Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (www.suzannearruda.com), and the historical time period in which she lives.

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Location: www.suzannearruda.com, United States

I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at www.twitter.com/SuzanneArruda *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Monday, February 19, 2007

INSIGHTS FROM NAIROBI NEWSPAPERS – PART 4

Some of the notices in the Nairobi newspaper hinted at intriguing personal stories. For instance, the Saturday, March 26, 1921 Leader of British East Africa ran a curious note from a “young married woman.” She was looking for a job in the country for a short time. The immediate question is why? Is her husband gone for a while? Do they need a separation? Is she suffering from the confines of the city and feels that country air will be beneficial?

Another woman, also desiring to live in the country, posted another sort of ad in the June 25, 1921 issue of The Leader. She identified herself as a lady with small capital and said she wanted to meet another lady for the purpose of starting up a farm in the highlands. Once again, it’s the unknown back story that tantalizes. Is she single? Widowed? Divorced? Just fed up with men? The ad didn’t appear in the next weekly, but that doesn’t tell us if she found a partner or not.


Someone ran an ad in The Leader’s Lost column on August 13, 1921. This person requested information on the wherabouts of a 37-year-old man who had been missing three weeks. Another article in the same paper described a “lost lunatic.” Presumably this is the same person, but the same problem existed back then: follow-up stories do not readily appear. I could never find whether or not this poor man was found alive.


Perhaps the most pitiful notice of all ran Saturday June 11, 1921 in The Leader. There was a request for someone to please adopt a Dutch baby boy, age 4 months. One can only wonder what happened to leave this child stranded? Were his own parents giving him up? A single mother perhaps? Or had his parents perished and a neighbor took temporary custody? There is no follow up so we will never know. But we can be sure of this: despite all the social amenities in Nairobi itself, the life of the settler farmer was not easy.


Next week: DANGERS OF BIG GAME PART 1

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Monday, February 05, 2007

INSIGHTS FROM NAIROBI NEWSPAPERS – PART 3

Lost and found advertisements are often interesting to read. The reader can’t help but speculate on how the item was lost or where something was found. These notices also appeared in The East African Standard and The Leader in Kenya Colony.

Some ads were fairly ordinary. A hatbox, with no mention of any hat inside, and a cigarette case are not common today, but they still represented the typical items misplaced somewhere. Others were less usual. While today one might expect notices of lost dogs or cats, one person ran an ad looking for a lost mule for three weeks in 1920. Any animal gone that long in East Africa was probably lion fodder, but the owner still ran the ad faithfully.

One lost item seemed too cryptic to be found. It was simply a lost parcel given along with a general vicinity in which it was last seen. Any fan of mysteries, as I hope the readers of this blog are, can conjecture all sorts of scenarios about that parcel and its importance. After all, if it contained something as innocuous as a new shirt, surely that would have been mentioned. After all, a different ad did mention a missing packet containing a suit and an evening coat.

An S-shaped brooch lost at the Muthaiga, a pup, and a gold watch (at the Nairobi station) made up the lost ads December 29, 1920. My bets are that the watch was “pinched.”


Next week: MISSING PEOPLE

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