Last year I posted a story about Mama Ruth’s missionary days…here is more from her.
Just after WWII, from 1946, we were missionaries in India. near a jungle area and my days were quite different. I summed them up like this in a letter to my mother:: HINTS FOR LIVING”
1. Always keep your rafters painted with smelly, black tar. Keeps white ants from eating the rafters so they don’t fall down on your head…
2. Take a paludrin tablet once a week to ward off malaria.
3. Never pull down the covers and slide into bed in the dark. Snakes or centipedes.
4. Shake out your shoes before putting them on. Scorpions. My mother-in-law forgot just once.
5, When you come in from a village tour, always unpack your luggage and bedding rolls outside. Hang everything on the line and bedbugs will crawl away in the bright sunlight.
6. Boil your milk and drinking water for full ten minutes. Lessens typhoid danger.
7. Once each month squirt your hair and all your kids’ hair with DDT powder. Lice will not bother you.
8. Tie up your mosquito net with wire instead of rope. Rats cannot chew the wire during the night, allowing the net to fall down on your head. This happened to a young missionary.
9. Put a stone or some wire screening over the hole in the wall where your bath water drains out. Then snakes cannot come into your cool bathroom through the hole.
10. Never forget toilet paper when going ANYWHERE. Nobody furnishes it, none on trains nor in any wayside squatting places. I always keep plenty in my purse, right along with my rupees.
11. An air rifle is the best thing to keep those big lemur monkeys out of your garden. You are not allowed to kill them, but a rifle stings them just enough to run away to the next garden. ‘
12. Nothing peps you up like a cup of hot tea in the afternoon. But I did miss cokes sometimes.
13. If you find ants in your sugar bowl, thump the bowl hard. Ants do not like loud noises, so they crawl away.
14. If you find brown, crawling bugs in your flour, just sift them out. Flour is still O.K. But if they have turned into white worms, ditch it. Smells awful.
All these household hints tried by Missionary Mama over and over. Sugar and flour were drastically rationed after the war for many years. So we had to live as we never had before. I wrote my first book MISSIONARY MAMA , by hand on a big tablet. I sat at our long dining room table scribbling with the sound of rats scurrying around my feet. I wrote at night after kids were in bed. Many times I heard the death drums from a nearby village. When I found out after many years that DDT powder is very dangerous, I was surprised. We used it for lots of things. It’s a wonder the we are not mentally awkward because we used it for years.
Well . . . maybe we are.
Ha, ha! That was great Ruth…THANK YOU!
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