British East Africa (Kenya)

Edward Buxton was among 19th Century white explorers to British East Africa (Kenya).

Through his memoirs, we learn about the challenges that white explorers or missionaries to East Africa faced.

We also learn that it was routine for Swahili porters to be sent ahead of the caravan with supplies.
In mid 1899, Buxton sent a caravan of seventy Waswahili led by Rashid to Voi. The agreement was that once the supplies reached Voi, the first tranche of wages would be paid to porters. The rest of the wages would be paid along the caravan route, based upon achievement of each of the mission’s pre-agreed “milestones”.

There was a reason why this was done. Waswahili porters were notorious for desertion. And expeditions were critically hampered when porters deserted with critical supplies such as food, medicine, tents and gun cartridges.

Some early explorers considered stocks of cigarettes or whisky as important as food itself. And porters bearing them would walk astride the Nyaparas, who were the caravan headmen.

One night, during Buxton’s expedition, some of his porters vanished, rice rations with them. His nyaparas went out to look for the rations, hoping that the deserters would have dropped them.

They found that Wataita villagers had already helped themselves to the loot. Buxton wrote:

“It was a piteous sight to watch poor starved Wataita picking up the grains of rice dropped by our men, and this was the first sign among many which greeted us of the ‘starvation year’ due to long continued drought…”

Inset is an actual photo of a Taita village that Buxton took. Indeed, all pics featured here were taken by him.

@Meria Mata is Buxton estate in 001 named after this man ama ni coincidence?

yes indeed