Going on Africa 1916
The letter below was founf in the office of the Danish Sudan Mission in Christiansfelt. It was written by Mogens and Eline, dated Aug. 25 1916, on board the steamship "Farquah". The recipiants are the brother and sister-in-law of Mogens in Øster Uttrup, Denmark. The letter describes both life on board the steamship, including drinking tea beneath shading canvas on the deck and dinners with 7 dishes, and the couple's curiosity and courage in going in to Nigeria a week later.
See the letter as facsilimile.
The letter has been digitally translated from the transcribed Danish version.
If you have any corrections or improvements in the translation, please let me know. Hans Wendelboe Bøcher.
Onboard SS Tarquah, one-day travel from the coast of Africa - August 25th .
Dear brother and sister-in-law.
Since we are able to send few words from the ship tomorrow, because we embark at a French, named Dakar Name for a couple of hours, mostly to deliver post and other goods and also to take in coal, we would like to send a a few lines to Uttrup [Mogens' family still lived in Øster Uttrup, the birthplace of Mogens. red.] to let You know, that we are well and have come so far.
We left England on Wednesday, August 16th. We departed from Liverpool. We have now sailed for 9 days. The trip is heading head south.
The weather has been good, with only a few days wind. Thus we have only had a good travel so far. The ship is not so large, but it is a nice ship. We are probably around 80-90 passengers. Most passengers come from England these Days.
The first day we met Sir Gamble and his wife and a Miss Perarck, who also go out to Africa as missionairies. They are to disembark near the coast in Calabor. We started to share with each other, and shared a table for ourselves and a nurse, who also is going into Africa, but in governmental service. We, who can share the best together, soon find each other out of the various nationalities - because we are people, who think more of the world to come.
We have heard a lot of interest from their fields of work.
Life on board is almost the one day as the next. At 6.30 am we shower - we receive the fruit and in our cabin shortly before 7 am - then we go to the deck to enjoy the fresh morning air - but the sun is already sharp at this time. At 8.30 am the crew call for lunch - one of the servants beats a kettle or a frying pan.
After we have eaten, Eline and I begin to study Hausa. We read in the Gospel of Markus. We can spell our way through a chapter in 3 hours. We often are at the deck in our chairs, canvas is seiling because of the heat of the sun. At 1 pm we eat again, now a 4-5 course dinner. Afterwards most passengers take a nap; short or long as they like, often in their chairs at the deck.
We use the afternoons to read Hausa, but also other books about Africa we have with us - we need to know this land's customs and traditions as good as possible, and thus their way of thinking.
At 4 pm we have tea - then read - and talk again until 7.30 pm., when we have late dinner with 6 main courses - often we do not know what we eat, but the food is good.
After dining, around 8.30 pm., we stroll on the deck and enjoy the quietness of the evening - sometimes we read again before we go to bed.
As we go south, the weather becomes more and more tropical. Today we sail along the coast of Africa, and call for the first port in the eve or even in the night, but we are still only just over half the way to Fernando, where we are to disembark. It will take another 10 days to get there, and after that we have a long trip left sailing up the Benue River for 3 weeks.
We have only met few ships on our journey - 3 in total - it is strange to float on the water day after day without seeing others. Sometimes you can see a fish flying out of water and do a small tour in the air, only for again to go down in the mysterious world beneath the surface. I have often wanted to go down to see this wonderful world of animals and plants.
God's work is great. The Lord helps us praise Him in all his glory. The best way is to give him our wicked and evil hearts and receive His Grace - donated to us in Jesus Christ. Those, who think differently about themselves will suffer away from God in the depths of Hell - it's a high price to pay just to protect your own actions and way of thinking. It does not matter how good they are.
Above all, let Jesus be our King.
Now, you are in your new property - and Dorthe and Else reside in the old. Please say hello in Uttrup and to all friends and kinship - perhaps let them read the letter. Father and all of them. We are eager to see land and go in to Dakar tomorrow morning.
Love from us both,
Eline & Mogens Uhrenholt
Now all begin to appear in white clothes on the Deck - so from now on we should not bring the other until we come, may your [illegible]