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, May 31, 2010

1921-22 – “AFRICAN GUIDEBOOKS -PART 6 – EDUCATION FOR THE TRIBES”

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


Last week, this blog looked at the various schools available for the European and Indian children in Kenya Colony. But what about education for the tribal Africans: the Kikuyu, the Wakamba and others? In Jade del Cameron’s second mystery adventure: Stalking Ivory, she has taken on the education of a young Kikuyu named Jelani, teaching him to read and write in English so that he might become more than a hired workers on someone’s farm.

But in general, this task was left mainly to the various missions. According to the South and East African Yearbook and Guide for 1922, no less than twelve Missionary Societies oversaw 99 mission schools in the Kenya Colony. These were not the same type of schools as those for the more privileged Europeans or even the Indians. There was no goal of matriculating to University. Rather, the emphasis was on a technical education with some thought to “literary education.”

One of those technical schools was at Machako. It “was established for the training of carpenters, masons, and bricklayers. A certain number of teachers and technical instructors are also trained.” A similar school was started in May, 1920 at Waa. Assisted Mission Technical Schools were located at Maseno, Kaloleni, Kakamega, Kikuyu, and Tumu Tumu. Normal schools were situated at Kikuyu, Mombasa, and Maseno. It was estimated that another 30,000 children attended “unassisted Mission Schools” in the colony.

Finally, agricultural education was provided for “both Europeans and natives” at the Kebete experimental farm.


Next week: More from the African manuals: Advice on Sleeping Sickness


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. THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE will be released Sept. 7, 2010. An excerpt and information on ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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Monday, May 24, 2010

1921-22 – “AFRICAN GUIDEBOOKS -PART 5 – EDUCATION ”

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


Inviting soldier settlers to take up land parcels for farming and luring businessmen to build in the colony would only develop Kenya Colony to a point. To make it thrive, it needed to grow from within as well and that meant taking care of families. Education was an important consideration. Oh, certainly, one could always send a son or daughter back to England to board at a school, and many did, but others opted to educate their children within the colony.

Nairobi boasted two government run schools: one for Europeans and “one for Indians.”
The Red Book for 1922 states that the Nairobi European School “is a day and boarding School for boys and girls from all parts of the Protectorate.” It listed the attendance as of “November 8th, 1921” as 28 boy boarders and 32 girl boarders with 80 boy “day scholars” and 62 girls. A 100 shilling per month fee was charged for boarders while “day scholars” were charged 10 shilling per month “in the Lower School” and 15 in the “Upper School.” School was year found with three month terms followed by a month of vacation. The upper school boasted “Forms III to VI and provides secondary education leading up to the Cambridge Junior Local and the London Matriculation Examination.”

The Indian school in Nairobi provided “education for the Urdu and Gujarati-speaking sections of the community.” This was not a boarding school and the attendance in November 1921 was 285 children. The fee was only 2, 4, 6, or 8 shillings per month “according to standard.” There were also “a number of private Indian Schools assisted by Government” including (in Nairobi) the “Arya Samaj Girls School” and separate boys’ and girls’ schools supported by the Sikh community.

Mombasa, Nakuru, and Eldorat also had Government-operated schools for Europeans.
Next week: More from the African manuals: Education for the Tribes


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. THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE will be released Sept. 7, 2010. An excerpt and information on ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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Monday, May 17, 2010

1921-22 – “AFRICAN GUIDEBOOKS -PART 4 – ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION ”

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


Last week we investigated travel by rail courtesy of the Uganda Railway with ran from Mombasa to Nairobi and on to Lake Victoria with sidelines west to Moshi and Mt. Kilimanjaro as well as east to Thika. But what if you were traveling elsewhere in East Africa? What were the options?

The South and East African Yearbook & Guide with Atlas and diagrams published annually for the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company, Ltd. offers suggestions on page 607 in the section titled: “Means of Locomotion other than railways.”

Topping the list were “Ox Waggons” followed by the advice that they “can only be used in those parts of East Africa where there are no tsetse fly.” In other words, they were suitable for the “highlands of Kenya Colony (where) they form the most luxurious method of travelling the country.” That is, unless the ground was soft after a rain. Since the cost of hiring oxen, wagon, and driver (often a Boer) ran 2 pounds per day, the guidebook advises that “it might therefore be cheaper to buy a wagon and oxen outright and re-sell.” Of course, that infers that the purchaser knows how to drive a team on oxen. Still “a loaded wagon will carry as much as 50 or 60 porters.”

Mules and Donkeys were handy but also had their limitations as they both fell victim to the tsetse fly. Mules cost about 30 pounds apiece in British East Africa. Horses, on the other hoof, were “regarded as a luxury.” Nonetheless, they were of “great service in riding down lions.” A horse sold for about 35 pounds.

The guidebook recommends bicycles (“push and motor”) to be “most useful in dry weather along the native tracks or earth roads almost all over Africa.” Finally, the book mentions “motor traction” with a note to pages within the guidebook advertising motorcars for sale. The guidebook states that they are “likely to extend more and more as time goes on.” It notes that, in Uganda, “motor transport is rapidly replacing all other systems.” As has been noted in previous blogs, Nairobi was keen on motorcars, even having automobile clubs. Jade del Cameron, in her adventures, certainly preferred a motorcar or her own Indian Power Plus motorcycle for getting around.


Next week: More from the African manuals: Education


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. THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE will be released Sept. 7, 2010. An excerpt and information on ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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Monday, May 10, 2010

1921-22 – “AFRICAN GUIDEBOOKS -PART 3 – RAILWAY REGULATIONS ”

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


Jade del Cameron and her companions have all ridden on the Uganda Railway from Mombasa to Nairobi and points north, (Mark of the Lion) as well as taken the side line for Moshi and Mt. Kilimanjaro (Treasure of the Golden Cheetah). The construction of this rail line is famous primarily for the problems faced around Tsavo: man-eating lions. Lt. Col. J. H. Patterson documented these horrific killings in The Man Eaters of Tsavo, a book that was fictionalized in the motion picture: The Ghost and the Darkness. Constructing the line was crucial in Great Britain’s bid for East Africa. Other nations, most especially Germany, France, and Italy, were also striving to gain control over this portion of the continent.

By 1922, the rail line ran up to Lake Victoria and riding the railway was ‘old hat.’ The dangers were gone, replaced by the annoyance of a sleeping rhino or herd of grazing antelope blocking the track. Fares and regulations were found in many guidebooks, including The South and East African Yearbook & Guide with Atlas and diagrams published annually for the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company, Ltd.

Page 604 lists the first class fare as 18 cents per mile. Second class was half that rate. Intermediate class was 6 cents/mile, third class from 1 ½ to 2 ½ cent per mile plus 25 cent increase according to distance. There was no discussion as to what constituted first, second or third class although it was understood that first class was for whites only and the black Africans rode third class. Entire carriages and saloon carriages with kitchens could be reserved.

First class customers could bring up to 120 pounds of luggage free, while second class were allotted 80 pounds, intermediate-50 pounds and 30 pounds for third class. Commercial travelers were allowed more weight.

Passengers needed to bring their own bedding for sleeping on the train. If they wished to get off the train and reboard the following day, there were “dak bungalows” (government run traveler’s rest houses) available, free for the first 24 hours and 2 rupees for each 24 hours (or part of) afterwards. “Furniture, bedstead, batch, toilet set, lamp etc.” were provided but “no mattress, blankets, sheets, or towels.” Passengers were advised that they might have to share a room with a stranger.


Next week: More from the African manuals: Other Means of Travel


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. THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE will be released Sept. 7, 2010. An excerpt and information on ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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Monday, May 03, 2010

MY SMITHSONIAN BOOK SIGNING

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


I know that this week I promised you information about riding the Uganda Railway (otherwise known as the ‘Lunatic Line’) in 1920's East Africa, but I would like to hold that back for next week’s blog. I'm so excited about signing books at the Smithsonian this weekend that I just have to share it with you.

I was naturally thrilled, when the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art elected to carry the Jade del Cameron mystery series set in 1920s Africa. I was even more ecstatic to have a book signing scheduled for May 1 in the museum. But when I broke my arm, I began to wonder if I was going to make it there. How was I going to sign?

By the end of April I was pushing five weeks in a cast, and while I didn't have very much arm or hand movement, I could wiggle my fingers and hold a pen. And luckily my signature is so horrid, that no one would likely be able to tell that I was signing with a broken hand anyway. And so I boldly took a lesson from Jade herself, braved all the TSA scrutiny of my arm and cast (chemical swabs, multiple x-rays), mastered the DC Metro, purchased a Polish sausage from a street vendor, and managed my signing.

I had the pleasure of meeting some very interesting people visiting the museum, and I introduced quite a few to my mystery series. One lovely young woman walked in with her children, spied the books, and declared that she loved this series and had all of the books. I introduced myself and she immediately wanted her photograph taken with me. Since he already had all of the books, I signed a postcard for the upcoming book, THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE, and presented her with an autographed keychain that has the covers for the first book, Mark Of The Lion, and The Crocodile’s Last Embrace. It was so much fun to meet a genuine fan of my work. It makes it all worthwhile. It even took away a little of the disappointment that the first lady, Michelle Obama, did not accept my invitation to attend.

The National Museum of African Art is beautiful, but because it is the smallest of all of the Smithsonian museums along the Mall, is often the last one visited. This is a mistake. One shouldn't rush through the gorgeous displays of African sculptures, carvings, textiles, and weaving. The displays inside represent history, culture, and art in its finest. It should be savored.

And so I invite everyone planning a trip into DC, to budget time for this museum. Africa is the home of humanity. All our roots are there. Come and drink in some of your own history.

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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