My Whit’s End Book Club–Out of Africa–From an Immigrant’s Notebook

This loooooooooooooong chapter is subdivided into short little stories. Instead of using page numbers, I will just use the titles of the subdivisions.  There are many gems.  Enjoy.


Infandum, Regina, jubes renovare dolorem. = from Virgil.  Aenea’s reply to Dido.  Latin “a grief to great to be told, O queen, you bid me renew.”

Virgil = from Wikipedia. 

Publius Vergilius Maro (also known by the Anglicised forms of his name as Virgil or Vergil) (October 15, 70 BC – September 21, 19 BC) was a classical Roman poet, best known for three major works—the Eclogues (or Bucolics), the Georgics, and the Aeneid—although several minor poems are also attributed to him.

Virgil came to be regarded as one of Rome’s greatest poets. His Aeneid can be considered a national epic of Rome and has been extremely popular from its publication to the present day. His work has influenced Western literature. His epic, the Aeneid, had followed the literary model of Homer‘s epic poems Iliad and Odyssey. The story is about Aeneas’s search for a new homeland and his war to found a city.

Aeneid = from Wikipedia.

The Aeneid (play /əˈnɪd/; Latin: Aeneis [ajˈneːis]—the title is Greek in form: genitive case Aeneidos) is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil from 29 to 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of roughly 10,000 lines in dactylic hexameter. The first six of the poem’s twelve books tell the story of Aeneas’s wanderings from Troy to Italy, and the poem’s second half tells of the Trojans’ ultimately victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed.

The hero Aeneas was already known to Greco-Roman legend and myth, having been a character in the Iliad; Virgil took the disconnected tales of Aeneas’ wanderings, his vague association with the foundation of Rome and a personage of no fixed characteristics other than a scrupulous piety, and fashioned this into a compelling founding myth or nationalist epic that at once tied Rome to the legends of Troy, glorified traditional Roman virtues and legitimized the Julio-Claudian dynasty as descendants of the founders, heroes and gods of Rome and Troy.


Carrier Corps=  from Wikipedia.

The Carrier Corps was a military organisation created in Kenya in World War I to provide military labour to support the British campaign against the German Military forces in East Africa, commanded by Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck.

Whereas von Lettow armed and trained African Askaris to create an effective guerrilla force able to live off the land; the British attempted to deploy Indian Army troops under General Smuts and keep the King’s African Rifles as internal security troops, with limited success. Not only were they unused to the terrain, the need to feed a large body of foreign soldiers presented severe logistical problems, as troops in the interior had to be supplied over long distances without rail or road lines of communication. To deliver one kilogram of rice to the interior it could take 50 kilograms of rice at the coast—most of it being consumed en route to feed all the porters needed to carry it inland.

The British Administration formed a military labour organisation, the Carrier Corps, which ultimately recruited or conscripted over 400,000 African men for porterage and other support tasks.

The effect on many of the native East African population, then still largely tribal, of being mobilised and then enduring considerable suffering for a remote and largely irrelevant foreign cause had significant effects in the long term, both highlighting the fallibility of the European presence in Africa (as armed askaris readily killed white men), and raising the political awareness of Africans as to the need to stand up for their own interests.

The organisation of the carrier corps was a remarkable feat of improvisation by a small number of officials of the East African Protectorate‘s administration, under a District Commissioner Lt Col Oscar Ferris Watkins. Watkins and his officials faced a constant struggle against the British military’s excessive demands upon the Carriers and to conscript further native manpower.

The Carrier Corps is commemorated on the War Memorial in Kenyatta Avenue, Nairobi.

Several East African towns have quarters named after the carrier corps presumably because members of the corps were given housing in these places. Such quarters include “Kariakor” in Nairobi and quarters called “Kariakoo” in Dar es Salaam and Dodoma.

Brillat-Savarin = from Wikipedia.

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1 April 1755, Belley, Ain – 2 February 1826, Paris) was a French lawyer and politician, and gained fame as an epicure and gastronome: “Grimod and Brillat-Savarin. Between them, two writers effectively founded the whole genre of the gastronomic essay.”[1]

[edit] Quotes

  • He compared after-taste, the perfume or fragrance of food, to musical enharmonics (Meditation ii): “but for the odor which is felt in the back of the mouth, the sensation of taste would be but obtuse and imperfect.”
  • An avid cheese lover, Brillat-Savarin remarked: “A dessert without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye.”
  • “The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star.”
  • “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”
  • “A man who was fond of wine was offered some grapes at dessert after dinner. ‘Much obliged,’ said he, pushing the plate aside, ‘I am not accustomed to take my wine in pills.'”
  • “To receive guests is to take charge of their happiness during the entire time they are under your roof.'”
  • “Cooking is one of the oldest arts and one that has rendered us the most important service in civic life.”
  • “The pleasure of the table belongs to all ages, to all conditions, to all countries, and to all aeras; it mingles with all other pleasures, and remains at last to console us for their departure.”

inspanned = from Afrikaans.  to attach a yoke or harness together.


“I have conquered them all, but I am standing amongst graves.” = I could not find the source of this quote.  I would appreciate any input.


“. . .as within an enceinte.” = from Wikipedia.

Enceinte (from Latin incinctus: girdled, surrounded), is a French term used technically in fortification for the inner ring of fortifications surrounding a town or a concentric castle.[1]

Strictly, the term was applied to the continuous line of bastions and curtain walls forming the body of the place, this last expression being often used as synonymous with enceinte. However, the outworks or defensive wall close to the enceinte were not considered as forming part of it. In early 20th century fortification, the enceinte was usually simply the innermost continuous line of fortifications.[1]

In architecture, generally, an enceinte is the close or precinct of a cathedral, abbey, castle, etc.

File:Château de Vincennes Paris FRA 002.jpg


“. . .the cattle were outspanned.” = South African.  An area of the farm kept available for travellers to rest and refresh animals; to unyoke or unharness

“. . .tea with smoked milk. . .after the Masai fashion.” = interesting web photos of the Masai. They indeed are a noble looking people.  (the Warriors are wearing only body paint.)  I did find one reference to their tea making habits.  “Chai (tea) was served as it always
is in a Maasai village. The tea is made mostly from milk, tea leaves and
sugar with a drop of water.”  Here is the website.  It is worth reading.

General Lettow Vorbeck = from Wikipedia.  Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck (20 March 1870 – 9 March 1964) was a general in the Imperial German Army and the commander of the German East Africa campaign. Essentially undefeated in the field, General von Lettow-Vorbeck was the only German commander to successfully invade British soil during the First World War. Lettow-Vorbeck’s exploits in the campaign have come down “as the greatest single guerrilla operation in history, and the most successful.”[1]


“Das Paradies auf Erden, Ist auf dem Ruken der Pferde,  Und die Gesundheit des Leibes,  Am Busen des Weibes.” = Someone who knows German, please help.  This is what my translator said, “The paradise on earth, Is on the ruken (wouldn’t translate, but my guess is “riding”) horses,  And the health of the body, On the bosom of the woman.”

Well, that is all for today.  I will keep working on this loooooooooooooong chapter soon.


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