Peyton Adams Eubank
Missionary - Africa 1882 - 1892
Memories of a Missionary Tour of Duty in Africa:
1882 - 1892
by Laura Boardman Houchens Eubank
Wife of Rev. Peyton Adams Eubank
Missionaries To Nigeria 1882
Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board, Richmond, VA.
We Arrive In Abbeokuta
We found Abbeokuta consisting of a vast sea of houses, all alike, with mud walls end floors and thatched roofs. One part of the city just like any other part. The general appearance as well as I can describe it was like a field of old haystacks. The whole was surrounded by a mud wall said to be fifteen miles around, Each residence, or compound, as it was called, consisted of a mud wall surrounding a large square. All around the inside of this wall were small rooms - a great many of them, each one occupied by one of the wives of the man of the house and her children. Each wife usually did not have many children but all together made a large family. Then there would be other relatives, so that each compound was like a small village, in front of this row of rooms was a narrow verandah where the people lived. The rooms were low and dark and were used only for sleeping. People never lived in their rooms except when sick and unable to get out.
In the center of this large square was all open to the sky. This open court vas occupied by all the animals of the place, chickens, dogs, sheep, goats, and cattle unless they preferred going on the verandah with the family. Here also their cooking was done in large kettles placed on supporters, built of mud, under, which a fire was kindled. Much of their cooking too, was done in the street where the women always held an open market end where the people always came to buy food. Family meals were not served in the home but each member of the family, even the small children, came with his little pot or calabash to buy for themselves. The breakfast always consisted of a drink of sour gruel made of corn. The other meals consisted mainly of a hot stew with a small portion of meat or dried fish, and a large portion of greens to which was added palm oil A red pepper with a variety of seeds for seasoning.. With this they ate a preparation of yam or a sort of corn starch of the consisting of jelly, stiff enough to be held in the finger and dipped in the soup.
These open markets, of which there were many located in different parts of town, were most interesting - a sort of social center as well as a center of trade. It was a lively scene where perhaps hundreds of women would be sitting on the ground, each with. her basket or calabash, a sort of large gourd, displaying her particular kind of wares, Here was on display and for sale every kind of article the country produced - pigs, chickens, corn, yams, sweet potatoes, oranges, banana, breadfruit - all kinds of fruit end vegetables which the country produced. Also dry goods or just anything the people had for sale. The purchaser carried his money in a basket on his head. This money, was in the form of a small shell, called cowries; of which took more than l50 to a make one cent. So it took quite a load of money to make a purchase of any value. These markets were very picturesque scenes at night, all alive with activity and the merry laughing and talking of the buyers and sellers. It was lighted by small native lamps dotted all over the place casting a dim glare. These lamps were the size of a sauce dish and held a supply of olive oil and a cotton wick - a poor light, of course, But the best they had at that time. For our own use, we had coal oil lamps.
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