Page 4, 18th December 1953

18th December 1953
Page 4
Page 4, 18th December 1953 — DOUGLAS HYDE IN AFRICA

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STAYING here at Kisubi Seminary, Uganda, during a period of political crisis, one felt as a journalist that one was living in two different worlds.

Accommodated here are more than a dozen Bishops, missionaries from all over Africa and scores of Africans, representative orCatholic life in every corner of the continent. I eat with them. live with them and have endless discussions with them about the lay apostolate.

In the conference hall we share our

experiences and, though our different traditions and backgrounds are apparent, one is much more conscious of the Catholicity which makes us one.

Then, whilst the "emergency" lasted, from time to time got over to Kampala. There in hotel lounges were men I know on Fleet Street, spendingtheir time waiting for Government hand outs on the latest political developments—and waiting, incidentally, to see if any "hot story" would develop in the shape ot a violent reaction by the 1Baganda people to the British Government's actions. On Wednesday, for example, we sat in a sun-bathed hall listening to delegates from Egypt, the Sudan, South Africa. Tanganyika and other lands of Africa, telling us about the growth of Catholic Action in their respective countries. Nothing could have been more peaceful or constructive.

But in near-by Kampala on the Tuesday, European specials and African troops had been expecting to be put at the ready for any trouble which might occur the following day.

Now, with the Regency formed and the situation in hand, the journalists are going back home—or flying on to Kenya to get. perhaps, some story of violence thete and so cut their papers' losses.

Men at work

TN breaks between conference gegIsions, lectures and writing, I have tried to see as much as possible of the missionaries at work.

Priests and nuns from dozens of missions are here. An Italian Consolate Father from Mau Mau country; a group of young Kenyans. members of the Kikuyu and other tribes, have come with a Mill Hill Father. Teaching brothers whose technical skill is passed on to boys who will help to change the living conditions of their people exchange notes with others doing similar work in other territories and from other orders.

White Fathers and Sisters, of course. are much in evidence, for Kisube is their biggest mission, and it is Fr. Tom igny, W.F.. Catholic Action organiser for this archdiocese, upon whose shoulders the main responsibility for the local organisation of the conference has fallen. His patience and good humour have been a demonstration of Christianity in action.

Insects too

THIS being on the Equator, insects, too, are much in evidence—and in infinite variety. They lie dead in piles under every light and in front of a sacristan and took a tiny "walnut" of bread with a cross on it.

Show piece THESE were glimpses -I.caught in brief visits of 10 minutes at a time, of the day-today religious life which is maintaining the pitch of faith and devotion which no words of mine can adequately describe.

Nor was this the sole prerogative of the Orthodox Church. In the Baptist chapel I saw a tough American hurriedly wiping his eyes as the 3,000 present ended their hymns, sharing here and there old and tattered prayerbooks.

We asked the Baptist ministers, in view of the terrific overcrowding, whether they hoped to get another church and were told that they had applied for one this summer and were hoping their request might be granted.

As we had been squeezed in through a back entrance on to a small dais behind the minister, we were facing the congregation throughout and were able to study them closely. Again their poverty stood out, the majority with shawls on their heads, and again they were old.

I wondered just how often this Baptist congregation, the only one in Moscow, has to submit to being gazed at by members of foreign delegations to satisfy them that church-going in Russia is continuing body and soul. How many of these "guests" of the Soviet Union will, as a result, return to their own countries proclaiming that religion is completely free and remain unaware of the many subtle deprivations designed slowly to strangle it. and the antireligious propaganda which constantly attacks and envelopes it?

every window each morning, looking harmless enough. But at night the air hums with the sound of their wings and one taLes a different view of them.

This is a land of eternal summer, and flowers of incredible brilliance make the countryside lovely ail the year round. In the hills live lions and other big game; hippos bathe in the lake.

Statistics— Uganda style WH ICH reminds me that for light reading at the end of a busy day I was reading in bed the annual report of the Game and Fisheries Department (getting "local colour" as it is called in the trade) the other night. And I came across this tit-bit: "Section 11 — Elephant Control— General : The estimated total elephant wastage for 1952 is approximately 800, which is 600 less than 1951. This figure allows for deaths from natural causes and wastage due to poaching. "This total is the lowest since full records have been kept and has been due to a drive to stop unnecessary killing on 'control,' and the big reduction in the number of elephant licences taken out as a result of the increase in cost per licence and the abolition of special licences for Third Elephant." One half of the world doesn't know how the other half lives, as the saying goes--but I'd love to watch a harassed bureaucrat totting up the elephant statistics for the year, Among other details noted in this fascinating report are an albino giraffe seen in this district, and also the current supply of bush-pigs, giant (forest) hogs, wart-hogs, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, greater kudus and other creatures whose names are almost a poem when found in a Government report.

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