By Diane Chads
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Extra info for Searching for African Prospects: Life as a Mining Engineer in Nigeria and Angola
Their greatest fear of all, however, seemed to be the hospital. Death in any form was considered preferable and this fear made it more difficult to treat people successfully than it should have been. Many patients would only be taken to hospital in the last stages of their disease when doctors had little or no chance of curing them. Despite this fear they had a great love for white men’s medicines, which for the most part they took fairly indiscriminately. Bekere was often ill and was always anxious to get hold of medicines of any sort.
Both men and women painted their legs and bodies in ways that bore significance for their particular tribe. Many different tribal marks could be seen in the paddocks, some an adornment and others a disfigurement. One tribe went so far as to make their women look really ugly from scars on their faces and bodies, which had in former times reduced their value on the slave market. With the exception of two tribes, the pagans seemed to be singularly ineffective fighters with their hands. Some pagans, either deliberately or by accident, tended to start farming only a short distance ahead of the paddocks and, unless they were told to move elsewhere as soon as they started, they would lodge claims for damages once the paddock embraced their farm.
Sometimes, when he had had plenty to drink and had given his friends as much as they could take, he also gave them a present of money. He was never certain whether he gave them two pence or two shillings. Each time his savings vanished he felt ill and his friends did not come near him for 24 NIGERIA: THE BISICHI TIN COMPANY days afterwards. That was now in the past and with a new charm to protect him it would not happen again. Two weeks later, on a Monday morning, Adamu failed to appear for work.
Searching for African Prospects: Life as a Mining Engineer in Nigeria and Angola by Diane Chads