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Messages - Chuck Thompson

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1
Mbeya / Re: Mbeya Memories 1959 - 1961
« on: 04 October, 2010, 16:47 »
Hi John,
I got a note that you were trying to contact me, Chuck Thompson...try my email directly...www.chuck.thompson@shaw.ca

Regards.
chuck

2
Tanganyika / Life in Tanganyika - Letters and Photos
« on: 07 June, 2010, 20:09 »
My Father, Melvyn (Mel) Thompson, travelled to Tanganyika in 1936 as a young geologist.  He met my mother, Winona Wessels, in Geita and were married a few months later in August 1940.  I have a collection of their letters from 1934 (Melvyn was still at University in Canada) until 1965 when they repatriated to Canada.  I have begun to upload these letters and photos to www.melvynsletters.ca - if you are interested be sure to blog your thoughts on the site...access to the letters is via a page link at the top right hand menu bar. 
Enjoy.
Chuck Thompson

3
Tanzania / Re: Mbeya coffee
« on: 27 September, 2009, 04:32 »
Mbeya coffee seems to be widely available on Vancouver Island.  In fact our local church serves only Mbeya coffee...I remember being a young child in Tanganyika - Tanzania and the aroma of coffee grown and roasted in East Africa...while I love a good cup of coffee today, I've never really tasted coffee today like I remember it tasting back then.  Is it the roasting, the water or a combination of these?

4
Mbeya / Re: Mbeya School 1955-1959
« on: 25 July, 2009, 16:25 »
Anne,
Wow, you have really added to Richard Allen's memories of Mbeya school...can you expand on Big Uggy up in Top Firs?  I was at Mbeya for my first two years of school starting in 1961...most of my brothers attended Mbeya...William (then known a Willy) who is now 60, Ruston (Rusty) who drowned in 1960 (he would have been 67 this year).  My brother Elwood went to school in Canada until he was 12 then to Kongwa.  My brother Clint was not registered for Mbeya for some reason and couldn't go...instead he went to Kongwa as a 7 year old and live in dorms with older boys... My Dad's partner's family (with whom we were raised like close relatives) also went to Mbeya...Linde, Johnny and Irene Baker...

You are right, they really did boarding school well (if, as you say, stern). Our days were filled with school, sports and cubs, scouts, guides, etc...

Regards,
Chuck Thompson

5
Tanzania / Army Mutiny - was that 1964
« on: 20 July, 2009, 05:57 »
My parents had taken me out of Mbeya school because they were concerned about the possible need to leave the country quickly.  I attended a mission day school in Tabora.  My father drove me to school that morning and he stopped at the bank...there were policy "guarding" the bank and my father remarked about "tension."  The school day started normally and not long into it army trucks began to pass on the road.  The Head Mistress, Sister Francis Clair, requested all teachers to stand their students in front of the school to observe our glorious army pass by.  Once back in the classroom, we heard the repeat of machine gun fire.  Then a black man came running to report to the sisters that the police and the army were "fighting."  The sisters feared a repeat of the Congo emergency just a few years before...they asked all the white children (three teenage girls and myself) to leave.  As we ran to one of the girl's homes near by (a large house built by Germans with a door that could be barred) the machine gun sounds intensified.  I was not running fast enough and one of the girls, Mimi Fanelli< grabbed me and practically carried me over the mattutas in a field we had to cross to get to safety more quickly.  We spent most of the day listening to machine gun fire and not knowing if our parents were dead or alive...about 7 pm in the evening, a landrover arrived for three of us...the Biondi's house servant drove it and was the only occupant.  We climbed in and were covered with tarps for a slow drive to our homes (we were neighbours) where, to our great relief and theirs, all were still whole.  We went to bed in our clothes that night incase of an emergency evacuation...we left the following morning - six peope in the Biondi's fiat.  Our fathers remained in Tabora armed to the hilt in case they needed to defend.  The British had a war ship just off the coast from Dar...they sent in fighter jets which did a display over Tabora before landing to an immediate surreder from the Tanzanian troops who were all either drunk or high on "bangi" - marijuanna.  The women and children went to Mwadui which was considered the most secure location in the area.  We remained there a few days before things were "normalized."

6
Mbeya / Re: Mbeya Memories
« on: 20 July, 2009, 04:54 »
My brother, Ruston (Rusty) Thompson, went to Mbeya School starting probably in 1948 or 1949...he was well liked...I think he went to Kongwa and then to Iringa.  At the end of his second last term there he went on to Dar es salaam with David Western and his brother.  Rusty was to have his eyes checked and get glasses or something.  At any rate he was a very good swimmer as were the Westerns and they went "goggle fishing" (snorkelling) in a bay near Dar.  That was on Thrusday, July 28, 1960...two months shy of his 18th birthday.  The boys were separated and only Rusty's snorkel gear washed up on shore.  His body was found in a tidal cave on Saturday...the day my parents arrived in Dar.  Rusty had been the Head Boy at Iringa... I have pictures of him escorting the Bishop of York around the school  - Rusty wearing the ceremonial academic gown. 

7
Tanganyika / Africans 1930s and 1940s Photos
« on: 17 July, 2009, 04:59 »
My father, Melvyn (Mel) C. Thompson, arrived in Tanganyka late in 1936 to work for a British East African gold mining company.  His job was to prospect for gold.  These are photos he took of the people he hired as porters to support the prospecting operation.

8
Mbeya / Re: Mbeya Memories
« on: 16 July, 2009, 21:56 »
You have both brought back many memories of my short time at Mbeya School - just prior to Uhuru, my parents thought it best for me to go to a mission day school in Tabora.  I have fleeting memories of Mbeya school and the grounds.  Mostly I remember a few impressionable moments.  My first week at Stanley House dorm...I think I cried the first week...then got over it...  Some boys were talking and nobody would own up so the matron (I forget her name) lined us all up for the tacky.  I was scared stiff...I somehow got myself to be last in line behind the smallest boy there...Loigi Ottelli - I'm 55 now, but I remember this like yesterday...I thought to myself, "If this little kid doesn't cry, I cannot cry."  Another time: I'd pinched the little finger on my right hand in a drawer or something...it had quite a nasy blood blister on it...I'd done something that was going to warrent the tacky and the matron was mad...for some silly reason I reached back as the tacky flew and it caught my little finger...the blood burst out of that blister and I think it startled the matron as much as it did me.  I never got caned, but I remember those who did showed off their marks with great pride...there was one fellow who swore at the Matron of Wallington House and she held his Sunday shoe by the toe and left 4 or 5 half cressent bruises on his butt. 

I remember girls didn't get the cane, instead they got the strap or the belt because it was less likely to leave marks and it generally didn't break skin.

I remember a drummer in the early morning...was that to wake us up or to call us to breakfast?

Finally, I learned to hate turnips at Mbeya because I remember a lot of bland turnip soup --- or is that just my imagination?


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