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, April 26, 2010

1921-22 – “AFRICAN GUIDEBOOKS -PART 2 – CUSTOMS, WEIGHTS, AND MEASURES ”

This blog made the short list for Best Author's Blog as awarded by www.completelynovel.com Thank you everyone who voted for me.


For the past several weeks, we have been investigating the various guidebooks to South and East Africa. In particular we are focusing on information found inside of The South and East African Yearbook & Guide with Atlas and diagrams published annually for the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company, Ltd.

Page 603 discusses the customs duties for East Africa. This was vital information for anyone entering the colony with the intent of forming a business, importing or exporting goods. Any luggage, which included bicycles, cameras, USED sewing machines, and binoculars, was duty-free. Also free of customs duties were tools for raising farm animals and crops, industrial machinery, and commercial motor vehicles. Everything else required payment to bring into the new colony. The import duty on any "spirits (50% of proof)” was 15 florins per gallon. This was increased or decreased in proportion to the amount of alcohol above or below 50% proof. Beer and wine did not come under this category. They were included along with "tobacco, playing cards, pianos, and silk." The list, which required a 30% fee, read like the necessary ingredients to form a saloon. Cement, petroleum, petrol, and paints came in at 10% duty. If it wasn't on any of these lists, it cost 20% to bring in. Export duties were 30% on Ivory, 10% on hides and skins, 5% on rubber, 10% on fine timber, and 4% on anything else not included on the list.

As would be expected in English colony, English weights and measures were employed. However since many items were sold to or purchased from the Kukuyu or Wakamba tribes, "native weights and measures" were in common use. For example one "maui" was the equivalent of about 3 pounds. A "frasla" equaled 36 pounds and a "gizla” was 360 pounds. If one were buying or selling fabric such as the simple white cotton imported from the United States, known as "Americani” you might sell it by the "doti" which was about four yards, or 1/8 of the entire roll.


Next week: More from the African manuals: Railway Regulations


NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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Monday, April 19, 2010

1921-22 – “AFRICAN GUIDEBOOKS -PART 1- CLOTHING AND CURRENCY ”

Note: my blog is once again being typed using a voice recognition program while my right wrist rests snugly in a cast.

For the past two weeks, we have been investigating the various guidebooks to South and East Africa. These guidebooks and manuals were published by the various East African newspapers as well as by shipping lines and government agencies. Newcomers to the colony as well as those who had lived in the colony for a while, such as Jade del Cameron, made use of these manuals and guidebooks extensively. For the next couple of weeks we will take a look at some of the information available inside them. In particular we will be focusing on The South and East African Yearbook & Guide with Atlas and diagrams published annually for the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company, Ltd.

Page 601 discusses the appropriate clothing for various African countries and colonies. The Kenya colony had an altitude that went from sea level at Mombasa to up to 4000 to 5000 feet. The manual recommended "white drill or linen suits are generally worn and a sun helmet is a necessity.” This clothing could be made to order in Zanzibar or Mombasa more cheaply than in England. "Of an evening it is advisable to wear a pair of soft leather boots to come halfway up the calf and thus to protect the ankles against mosquitoes. In the Highlands the same clothing as that worn in Europe during the warmer months is quite suitable.” A separate section entitled "Safari" gave advice for clothing to be worn on “expeditions into the interior.” In a footnote the manual suggests "in all parts of Africa those taking long journeys by train should wear old clothes or at least something which will not suffer too much from dust and which can be cleaned."

The following page in the manual discusses the currency used in the Kenya colony. Prior to 1922 all of the currency was based on the Indian rupee. This was changing and the 1922 guidebook stated “Indian coinage is now being withdrawn. The sovereign used to be legal tender for 15 rupees at which rate the rupee was worth 1s. 4d. At the beginning of 1920 the rupee had risen to about 2s. d. and government stepped in with a view to amend the resulting difficulties which were threatening the development of the colony. An ordnance (sp.) passed in February fixed the exchange for the English pound note at 8 1/2 rupees (about 2 s. 4d.) Subsequent fluctuations created new difficulties, but eventually a fixed rate of exchange at 2s. to the rupee was imposed. The rupee has now merged into the florin and the half rupee into the shilling, the florin being divided into 100 cents. Annas and pice are no longer current.”

Next week: More from the African manuals: Customs, Weights and Measures


NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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Monday, April 12, 2010

1921 – “I’M IN THE BOOK-PART 2”

EXCITING NEWS: this blog has made the short list for Best Author Blog on the Completely Novel website, but I need your vote to win. May I ask you to please go to http://www.completelynovel.com/author-blog-awards and click on the “click here to vote”button, then choose Suzanne Arruda's blog. You must register at the completely novel website to vote, but you will not be inundated with materials and you can un-register at any time. Plus you have a chance to win some free books through them. Thank you and now on with my blog for the week which is once again being typed using a voice recognition program while my right wrist rests snugly in a cast.

The Nairobi newspapers were not the only places that published guides to Africa in the early 1920s. As was shown last week, the Kenya Annual and Directory and the Red Book were devoted primarily to East Africa and were designed more as social directories and guidebooks for the residents. But another larger directory was published for the purpose of encouraging the development of East Africa. The East African Manual was published by the Mining and Industrial Publications of Africa Ltd.

In the introduction to the manual the editor states "East Africa is to-day the Land of Opportunity For men. In the past the whole country has been adversely criticized, and there seems to have been an organized crusade against prospective settlers venturing to migrate thither. It is one of the objects of this Manual to dissipate the false rumors and erroneous reports which have been broadcast concerning life and opportunity in East Africa." To that effect, this 900 page manual does not bother with listing residents under telephone contacts or post office boxes. Instead it gives detailed information on existing industry in Africa, the railways and harbors, Kenya's political future, industrial companies, mining laws, agricultural prospects, and an extensive buyer's guide listing everything from barometers and boiler makers to engineers, importers, milling machinery and motor trucks to winches and wireless.

The South and East African Yearbook & Guide (with Atlas and diagrams) was edited annually for the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company, Ltd. This guide begins with a table of distances by sea as well as a listing of South African mails and routes to South and East Africa. Information on tariffs is also included along with immigration information and facts regarding agriculture and mining and other potential industries. Detailed descriptions of routes from port cities to final destinations via boat or rail makes up the bulk of the book.

Both of these books have extensive advertising concerning hotels and businesses. It is easy to see how they became invaluable guidance to anyone wishing to make a new life on a new continent.

Next week: More Kenyan news

Image of The East African Manual and The South and East African Yearbook & Guide with Atlas and diagrams were taken from my copies.

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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Monday, April 05, 2010

1921 KENYA – “I’M IN THE BOOK-PART 1”

Note: this blog is being typed using a voice recognition program while my right wrist rests snugly and annoyingly in a cast.

In 1921 there was a large influx of British to the new Kenya colony. Some came as soldier - settlers, others came to find work in the towns of Nairobi, Mombassa, Fort Hall, or Naivasha. Consequently there were new people for the old people to know I'm a lot for the new people to learn. What were the laws? What clubs, schools, and churches were available? The answers to these questions and more rested in the many African directories.

There were a lot of directories, and two of the most popular were published by Nairobi's leading newspapers: The Leader of British East Africa, and The East African Standard.

The Caxton printing and publishing office, which was responsible for The Leader, published the Kenya Annual & Directory with Uganda section. For six rupees, the owner of this directory was promised information on game laws, land laws, social and sport clubs, educational institutions, detailed descriptions of towns and bomas, in 5000 names and addresses.

The East African Standard Limited "compiled" The Red Book handbook and directory. For a similar fee a person could have access to invaluable information on game laws, land laws, social and sport clubs, educational institutions, detailed descriptions of towns and bomas, and 5000 names and addresses.

Doubtless each colonist owned both. But there were other choices which we will examine next week.


Next week: PART 2
Image of The Kenya Annual & Directory taken from The Leader of British East Africa, April 30, 1921. Image of The Red Book taken from my copy.

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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