Wright Family Album

Abbots  Langley, Kabare and Mombasa (1915-1920)

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We again made our headquarters at Abbots Langley where Doris was born on February 3rd 1916. Then followed one of the most difficult periods of our lives. Father was away a good deal on deputation work.  When home he would turn to often doing washing, ironing or taking the children for walks. Being wartime it was almost impossible to get any help in the house.

Gordon, Betty, Phil (and AMW) at Abbots Langley
Gordon, Betty & Philip, Abbot's Langley 1916  Betty, Gordon, Phil, Abbot's Langley

Family Group at Abbots Langley: GWW, Lawson, AMWwDoris, GrannywPhil, Bessie, Gordon, Nancy, Betty, Duncan
GWW, Lawson, AMWwDoris, GrannywPhil, Bessie, Gordon, Nancy, Betty, Duncan

As our furlough drew to its close we were faced with that most distressing of experiences, having to be separated from our two eldest children.  Never shall I forget the day when we took them to St. Michael’s and left them there knowing that we would not be seeing them again for four years.

So, in October, we took our journey back to Africa, travelling again via S. Africa;  haunted by the fear of being attached by submarines. The ship on which we were travelling, S.S. Galway Castle, was attacked and sunk on her very next voyage with great loss of life.

This tour we were sent up country to work amongst the Wakikuyu. Kabare, where we were stationed, was a healthy place with a wonderful view of Mt. Kenya from the house - Philip and Doris kept well and happy although Doris was very frightened when a white man appeared one day. The children and I only saw twelve white people during the 2 years of our stay there.  Father used to go to Nairobi periodically for Committee Meetings but always hurried back, riding the 90 odd miles on his push bike, as he hated leaving us alone in such an isolated place.

GWW Philip, AMW Doris
GWW Philip, AMW Doris  

It was interesting working amongst these pagan people who had so recently had the Gospel message brought to them. Father’s work included, taking simple services in the mud and wattle Church which was also used as a schoolroom after the service. Men and boys came to be taught but very few women and girls as they were away cultivating their gardens. He also had classes for enquirers and later on for those who wished to be baptized. We also had a small dispensary where simple medicines were given out and where father often had to extract teeth. In the afternoons he was away into the surrounding villages with some of the recently baptized Christians who gave their witness to their new found religion, singing hymns and praying.

During our stay in the lovely Kikuyu country, the rains failed twice.  There was a famine and water became very scarce.  Father conceived the idea of tapping a river on higher ground some miles away and helped the people to cut a channel at different levels out of the hillside, so that the water gradually ran down near their villages, through their gardens to and beyond the mission station. The people were very grateful for this and there was great rejoicing when we saw the water.

Basil and Hugh were born while we were in the Kikuyu country. The climate was ideal and the children were able to spend much of the time out of doors under the trees.  The evenings were cool, and, because it was not possible to hold classes or meetings, the people staying in their huts after dark because of wild animals roaming about - we spent them in front of a lovely wood fire, reading, writing or just talking.

Philip, Doris and Basil
Philip, Doris and Basil  Doris, Philip, Basil

This period of our life came to an end in June 1919 when we were transferred to Mombasa again.  Father had been asked to supervise the teaching amongst Indian boys in the Buxton High School.  It was hard for the children to be cooped up indoors alter the free open air life they had lived up country.  Philip was nearly five and full of energy which found expression in leading Doris into breathtaking escapades, such as crawling along the guttering of an iron roof near our house, finding his way up to the top of the Cathedral where there was a flat roof with no protecting rail around it.

Baby Hugh lost weight and colour.  So, after hearing from our friends, the Rev and Mrs. Dunn that they would be willing to give us shelter until we found permanent accommodation, we decided that the best thing for me to do was to take the children to England.

Poor father, it was a distressing day for him when he saw our ship sailing away from Kilindini in Dec. 1919. He continued working in Mombasa, for another year, supervising the teaching in the Buxton High School, also visiting and taking services for the English Community.  They appreciated his work amongst then so much that they gave him a cheque for 100 when he left to come home to England.

Doris' memories

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