing was finally settled with the aid of the local U.P.C. politico.

The latter John Brush met up with a cobra in Fort Portal.  Played with it for a while before he killed it.  (He didn’t know what it was) he had the skin.

Also Bruce mentioned that they had a Lion escape in Fort Portal; apparently it is pretty rough country.

The country between Masaka and Rwashamane changes abruptly about 15 miles to the west.  We are in luxurious evergreen tropical rain forest area to the west; it becomes the African plains, short stubby trees and tall grass.  Much more tropical of East Africa actually than our location though we are pretty Africaish.

This trip was our first one out of Buganda.  The political climate is much different.  However, the rumors about shenanigans in Kampala persist down there, and they have heard the word, coup.  LAP (Then Prime Minister Milton Obote suspended the Constitution on February 22, fired several members of the cabinet and on March 3, suspended the Kabaka as President. The Kabaka would be overthrown by Milton Obote and his then head of the army, Idi Amin May 24.

February 20, 1966

We got more than we bargained for down at Rwashamaire.  We went empty handed, were promised a puppy, and came home with (hold your breath) TWO.  On the way home one of them threw up in my lap, although I was able to forestall most of the onslaught with my good tan sweater (grrr).  We had just got readjusted when the other one got up, fidgeted, and then had jelly belly in Louie’s shoe, on his leg, and finally on his shirt.  After that they were quiet until we got home, but we couldn’t relax for fear of another incident.  They are now safely tucked into the garage, and don’t seem to be minding it too much.  They are so cute.  The male is Jet, and the female is Misty.  We will love them, but I think we’re in for a real adjustment problem.

Dee and Gerold are a lot of fun.  They are relaxed guys, and they made our stay as pleasant as they could.  We were a little lost during the actual party, because, when drunk, people tend to talk to old friends, and we didn’t know anyone that well; but we had fun.  For dinner we had sheep and goat roasted over an open pit in the backyard, with potatoes.  It was great!

I now have a copy of the Flowering Plants of Uganda – which I must read!  Then I may be prepared to teach some botany.  I doubt it.  FMP

We also ran into “Mad Man” Mattram in his native habitat yesterday and today.  He thinks he is Lawrence of Arabia and dresses to prove it.  He is head master of the school at Rwashamarre.  Quite a character, he wears a couple of “sheets”, one blanket around his waist, and another thrown over his shoulders. (LAP).

February 22-23, 1966

The word is that five ministers have been removed from office and jailed.  This message came over Uganda TV last night.  No indication as to who the five ministers were.

Uganda radio today is playing organ music.  Nothing else.(LAP).

Apparently “coup” runners had at least some validity.  The question is where will the Uganda rifles go.  To this point they have been loyal to Obote, the apparent leader of the uprising.  (LAP).

 February 24, 1966

“Have you heard that two cabinet Ministers were shot?”  “Did you hear that Obote is having the Kabaka arrested?”

These are the rumors which we heard late this afternoon.  Quinby said that there were 50 troops sent to the K’s Palace ostensibly to arrest him.  He also said that there was trouble in the Kampala streets.

Lou went down to get a copy of the E.A. Standard, and some dog pans.  He got the paper and learned that the shops had been advised to close.  They all did, he couldn’t get the pans.

Needless to say, we feel the tenseness of the situation.  If the Kabaka is threatened, the Buganda will be angered.  In addition to this, the chief political feeling here is in sympathy with what was the “opposition” and is now the real opposing party.

We have listened to the news, VOA (Voice of America)  & BBC, and have heard only that there is some question about whether or not one of the ministers has died since seizure yesterday morning; and that no one knows of the whereabouts of Mutesa.  Of course, we don’t know of the time of that report.  It may have gone out at noon.

Although we feel no personal danger, we are alert to the seriousness of this situation:  In case of revolt on the part of the Buganda, would our own students go?  Will the fighting if it occurs, reach down here?  Will the Africans take this opportunity to get even with the Asians? [Always on our minds during our stay there.] And where is Dr. Zake?  Where is his permanent secretary?  Will they be next?  What, indeed, will tomorrow and this weekend, which is almost here, bring to an already restless area?  FMP (10:20 PM)

VOA has just announced that Obote has just ended the constitution.  (11:00 AM) LAP

March 2, 1966

I am sitting at my desk about to start correcting some essays for my English class.  I’m listening to a little Peter Seeger on the tape recorder, that thing has certainly been a Godsend.

No news from Kampala so I guess we must assume that Obote has gotten away with it.  He is now in reality if not name a dictator.  But what is yet to be known are his reasons. [We had little sense of the the ethnic and regional conflicts in Uganda at this time].

Something like this might have been expected in Tanzania and perhaps even Kenya, but predictions here were not.  For a coup by Obote but for his arrival. [Why I said that I don’t remember but it might have had to do with earlier attempts by the military to intervene in those countries. In any event it was dead wrong].

School is going along well; the library is going full speed.  The kids are hungry for books.  There are more there every day than we can handle.  We are pretty well settled down into a pattern of things here, the house is pretty well organized and we’re pretty well set.

We showed some slides up at school to the kids yesterday and we were astonished at the reactions.  The kids were very interested but could not really believe in the U.S. scenes.  They can’t picture anything but us as teachers.  Family pictures really floored them.

It’s funny how people give an impression and how others form them.

Last night about 9:30 a new boy (not new but returned) Hassan [Mugerwa] came to the door.  He is living in our servants’ quarters and cooking with Felix and Stanley.  He asked for some help in History but this was only an excuse.  He wanted to present us with a polished bone which he found while on a trip to Tanzania.  (Sponsored by Jim Wilson)  It was in appreciation for what we’d done for him.  Great. [The polished bone turned out to be a Rhino horn- I still had it.  We had no sense of the vulnerability of Rhino of course, or even what a Rhino horn looked like].

Eve:  Obote came on TV and Radio just now.  The lull has been broken.  The president, Edward Mutesa [the Kabaka] and his Vice President have been removed from office.  No one knows where he is.

People in Masaka are very upset about the whole thing and there may be trouble of some kind.

The latest rumor is that one of the countries; as yet unnamed, involved is the U.S.  After all it was the U.S.A. that was the scapegoat in the Congo and at the back of this whole thing is [not exactly] the Congo scandal. (Entire section, LAP)

 March 5th, 1966

I am correcting S2 Biology quizzes and I am impelled to record some of the answers.  Paul Lubega on the function of the mirror of a microscope.  “The light comes to the mirror and this sends up the light through the object on the slide and then the object is seen flatly in the eyepiece”:

Joseph Masembe:

“Coarse adjustment – which you catch if you like to move the body tube up and down in order to….”

Joseph Kiggunda (Stage Chips)

“These are the things which hold the slide into one place not to move.”

Dick Kawes:  (Stage Chips)

“These are the two machines which hold up the slide on the stage firmly.


“The slide is glass because of the focus which passes through it.”

Emmanuel Ssemiyu

“Illuminate – the image already magnified by the mirror” eyepiece” it illuminates the image already magnified by the objective.

Emmanuel Matovu

“Illuminate – to get from”

“I cannot see well through our microscope better on a cloudy day.  I can see well though microscope on sunny day.  Because the light he helps much to see under microscope clearly.

 March 6th, 1966 (before lunch)

Yesterday we cooked some barbecued chickens out in a pit in the back yard.  We really had fun doing it!  Jim and Sue came down and we had a real feast.  There was a whole chicken left, in the frig now, waiting for supper.  We felt, and no doubt looked (with our transistor radios and beer bottles) very suburbia U.S.A. and now, back to the papers.

Pervis Hudda

“I could see through the microscope better on a sunny day because beam of light is required to see”.

March 15, 1966

It is a semi-rainy afternoon here, and we are sitting in the living room in front of the radio.  Gemini 8 is being launched today and VOA is broadcasting it.  The Gemini target rocket just left the pad.  We really appreciate VOA.  (FMP).


I just cut Jim’s and Lou’s hair – bad job on Lou.  The launch of the capsule is about 30 minutes hence – Dinner now- It is 7:30 PM here.

It’s now about 8:00 PM.  Hassan came up about 15 minutes ago and we three listened to the two men shoot off into space.  Wow!  What can I say?  (FMP).

March 17, 1966

This is the color of ink which passes for red in this town.  Awful stuff.  I thought we should have a record of it. [A sort of purple red; not that bad looking back at it]

Tonight the meaning of per capita income really hit me between the eyes.  We asked Stanley how much money he made when he taught school (he taught P5) and he said that you get 10 bob a term for P1 – P3; 15 for P3 – P6; and 20 for P6 – P2.  That means that he made $9.00 a year – and he did it for 4 years.  He now makes something over $200.00.  He is 34 years old, and he is building a wooden frame house with a concrete floor and a tin roof.  He is probably easily the richest man in his village.

Immanuel Matunyi in Lou’s class told Lou today his father is a primary teacher.  He makes 130/ a year.  That’s $18.00 a year.  Good grief.  (FMP)

Hassan has offered to take us to his village – I can’t wait.  We really are going to get to know some of these people.  Hassan is just plain terrific.  He’s more like a friend than a student.  And yet he seems surprised when we are nice to him.  He is very modest and a real worker.

Well tomorrow is Friday.  We are astonished at how quickly the time passes.  It seems like we just had a weekend yesterday.  I wonder if the whole two years will go so quickly.  (FMP).

Chapter Six

A Year of Living

Vernal Equinox, 1966

This is the lazy Monday of a strenuous weekend.  Saturday we rode our bikes up Bwala hill to the other side of the valley, and rode down a path to the floor of the valley. [I still remember not liking the bike ride up the hill. Some things never change.  We never did really use the bikes much.  So much for Peace Corps’ ideals].  We saw some mud huts at a close distance.  We saw lots of people, most of whom were friendly and smiling.  We must have made quite a picture of affluent “mzunguism” in our tennis shoes, with cameras over our backs, trying like hell not to let those bicycles pull down that hill on our heads.  We needed sneakers with spikes!  The valley turned out to be much deeper than we had thought.  It was almost more than I could manage to push the bike up that other side!

That evening we had Jim over for pot roast.  Then we walked down to the Tropic Inn for a drink.  We returned early and went straight to bed.  At about five in the morning I awoke to hear Lou say, “What the hell is that?”  Then I heard a horn honking, almost in a rhythm, and at the same time I realized that the bed was pitching around.  I stood up to look out the window, still half asleep, and felt the floor shaking.  We finally realized that it was an earth tremor.  It was pretty scary.  There are warnings and precautions against hurricanes; in the event of a tornado you can go to the southwest corner, but where does one hide when the whole earth shakes?  It felt bad enough, but it didn’t even knock down any pictures.

All day yesterday we typed handout sheets and corrected tests.  Again we went to bed all tired out.  Again this morning about five there was a tremor.  Again the horn throbbed.  But this time we just turned over and went back to sleep.  Are we becoming callous?  (Entire section FMP)

March 21, 1966

Again – later in the evening – we discovered when we got the Argus this afternoon that 100 people were killed in that “mild tremor” of early Sunday morning.  My God.  The whole Fort Portal area was hard-hit.  I bet Roz and Trudy were really scared.  I would have been.   We never guessed that it was so serious.  We will send the clipping home to our parents.  I hope it doesn’t scare them too much.  It shouldn’t.  With that open field in the front we can be fairly safe.  But I’m going to sleep lightly for a few days, I’m sure of that.  I wonder if the tremor we felt this morning was of any harm to any other part of the country.

I also forgot to say that on Saturday we found a snake on the porch.  Sometime when I’m feeling sadistic maybe I’ll write that fact to Grandma.  Actually, it was (I’m almost positive) a species called Brown’s house snake – which never gets to be more than about 10” long and is harmless.  The boys found it and were determined to kill it.  Stanley even got the hoe and I was forced to stand guard over the poor thing.  It was the first snake I’ve ever seen that I wasn’t afraid of.  (FMP)

March 22, 1966 (5:30 PM)  

A plane just landed at the airport.  I ran out to see it land and go out of sight.  Then I came back in and asked Stanley if he saw it.  I glanced out the back door and saw it up on the runway.  I ran and got the field glasses.  I told Stanley to look.  At first I was afraid that he wasn’t going to be able to find it.  It started to move, and then suddenly he said, “Yes, yes! I can see!”  He laughed like an excited young boy.  I thought he might clap his hands.

Evalist just now came to the door with his corrected composition.  It was really very much better.  Maybe living with Hassan will be good for him.

Misty peed in the garage while looking me right in the eye. (Entire section FMP) [I had begun to tire of the diary by then; never was my thing I guess].

11:30 PM

I can’t believe it.  We just whipped off 18 letters.  There is nothing left in the letters owed file.  Holy cow. [FMP]

P.S.  The dogs have worms.  Over and out.  [FMP]

March 27, 1966

I’ve been quite negligent in writing so I’d better make up for it now.

Agakhan won 1st prize in the Science Fair.  Jim [Wilson] has something to be proud of there.  Quite an accomplishment when you consider they were competing with established schools like St. Henry’s and Masaka Senior Secondary.  Ahmed Anwer, and Munir were the three winners.

We just discovered that Radio Addis Ababa sounds exactly like WJR, Detroit, at least for its English language broadcast.

Apparently, we heard it for the first time this morning. They’ve hired American expatriate Disk Jockeys.  Perhaps it is an American owned station.

I think that Ethiopia like Liberia in West Africa is pretty much under U.S. influence.  Their currency is based on the dollar system.  Ethiopian style.

We went out to Lake Nabugobo yesterday, and for the first time since we arrived saw a lake, saw a wooden canoe, and spent the afternoon resting and reading. [It was said to be bilharzias free.  I’m not sure that is the case but we used to swim in it.]

After this we went out to see Lake Victoria.  Fantastic, it has to be seen to be believed.  The shore is surrounded by lush tropical islands.  We have pix of the birds we saw.  Really tropical Africa as it is pictured in flicks. [All entries LAP]

March 28, 1966

Well, I got the science fair first prize book installed in its niche in the library today.  Those kids are just too funny, with their handshaking and pats on the backs.

Mom really is sick.  Marcy has been cooking.  I sure wish someone would tell me just “whats up”.  Marcy’s letters aren’t much for info.

Have to correct Bio exams, but I can’t seem to get at it. (FMP)


I just read on the bio-exam of some future Asimov that “pollination can occur in three ways:  birds, wind and incest”.  What can I say?  FMP

March 29, 1966

S2 History Exam

Define fresco –

1) Frescosi – leader of the Italian Rennaissance

2) Fresco – One who said that everything is going by keeping eyes steadily


1) First to give out that the world was circular by making a line of poles in the sea and saw that the curved as the line continued on.

Frescoes again:

1) The man who drew St. Francis preaching to the birds.

Thomas A’ Becket

1) found the steam engine

Nepotism was a scientist Medici was a man with an improved family.

Copernicus was the great astronomer who commented that the earth was the center of the sun.

Thomas A’ Becket was one of the books writers who wrote funny aromatic description about the important people.

Copernicus was a polish astronaut….

Frescos – A mobility of Relatives (egged-shaped) Now II ask you.

Sistine Chapel was a great painter.

Sistine Chapel made fun on the societies.

Leonardo – was a man during modern time who drew the picture of a helicopter and he was a scientist during the 15th C.  Sistine Chapel wrote about what Michelangelo had written

Dante was the Mother City

Dante, he was an artist at Florence and a sculptor.

Sistine Chapel; It was a great church which is famous for its roof which was discovered by Leonardo da Vinci.

Frescos – He was also an Italian who said that the planets were not round but egg shaped.  (FMP) [This seemed funny at the time to our Eurocentric eyes.  It reflected more fundamental issues with regard to education across cultures].

April 3, 1966

Listening to an old friend, tonight on VOA.  Soapy Williams! [Long time by then former Governor of Michigan who served as Kennedy’s Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs].

A very popular, and very respected person here.  Witness campaign for the Senate gets wide coverage here.  [LAP]

April 5, 1966

Several things.  First of all, Lou has an ear infection.  I’m worried about it – I don’t like infections in the head, and this one is a bloody one.  Not open bleeding, but wax packed with blood.  He can’t hear from his left ear at all.

Next, we got mail from home yesterday.  Or at least Lou did.  Even got a letter from his Aunt Bugs.  That’s nice.  We also got a package of four placemats from his folks.  We aren’t sure why they sent them.  Maybe it was because Dad got them for free.  Maybe it is an Easter present.  Whatever it was, they would feel the effort much rewarded, I think, if they could see the excitement which such things stir up.

Also, we have been thinking of getting a nice radio – a Telefunken II – and we got it yesterday.  Lou was sick and we needed something to cheer us up.  It has 5 bands and all the trimmings.  We are really happy with it.  It is now ten before seven in the morning and I’m listening to opera – good fast stuff with catchy times – in Italian.  We had Armed Forces Radio Service last night – when we get a ground wire the thing should really work well.

I just had to interrupt to go get the pups out of the garage.  What pests.

Today is the day we give the first of the finals.  I think we’re going to have a busy Easter holiday.  Man.  We still have to type out an English exam.  These things take time.

Dr. Chang was supposed to have been here last night.  She wrote two weeks ago and said she and “Chuck” would be down soon.  Yesterday I was worried about Lou’s ear so I called K.  Sure enough the old Dr. wasn’t around.  I talked to Rush and he told me that they would be stopping through in the evening.  We waited, needless to say, in vain.  Damn her – we could die with her good wishes if it meant taking her out of the way.  If it weren’t for Jack Hood Vaughn [The second Director of the Peace Corps following Sargent Shriver], I’d be tempted to write to W.D.C. [Washington D.C.]. It’s not incompetence, I find disgusting; it is a blasé carefree unconcern over other peoples’ illnesses that grinds me. [All by FMP]

Easter Sunday

Had a big spaghetti dinner at Sue’s with Jim and Jinja Vince last night – if it stops raining we’ll have a cookout later on.  We got a badminton set and sore muscles.  Gives us something to do.  We are still correcting exams.  This has been a long weekend.  The coming weeks, with nothing to do may be even longer.

Still no news about Mom.  I no longer think that no news is anything but just no news.  Frustrating.

More examisms.

1.  eyepiece – magnified the image seen through the microscope.

2.  Trees, shrubs, and herds.

3.  It has one or less.

4.  It is another name for…

5.  Pollen baskets – it is woody and sticky; Incests sits on the pollen.

6.  That’s enough for today.

It isn’t going to clear off I guess.  Rats.  It’s really cold and damp.   At least it’s stopped raining.  Should write letters but I’m too cold.  Think I’ll crawl under a cover with a book.  (FMP)

April 20, 1966

There has been a lull in journal writing due to the end of the semester.  We are now in the second day of our vacation.  In the last two days the following things have happened.

1.  Obote made himself President.  One of our students was here the other day.  He is Muganda, and he says the Baganda would attack the central government if they had an army.  There are other old hands at watching the Buganda temperament who say that even if they had an army they wouldn’t fight.  Si Jui.  There is no denying that the fact that the people of Masaka are upset, however.

2.  Sports day was held; a lot of parents came, the attempt to keep the students from enjoying themselves was successful, and Kerr told us we did a good job.  The mayor, who is “absolutely never late,” had been told the bit was cancelled and kept us waiting 35 minutes.

The Netball Competition

The Netball Competition

3.  There was a “staff dinner party” held on the evening of sports day.  It was cooked by Mrs. Dosani and was fish curry.  Ugh!  Lou andManuel  Pinto entertained themselves by deviling poor dumb Mr. ______.  They did a brilliant job and saved the majority of us from falling asleep.  The height of the evening came when _____ – all by himself – sat down on a chair which collapsed with him.  I thought Pinto would cry for joy!

4.  I got a letter from my mother and she’s not dead or dying.

5.  We got some clippings from R.B.P. [Robert B. Pettingill] from the Wall Street Journal which grossly exaggerates our situation here and glorifies that lazy goon of a U.S. Ambassador [A very unfair comment but which illustrates our dislike of official diplomacy in foreign assistance].  Newspapers are tricky that way.  If you don’t already know – you can’t really find out by reading a paper.  Lou just said Demming is like something out of The Ugly American.  True!

6.  We’ve answered all the letters we owe but one.

7.  We only got one letter from Grandma – she’s slipping.

8.  We got our second tape from Lou’s folks – more fun!  We really enjoy those.

It has occurred to me that sometime during the vacation I must sit down and write some character sketches of the people we’ve met.  (I must capture the real ______!)

Today we’ve worked in the library and written letters.  Tonight we’re off to see John Wayne.  Yippee!  (FMP)

April 24, 1966

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything, so I feel I must though I haven’t much to say.

We are spending our holiday working on the Library, cleaning up after the end of the term.  There is much more to do this time because we did not have a good base to start with.  Now we do.  We have gone over every book correcting and redoing.

Next week we will be off to Kampala.  That is going to be quite a circus.  Doc Gadsden and her colored chalk routine.  We’ve had it for sixteen weeks at TC now we have to listen to her out here.  Oh well, we do get three plays at the Silver Springs and a chance to do some shopping in Kampala.

I’d like to get out for a while before school starts in May, but it doesn’t look like we’re going to be able to so what with the library and all.  We got Stanley off to Kigezi for a two week holiday yesterday.  He was very excited Hassan is going to help around here while he is gone.  (LAP). [We got used to the service very quickly].

April 25, 1966

This has been kind of a rotten day.  We had planned to finish in the library today – but the Great Itch came back strong last night and Lou didn’t sleep well.  This made him feel bad, and he was just ripe for a conflict with Kerr over the school vehicle.  Actually there was no conflict – but Kerr was his usual ambiguous self, and Lou took it as an insult.   Then we walked through a cold drizzle to the library and were chilled to the bone.  Lou was still ticked off, and the work was slow and unsatisfying.  After lunch Lou went to the post office to mail the birthday package home, and I made coffee and ran a bath for him.  We spent about three hours making out a list of books which will be paid for by BIS [British Information Service gave us cash to buy books for the library] (one bright spot in this grey day).  Then Lou insisted on playing badminton – which agitated his affliction – this causing him to return to his depressed state of mind.  It is now 9:00 PM; we’ve had no dinner – Lou is still feeling low – and it really hasn’t been one of those idyllic days which we like to write home about.

On the other side of the coin is the books from BIS and new hedge which Mahmadu and the boys put in today.  Like everything else he plants, it is dying, but will undoubtedly spring to life within a week.  It seems to be impossible to kill anything out here. [FMP]

P.S.  Everything has cheered up now (an hour later) but Lou’s map has fallen down and he may break his neck trying to fix it – I’ll keep ya posted.  [FMP]

April 26, 1966

We finished up in the library today.  We still have to make out the cards for them (a formidable task at best) but at least they look good on the shelves.  We are sitting here drinking a bottle of wine and thinking about getting ready to go to the Colored Chalk Conference tomorrow.  More later. [FMP]

April 30, 1966

We’ve just arrived from the three day conference in Kampala.  The conference itself was just about what we figured it would be…pretty much nothing.

We did however have a good time outside of the conference.  We met many friends and some acquaintances.  We did a great deal of shopping the first day.  We bought among other things a meat slicer to fool around with.  We also bought some “plastic” birdees for badminton.

The second night in town we went to a nightclub The “New Life.”  Much fun.  The combo had eleven members quite a number but I think that is about right for African bands.

I met at the bar, after he danced with Fione, the “Prime Minister’s nephew”.  He told me all about the situation in Uganda, and insisted that he buy whiskey and sodas for all of us.  He said he didn’t tell whether nor not Obole was President or P.M.

One note:  Kampala, the city looked much bigger to us this trip than it did when we first arrived.  This was our first trip inside Uganda , since we arrived.  (All by LAP)

May 2, 1966

(Time slips by…)

We are back at work in the library, but there are bright – spots from the trip to K. that reoccur.  For example, at the New Life, I danced with a fellow who started out talking about how free all Americans are.  Said things about white mzungu women with African men.  Then, he said, “When we’re through here, what would you take?”  I was offended, he was embarrassed.  It turned out that he meant he wanted to buy me a drink!  Whew!  I apologized, so did he, and everything went well.

One thing that I will never forget is how Pris and S felt as we walked up from the pool at the Silver Springs hotel and saw Charlie Kidogo [This refers to Charles Coyne a Peace Corps volunteer stationed in Kenya I think]  standing there in the flesh.  After the night clubbing that night he slept on one of the beds in our room and we slept head to foot in the other.  Gee it was great to see him.

It was also great to go out with dear old Dave Clausson.  He is intrigued with the confusion with which Africans (both black and white) meet Negro Americans.  He insisted upon wearing his lush jacket (oh, so colonial) and dancing with Pris.  He collected his fair share of stares.  He’s the only Negro P.C.V. in Uganda.

My big disappointment is that Pat Fairbairn didn’t make it down off the mountain.  This was more than balanced by the news that both Pris and Terry will be stationed in Kako.  (An apology to Terry; she is the other Negro P.C.V. – from Uganda I).

[Patrick Fairbairn is now a wetland biologist working the the Massachusetts Turnpike authority. According to his web site hi’s professional experience includes the classification and evaluation of terrestrial and wetland ecosystems (tropical and temperate) with particular reference to the vascular plants and vertebrates; rare, threatened and endangered species surveys; wetland evaluation and boundary delineation; aerial photo-interpretation and mapping; wildlife habitat evaluation and management; environmental impact assessment; conservation policy formulation and planning; administration of conservation law; international conservation; environmental education; and project management.]

We met some interesting new people and renewed some old associations.

Now!  We’re trying to get back to normal.  We’ve been cleaning up and baking since coming home from the library, in preparation for Pris and Terry tomorrow.

Pinto’s wedding was postponed for two weeks.  Big Jim packed up and headed off for Jinja Vince’s for a few days.

We have many nice letters to answer.  U.P. just sent a subscription to Life.  Dr. Stokes wrote promising magazines – by sea – but that’s fine.

I’m tired.  Big day tomorrow.  Off to bed with me.  FMP

May 8, 1966

Pris and Terry stayed Wednesday night and on Thursday we went out to Kako to help them paint the house.  We worked very hard.  Lou painted the living room and I painted the bath.  The girls worked on the woodwork and on the kitchen.  On Friday I went out again and we all worked with Dr. Chang and Wycliffe showed up.  Then we went back to town, picked up Lou and headed for Kampala.  We were pretty well tired out, and Terry still suffers from the memory of the accident she had coming down to Masaka in which she broke her hip.  About 12 miles out from K., nearing the scene of the accident, she had a mild case of hysterics and had to get out of the car.  We were late arriving at Vivian’s.  She had kindly offered to let us stay the night.  Terry had a big drink and a hot bath and was composed by the time Betty Owens arrived for dinner.  We turned in about midnight and she seemed to be herself again by morning.

We left K. in a rainstorm to hitch to Jinja.  We first had a ride for about 2 miles with a policeman.  Then, after standing in the rain for about five minutes we were picked up by a teacher.  We never did find out where he was from, but our guess was Poland.  He let us out just before we got to Barry Wakeman’s school.  Then an Englishman picked us up and dropped us about 25 miles from J.  After less than two minutes we were picked up by two African men going all the way.  We began to talk to them, told them where we were going.  When we reached town they let us out at the roundabout and told us to wait 5 minutes, they’d be right back and they’d take us to Jinja College where Vince Barry teaches.  In less than 5 minutes they were back, and said they’d like to show us a little of the town first.  They drove us on the road past the Speke memorial at the mouth of the Nile and then took us for a beer.  They told us their names, James Ssemulima and Charles Ssingolo.  It was a great welcome to Jinja.  They accidentally drove us to Kiira College instead of J.C. and very good naturally turned around and brought us here.  I hope we’re always too lucky when we hitch.

A friend of Vince’s, Trevor Walker, invited us to dinner.  It could have been a real bust, since there was not really enough meat and we were unexpected by his already harassed wife – but I helped to grind the meat (which was awfully tough) and we made curry and the men washed the dishes.  Then we played cards and laughed.  We just roared all evening and I think that what might have been a most uncomfortable situation worked out well.

Today we didn’t get up until noon and I’ve manufactured a meatloaf out of ground beef, onion soup, bread and egg.  Smells good.

Jinja is lovely and we’re really sorry to have made it only for two days.  We’ll go back to K. early tomorrow; but, we’ve found how easy it is to get here and I’m sure we’ll be back.  Vince lives all alone in what used to be a convent, so there’s no question of inconveniencing him, space wise. [ FMP]

May 11, 1966

School began today with chaos, as was figured.  We streamed the kids according to ability thus we had staff meetings off and on all morning.

I have two student teachers!  Both from Makerere College [Now Makerere university] and both in History and Geography.  What a joke.  After one semester I’m a master teacher!  There names are Mr. Jangani and Mr. Mbori, one on Asian, and one an African.  The African is living with us; more on that later.

Still have the fungus, I now find that I have a fungus infection in my ear.  Wow!  Nothing serious though. [In fact it would get very serious.]

Emmanuel Pinto gets married Saturday.  Friday Jim and I will take him out to the Tropic Inn etc.  The wedding was postponed for two weeks because of some family troubles.  An uncle on Mary’s side stopped it because he felt he had been slighted in some way.

Kerr is trying to get rid of two S.S. Asian girls.  He’ll never make it!  [LAP]

May 23, 1966

Better give a rundown – 14th, Manuel and Mary got married.  Her uncle never did come – even after the 2 week delay.  We almost made the social faux pas of the season by not showing up at the dinner.  Luckily, Mary realized that we hadn’t understood and made Emmanuel come get us.  Great food – Matoki in banana leaves and pilau – Wow!

The rest of the diary is currently unedited from the original.

May 15th

I had what may have been the most unusual surprise parties in the history of the world for Lou.  More than a week before I had invited the Pinto’s, Pris, Terry, Jim and Sue to a surprise party on Sunday.  Then Jim and I began to collect the provisions, including come chickens.  Well, when Lou saw the chickens running around in Jim’s front yard he had this great idea.  “Let’s have a party Sunday!”  He invited all the guests again – to their profound confusion.  They all showed up – and then I sprang the surprise.  I had managed to find some Levis for him and a Dr. Zeus Book (Green Eggs and Ham).  There was too much chicken, lots of wine, and great chocolate cake brought by the Kako crew.  We really had fun.

Later in the week – the pressure of having a guest in our house (no matter how nice a one) got to us – on Wednesday – 18th (the real day) we had a spaghetti dinner at Jim’s.

A tragedy of the E.A. variety happened on Thursday – Sunday, indeed, it wasn’t over today.  Felix (Jim’s cook) had lived with (apparently meant to marry) a girl last year.  She gave birth to twins – stillborn.  The shock to Felix was great.  To compound his troubles – the people in her village wouldn’t allow them to buy the babies.  Twins are an evil omen in Buganda.  Felix had to go see the witchdoctor to make it all right because either he or the girl could have died.  The price for their lives…  50 bob

The situation at school is too bad to go into.  Kerr is down on Jim because he’s not extending and down on me because he thinks I “queried his decision” in front of students this afternoon.  Jim may sock Norman any day.  Ho – hum!  The joys of staff life.  I leave a recital and analysis of the scene on the political front to the poli-sci man in the family.  FMP

New political events:  It is not clear what has happened but something has.  Looks like a showdown between Central government and Buganda.

Rumors mount about what caused the new crisis.  Some say that the Kabaka’s cabinet has been arrested and that twenty or so people have been killed.

U.O.A.  stated only that the Kabaka had requested that capital of Uganda be removed from Buganda.  (New news report:  K. gave the date of May 30th as the time when this must take place also says G. Buganda MP’s have been arrested along with three Saza chiefs.)

Other rumors say that the road to Kampalu was blocked and that no traffic moved.

We are now living under a state of emergency.  A curfew in Buganda Province was laid down from 7 PM to 6 AM until further notice.

The electricity was off from 2:30 until 8:00 tonight.  No indication as to the relationship between this and other events.  But phone lines to Kampala were disconnected.

James Mboi gave us info about the State of Emergency.  He doesn’t like it having experienced 7 years of it in Kenya during Man-Man.

It is very difficult not knowing what is happening.  Listening for bits on the radio and for an authoritative rumor become all important.

We have no idea how long the curfew will last.  We will store up a supply of food tomorrow.  Never know what is going to happen.

Obote and Amin’s Army arrive in Masaka

In Front of the House


New teacher here a Mr. Thomas from Wales.  He’ll take Jim’s place when he leaves.  Things may be coming to a head.

Jim’s Science Fair is probably postponed.  Wonder what P.C. staff is doing.  [LAP]

May 25, 1966

Note Franga Composition:

About a herd of Ankole Cattle “It’s food is eaten and its blood is drunk.”  LAP

May 25, 1966 Evening

Things are worse.   Fighting continued today around the Kabaka’s palace.  No ideas of the whereabouts of the Kabaka’s.  The palace was raided today.

We here in Masaka are in about the same condition.  Troops are everywhere.  It is a city under military occupation.  At least one man was killed in the middle of town today were soldiers tried to disperse a crowd of people.

Many other people have been killed or wounded outside of the city and over 600 are in prison, according to Emmanuel who works as a special policeman, so many that some may suffocate.

Joseph Masembe says his brother has been hurt.  He lives on Bukoba Road.

Chaos today at school as Asian parents came to get their students.  Foolish, but like parents everywhere they panicked.  Looks like more tomorrow.  Kerr can’t make up his mind as to whether or not he’ll let the kids go.

The Patils house was almost broken into by three Africans with pangas.  They kept them out.

I don’t know how much information is getting home but some must be.

An American and two Germans were expelled from Uganda; all were reporters from NBC, perhaps photographing something “touching.”

I was home this morning when I heard people running in this direction from town.   I asked Felix what was going on and he said that  “The soldiers are shooting at people in town”.  Had anyone been hurt.  “I don’t know, but I think so.:

As I went up to school I heard more shots coming from somewhere to the northeast in town.  Once at school panic reined but eventually all the kids were taken home including all of the African boys who were bussed in the school lobby.

F and I went into town in the early afternoon with Emmanuel and Mbori to get a newspaper.  E stopped up at the police station.  He is going to patrol tonight.

Hassan says we have about 15 minutes from Uganda rifles quartered behind us to protest us from any raiders.  LAP

Later in the evening

There is more movement tonight than last.  The Special Forces Patrol went by at least every quarter hour for about 2 hours.  I haven’t heard them recently.  I hope Emmanuel is able to get relief men so he can go home to Mary.  He must be relieved to know that one of the groups of U. Rifles deployed around town is up at the flats.

I saw more of the fleeing from town.  I was in the Lab.  Mr. Kerr made an announcement that all students were to stay in class until further notice.  Students were not even to leave to go to the toilet.  Shortly after that, I heard a short volley of shots – then a little later, a single shot.  By some miracle, my students didn’t hear them.  The only tense moment was when one boy became almost hysterical.  I managed to catch his eye and talk him out of it.  Shortly after that parents began to show up for their children.  I fail to understand the logic that told those parents that their children were safer in the dukas than in the school – but, logic or not, the kiddies were trundled off with an efficiency that was surprising (to me at any rate).

Hassan told us that an eye witness to the shooting downtown said that the soldier gave ample warning.  I imagine there are a lot of opinions about that.

A personal note that I’d like to record is that today I really got a glimpse of what marshall law can be.  When we went with Emmanuel to the police headquarters (really to buy a paper and some pasha from the duka across the way) a large army truck with soldiers turned the corner.  There are two men who ride facing the front with their guns resting on the cab.  I found that for me at least, to look down the barrels of those sub-machine guns as the truck turned the corner was to know fear.  The soldiers on foot with rifles are a little less startling, but those men up high, with rifles ready and their faces shadowed by their helmets are frightening to behold.

There are reports of brutality to the prisoners in the jail – I suppose that this exists to some extent in every situation similar to this.

One of our students was unable (in the opinion of all of us) to go home safely.  He is staying with Hassan tonight.

I have never seen the town so quiet.  The only sound I can hear is the radio playing out back.  Not even too many dogs barking.

The prevailing opinion is that this will all be over by the weekend.  I hope so.

A sad note is that a letter from Mary Brown today told of her mother’s relapse.  She was taken to University Hospital in Az and in Mary’s words “We are here still, waiting for her to die.”

A happier note is that Pris is back safely from Kampala and was seen doing business in the bank this morning.  FMP

May 28, 1966

We’re up on the hill visiting the women at Kako.  News came up from town, via Norman Davis who came to see Margaret Ross, that school has been cancelled Monday and Tuesday.  Margaret later saw Kerr on the golf course and he said… “maybe all week.”

Yesterday John Kayo confessed, after some pointed questioning, that he was afraid to stay in the village where he lives.  “The soldiers come at night and shoot and you can’t even tell if their killing people.”  Of course this is the situation all around.  In addition to this John isn’t Muganda – and his brother is on the police force.  He was going to go get his things and stay either with his brother or with Hassan.  He was afraid he would be “attacked” in the night.

Today I set off for Luna’s and met Simon at the corner.  He said that several men had just been beaten beside the market place.  Just as I passed it I saw a man with his cheek and eye were all cut open.  They insist upon gathering in groups, but the emergency state allows only four at a time to assemble.  I don’t know whether they do it accidentally or on purpose.  Some get shot for that offense.

We heard today that Obote said that the Kabaka escaped from the Palace.  That probably increased the possibility of violence Monday.  Monday is the 30th, which is the day the King said the Central Government must be out of Buganda.  Everyone here seems to expect violence.  So far there hasn’t been much indication that there are arms around, but today the President called for a surrender of all illegal weapons by noon on Monday.  That seems to confirm that the Government is aware of at least some weapons.

The most frightening speculation which we hit upon tonight, and I think Lou feels this is a strong possibility, is that the situations could change into guerilla warfare.  In that event it could go on for some time.  Needless to say – we all hope it doesn’t come to that.

One big concern is food.  Not for us, we have quite a bit.  But David Chang – the Canadian Volunteer at St. Henry’s stopped by today and he said that the boys have to go without breakfast Mon and if things get much worse they’ll have to send them all home.  I can’t see food getting to be a major concern for most people unless things get much worse than expected.  There is always plenty of matoki around.  We had sausages and rice tonight.  Luna is out of sausage.  That means market meat as long as it holds out – or no meat – but it won’t last – and we can survive without meat.  After all, we have vitamin capsules in our P.C. Med Kit!  FMP

May 29, 1966 – 10:55 PM

Margaret brought Lou and Pris and me down off the hill at 10:00 AM.  She took Sue back up to stay with Terry and Pris stayed with us.  Pris and I walked down to Luna’s to get food to send back to the hill, but man what a change from yesterday.  There were no people in the streets.  We did meet some soldiers walking in the street (something new), but they looked like they were off duty.  When we got to Luna’s they were all mixed up.  They told me to go behind the counter and get what I wanted.  I did get quite a few things, including stewed steak, soup,  tomato paste and beer.

We came home and made brownies and cookies on the off chance that the power lines might be cut tomorrow.  Then we had lunch and went up to Emmanuel’s.  He had just been stopped, ordered out his car, threatened with a bayonet, hit in the arm with a gun butt; told to run or be shot (also that he’d be shot if he ran) and finally released because he was R.C..  He says the soldiers are drunk, tired and mean tempered.  They beat up a young man and his wife yesterday (Emmanuel says he saw it happen) and there was some shooting when the taxi drivers started handing out the “call to arms” literature.  Still no news of the K’s whereabouts.

The big danger for us tomorrow is that the soldiers may search our houses to look for arms.  Actually they’ll take anything they find that strikes their fancy.  For the countrymen the danger is that they may be beaten or shot without question because they are Buganda (or mistaken for Buganda).

There are some pretty wild rumors around about how many people have died – I’d say a conservative estimate for the Kingdom is 400.  I hope I’m wrong.  The people who were in town yesterday heard shots all day – so far I have heard only something that sounded like three shots; about half an hour ago.  There are claims of 200 dead (this is what the soldiers said) in a village 20 miles west of here – and special forces of some kind are said to have gone through Nyendo shooting everyone they saw.  I don’t know how credible these stories are.  I should guess (and hope!) that they are at least somewhat exaggerated.

We are all waiting for tomorrow.  We borrowed the Ahmedi’s slide projector and showed slides tonight.  Some of home, some of training and some of Uganda (parts yet unseen by us Uganda II’s.)  St helped take our minds off tomorrow.  I think we are afraid of what may happen to others.  For ourselves there is no fear.  Barring accidents like stray bullets I think we are safe.

We still have eggs, a little cheese, a can of stewed steak, and lots of rice and beans.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings.  FMP

June 5, 1966

A lapse of a week usually means either that things have been really good or really bad.  This time it is a little of both.

Monday was anticlimatical in some strange ways.  There was no open confrontation.  The soldiers made things uneasy for us.  We sat on the porch; Lou, Pris, Jim and I and watched two of them beat people and take their money.  They wandered up the hill, fired two shots (killing at least one man we later learned) then came back down – still taking all the money they could find.  We walked to Luna’s with Pris on Tuesday, where she got a ride back up the hill.  School started on Wednesday with 80% attendance.

I neglected to mention that on Monday, Dee McGuire from Rwashamaire came by.  He had been stranded in K. for a week.  He invited Pris and Terry to come down to Kitungu and teach until Kako opened.  They (or Pris here) accepted joyously.

On Wednesday morning P.C. Kawapala called Lou.  (It was really afternoon, about 2:00).  They said they‘d had a missing persons report on Dee.  Apparently he had never returned on Monday.  We talked to Terry, Pris and Sue and called back.  They promised to call on Thursday at 10:00 AM.

When they called, Jim talked to them.  Chuck was about to fly down there if there was no word.  It was discovered that they had never called the Masaka Police – or Entere School in Mbarara where Joe Farkos teaches.  Jim called from here, and the result was that Joe had just that morning (June 2nd) received a letter from Dee, posted from Kitungu on June first, saying that he had arrived safely on Tuesday afternoon!  Jim called Kanpala.  Chuck cancelled the plane trip.  As of today, to my knowledge, there has been no attempt to verify the report that he is all right.

All I can say about this study in official incompetence is that I hope we never turn up missing.

The beatings have continued.  We (my class and I) sat in the lab on Friday and watched two soldiers rob a man who was just walking along – and hit him needlessly with their rifle butts.

Yesterday Lou and I got efficient and made some visual aid charts for the history room.  It was fun – and it should make that room, which faintly resembles Grandpa Marriott’s bean bin a little more attractive.

Today I’m 23.  Lou fixed me breakfast in bed this morning – and then I opened my presents.  There were two bottles of the best smelling perfume I’ve ever had.  Then there was a light fixture that we can take outside if we cook out there after the curfew is over.  Right now it is in the bedroom.  There were three light bulbs with it – red, yellow, and blue.  THEN – there was a dart board.  THEN – there was one, two, three books!  (Then can there be more?)  There was a real kerosene lamp about 2 inches tall.  They are so cute!  Finally (and this was best I think) there was a lovely picture for my room.

Pris and Terry came just as I was getting out of the tub.  They brought a collage (on newspaper) of  “Summer Spring Winter Fall” to remind me of home – and a long port of dressing gown made from a Congo wax print.  It is modeled after a gown of Pris’s which I admired last weekend.  As Sue put it, it was a “work of love”, for they made it themselves.

Sue herself brought a little box of bobby pins – she had borrowed all mine 3 months ago.  And Emmanuel and Mary sent down a lovely picture on Friday – and came themselves this afternoon.

Lou took me to a delicious dinner at the Tropic; and to end this gala day – we are going to Jim’s for a chili dinner.  I have had a royal and happy birthday.  (I should also mention that my Witter’s St. family is sending some things I’ve not yet received.)  Also U.P. sent $15.00.  I feel like a Queen.

This week has marked another double space triumph for the U.S.  The Lunar Shot and Gemini IX – both of which we have followed with interest.  Also – Jim and I made caramel corn (a private and triumphant first for the Masaka Marauders).

Pris and Terry got an emergency message to go to Hornia.  They leave tomorrow – but no one knows for how long.  I hope not for good.

I hate to end on a blue note – but I think I’m getting stomach flu.  FMP

June 6, 1966 (midnight)

I was, indeed, getting a G.I. upset.  It is like the one I had when I first got here.  No vomiting or runs – but sort of dry racking cramps in the pit of my stomach.  I’ve had a slice of bread and 3 bottles of ginger ale.  I still have intense pain and feel lousy.

Despite this, Lou and I managed to get 15 personal and two business letters off tonight.  I feel good mentally at least a few more tomorrow and the slate will be clean.

Things continue to be quiet here.  We’ve resumed school on a full time basis.  I haven’t yet had a change to get into the saddle since Jon and Jim covered my classes today while I suffered in bed – but it will be good to get back on a regular schedule.  I hope things stay quiet.

I read a letter from a student’s father describing shootings and beatings in an outlying village.  Pegele made to strip naked, beaten, then shot.  Also heard reports that a doctor, his wife and two children were shot just outside of town.  Let’s hope all that is over.

Where is King Freddie?  FMP

June 8, 1966

It’s the first thing in the morning and as usual in the tropics it is a beautiful sun shining morning.  The days are always 12 ½ hours long here, with the sun rising about 6:30 AM and setting at 7:00 PM.

Things are settling back to normal, but not quite.  It is impossible to tell when anything might happen.  The Kabaka is still missing and members of the Lukika are still under arrest.

Many of our boys have not yet returned to school.  No telling what experiences they have had since this began.

It is about time for me to go up to school as I can hear the voices of the kids talking and laughing in the background as they go up to school.  LAP

June 29, 1966

Well, it’s been sometime since we’ve been writing anything.  Many things have happened.  We are just now getting the story of what happened last month.  Still mostly rumors.

What does seem to be clear is that much to Obote’s disgust the Kabaka was able to make good his escape.  He appeared last week in Leopoldville, the Congo.

This occurred just after Obote announced the end of Buganda as a Kingdom, ending a dynasty that is said to go back 400 years.  He divided the Kingdom into four districts.  Masaka, Bomba, Mengo, and Kitende, each run directly by the central government.  This was done in a very passionate speech directed against the Kabaka.

After appearing in Leopoldville he left for the capital of Burundi, Bujumbura.  He has been granted entrance to and has left for the U.K.

The story he tells is fascinating.  When the palace began to fall, King Freddie grabbed a submachine gun and with some of his bodyguards fought his way out, killing forty men.  Only the King and five of his men made good their escape.  Almost everyone else in the palace were killed by central government troops.  Figures here go as high as 2,000 people.  No telling how many Bugandans were killed out in the bush.

After making good his escape, the Kabaka dressed as a peasant and walked 300 miles in 3 weeks to get to Mbarara.  According to the Luganda vernacailer newspapers, he spent about a week in and around Masaka, hiding out mostly in the swamps around Lake Victoria.  He caught malaria in the swamps.

At Mbaranu he was given a car and he drove across to the Congo border and drove to Leopoldville.  He says he was stopped several times by Uganda Rifles.  They didn’t recognize him.

What now?  No one knows, the curfew has been reduced to 10 o’clock.  Oboti calls Sir Edward a criminal and threatens to extradite him from Britain.  Now rumors are that the Kabaka plans to hire Congo style mercenaries and fight his way back through the Congo.  It’s not over yet.  LAP

July 19, 1966

It’s been a long time since we wrote.  We had Trevor Walker and Jinja Vince down for the Fourth and had a big party.  It was really fun.  Then they made the curfew until 12:00 and things are looking up.  We’ve been to two movies this last week.  Pris came home on the day of the party and she was down last weekend.  We went to the flicks Saturday night and made doughnuts (fried-cakes) Sunday morning.

I have had something wrong with my tailbone and am going to K on Friday to have it looked into (literally).

Finals start next week.  Ugh!  Two weeks of them.

Jim is moving to the tropic tomorrow and Mr. & Mrs. Thomas move in next door – with their three kids!!

We’re having a Visual Aids Exhibition up at school and as usual, chaos reigns.  The old boy has glory in his eye.  Repainted two classrooms and have done the equivalent of suspending school for 3 days.  He’s even brought over his model car layout.

The Dragon Lady was here for dinner tonight and the evaluator came Thursday.  Guess we get a meal at the old T.I. out of it.  Hope he’s not too gung-ho peace corps.

I’ve made one observation here that bears recording.  Everyone, everywhere (If I can be allowed a small generalization) lucky enough to own a flush toilet, is too lazy to put the new roll of paper on the doo hicky, and all over the world one sees doo hicky’s with empty cardboard rolls and fresh rolls perched precariously on tank-backs and pink-edges.  Such is the laziness of men.  FMP

P.S.  Lou’s correcting history (S1) exams:

1.  Pax Roman are the men who gave small poxs to everyone.

2.  The three tribes of Italy were Carthage, Parthege and Concule.

We seem to have neglected to mention that Mbori shipped out.  He left about a week after my birthday owing Stanley 20/- and leaving only the attached note.  Altogether he was not a great house guest.    This is what the note said:


Mr. & Mrs. Picard.

Thanks for your accommodation.  The telegram contained sad news.  My mother taken gravely sick.  I have had to go home.  Sorry.  Mbori


July 20, 1966

Note:  Thomas Paine was the first man who threw a ball up.

We are in the full swing of the Great Visual Aids Exhibition of 1966.  We have (and I mean by that the insane Headmaster and His Whole Sick Crew) pained 2 or 3 classrooms and painted, pasted, molded everything we could think of.  We’ve all sat for portrait and group photos, a huge board with photos of all the chaos of the past two years.  The other side of the great board has a display of all the school stationary (hang on – there’s more) – AND – He has hung a complete uniform for both sexes on a bulletin board.  Jim’s comment; “He’s displaying everything but my jock strap, and if they get that I’m going home!”  FMP

July 22. 1966

I am finally in K., after a two week wait.  Sue and I are staying at Chuck’s house.  He’s out for the evening – it seems they threw a big cocktail party for the new ambassador.

The Visual Aids Exhibition was an absolute smashing success.  Kerr his usual magnificent self.  We went to his house for a short snort and then on to the T.I. for dinner with the evaluator.  He’s a professor from Cal. Tech. named Ned Murger and he’s kind of an earnest Sargent Bilko.  He comes on STRONG MAN – STRONG.

I have an appointment at Mulago tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM.  Hope we find something out.  I really appreciate the phrase “Oh my aching ass!”  FMP

July 23, 1966

Went to Mulago today.  Was examined by a charming surgeon, Mr. Kyalwazi, who amused himself by explaining that in England the early surgeons were backers and was hence entitled to be called “Doctor.”  The custom has a stuck – so he is Mr. – not Dr.

I can’t get x-rays until Wednesday.  I missed calling Louie this morning by getting stuck in the hospital.  Then I had to wait for Vivian to get anything definite settled.  When I finally called called about 6 or so – I call the T.I. but Jim wasn’t in.  Left a message for him to call me.

Chuck is out to dinner again.  I didn’t realize how much his job is like that of a diplomat.  All kinds of protocols, etc.  He earns his check.  He hasn’t sat down all day.

The word on the new Ambassador is that he’s hot for P.C. – used to captor in to see them where he was before.  He’s going to visit all of us he told Chuck.  Should be most interesting.

I have spent the day above reading, and I’m doing the same tonight.  I’m grateful for peace and quiet and no social effort.  The examination this morning was so painful that it seems to have robbed me of a whole day’s strength.  I’m curling up with a glass of scotch and a book of African Folktales and Sculpture.  It’s fascinating.

Thought – I’ve been needing a rest and it looks like I can sleep until Wednesday.  FMP

July 25, (? Monday) 1966

Talked to Chuck yesterday about the Dee incident.  It seems that we in Mosaka didn’t know what was up, and from what Jim and Vivian said on the plane, they didn’t either.  Anyway, the Embassy called the police posts (including Masaka), and it was impossible for F.C. to call Entare before the morning we did because the phone lines were down.  This means that P.C.K. was a lot more efficient than we gave them credit for being – in fact, as efficient as they could have been.

Chuck was somewhat upset to think that we had all thought him so stupid, but he admitted that some communication instead of none would have been good.  It was good, I thought, to get things straightened out; especially it will be good to tell the Mzee that James’s behavior is not inconsistent, it is consistent and good in these situations.  FMP

August 1, 1966

I failed to report that while I was in Kampala we had a family who had been bitten by a mad dog.  There was much confusion – but everything has worked out all right.  They are the Staley’s, from the American Embassy in Kigale, Rwanda.

Chuck brought me home last Tuesday.  We found Pris very sick with some kind of Respiratory ailment, and Nancy Glidden who had become hysterical in class and fled to Kako for the Kure.

I have felt much worse since my examination in Kampala, and I’m just managing to make it with codeine and good luck.

I spent Friday at Kako in bed with Pris, and we comforted each other.

I have all of my exams corrected right now – and the grades made out.  All that remains is the report cards.

I’m going back to Kampala tomorrow and I hope I come home feeling better.

Terry just brought me a whole bunch of books from D.U.S.  Now- at last – I have some good, reliable, reference books.

Today is Dad’s birthday.  I wish I could see him.  Hope he knows I’m thinking of him.  FMP

P.S.  Bob Pettengill was married Friday.  We got an announcement that Mary Bush and Bob Boosil were married June 30th.  And we got news that Ginny and Fred were married on July 2nd.  Wow – so many big steps!

August 6, `966

I have been in K. nearly a week.  The Staley’s are still at Chuck’s, so I’ve had good company.  They tried for a long time to try to get through to Kigale – and when they finally made it, Bob DeBarox (the man Chuck, Vivian and I went to see a Sunday morning movie with) said that after looking over the lab facilities he urged them to continue the entire rabies series anyway.

On Friday Chuck and the Staley’s flew to Kisoro.  Lou arrived about lunch and we waited for the travelers to return.  Chuck had said about 7:00 Well, at 7:30 or 8:00 Vivian called and said that the pilot had missed them and that instead of waiting until Saturday morning, he had just flown back to Entebbe.  We weren’t unduly worried because we figured that they’d call.

The reason they missed the pilot is this.  The landing strip at Risoro was too muddy to allow a full load take-off and they were to meet him at a certain tea estate about 60 miles away.  The estimate given them of the time it would take to drive to the tea estate was 1 ½ hours too short.

Vivian put a search-call through the Embassy.  This turned up the information that the tea estate had a radio.  All day Saturday Lou and I at Chuck’s house and Vivian and Dave and Jan Garvey (the new P.C. Dr. and his wife) waited nervously.  By 3, even if the call from Chuck had come through, the plane wouldn’t take-off.

Marty, Dave Rubenstein and the Garvers came for dinner and we all sat nervously around.  They left about 10:00.

At 11:30 I heard a car, ran to the door, and heard a very tired Chuck say, “Hi.”

When they reached the tea estate they had been able to find no one who knew anything about the place.  They had driven to a mission 18 miles away to spend the night and arrived back at the tea estate at 9:00.  They waited for the plane until midday.

Then they went to Kabale and tried to call.  The lines were down.

Finally, at shortly before six, John Peterson – a tea stationed with Toby and Turner started driving them back to Kampala.

They were tired, dirty, and (at least Chuck was) a little bitter.  Quite an experience for a family of three who has already been exposed to rabies!

I entered the hospital yesterday.  I’m not sure what’s going to happen.  Mr. Kyalwazi said injections.  I hope they don’t hurt.

I’ve met a man named Dr. Wolf who has been here for 11 weeks.  He is the director of the Tetse control for Uganda, and was attached by Buganda on the 23rd May.  They must have mistaken his uniform for that of a police.  But – no matter what the reason was he was nearly killed.  They tried to chop of his arms and he suffered other severe lacerations and a bad concussion.

My roommates are a nun, Sister Donata, and a young Asian girl, Naslee Abdulla, a friend of Nasim Jaffer who teaches P.3. at A. K. Mosako.

The only thing I really want is something to read.  Beyond that, I’m resigned to my fate.  Docile in fact!  FMP

September 13, 1966

It is with great joy that I write that we are to be the Godparents of Martin DePorres Hillary Pinto, born shortly after 4:00 PM on the 13th day of September to Marie Rose and Emmanuelle Xaver Pinto.  If this verges on purple prose it is because the whole event seems to us to deserve a flourish.

I have started writing on this page because I am turning over a new leaf.  That is, I plan to write with more regularity.

There is so much contemporary news that I think I’ll start in the present and work backwards.  First of course, there is young Martin, Marty I suppose he’ll be.   We’ve been helping Manny and Mary wait.  We took a spaghetti dinner up there on Friday night to celebrate Mary’s birthday (September 9, 1966), her 23rd.  Last night we took Manny (with Mzee Wilson) to see “Rio Conchos”.  It was a way of keeping him from getting completely drunk.

Yesterday I went to see Father Roberts.  Part of the reason for the visit was to see if he forgot completely his date for dinner over a month ago, or if he was mad.  He forgot.  The rest of the reason was to see about having our marriage blessed by the Catholic Church.  He was most understanding and kind to me.  He has the kind of quiet strength and human compassion that increases ones faith in the Church.  He’s coming to tea Thursday to talk it over more fully with both of us.

We had a letter from Big Chuck today.  He’s in the Atlantic now, almost home.  The card was from near Gibraltar on his way out.  He’s a good man and a friend.  I’m grateful that it is he who is in charge over here.

Magar, the Asian who is Manny’s and Jim’s friend and who has promised to take us hunting is being married on Sunday.  We’ve been invited, along with 398 others.  I can’t wait.  It is really a good change for us to witness a Muslim wedding.  I’ll try to write a full account.

We’ve received six or seven books from Lou’s dad.  Gee it is thoughtful of them to send them.  We feel much closer to home because of the strong lines of communication between us.  We’ve been lax on our end, but will try to do better.  We’ve neglected more than our Journal this last couple of months.  Also, we’ve received a lot of magazines from dear Dr. Stokes.  We are lucky to have friends like him.

I’m going to take this with me this afternoon.  I want to find time to record the Murchison Trip and Hassan’s Village – also I want to record our first hand impression of Marty, whom we’ll see for the first time.  FMP

The situation here is rather strange.  The Army here has reappeared from Mbarara about 200 of them.  There doesn’t seem to be any reason for it’s but Obote is out of the country at the Commonwealth Conference.

There is we know a real split developing between two factions of the Army.  Brigadier Apolo has the prestige, and is friendly to the south, while Cal.  Amin is Obote’s favorite and is ineffective control of the Army.

I don’t know whether anything will develop from this, probably not.  But Emmanuel says there are rumors.  And there is always the example of the overthrow of N Kruma (a favorite of Obote’s) in Ghana.  LAP

Still 13, September 1966

We have been to see the child who will be our Godson.  He is (probably) like all babies, but to me he looked a little special.  Mary is radiant, Manny is oh so proud, and so, I confess, are we.  He is only 24 hours old, and we played with him, checked his reflexes, and passed approval.  I’ll be glad when Mary is home as I can go see him often.

The Trip to Murchison Falls

We took ten students in the van to Murchis on Falls National Park on the 26, 27, and 28th of August.  We got off to a slow start of course.

We picked Betty Owens up at the U.S.I.S. office.  Then we realized that we had forgotten our Med Kit.  We went to P.C. and got an xray.  That gave us a change to say goodbye to Chuck.  That wasn’t a real hold-up – but, we ran into a major hand-up when we realized that Mohamadu had no credit card and we had no money.  After a major disagreement with a gas station attendant we called Mr. Kerr who told us to get money from Aga Khan Kampala.  This all took enough time so that we didn’t escape until about 11:00.

The road to Masindi turned out to be treacherous, and to make matters worse it began to rain.  That turned the already bumpy murrain into an oil-slick.  It took an hour to go the last 13 miles.

We left Betty at the Masindi Hotel and went on.  We got to the ferry at Paraa about 10 minutes before the deadline which is 6:30.

The chief education warden is a young man from Schenectady, N.Y. named Deitrick Shaff.  He came and introduced himself that evening.

The next morning he took us to the museum, and then on the 56 mile sweep through the park called the Buligi Circuit.  We went with six boys in the van and he took off in the Rover.

We saw lots of game, especially bucks and elephant.  The ride, through the elephant grass down to Lake Albert was beautiful and exciting.

In the afternoon we went on the Launch trip down the river (lake) to the falls.  We saw crocodiles and hippo by the dozens.

The next morning we went out of the Paraa side at 8:00 and drove to the falls on the way out of the park.  Then we drove to Horina, had lunch with Betty (or rather cooked matoki on her stove and in the back yard).

We arrived in K. about 7 and immediately developed a short in the wiring system which it took over an hour to get taped up.  We arrived back in Masaka about 10:15 – and we were glad to be home.

As you enter the park; actually it’s before the main gate, although you travel for many miles on a road that goes to only one spot, you came through and over some rolling hills.  Suddenly you have left the tropical area that seems to mark the lake area and come into the veldt.  The hills are now covered only with waving grass.  The trees are scattered and have lost the lushness of the wet area.  You can see for miles and miles.  Indeed, the part of the park that we saw seemed to be rich bottom lands leading to the lake and the Nile.

As one gazes in awe at the change of terrain and at the immensity of this new face of Africa, he becomes aware that the land is not empty.  The tall grass only partly hides the buck and wart hogs.  The elephant and buffalo stand out in stark relief against their tawny background.

From the moment we made the hairpin turn down into the first broad valley our time in the park became an exciting hunt for game.  By the time we made it to the ferry we had seen enough game to almost-satisfy us.

The Buligi circuit was even more spectacular in terms of change.  We once again drove through the elephant grass, and then suddenly, there was the Nile.  There was short green grass for about 100 yards away from the river.

There were water buck hiding in the last of the yellow grass – and then on that cloudy morning, one saw the great dark elephants in the shallow water, and saw the stark contrast of the snowy egrets.  There were 4 different kinds of buck near the water.

The drive went on along the river bank, and then turned back into the veldt.

We got on the launch about 2:00 PM.  It had a 40-50 passenger capacity and we shared it with a farm-school group from Hoima.  The boat went along the bank slowly, and the pilot steered toward all game.  We saw a hippo, cow and her calf sunning along the bank, and lots of others both in and out of the water.

The crocs were numerous and some of them were enormous.  Some of the islands were almost covered with them.

The greatest joy for us was the response of the boys.  They were excited by everything not the least of which was the boat-ride itself.  The first time in a boat for many of them.

The falls the next morning were breathtaking.  The force of the water through the original falls (a crevice about 20 feet wide).  The other newer falls is much wider but still beautiful.  We climbed to the top and saw it from the front and the back.

The trip was definitely worthwhile for all of us concerned!

September 15, 1966

Jan and Roshen came to dinner last night.  We had meatloaf, etc.  They said they liked it.  Roshen brought me a piece of linen (I hope enough to make a dress with); it is a sort of apple green, and is really nice.

Today I walked up to St. Joe’s to see Mary and Marty.  They are fine.  The walk is so nice – about 45 minutes each way.  She should be able to come home Monday.  Maybe Saturday if she’s really feeling fit.

I was picked up by the notorious Mr. Duffus on the way home.  He was charming, and I’m glad one of us has finally been officially introduced to him.  He’s quite well known about town.

Today we got some of our slides from Murchison and the ones we took out at Hassan’s.  Most of the ones we’ve seen are good.  With our slide projector it takes a while to get through three boxes.

Got a great epistle from Joy today.  She always reminds me of who, where and what we are.  The girl wields a pen with a mighty hand.  And, things seem to be shaping up for Kenya and Christmas.

Sue was just here.  It isn’t just the kids in the bush who have crosses to bear.

Ah, bitterness.

Anyway, the last entry is that Fr. Roberts is supposed to be here for tea – but its 5:00 and he’s still absent.  I’m eager to get everything settled and a date set.  That guy must have a fixation against us.

Later:  He walked in just as I wrote the above.  Stayed till it was too late to eat dinner so we went down and got the Mzee and came back to look at the slides.  FMP

September 17, 1966

Today Mrs. Lawrence is coming to teach me to make hamburger buns.  She is, in her ultra-American fundamentalist way almost more than I can bear.  And yet, religion aside, the Lawrence’s are nice people.  I’ll add more later.  FMP

September 18, 1966

Today has been the day of Mazar’s wedding.  We went with Manny at 8:30 to his house.  There, after some small wait we were taken by his brother, Zia, to the house of the bride.  There first the women and then the men crowded inside.  The Shaker, the fathers, Mazar and other important men sat shoeless on a mat and the contract was confirmed, signed, and a prayer said.  Then dates, nuts, sweets, and glasses full of milk mixed with some crushed nuts and spices were served.

The bride was absent for the whole ceremony, and after it was finished, all the guests filed by to look at her.  She was veiled.  According to Zia, she is 17 years old.

Then, at 11:30 we returned to Mazar’s and from there went to the Patel Samaj (Patel Hall) where lunch was served buffet style.  At this time Mazar and his two “bodyguards” appeared, wearing elaborate red and gold head-dresses.  The bride was still absent, although there was a big welcoming scene when Mazar arrived.  The dinner was pilan (HOT!!!), curry, and a kind of sweet rise I had never tasted before.

After lunch we spoke to Mazar, and asked him where his wife was.  He said that he would go at 4:00 and fetch her home.  The custom is that today she is his alone; only tomorrow can she accept visitors.  He promised that we would spend some evenings together, and expressed regret that his wife speaks no English (only some French).  We promised to help him teach her.

When we left we went with Father Roberts who was kind enough to take the three of us up to see Mary.  Manny is trying to get her out today.  We’ll see if he succeeds.

About yesterday.  I ended up going with Mrs. Lawrence to see the site of their “real American home.”  They came for lunch – and left about 2:00.  I hate to sound bitter, but they tried my patience immensely.  I wish a quiet and orderly retreat from the field were in order.  However, this is definitely a time when being an American is not an asset.  They have the lack of sensitivity to assume that all of “us Americans” feel the same about all things.  Oh, well, forge on.

Incidentally, we’ve set next Saturday as the day for the marriage blessing and possibly the christening.  Things move fast out here.  FMP

October 1, 1966

It’s been a long time since I’ve recorded anything.  I just haven’t thought of anything to say.  It’s been ten months since we left home and we are so well established here that it is very difficult to imagine anything else.

Abdu is working this afternoon.  Mostly puttering with the bicycle.  He wants it pretty bad and I’m sure he’ll get it when we leave.

Party tonight, N.C. and Jim may clash!

A beautiful day, one of the few without rain in this season.  Birds are singing.  Camelot is playing on the tape recorder.  All in all a very pleasant life.

The shamba boys are really working and making this place attractive.  I never thought I would become interested in gardening.  I guess you never know.

We’ve lost some parts to the lawn mower that pretty well shoots that.

The Dogs are huge.  School is a little chaotic – as usual.  Don’t know whether or not the Aga Khan is coming.  Independence Day is coming up.  We’ve stuck Davis and Thomas with duty.  They don’t do anything else.

Emmanuel was surprised to learn that we had Coke and Pepsi in the U.S. – more so when he learned that they were U.S. companies.

Worked in the library yesterday.  Catalogued books and labeled them.  It is a regular part of the school.

Lubulwa is ruining the S2’s as far as any kind of pass on the English Exam.  I don’t know what we can do about it.

Next year is really going to be something.  No idea yet about either teacher or buildings, but we are supposed to take in three streams of S1’s (110 kids).  LAP

October 13, 1966

We finally got to Sebei.  Last Friday a teacher from the Government School picked us up and took us all the way to Mbale.  The only drawback was that there was no one to take us up on the mountain (Mount Elgon).  We eventually, after a series of fruitless phone calls, had to stay at the hotel.  Then we began to plan an escape route.

The next morning we walked downtown – through legions of Uhurn soldiers – and looked in at the P.O.  We then left word at the coffee shop, and at the grocers (a real self-service store!)

Just as hope was running low, Lou saw Mrs. Gleeson, the headmaster’s wife.  She was pretty full up, but said she’d stop by the hotel.  She did, only to tell us that the Dr., Mr. Clements, would come pick us up.  The Clement’s arrived at about 2:30, all in a flurry of motion.  The rains were coming, and getting caught on the mountain in the rain usually meant pushing!

After a breathtakingly beautiful ride up the mountain, with a stop at Sipi falls, we arrived at the football field, in the middle of a drizzle, to find out that the boys had written us and asked us not to come!  We volunteered to leave, but they saw the cookies I’d brought first.

We did a little hiking; saw their own private waterfall, etc. – But most of all we just sat around and relaxed.  An idyllic weekend after the chaos weekend at school.  More later.  FMP

Lou Picard, Fione Marie Picard, David ClossonMount Elgon, Uganda


October 22, 1966

It’s Saturday afternoon, it’s been an exciting week.  On Monday two new TEA teachers began observing.  They came down with Jim for tea, and Hal Janick showed up.  He was here with a government man, Mpagi, and Garrett Roelophs, a man from Grand Rapid’s that we met at Bill’s in January.  They took us out to dinner, and Tuesday, they came here for spaghetti.  On Wednesday Pris came down.  Thursday night, the 20th, Sue and a fellow were here for dinner and then Jim and Julia (a nurse at the hospital) came.  Also, Bob Toby showed up looking for a place to stay.  Friday we went to Kako so Lou could give a speech to the Historical Society.  Then we went to watch Aga Khan beat Kako at football.  We didn’t see that – but we saw a close, well played, tie game.

Mazhar is taking us all hunting next Saturday.  I can’t wait.

Today I found a nest of ants, including a Queen to put in my ant farm.  I also got my new aquarium all fixed up.  No fish, but a tadpole that’s about to be something.  Also, Lou and I classified and put on the shelves 50 new British Council Books.  Now I have four sets of Bio exams.  In addition to that – our final exams must be turned in on the 28th.  Also – Mom sent me a visible man and women.  I have to try to buy some polystyrene model paint and assemble the mess.

Misty seems about ready to be delivered of her pups.  She looks and sounds, when tapped, like a ripe watermelon.

Dave and Jan Garver stopped by yesterday for a second.  They’ve confirmed the rumor that Chuck will soon be home.  I’ll be glad to know that he’s at the helm.  FMP

October 26, 1966

Went to Kla with John Halani at 7:00 AM.  Got paints for the Visible People, the pictures from Hassan’s, and a silver cup for young Marty.  Came home to the bad news that Manny’s father had been admitted to St. Joe’s and given last rights.  Manny came himself about 6:30 to say that Mary was in the hospital with an appendicitis.  He’s the original Mr. Nemesis.  The only good news was that his dog, Jack, had puppies.  He didn’t even know how many!

Came home with Rusk.  Got him to promise to try to get me a film strip projector.  Also talked to him about Moss.

Big Chuck returns next Friday.  Good!

Our Ballots came today and I have to go vote.  FMP

October 29, 1966

Mary is going to be released pending later operation.  Manny’s father will live on for a while.  Seventy years is an old age in this tropical country.  Pris is here now, and we are awaiting Mazhar – then, off to the bush.  We are levi, sweater and sweat sox clad impatient people.

The exams are written.  Hurray.  My midterms are still only half done.  We got three new books from Father Vince.  Is Paris BurningThe Man, and a book about Saginaw with a picture of my mother-in-law shooting pool.

I sent off a letter with an elephant hair bracelet to Mary and a flower book to Grandma, finally.

We went to Luma’s farm with the entire S1 on Thursday and I sneaked back in time to see our debate team beat Kako 116 to 112 (or was it 2/6-2/2 anyway, we won by four.  We taped it.

We got a check from Marg.  There isn’t any way, I guess, to express to people at home just how much we appreciate the things they send to us.

A month from now we’ll see Joy.  It’s almost a year now since Pris and I walked away and left her sitting on the grass at the YWCA in Nairobi.  Any comment I could make on that would be trite.  Best let it stand.  FMP

November 4, 1966 4:40 AM

At 1:00 this morning Misty began to deliver.  Now, 4 hours later, she is the mother of six puppies, half and half – and the seventh is on the way.  Pris was here for dinner and we went to a movie.  Then, because the curfew was just released yesterday, we went to the tropic and had a drink.  (The seventh and I think last has just arrived, he is notably smaller than the others).  After the drink we came home, and Misty was looking really due.  There is no adequate description of our excitement when this all began.  My only worry is that if this keeps up there will be more pups than teats!

This last one is so small – but I guess there’s always a runt in every litter.  I wish I knew if there’s an after-birth in addition to all the individual bags.  But from the looks of her I think the “before-births” are all finished.  They look like a bunch of drowned rats!  I was wrong, there’s another one – just now.  I think there are about 5 girls and 3 boys – but it’s hard to see them clearly.  Darn – We’d hoped for mostly males.  They’re getting smaller, and this last one doesn’t seem to be as energetic.  There’s a number nine I think.  She must be exhausted!  I’m afraid this one little guy may not make it.

She is still having contractions, but I wish she’d quit.  They keep looking weaker and I’m afraid one may be born dead.

It is now ten after five, and I have 5 or 6 classes to teach today – but I can’t leave.  This night has been beautiful and the smell is the same one I remembered from the pigs on the farm.  A smell of birth.  She seems to be trying to sleep now – I’ve moved her so she is on a dry spot.  Most of the pups are fairly dry.

I can’t believe this – but I think she’s going to have another.  I hope not.  We’re both too tired.

She’s so patient – so unlike her usual bitchy self.  They’re squawking like a bunch of kittens and she just licks them and nudges them.

There’s definitely a nine.  He’s just come through!  Or rather half through.  It’s alive! And really kicking!  It is a boy, thank God.

The cock’s are crowing – I’d better just stay up.  I’d never get back out of bed now.

Don’t look now – but there’s no. 10!  He isn’t moving.  Yes, he’s alive.  And another boy!  He’s already making his way towards a nonexistent nipple.  He’s fat!

I wonder how they are all going to eat.

All this has done a lot for Misty’s girlish frame – she no longer looks like a goat.

She’s having more contractions – I don’t believe it.  How does one call a halt?  He obviously doesn’t.  But I wish I could.

Except for the first one, I think they’ll all be black.  He is going to be brownish grey I think.

It’s six – I’m going to go get a cup of coffee.  FMP

November 5, 1966

Guess what?  Homer and Jethro just came on the radio singing “Tiger by the Tail.”  Man!

There was another pup born during school yesterday, which brought the total to eleven; six females and five males.  We’ve taken 5 of them up to Jack’s at Emmanuel’s.  Jack had only one herself, a week ago, and has accepted these foster children very well.

We are going to Mazhar’s for dinner tonight, with Pris, Terry, Emmanuel, Mary and Jim.  It should be great fun.

After my great vigil at the side of Misty, I slept until eleven thirty, got up and took a bath and washed my hair – and now I’m just doing nothing.  Father Roberts promised to come take me for a ride – but it’s raining so he may not.  Darn it.

Lou is being very nice to me, and is typing all the exams – even my Bio exam.

It’s less than a month until we go to Kenya.  Misty had her pups, and Chuck is supposedly home.  It’s all beginning to look brighter.  FMP

Lou suggested that we see what all the commotion about 100 yards off the road was – and it turned out to be cheetah with two cubs!

After leaving, we went to the airport to see Bob Tobey off on the Bombay flight.  We then returned to the Roadhouse and Pris and Nancy went to hear the “Creation” at All Saints Church across the road, while Lou and I got a hamburger at the Thorn Tree and re-checked our Hoy messages.

Today we went to Jamhuri Park to see the Uhuru festivities.  As usual, we were late – but unusually – that was lucky.  We were standing less than 10 feet from Mzee Kenyatto’s car as he drove into the stadium.  While there, seeing the marching, hearing the Mzee’s speech and watching the tribal dances, we met Peppy Plumber.  Also saw Alex Aderer from a distance.

Now we’re off again – after a great hamburger at Wimpy’s.  FMP

Minted grapefruit and fruit cocktail

Clear sherry soup

Shrimp mayonnaise

Turkey and dressing

Roast Kenya Ham and oven browned potatoes




Christmas pudding with Brandy Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream

Various assorted nuts and candies


December 16, 1966 – Mombasa

Our first view of an Arab Town made me want to see the Middle East.  Let’s face it, this year and this trip has made us want to see as much and do as much as we can in this world.

Overseas living must grow on people it has on us.  We are convinced that we will be back overseas – soon – but at the same time we know that in this next year we will be thinking more and more of being HOME.

December 17, 1966 – Jachni, Kenya

I have never seen white sand – most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen – the beach.

We like swimming in Salt Water.  But still we can’t help swallowing it.

In early December we told we would have a visit from the Aga Khan.  After the staff and the students waited all afternoon they were told that he ran out of time and would not visit.

The Kerr Family, early December, 1966


December 19, 1966 – Mombasa

Took the car for 1000 mile grease and oil.  VW is good car – we’ll get one when we go home.  Went to the docks to look at the boats.  Fascinating to both of us.

December 12 – Uhuru Day

We left Kla on Saturday morning at 7:00 AM.  Just outside of Eldoret we picked up Bob Faden – and he sponged a ride all the way to Nairobi.  We arrived at the Garden Hotel (a gross misnomer) to discover that Joy had checked out an hour and a half before.  We rushed to the New Stanley – but there was no Joy and no message.  We spent the night in that anything but Garden spot – and yesterday moved to the Kirk Road House.

Yesterday after lunch we went to the Kenya National Game Park – a great park about 5 miles from town.  Immediately upon arrival the single transplanted rhino made his appearance – and our luck held.  We saw, zebra almost close enough to touch – many many giraffes – and two female lions.  The crowning moment came as we were leaving.

December 14, 1966

Back in Nairobi after trip to Kianjafa.  The new Stanley Hotel is just too much.  One of the most enjoyable parts of the trip is sitting on the veranda watching all the clowns come into the Thorn Tree.  The Jet Set – The White Hunters – “The White Hunters” – The World Colonial – The American Tourists – “Maybe I should buy a bush jacket and Leopard hat.

Great fun just to sit and watch as they go out to the park or up to the tree tops or Mount Kenya Safari Club.  Some lucky few will go on to Muchism and or Queen Elizabeth’s.

Oh well – too have the money – ?

December 15 & 16, 1966

Tsavo – Plenty of game elephant, guru, hartebeest, zebra, giraffe, and mosquitoes.  Bad night.

December 24, 1966 (Christmas Eve Day?) – Silver Sands Campgrounds – Malindi

Today we went to Gedi (or, as the guidebook says, more properly Gede).  It is a 13 Century Arab town that has been, and is still being excavated.  It was lovely.  The main arch to the palace is still intact – as are several of the monuments.  Many of the walls, too, are partially standing.  We walked along the paths of the inner wall, which were densely foliaged and there were dead leaves underfoot and it looked a lot like home.

After Gediue went to Turtle Bay and drove through a lovely village which was all shady from the palm trees growing from the dusty ground.  We got, remarkably a cold coke, and bargained with a man for a pineapple.

Tonight we are going to a carol service at a Baptist Church at 6:00.  When we get back we’re going to have a drink with the Warren’s, an American couple who are camped by us with their seven children.  The restaurant is having barbeque tonight, so we’re eating there.  Then we’re going to open presents and top it off with Midnight Mass.

We’re trying hard to make it seem like Really – Christmas, but it doesn’t.  Whoever heard of having a sunburn on Christmas Eve?  FMP

December 25, 1966 – Merry Christmas

Sitting under Palm trees, going swimming in the Indian Ocean.

Jim Reeves sings “White Christmas.”  Nancy Sinatra sings “These Boots are Made for Walking” in the cam’s bar.

The old couple here are characters – they have treated us very well.  They got potted tonight celebrating the holiday.

December 26, 1966 – Broke Up Camp

This trip has converted me (Fione has always been) to the joys and efficiency of camping.  One of our first investments when we go home will be camping equipment.

Heading back now – for Mount Kenya – passed Kilimanjaro on the road.  A round dome not as I pictured it.

It’s been a good trip so far.

December 27, 1966

We are looking forward to going back – a good feeling.

December 28, 1966 – Nanyuki, Kenya

We arrived here at Ken’s late yesterday.

One Christmas Eve we went to a carole service at the Anglican Church then came back for drinks with Bill and Jay Warren.  We had a Bar-B-Q dinner, then went back to our tent.  We had made a Christmas tree and wreath and hung mistletoe.  We read the Christmas Story and Stevenson’s address (from John Emmett Hughes column in Newsweek).  Then we opened packages.  We got a nice set of candlesticks from Pris and Nancy gave me a purse and Lou a great beer mug.  After that we recited the “Night Before Christmas” and only got stuck about three times.  Then we went off to Midnight Mass which was in Swahili, mixed with Latin.  The priest was Irish with ears that stuck out, and Pris and I thought that he looked rather as though he were ill.

On Christmas Day we awoke to find stockings filled with goodies by our pillows put there by Nancy (who else).

The tide had gone all the way out and Lou and I walked clear out to the reef and saw all manner of beautiful sea animals.  There were fish with glow in the dark blue and green and orange markings, and starfish that were dark red with orange, and dark grey ones with orange and maroon markings.  Also some striped snake-things, and crabs and sea urchins.

We left Malindi on the morning of the 26th – and about 15 miles out of town we hit a really bad bump, and the car stopped working.  We thought it must be a disconnected battery wire but we couldn’t find it – then Lou hitched a ride back to Malindi to a garage.  While he was there, a family stopped, and the man was a Mechanic, and it was a broken wire, under the car, and he fixed it and then we came on.  We made it to Nairobi about 7:30 and stayed at the Garden (ugh!)  Then on yesterday morning we went shopping and then drove up here.

Now, from where I sit I can see Mt. Kenya in all its glory – and it is a glorious day, with a bright sun and blue sky and lots of wind.  Not too warm, and wonderfully cool inside the house.  So far we’ve made no plans.  Just have to wait and see what develops.  FMP

On Christmas night we went with Benny, and Alex and Carol and Karen and Lynn and a few other people we didn’t know to Lawford’s Hotel in Malindi for dinner.  The whole occasion was more like New Year’s than Christmas.  There were “poppers” on the table, with favors inside, and HATS!  And then, when we were ignoring all of that and feeling sort of homey, a whole bastion of Britishers descended on us.  They were drunk, and they were DRESSED, and they DIDN”T ignore the poppers and the hats, and then, to our disgust, they took pictures of themselves acting that way.  Holy cow!

The meal itself, however, couldn’t be spoiled.  There was too much of it, and it was too, too, good.  It deserves more than just listing – I hid a copy away to take with us, but I forgot it in the rush.  Anyway, here’s what we had.

December 29, 1966 – Nanyuki, Kenya

Today we spent our second full day at Ken Gray’s.  Full applies in both senses.  We have enjoyed it so much, and I, for one, am sorry that we are leaving tomorrow.  Ed Yamashita has decided to go home with us, and he hitched to Nairobi early this morning to get a visa.  I’m glad he’s going – Lou finally talked him into it.

This morning Ken, Pris, Nancy and I went off to the “Wild Woods” by the riverbank.  The river flows down from the mountain and the water is as cold as just-melted ice.  The bed of the river twists and turns remarkably.  At one point we looked to our left and saw where we had just been.  The coolness and closeness of it all stirred old memories for me at least – and I think for us all.  The bed is rocky and at places the water rushes over and between then in a torrent – while just below will be a deep pool, deceivingly calm until one looks closely and sees the deep eddies that mean a swift current.

The walk was idyllic and since we have been reading The Wind in the Willows nightly, we forgot that we are “grown-ups” and excitedly showed each other the places where Badger and Otter and Rat live.  At one place particularly the river closely resembled the one Phil and Marc and I climbed in Canada, and I was immersed in thought when Ken turned around and said very softly, “There are a lot of places like this in Michigan, aren’t there?”  And suddenly I felt even closer to home.

The women of the area go down to the river and chop wood from the dying trees.  They bundle the wood on their backs and trudge around, bent double, to sell it to people here.  They also use the river for bathing and washing clothes – hence the path along the river, and the small paths leading away every few yards.

At one point we came around a corner just in time to see some children wading and one little bare bottom scampering up the opposite bank.  After their initial embarrassment they waved and called, “Jambo” to us with much gusto.

The Christian influence must be fairly strong here, for one doesn’t see the women naked above the waist as we did regularly at the coast.  There, men and women alike wear cloths, called Kikois wrapped around their waists, and some women wear Kangas (a cloth with a design and a Swahili motto) draped around their tops.

There has been little time or energy for speculation (recorded at least) about the differences between Kenya and Uganda.  We have, however, noted some verbally.

The chief difference has been made by the settlers.  Since there were no settlers in Uganda, the white man has been of a special class.  All of them in Uganda are there because they possess skills needed, but not yet acquired by the Ugandans.  And, indeed, as Ugandans are trained, the whites leave.  But here, the whites own property and are here for life.  And here too, there is something one never sees in Uganda, there is a poor white class.  These people actually work in shops – a thing noticeably lacking in Uganda.  The attitude here towards whites is different, and this is only a corollary; but here Lou and I have left an occasional resentment that we haven’t felt at home.

Today we drove around the town a little, and I was surprised at the number of whites who live here.  And Ken says there are far fewer now than there were a few years ago.

Pris mentioned that when she and Nancy went to hear the “Creation” in Nairobi, the church was full of settlers – only whites.  And she said that she reflected, as she watched them that they carry a burden of guilt – unwanted – somehow undeserved – and unacknowledged for what it is, and thus expressed in strange ways…

The mountain won’t come out today.  I actually sketched a picture this afternoon from Ken’s backyard, and it can’t be completed until the mountain comes out, and I’m afraid it won’t.  But the sketching was fun.  I’ll send it to Grandma if it’s any good.

I have my jacket on, but I’m shivering, and my fingers are stiff.  I guess I’d better go on in.  FMP

December 6, 1966

We are ready to get out of Masaka for a while.  The business of the Agakhan not showing up is only the last straw.

I’m sure that when we get back we’ll be glad to be here but now we want to get out for a while.

We wonder who will come in next year.  Hope he is as easy to get along with as Jim was, I hope we’re as easy to get along with as Jim was.

December 8, 1966 – Kampala

We are sitting on the terrace at the Speke Hotel, drinking coke and trying to decide what our next move is.  We arrived here yesterday, went to dinner at the Canton with Jim and Bob Turner and we are now engaged in a great struggle with Kampala Taxis and Tours concerning the placing of a luggage rack on the top of our rented V-W.  (The “Beige Beetle” Glidden calls it).

Our plans, at this moment, are to take Jim to the airport tomorrow – and leave for Kenya on Saturday morning.  To say that we can’t wait is to put it far too mildly.  After having been a witness to the incompetence with which the U-1’s have been sent on their ways, we are sick of the whole mess and eager to escape.  This isn’t bitterness – but it is fact.  FMP

Joy – 108/=

Pris – 248/=

Nancy 248/=

      Location                   Mileage                   Petrol                       Cost                   Who Paid

KLA 8046Entebbe 46 miles 10 gallon 411 LP
KLA 8206 5 gallon 26/50 LP
Turbo 8427 9 gallons 44/90 LP
Outside Nai. 8691 7.5 36/20 LP
Nairobi 8771 47 23/- LP
Nairobi 8952 6.2 29/35 LP
Aruba 9294 7.8 38/- LP
Mombasa 9496 4/30 6.7 29/35 LP
Malindi 9647 5.7 4.50 – 4.55 26.50 LP
Voi 9856 6.5 30.30 LP
Nairobi 10064 6.3 29.30 LP
Nanyuki 10216 4.1 4.85 20/- LP
Nakuru 24/15 LP
Eldoret 10429 3.4 17/65 LP
Jinja 10597 3.7 20 LP

December 9, 1966

We took Jim and Vince to the airport (Entebbe) today and had a great time with them.  Both were very funny and very anxious to leave.  Going home by way of the far east Jim’s dad works in Saigon for a construction company.

We left them at the airport ready to “get back into the big Leagues”.

December 10, 1966 – On route

Left K. – drove all day.  Was a great feeling being in a car – going where we want to go doing what we want to do.

Tororo Girl’s School

AID fantastic – A school moved intact from Palo Alto, California, to Tororo, Uganda – what more need one say – 110 volt electric current screw in bulbs, two pronged thin plugs.

February 8

Rumors of a coup – on South Africa radio – Don’t know what is happening.  Hope nothing.

New teacher coming.  Went to school in the states.  He’ll take Jim’s place.  LAP

February 12

A story of modern Africa.  Wilson Kisule’s father died yesterday.  A taxi driver, 13 people in the car – tie rod broke.  Mother dead.  Oldest of 12 children.  No money.  I went to the father’s funeral today (10 people killed – and two the next day.)  (LAP).  [This was the last entry in the diary.  Two weeks later Fione announced that she was leaving and in early April was on a plane back to the U.S.A.


Chapter Seven

On Becoming Alone

April 1

I stayed in Uganda for another two years finally leaving in mid-December 1968.  What follows are notes taken from various contacts I have kept over the years.

Food Prices in Uganda in 1968 (Ush. approximately 7=$1.00)

Matoke- 30/= a bunch

Charcoal  8/= a bag

Meat 100/= a pound

Fruit 20/=

Painted Sign 15/=

Uganda contacts:

R.C. (Ray) Fontaine- Catholic Priest who lived in Masaka.  He left at the end of 1967 and left the priesthood they day he arrived back in the U.S.

Ann Allison who lived in London and was a friend of Pris Stevens.

Brian Butcher, Teachers for East Africa (TEA), who taught at Kako Secondary School.

November 20

Had a final meeting with Mr. Dosani, the Headmaster of the primary school.  This would be one of a series of meals, events and final activities before I left.  Three years was a long time.

November 27

Showed the last film to the students at school.  The S 4 students were nervous about their Cambridge Exam

November 28

S4 Final Exam

November 29

S4 Graduation Dinner at 7:30

December 1

Had dinner with Shamira Dharamshi’s family

December 3

Had lunch with Ann Dowling at 1:00 and a staff farewell dinner at 8:30

December 5

Tea with Parvin Jiwa and family (4:30). I had a final dinner with Zam and Roshen Merali. I noted that the samosas were wonderful.

December 11, 1968.  

Left Uganda on on an early morning flight (6:20).

Chapter Eight

Running Away to Europe Elsinore,

Denmark, January 1- July 30, 1969

Denmark, January 1,  1969- July, 1969




One thought on “An Arican Safari Uganda: 1965-1969”

  1. As you were travelling to Uganda early in January 1966, i was travelling to London to pursue further education. I did not keep a diary but reading your did bring my memories alive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s