Map of V1 and V2

February 16, 2013

Hi all, I’ve been working on the maps.  Google maps is allowing me to import more data so I can now upload all the maps from volumes One and Two on a single map.

Hayes Here and There Volumes 1 & 2.  1893-1914

Hayes Here and There Volumes 1 & 2. 1893-1914

I’m sorry I don’t yet know how to post a live map.  I’ll work on the color coding so it is easier to see his sequence of travel.  Here is the link to the map if you want to see a larger version and do some navigating.

If you’ve been following the narrative, it might be easier to see his travels separated by volumes.  Volume 1 looks vertical, showing multiple trips across the Atlantic, his two trips around Cape Horn, the two surveying trips into Alaska, once across Panama, and ends after the logging in Nigeria.  Here’s the link.

Hayes Here and There Volume 1.  1893-1907

Hayes Here and There Volume 1. 1893-1907

Volume 2 feels much more horizontal as Hayes makes those long fruitless trips across the Indian Ocean, the rowboat adventure on the Yukon, his first circumnavigation of the globe, and the ill-fated trip into the Heart of Africa Mission At Niangara Congo.  Here’s the link.

Hayes Here and There Volume 2 1907-1914

Hayes Here and There Volume 2 1907-1914

I’m working on Volume 3.  I’ll post a portion of it before long.


2.33 Heart of Africa Mission

October 7, 2012

Volume Two of Here and There ends at the beginning of the dry season in northern Congo with Hayes planning a bitter, broke, and rash departure from C. T. Studd and the Heart of Africa Mission.  The beginning of Volume Three begins by tracing his path east and then north back up the Nile.

Thanks for reading along this far.  I’ll temporarily discontinue weekly publications to do a little advance work on Volume Three.

February 21, 1914 – December 24, 1914

September 19, 1914 Hayes wrote: “This experience with missionaries has been the crowning blunder of my life.  I entered into it with all the enthusiasm I was capable of giving, thinking to give a couple of years of my life for the advancement of human betterment.  I find myself counted as something less than a domestic animal, a servant to two charlatans wholly self seeking while pretending to be self sacrificing devotees of the cause of Christianity.”

One should not, however, conclude that Hayes’ experience with these “two wicked men who uphold drunkenness and polygamy and unjust taxation in order that their interest may be advanced” had soured Hayes on Christianity or missionaries in general.  In late November, after walking the 3 km into Niangara to treat Renzi (chief of the Azandes), Hayes paused, as was his custom, at the local cemetery where lie buried Belgians who brought Christianity to this region in an earlier time.  “When I look on the graves of La Haye, Van Der Vel and others who have given their lives that this country might be free from the Dervish yoke and from the blight of cannibalism I honor them with all my heart.”

By now, readers of Hayes Here and There appreciate Hayes’ confidence in his own abilities.  During Studd and Buxton’s second extended absence from the fledgling missionary station, Hayes records what can be read as a lesson for those he calls “the two apostles” on how mission work might succeed.  As soon as Studd and Buxton left, Hayes lined the men up and abolished forced attendance at morning and evening services.  “My words were received with shouts of glee.”  Instead, he offered to explain the bible to any interested men “as best I could.”

Surprised that the men accepted his offer, and no longer able to plead ignorance of Bangala, he and the men sat or squatted on their haunches African style about a fire “while I translate to them the Lord’s Prayer, the Sermon on the Mount and such simple things as Jesus taught his disciples in those days of long ago.”  The men sat rapt in silent attention.  Hayes says he didn’t feel “good enough” to be a missionary, “But if there be worthiness in Christianity it must be in the precepts laid down by Him who founded this Faith, and all I know is to give it to these men as Christ Himself taught to His disciples.”

On the morning of November 8, 1914, after several nights of fireside bible chats, the Azande workmen failed to respond to Hayes’ police whistle calling them to work – an unusual breach of discipline with Studd away from the mission.  Hearing a great commotion, Hayes hurried to the workers’ house fearing some kind of fight.  In fact, the Azande workers were holding “one of the most enthusiastic prayer meetings it has ever been my lot to hear.  Especially were they praying for their natural enemies, the Mangbettus.”  Hayes crept away allowing the Azandes to finish their raucous professions of love for their enemies and neither side spoke about the meeting or their tardiness when the men mustered for work half an hour late.

Hayes ends this passage on his reluctant missionary work by recording an unusual emotional response:  “It makes me feel ashamed, for they seem to have understood what I read to them from the Bible and to have the spirit of it in their hearts.”  Ashamed?  He writes no further explanation .

The same day Hayes recorded the comment about La Haye and Van Der Vel, he also wrote that he’d had a visit from Old Mombidi (chief of the Mangbettu, by now Hayes is on “excellent terms” with both tribes) who, looking to the east, saw Orion low on the horizon and quietly declared “Gara Akumi!”  (Hayes’ quote)  Hayes was finally free to leave;  “The dry season is here!”  (Hayes’ translation.)

Scorning the forty pound “hush money” Buxton offered, Hayes counted his scant 67.80 francs again.   Not much, but enough to hire three porters and his old cook Bundajuo for an ill-directed hike off toward mines rumored to be working somewhere deep in the Ituri forest.  A lone American traveling with only this tiny caravan and no funds at the outbreak of WWI in this part of Africa has to be called reckless to the point of foolhardiness.  Hayes  must have made the same assessment:  determined to leave come what may, he writes, “Death has no terrors after this pseudo missionary work.”

Volume II of the diaries ends very much as Volume I:  Hayes embittered by his experiences in colonial Africa, shaking the dust from his sandals and moving on.

2.32 Heart of Africa Mission

September 30, 2012

Hayes Perkins commenting on the lives of African women reveals much about his compassion, his sense of moral rectitude, his naiveté, his iron resolve, and his inability to address continent-wide, world-wide, colonial abuses.  However one values Hayes’ observations on this subject, at least he quotes directly the voice of one African woman speaking for herself.

February 21, 1914 – December 24, 1914

Of course the Beligian officers left Niangara for the war fronts in Kamerun and German East Africa leading columns of African soldiers. Askaris recruited on both sides of the conflict bore the brunt of the fighting over European colonial boundaries throughout WWI.

Askaris in German East Africa
photo by Walther Dobbertin

Hayes writes that the Belgians kept a large well-trained askari contingent stationed at Niangara prior to the outbreak of the war fearing an uprising of the Azandes:  “Renzi, Mopoie and Bukoyo, to say nothing of Akengai, all have several thousands of warriors behind them, and all they lack is arms to drive the Belgians out of the northern Congo.”   With German artillery and machine guns posing a more immediate threat than native uprising, the Belgians immediately rushed the trained Niangaran troops to the front replacing them with newly enlisted men to keep the native chiefs in hand.

Photographs from the period show the askaris fully equipped with modern weapons.  Hayes does not record their payment except to note that the Belgians gave each soldier a wife – all of  whom were abandoned, often with children, when their soldiers marched off to the front to fight for a Belgian Government that took no official concern for the providence of their wives and children.

Initially, Jenssen-Tusch, commander of the Niangara station, whom Hayes describes as “a kind hearted Dane,” donated 10 centimes food allowance to each woman daily.  Jenssen-Tusch’s charity didn’t last long; by September 25 his fund was exhausted “and the girls are wandering about the country in bands, purchasing their living in the only way they know how.”

Zande Woman with Child
Photo by Richard Buchta circa 1880

By September, 1914, Hayes was fluent enough in Bangala to ask some of the women if they hadn’t some other recourse.  He translates one woman’s bitter reply:  “Musungu, we were taken from our homes against our wills and given to this soldier.  He has gone away, and we have no garden, no home, no place where we may find a living.  The men who belonged to us have been taken away.  If we return home (which we may not, it is very far) we will but be made slaves what else can we do?”

Hayes writes, “I cannot answer their queries.”

Studd, Buxton, and the Heart of Africa Mission are significant by omission in Hayes’ account of this abandonment of the military wives.  Perhaps even with the best of intentions, the scope of the disruption would have overwhelmed the young mission’s scant resources –  Hayes accounts more than 800 women forced into prostitution at Niangara and “It is so in every post in the Congo.”  If the missionaries bear no blame, Hayes delivers a scathing summary of the colonial government’s response:  “Little do the Belgians care, for there are always more women when these are gone, more where they are going, so why worry?”

Hairdressing among Mangbetu Women
Photo Eliot Elifoson 1970

In late November Hayes enters another note concerning these abandoned wives of the askaris who “waylay” him at the post “everywhere I turn.”  What could he do?  The women knew that he would not help them in the commercial manner to which they’ve been forced.  What could he say?  “It is futile to tell them what they should do, what they need is bread.”  He muses with resignation that “gradually they will be absorbed into the general population, as wives to newly enlisted askaris or taken up by chiefs and into the general body of the Mangbettu and Azande peoples.”

As a 36-year-old celibate American man who lived in northern Belgian Congo less than a year, Hayes Perkins may not be best qualified to comment on the lives of the local African women. Nevertheless, his last lengthy passage on women before leaving the Congo concerns the newly arrived Belgian officers who had accompanied the missionary reinforcements arriving at the Heart of Africa in December of 1914.  Askaris were sent to find “jewels for the haremlike (sic) at Niangara, for this is the Belgian way.”  Hayes observes that as long as her beauty lasts a woman will be kept as a Belgian plaything.  But time wears her down or her officer leaves with empty promises of return.  She then becomes wife to an African soldier or house boy; eventually falls to field labor; then to begging when too weak to to work.  “Then she dies, and a few of her sisters bewail her passing.  She is a thousand times better off dead.  Being a woman is hell in Africa.”

And then, four days later, lest a reader get a simplified impression of Hayes’ complex relationship to women, he writes:  “Mangbettu ladies have been making one last tremendous effort to seduce me, even to slipping into my room at night naked. …  Sometime I hate women. …  As a boy I believed them to be the emblem of all that was pure and good.  I believe many are now, but most are filled with dissimulation.”

All this just as Miss Flangham, whom Hayes believes “has been sent here by Studd’s order as a helpmate for me,” arrives to bolster the mission work at Niangara.  Hayes sees “a spoiled kiddy of 28 … accustomed to servants, [who] requires a party to wait on her.”

Time to flee this place.

2.31 Heart of Africa Mission

September 24, 2012

The African Geopolitical situation at the outbreak of World War I.

February 21, 1914 – December 24, 1914

On August 1, 1914, Studd and Buxton returned to the station at Niangara full of renewed evangelical zeal.  Their trip south had netted from the Belgians several large concessions for missions as far south as Wamba on the edge of the Ituri Forest.

The fundamental conflict between C. T. Studd and Hayes Perkins hinged not on lack of recognition for Hayes’ talents as a gardener, builder, and overseer.  In fact, Studd must have been impressed with the orderliness of the Niangara station when he returned from southern explorations because for a second time Hayes overheard Studd saying to Buxton that Hayes was “too good a man to lose.”  Only loneliness and a feeling of helplessness, trapped by daily deluges 2000 miles from either the east or west coast of Africa with only 63 francs in his pocket, tempted Hayes to accept Studd’s praise and leadership.

Uele River near Dungu

On hearing from Studd that he was too good a man to lose, Hayes immediately wrote, “The rotten hypocrites!”

For Hayes, if a man was a good man, as evidenced by his works, then that man deserved respect and consultation as an equal even if he gave final decisions over to his leader.  Hayes understood leadership as earned by “square dealing” on both sides: the subordinate must give an honest day’s work, but to deserve that from his worker, the leader must appreciate the worker’s talents and initiatives, informing leadership decisions by the worker’s abilities.  Hayes successfully led his Azande men in precisely this way and remained stupefied that C. T. Studd failed to appreciate this style as responsible for the beauty of the Niangara station.  Neither class, ownership, wealth, nor even divine calling conferred authority for Hayes – only merit and recognition of merit.  Studd tried to secure Hayes’ honest day’s work with bluster, prayer, and even the requisitioning of a “helpmate” from England, all the while repeatedly insulting Hayes’ multiple competences, thereby  fundamentally misunderstanding the boss’ end of a “square deal.”

Gavrilo Princip

Archduke Ferdinand

Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on June 28, 1914.  The Russian Empire, Austria-Hungary, The German Empire, France and the United Kingdom had all declared war by August 4, 1914.  And, perhaps of most concern to the three non-Africans at the Niangara station in the Belgian Congo, Britain had entered what came to be known as World War I when Germany replied unsatisfactorily to an ultimatum that Belgium must remain neutral.  Germany promptly overran Belgium in early August enroute to attack France.

Studd, Buxton, and Perkins first learned about the outbreak of WWI on August 19, 1914 when an official telegram arrived from Rejaf announcing fighting between Russia, Serbia, and Austria.  Africans around Niangara, on the other hand, had been “prattling” about fighting in Europe (between Britian and Belgium as they understood it) for days prior to the 19th “and the slow witted white man knew nothing of it.”  News arrived to central Africa much more rapidly via native drums than European telegrams.

By 1914, one or another of the European powers ruled nearly all of Africa in a disjointed colonial patchwork.  When WWI began, the Belgian Congo (roughly 75 times the area of Belgium and no longer the private property of King Leopold) was flanked on two sides by German colonies:  Kamerun to the west, German East Africa to the east.  Thus, not surprisingly Colonial Africa hosted some of the earliest battles of WWI.  On August 19, when news of the war finally registered on those of European descent at the Niangara station via the telegram, Hayes wrote:  “One can little realize the anxiety we felt marooned away in the middle of Africa, so far removed from the seat of war and yet so vitally concerned.”

On September 25, 1914, Hayes wrote that nearly all the Belgian officers formerly stationed at Niangara had been called away to one or the other fronts of the African colonial war:  some fighting with the French on the Kamerun Front, others sent to Lake Kivu and Tanganyika on the German East African Front.

Given the world political situation, and his American heritage, Hayes said he would have joined the British Navy given the opportunity but he wasn’t about to go galloping off with the Belgian officers and their African troops fighting at the borders of the Congo.  He stayed at the mission outside Niangara until walking out on Studd and Buxton Christmas Eve 1914.  In the two months before leaving Niangara, Hayes recorded remarkably compassionate passages concerning the devastating effect of the Eruproean war on the African women at Niangara.

2.30 Heart of Africa Mission

September 16, 2012

When left alone by Studd and Buxton to mediate between Azande and Mangbettu at the mission, Hayes tries a more pragmatic approach than that of  the “two apostles”:  digging a well for fresh water, then a fence into the river to protect those going to the river from crocodiles – and of course cultivating the gardens to share the largesse.  Nevertheless, when a fist and spear fight breaks out between twenty burly Mangbettu and Hayes backed by somewhat fewer Azandes, a reader marvels again that Hayes survived his adventures.

February 21, 1914 – December 24, 1914

Just before Studd and Buxton left on their first trip looking for new mission sites south and west of Niangara, Hayes wrote, referring to the three hour morning and evening evangelical exhortations Buxton lead, ” ‘services’ continue and these have driven the workmen into my arms.  Now they realize who is their friend, and if I was alone I could win the confidence of the people about us.  They half trust me now…”

Trust or no, Europeans give the orders at this station in central Africa.  In June, the middle of the rainy season, the Welle River rose high enough to overflow the station’s spring.  When Hayes directed the men to start digging a well on higher ground hoping to intersect the underground watercourse before its outlet at the spring, “The men don’t like the job, say finding water in such a manner is impossible.”  But Studd didn’t contravene Hayes’ order, so the men grumbled and kept digging.

As the rising river fouled their fresh water source, the accompanying turbidity increased the danger from crocodiles who, Hayes explained, can’t see their natural prey in the muddy waters, so stalk humans “with infinite cunning and patience.”  Hayes blames the “shiftless Belgians” for four deaths from crocodiles on the riverbank at Niangara in the week of June 8, 1914.  Following a design he saw the British build on the Nile, Hayes and his men constructed a protective fence extending into the water.  Rather than build such a fence of their own to protect the residents at Niangara, the Belgians “send long lines of chained prisoners here to carry water to the town,”  leaving those who seek water from the river at Naingara to their unprotected chances.

The crocodiles took a fifth victim, not attributed to the Belgians, that same week.  Hayes called him “Poor old Tikima, a genial Mangbettu.”  Seized by a crocodile while setting a fish trap, Tikima grabbed for the side of his canoe.  “…It was a long time before he weakened and was dragged under, so the attacking crocodile must have been small.”

Mangbetu musician, early twentieth century

Right after Studd and Buxton left, the well-diggers hit water “and now my men are proudly proclaiming their magic to the natives of the surrounding country, how they found water beneath the earth.”

While the Azande workmen boasted, the Mangbettus came to Hayes making “friendly approach.”  They say they can see “that these two men (Studd and Buxton) treat me as rotten as they have them (the mangbettus).”  The Mangbettus bring their daughters offered as temporary wives in a show of good faith.  “If a normal man said these girls were not a temptation he would be a liar.…  I might if inclined have a harem here that would make that of Brigham Young look like a second rate affair…”

But enough of that – “the garden is maturing, the palms are hanging full of yellow fruit, my recently planted fruit trees, the many bananas and plantains and pineapple re growing.  This alone makes me happy.”

Schweinfurth’s drawing of Azande Warriors circa 1874

Shortly after his initial cordial approach, Mombidi (a minor Mangbettu chief) came to Hayes demanding alcohol.  Hayes’ refusal resulted in the loss of all Mangbettu goodwill and a row about the Azande workmen on the Mangbettu side of the river.  Mombidi demanded the Azandes return to their own territory attempting to enforce his order with twenty men who entered Hayes’ house “and insulted me before my men.”  In the resulting scuffle, “I jabbed with a spear at their feet, cutting one severely.”  A melee broke out inside the house.  “There were not so many of us as of the Mangbettus, but we were on our own soil and they were the invaders.  I have a badly swelled hand, for Negro heads are solid.”

By mid July, 1914, Hayes and his Azande workers had made the mission station beautiful.  On a clear African morning, Hayes stood amid cultivated gardens beneath young palm trees gazing across the well-cleared shores to the Azande country on the other side of the Welle River listening to the incessant talking of the drums.  “They have a drum system as good as telegraph, sending messages five hundred miles in a day.”  Most native people understand the drums; a young boy listening can tell Hayes what a chief will be sending to market on Saturday and the characteristics of any European within three days of Niangara.

Much to Hayes’ dismay, the drums foretell the return of C. T. Studd and Alfred Buxton on August 1.

2.29 Heart of Africa Mission

September 9, 2012

The previous three segments, 2.26-2.28, summarize the year-long harangue Hayes directed toward Studd and Buxton while at the missionary station 3 km from Niangara.  The next few segments concern the diary entries for the same period focusing on Hayes observations of this part of Africa and its inhabitants.  The work he undertook to build a mission site and his interactions with the African residents, especially when Studd and Buxton are away, reveal by example, perhaps more clearly than any other portion of his diary, how Hayes believed missionary work, and colonization in general, ought to have been done.

February 21, 1914 – December 24, 1914

Georg August Schweinfurth

Georg August Schweinfurth

Immediately on arrival at Niangara, March 1, 1914, Hayes records the local African political situation. The Welle River separates two antagonistic tribes: “the Azandes to the north, with the Mangettus south of the river.” He writes that the Mangbettu, “comprise several smaller tribes who were conquered and unified by a great chief named Munza some 70 or 80 years ago.” The German biologist Georg August Schweinfurth traveled through this region bringing the River Uele (Welle) to European attention in 1870; Hayes says that Munza was still living at the time and hosted Schweinfurth for “a considerable time.”  Schweinfurth wrote about cannibalism among the tribes he encountered – and Hayes confirms the practice:  “They eat men still if they can get away with it, but the various European powers frown on this unnatural feasting, though they wink at anything else.

Head binding from Christ in Congo Forests

By now the appearance of the natives cannot be shocking to Hayes, nevertheless he records what he sees: “Most of the people are cicatrized and tattooed. Woman have holes cut in their ears one may easily slip his thumb through. Many of the people have elongated skulls, this caused by binding the heads of young babies until the skull is as long as the rest of the child. We see them constantly, the child apparently in a comatose state, yet able to nurse.”

Though the Niangara station sat on the south side of the Welle River in Mangbettu territory, Hayes and his two British overseers preferred to hire Azande workers as laborers about the station, “for Mangbettus feel it a disgrace to work.”  Nevertheless, Hayes compliments the Mangbettus as “the most ingenious of all Africans I have thus far seen.”  On showing a Mangbettu crafter a chair for ten minutes “he will turn it about, fold and unfold it, observing it in every way.  He needs no further instruction, for he can remember every detail.  In a week he will return and sell you an even better imitation than the original….”  Hayes notes the Mangbettus well-built houses, murals, weavings, deck chairs, ornate stools, and  “marvelous, if crude musical instruments … on which they play real music.”  Disclosing much about his own definition of “work,” Hayes writes, “Yet these same men scorn work….”  Hence the missionaries bring Azandes to the south side of the river abrading the territorial prerogative of the Mangbettu.

Mangbetu Harp circa 1910 from The Beedle Museum

Hayes writes that in Schweinfurth’s day, Arab slave traders arrived at Munza’s kingdom traveling in the dry season by way of Bahr El Ghazal to stay through the rainy months gathering slaves and ivory – a coveted assignment because Munza bestowed “wives in abundance” on the traders since “Munza wanted the half caste Arabs in his tribe.”  This gives Hayes an opportunity to record the beauty of the Mangbettu women. “One can easily understand why the Arab slavers wished to remain behind in the Mangbettu country. These girls often have the figures like that of Venus De Milo… Their garb is the merest suggestion of a covering for their loins. They build great basket-like headgear atop their already elongated skulls to make their heads appear higher, and the effect of the flattened skull is rather pleasing.” As Hayes learns the language, the women ask “why be lonely” and “their menfolk urge me to accept one or more temporary wives.” Of course, Hayes politely declines.

Mangbettu coiffure circa 1930

Hayes gives no description of the Azande women, commenting instead on the jealousy of the men. All is fine should a chief bestow one or even several temporary wives on a European. But among the Azande, “there must be no fornication, especially adultery. Such offenses are severely punished by relatives of the woman.” The reader can infer from Hayes’ observations that the temptations were stronger than the deterrent: “It is an every-day sight to see some Azande with ears clipped close to his head, nose cut off or even fingers and thumbs lopped for playing fast and loose with some man’s wife or daughter.” He makes no comment about what might happen to a European transgressor.

By the end of May, despite the torrential rains every afternoon that swell the Welle to 200 meters width, Hayes has built several outhouses for fowls and cows, planted 1100 bananas and plantains, 1000 pineapples, and more than 200 fruit trees: mangoes, avocado pears, limes lemons, oranges, and custard apples.  “One can accomplish so much in a short time in a land like this, where all produce grows an inch, or two inches overnight.”

From the mission station three kilometers outside the town, every Saturday Hayes hears the women loudly “chaffing one another with their bargaining” as thousands gather at the Niangara market.  “I delight to attend this fair, and now, understanding the Bangala tongue well (three months after his arrival) can give backchat to the shriveled, but laughing old mammies who conduct the sales.  How they delight to bargain!”

If not for his companions at the mission, all would be well.  “The estate is in splendid shape…. Belgians visiting us are loud in vocalizing their admiration for it in so short a time, and if I can keep it like this I will have accomplished something anyway in Africa.”

Admiration for African crafting and their exotic customs that he pronounces beautiful, pride of accomplishment, a burgeoning garden – all this leaks around the diary’s nearly continuous disparagement of Studd, Buxton, and the Belgians who administer this region.  How nice to imagine Hayes laughing  with an old Mangbettu woman in a prosperous marketplace trying to get an extra couple eggs for his one franc instead of quarreling with a missionary.

2.28 Heart of Africa Mission

September 2, 2012

On giving his diary to my grandfather, Hayes Perkins instructed that it not be published until everyone mentioned therein had died.  Perkins’ candor concerning the misdeeds of powerful men, as recorded in this segment, undoubtedly informed that instruction.

February 21, 1914 – December 24, 1914

Buxton closed discussion of the tax medals with what seemed a repugnant bit of evangelical sophistry to Hayes:  “to do the lesser evil to gain the greater good.”

Hayes’ first mentions alcohol abuse at The Heart of Africa Mission on April 30, 1914, two months after his arrival there.  On that date Buxton informed Hayes that “I was unfit to leave a station alone with, so Studd could not go home at this time.  The reason is, I combat their liquor activities constantly, for if there be any sense of decency it should at least exclude drunkenness.”  Mombidi, who is Mangbettu chief of this region, demanded liquor from Hayes claiming he had already received liquor from Studd.  Even if Hayes suspected the veracity of Mombidi’s word, he knew from firsthand experience that Studd and Buxton, at the very least, tolerated drunkenness among the natives:  “Both these men sneered at me the first day I saw them for remarking at the sodden condition of the entire Mangbettu people.”  Hayes had arrived in the midst of the month-long orgy of dancing, singing, and drinking a sort of beer made from murru (a kind of millet) that ripens in the regional dry season.

In his history of the Heart of Africa Mission, Christ in Congo Forests,Norman Grubb, who married C. T. Studd’s daughter Pauline and came with her to the mission in 1919, writes that the station outside  Niangara was only intended as a staging ground for establishing missions deeper into the Ituri forest.  

Pauline (Studd) Grubb

Norman P. Grubb

Apparently the work of obtaining concessions in areas not already proselytized by Catholic priests pressed heavily enough on Studd and Buxton to overcome their fears of leaving the Niangara station alone in the hands of Hayes Perkins.  When the pair left on June 21, 1914, Mombidi immediately came round to Hayes demanding whiskey.  “He said he could see by the way they treated me I was of lower rank….  As he [Mombidi] was a chief and of equal rank with Studd and Buxton, then I was his inferior and must bring him gifts when they were absent.”   Hayes’ first responded incredulously, “It seemed so ridiculous I laughed, thinking he was jesting.”  But an hour later, Mombidi sent “six husky henchmen” with a demand for corn from Hayes’ garden.  He chased them off; they loosed a bull in his garden; the Azande gardeners chased the (bloody) bull back to Mombidi’s village; and Hayes “took the herdsman in hand, he being rather cheeky.”

By June 28, in an attempt to recover face with his tribesmen, Mombidi had forbidden any Mangbettu to bring any sort of food to the lone musungu (here meaning white man) at the mission.  For his part, Hayes ponders:  “I wonder if these two charlatans have been sweetening this old cannibal with booze to get a concession?  He [Mombidi] says so, as do his subjects.  When all Negroes agree on one thing, it is usually so.  I am inclined to believe it, but it is too unchristian for one to accept.”

Hayes writes that Studd and Buxton returned on August 1, 1914, “full of self praise of their achievements… in obtaining further concessions.”  They had taken the best native workers with them and now, “My men, whom they had with them on the trip, are cheeky and out of hand.  They too demand whiskey saying these two men who pose as missionaries freely gave them drink during the trip.”  These same men challenged Hayes later in the month as he tried to reassert control.  He quotes their reasoning: “You say that munsungu (whiskey) is bad for us.  These two men who are over you tell us it is good, and when we were at Wamba and Nala they gave us of it to drink freely.  We ourselves like it.  Whom shall we believe?”  This exchange prompted another of the assemblages by Studd at which the men were told to disregard anything Hayes said to them.

On October 6, 1914 Studd and Buxton left again in a great canoe with Bakango boatmen to take them to Bambili 160 miles down river.  To this point, Hayes could, with difficulty, dismiss the allegations of Mombidi and the other workmen as unfounded talk.  However on October 30 he writes of finding direct evidence “of this man’s utter perfidy and double dealing.”  In the absence of “the two apostles,” Hayes was entrusted with keys to every lock at the mission.  Ever since arriving he’d been short of tools and forbidden by Studd from opening several boxes prominently marked “Tools”.  So, in Studd’s absence, Hayes opened one of them – “not through inquisitiveness but to find perhaps a hammer or saw to aid in my work.  The first contained French cognac, the second Old Scoth Whiskey.  Now I see how Mombidi got his booze, how the boys acting as porters insisted liquor was given them.  There are seven of these cases, and at least two empty ones long ago noted.”

Hayes wrote a letter “resigning my commission,” counted his remaining 67 francs, and prepared to quit the mission rain or no.

His scant funding and the rains prevented Hayes from leaving for another two months.  In that time Buxton returned to Niangara traveling with the Reverend William Haas an American Baptist missionary with the Africa Inland Mission.  In a moment alone together, Haas asked Hayes why “I was discontented with this place and my companions.”  Hayes opened a case of scotch and poured a glass for Haas to smell – without drinking of course.  Haas then confessed that while traveling with Buxton at three meetings in the south “Buxton handed out liquor openly, saying there was nothing in the Bible against it, and that polygamy was not condemned in the Scriptures.”  Haas said he, “differed with them, and that is that.”  Haas’ inaction in the face of evident wrongdoing infuriated Hayes:  “Evidently Haas, like Buxton is willing to do the lesser evil that the greater good may come, so will compromise with these two advocates of a new faith which encompasses all the sins dear to the heart of man in this world and promises a haven of bliss on the other side of life in the skies.  They easily outdo Mohamed, who did at least adjure booze.”

Even after the 1914 contingent of new missionaries arrived on December 21, Hayes remained the sole voice raised against alcohol as a missionary technique practiced by Studd and Buxton at the Heart of Africa Mission.   Hayes denounced their practices to Richardson, one of the new arrivals and “the only real man among them.”  Richardson loudly confronted Buxton and applauded Hayes’ rejection of the 40 pounds Buxton offered “to carry me to the coast, which is of course hush money.”  Nevertheless, Grubb in Christ in Congo Forests records that Richardson and his wife stayed on at the mission until 1920.

So, the day before Christmas 1914, Hayes gathered up a group of porters and walked out of the Heart of Africa Mission a lone dissenter in both word and action.

2.27 Heart of Africa Mission

August 26, 2012

More on the down side of Mission work with C. T. Studd in the Congo.  Hayes says he declined an offer to lead armed rebellion against the Belgians in the north of the Congo.

February 21, 1914 – December 24, 1914

Hayes other two criticism of C. T Studd’s missionary practice carry considerably more weight – perhaps even for those who share Studd’s evangelical Christian fervor.

On March 24,1914, slightly more than a month after his arrival at the Heart of Africa Mission, Hayes writes:  “Quarreling with Studd again.  The Belgians, having cleaned the country of ivory and rubber, products easily negotiable, seek some other method of exploiting the natives under their hand.  They have secured the permission of the various signatory powers who presented them this vast territory the right to tax the natives.”  Though he describes the tax as exploitation, he can manufacture a rationale for it:  “Now one can understand the Congolese contributing to the government who gives them protection against an aggressor and the plague.”  Perhaps Europeans medicines helped the Africans, and the Belgians, commanding native troops, did protect the Congolese from slave raids from the north as would any prudent colonialist.  Furthermore, it is likely that Hayes was ignorant of the extent of the Belgian genocide already perpetrated in the Congo by 1914.

But, even granting Hayes’ rationale for the Belgians imposing the tax, he knows that outright fraud ought to be recognized and loudly denounced by any representative of Christ.  “As the natives are all illiterate they cannot read the date on these tags the Belgians hang about every male neck to act as a receipt for tax paid, so they have gone back five years or more, collecting taxes on the men who were mere boys then, on others who were not in the Congo , but in French and British territories.”  Studd sent several of the Azande workmen to pay the five franc tax “a month’s pay for a laborer” and predictably, “They returned with medals reading 1909 instead of 1914.”  In March Hayes writes, “I kicked, but Studd forbade me to speak of it again.”

Hayes recorded a second confrontation with Studd about the tax tags on August 13, 1914 using considerably stronger language:  “Studd’s asinine ways came to the surface again this morning.  He is a born cad his broad skull base shows this.  It is about the tax graft.”  Hayes does not elaborate on his own conversations with the native workers, only Studd’s response.  As with the harangue Hayes received in March for criticizing Studd’s under-payment of the Mangbettu house builders: “Again he lines up the men, telling them he is boss, to never obey anything I tell them unless sanctioned by him.”  While his hard-won authority with the men falls to pieces a second time, “Both Studd and Buxton agree the tax robbery… is unjust.  Yet for expediency’s sake they condone this abuse, to make themselves solid with the Belgians.”  A British missionary speaking out against worldly injustices in Belgian territory would undoubtedly have jeopardized his work of saving souls.

Renzi “Paramount Chief of the Azande”

Hayes next diary entry concerning the tax medals, from November 1914, concerns native resistance.  “Renzi, paramount chief of the Azandes, is encamped near here.  Rumor has it he is planning war against the Belgians.”  Hayes remarks that “but for [Renzi] it is unlikely Belgium would have the foothold she has in this territory now.”  As a younger man Renzi had thrown his Azande warriors to the side of Belgian commander Louis Chaltin against forces of the Mahdi the at the battle of Rejaf when “the Dervishes had almost beaten the Belgian force.”  Now, as Hayes doctors “a dry ulcer afflicting [Renzi’s] leg from knee to ankle,” Renzi chats of “dickering with the British officers in the Sudan, offering to clear all the Belgians out of the country and install the British instead.”  Renzi makes no idle offer to the British:  “The Belgians are afraid of him.  He has 12,000 warriors ready to attack at a moment’s notice.  Renzi’s complaint is these new taxes dated back for years…”  Who knows what reception Renzi might have gotten had the British and Blegians not recently allied against the Germans at the outbreak of World War I?

And finally on December 9,1914, Renzi thanks Hayes for healing his leg with the offer of ten wives, but as to war, “Renzi  will not commit himself, but his sub chiefs are outspoken.  They say if I will lead them they will wipe out the Belgians at Niangara and let the English occupy the land.”  Declining leadership of a rebellion, the ten wives, and struggling to communicate the intricacies of the nascent war in Europe, “I tell them the three allied powers [France, Britain, and Belgium] will combine to crush them, that they had best keep the peace and remain as they are.”  A Belgian officer tells Hayes that “every [native] soldier in the Niangara barracks would go with Renzi if the latter rebelled.”

Those whose souls C. T. Studd would save find the tax fraud so onerous they contemplate armed rebellion against the Belgians – and Studd remains silently complicit.  One assumes that had rebellion erupted, Studd, Buxton, and Perkins (given his refusal of the proffered “position as prime minister at Renzi’s court”)  would have been among the first non-Africans killed.

Hayes third specific condemnation of Studd concerns booze.  Little surprise it’s his most forceful.

2.26 Heart of Africa Mission

August 19, 2012

Astonishing.  Hayes is not moving.  He’d like to be gone from the Heart of Africa Mission but daily torrential rains prevent travel.  In this and the next post I’ll lay out his case against C.T. Studd – the reason Hayes wanted to leave.  In following posts I’ll describe his relationship with the African people among whom he lived and worked – the reason he loved his time at Niangara.

February 21, 1914 – December 24, 1914

Hayes lasted ten months at the Heart of Africa Mission – a long time in one place for him, but fourteen months short of his intended commitment.  For most of 1914 he, Studd, and Buxton were the only non-Africans living at the mission; for two extended periods, Hayes took sole charge of the fledgling compound while Studd and Buxton hunted or traveled in search of new mission sites. The others at The Heart of Africa Mission in 1914 as listed with Hayes in Grubb’s appendix to Christ in Congo Forests:  Miss Chapman, Miss Flangham, Mr. Coles, and the Richardsons, (Bowers died at Yei before reaching the mission), arrived on December 21, three days before Hayes departed.

Hayes loved this part of Africa with all its adventures, but hated both Buxton and Studd.  The disgust for Buxton derived mostly from Buxton’s lockstep worship of Studd who styled himself “Bwana” of the mission.  (“Studd has proclaimed his native name shall be “Bwana”, Swahili for Master.  The term is unknown in Bangala.”)   Buxton wasn’t alone in admiring C. T. Studd.  Even today one finds no shortage of adulation directed toward Studd on the internet and in various biographies written by his admirers – though even the most ardent admit that Studd could be a difficult colleague.  Writing about Bowers, the would-be missionary who died en route to Niangara, Hayes says, “If he had lived and stayed on here, he would have become disillusioned and disgusted even as I am now, or else have succumbed to the general hero worship of this charlatan Studd.”  These seem to be the two polarized responses others had to C. T. Studd.    Granting Hayes was constitutionally averse to hero worship, neither was he given to unwarranted hatreds.  Hayes’ diary of his time at The Heart of Africa Mission lays out three general critiques of Studd’s missionary style that disqualify Studd from Hayes’ respect.

The first eight of the fifteen missionaries arriving at The Heart of Africa in 1916.
C. T.Studd’s daughter Edith, Alfred Buxtons future wife, appears top center.

First, Hayes, very much grounded in practical concerns of this world, followed his own rough-and-ready, golden-rule style of Christianity, so had little regard for Studd’s evangelical soul-saving fervor.  After one month at the mission Hayes wrote of Studd: “He is as arbitrary a man as I have ever seen.  There is no viewpoint but his own….”  Where other biographers of Studd have seen zeal for the Lord, Hayes perceives self-aggrandizement:  “These two men [Buxton and Studd] spend most of their time writing to London telling of their exploits, misrepresenting the country and in every way publicizing themselves to gain further fame.”

Studd permitted no boss at the mission other than Studd.  “Strangely, they [Buxton and Studd] realize I know my work.  I hear them talking after I have retired, and then Studd praises me, but he wants me to know he is boss, and wants every native in the country to know he is the big shot of the Heart of Africa Mission.”  So, for example, halfway through Hayes’ supervision of a house building project in April, Studd “calls the [Azande] men before him and harangues them, saying he is master, and that if he says build a house, I must build it, and if he says not, that goes too.  To not listen to what I have to say, but to always appeal to him.”  What other result could follow?  Hayes temporarily lost control of all discipline among the working men.

In addition to building, Hayes supervised care of the grounds and gardens he and the working men planted at the mission.  In June, Studd, furthering the soul-saving work of the mission, imposed another serious restriction on the practical work Hayes did housing and feeding them all:  “If the nightly two or three-hour discourses Buxton hands the workmen were not enough, now morning lectures of a theological nature have been instituted.  These last until ten A. M., the men’s eyes wandering in utter bewilderment.”  Buxton delivered the sermons in Bangala in which he and Hayes were fluent;  Studd had not learned the language.  “He [Buxton] endeavors to translate the Bible to them, old genealogies of Christ and other Bible characters, dry and dull to one conversant in English, let alone one who knows nothing of books or languages other than their own tribal dialects short on expressions and words for such theological discussions as Buxton puts forth.” In June, Hayes joked with the working men, whose jobs depended on attendance at the twice-daily sermons, that he might lose his job as well by interceding for them, “an answer that brings peals of laughter, for every man knows the strain between these two men and me.”  By September “I got up and walked out of the services when Studd tried to say a few words as to his being the big boss, I was only a small boy.”

Though shaking with fury, Studd dismissed the men and “calling Buxton, he began to pray God to cast out the silent devil troubling me.”  According to Hayes, their plan had been to domesticate Hayes by marriage to a “helpmate.”  He writes that this was to have been the role of the 28-year-old Miss Flangham, one of the missionaries arriving December 21,1914.  On meeting her just before his departure Hayes wrote, “I try to be courteous to her, but it is with an effort.  She is not to blame for it.”  (Miss Flangham married Mr. A. W. Davies, pictured top right above, who arrived at The Heart of Africa Mission in 1916.  The two remained at the mission until 1931.)

So, Hayes’ first indictment of Studd:  an autocratic leadership style,  an otherworldly fanaticism about soul saving, and a patronizing supercilious attitude.  Hayes encountered these characteristics in bosses all over the world.  They always caused him to move on, as he will when the Congo rainy season allows travel, but these alone cannot account for the bitter invective Hayes heaps on Studd, the famous cricketeer turned missionary.   The next chapter describes Hayes critique of C. T. Studd’s attitude to Belgian tax graft.

2.25. Heart of Africa Mission

August 12, 2012

This map is taken from Love at First Tooth: Family and Missionary Politics in East Africa and Congo 1913-1934 by Robin Johnson, dedicated to Elizabeth Ann Thompson Flinn who joined the heart of Africa Mission in 1915.  Niangara appears near the top of the map just south of the Sudan border.

February 21, 1914 – April 5, 1914

Personnel at Heart of Africa Mission Niangara, Congo as given in an appendix to Norman Grubb’s Christ in Congo Forests (1945)

1913 1914
Mr C T Studd 1913-31
Mr A B Buxton 1913-27
Mr H Perkins 1914-15
Miss Irene Flangham 1914-31 (Mrs Davies)
Miss L Chapman 1914-28 (Mrs Buck)
Mr S J Richardson 1914-20
Mrs S J Richardson 1914-20
Mr A J Bowers 1914-14
Mr E W Coles 1914-18

First impressions are so important.

Twenty-two year old Alfred Buxton had interrupted his medical studies to join C. T. Studd in foundingThe Heart of Africa Mission in 1913.  On meeting him, Hayes wrote: “Buxton is a tall, callow youth, apparently out of place in the bush.  It is easy to see he knows his position of family and breeding is superior to most folks, and this will not sit well with me.”  (Buxton married Studd’s daughter Edith in 1917, but broke with his father-in-law in the 1920’s to pursue his own missionary work in Ethiopia and Somalia.)

C. T. Studd Africa 1910

Fifty-four year old C. T. Studd had renounced his family fortune and his place as foremost cricketeer in England to pursue missionary work for fifteen years in China, beginning at age twenty-five, then six years in India and finally, against doctors advice, in the Congo basin.  On meeting him, Hayes wrote:  “Studd, so called pioneer and founder of this  mission is decidedly a self-centered man.  He is about five feet eight inches in height, of sallow complexion and has a thin beard and the dreamy eyes of a fanatic.  One could easily imagine them as the eyes of an opium eater.”  (Studd, a regular user of morphine in his last years,  continued his zealous missionary work until his death at 70 at Ibambi, Congo.  The Heart of Africa Mission Studd founded persists under the name Worldwide Evangelization for Christ (WEC).)

Buxton and Studd together receive this summary:  “Both [Studd] and Buxton are aware of a special dispensation from the Almighty to evangelize the world, beginning with the Dark Continent, and do not propose to let anything stand in their way doing it.”  On his second day at the “splendid” location for the Heart of Africa Mission, Hayes overheard Buxton asking Studd “whether I (Hayes) should not be relegated to a table by myself.”  Three white men alone in the jungle working out seating arrangements according to London class lines – Hayes doesn’t say what they decided, but the conversation alone told him where he had arrived.

Nevertheless, three days later Hayes wrote, “What’s the use grouching?  Do the best you can boy.”  In London he made a two-year unpaid commitment to the mission and says that upon arrival he threw every pound he had into the community chest as a gesture of good will.  Now he sets about building tables and chairs from slabs rejected from a Belgian sawing operation nearby and organizing his half-dozen Azande workmen to clearing the brush readying the ground for planting.  By now Hayes is competent to direct the workers in the Bangala language.  “Buxton criticizes all I do with all the wisdom gained in 22 years of pink tea fights, under the supervision of nurses and governesses and at school.  The practical experience I have learned in a life time about the world means nothing.”

On March 8, Hayes wrote:  “Studd has been disciplining me this week.  To do this he put me on two meals a day, one at seven in the morning, the other eight at night,  me working at hard labor in between.”  From eating bananas “or anything I could get to satisfy my hunger,” and sleeping on a camp bed with “six inches of water under it,”  lumbago sets in.  Hayes is sure he could cure himself using his own head but “Studd seemingly considers me a human guinea pig to experiment on.”

A week later, endeavoring to throw off the pain of lumbago, Hayes hiked to a nearby Mangbettu village to visit Bukinda, a small chief contracted by Studd to build a new house for the mission.  “I photographed Bukinda sitting in the midst of fourteen of his wives.  His village is scrupulously neat and clean.  the houses are decorated with designs of red, white and black … these colors stand up well, and are arranged in every sort of design, with some sort of attempt to paint men and animals, especially leopards and horses, as murals on the outer walls.”  (I know of none of Hayes’ photographs surviving.)

With Hayes not traveling, his diary becomes a little disjointed.  A paragraph or two on European explorers to the region:  Benjamin Gosling, who traveled with Boyd Alexander, lies buried at Niangara, Schweinfurth, a Russo-German explorer came through in 1870. –  Then a bit about the history of African rulers:  Munza, who was “a sort of Napoleon in his way, for he gathered all the small tribes into his empire and made them Mangbettus,” was also a notorious cannibal. – Comparisons between the local tribes with whom he lives:   The Mangbettus are ingenious crafters who make fine chairs, houses, and musical instruments; contrasted with the Azandes who “are willing to work at anything to advance themselves.”  Hayes will hire only Azandes “much to the dislike of the Mangbettus who own this side of the river.”  – But entries always returns to carping about Studd and Buxton:  Studd paid Bukinda 150 francs, about $30, for 75 men working six weeks to build his house.  Studd got a fine house; Hayes got the fallout from the unpaid workmen:  “Every one of them reproaches me, for I supervised the work.”

By the middle of April Hayes writes “I am considering leaving this place when the next dry season comes.  No one could make it in the rains.”  As the roster above indicates, Hayes lasted at The Heart of Africa well into 1915 but not without considerable conflict with, “These two men [who] spend most of their time writing to London telling of their exploits, misrepresenting the country and in every way publicizing themselves to gain further fame.”