.. could not say no. She ended up having a lot of luggage because of the many care packages she was bringing to various parts of Africa. While in Christianborg Mary discovered just how bad the white mans death toll was. She was being given a tour of the Christianborg cemetery and she noted two wooden hoods covering empty graves.
When she asked what these were for, she was told that they always had two graves dug ready for the white man to die. She was rather shocked at this revelation, and did not at first believe the necessity for these graves. The tour guide told her that just a few days past two men died before noon and then two more died later on in the evening. Mary wrote about this in her books. She wrote a lot about death in her books.
As a matter of fact, most of everything Mary wrote about had a motif of death or beauty. Part of Marys interest in death had to do with the fact that she was largely responsible for taking care of the ill that she came across. She never went anywhere without her medical bag. In one case she volunteered to take the night shift of sitting up with an ill man. She was used to sitting up at night with her mother so it was no big deal to her. She made sure though that no matter what time she was up to, she took an eight-mile walk. Sometimes she even took the walks while the person was asleep.
She took the walk in order to keep in shape as well as to discover new parts of the land. Helping to cure others was her skill in life. She worked so hard to make the diseases she was told about before her first journey into something that the people could overcome. She never put her health into her mind. She was always more concerned with the wellbeing of others. She loved doing the good deeds that she did, even when they were not the best condition. Marys finally voyage was to South Africa.
When she arrived there she was told that her job would be to help the Boer prisoners of war. Although the task was not pleasing, Mary accepted the duty. The conditions that she worked in were deplorable. The hospital was filled with about 200 wounded men in need of care, and only one doctor and three nurses. Mary was rather busy with this task, and fortunately for her, over time the hospital got a few more doctors and nurses, and even a few male orderlies.
Mary wrote letters to friends describing the conditions at the hospital. Typical Mary always added humor to even the saddest of letters. One of Marys final letters never got mailed to its recipient. The letter told of the stench, the washings, the enemas, the bedpans, and blood (295) that she had to deal with every day. Those were the things that Marys entire life consisted of. She began her life by taking care of her ill mother, crusaded all of her life by helping Africans and British who were overcome by sicknesses found in Africa, and then later died from being surrounded by diseases all of her life. She always took care of others, never worrying about herself.
One day she began to feel the same symptoms that she had for so many years treated. She tried to keep silent, not wanting anyone to see her weakness. Finally, it was impossible to hide the fact that she was sick. Marys final days were spent in bed. She woke up one day with an intense stomach pain. She was rushed into surgery performed by one of the doctors she worked with and had become close to.
He was convinced that the surgery had fixed her problem, but Mary knew better. She knew herself well enough to know she was dying. She only had two dying requests. The first being buried at sea rather than in a cold tomb that was waiting for her back in England. She felt that she should be buried in the Cape of Good Hope where she spent a great deal of her time.
Her second request was hard for her friends to fulfill, but out of love for Mary, they did. Mary wanted to die alone. She wanted to have her final peace. She needed this. Her friends left her be. When she slipped into a coma, they returned to her bedside and waited.
In order to fulfill Marys request to be buried at sea, her good friend and fellow doctor also requested a military burial as well. She would not have permitted this because of how humble she was. Many people felt that this military burial was the only thing appropriate for a woman who did as much as she did. Her funeral was filled with many solemn speeches and final words. Mary would not go out that way, however. She always had to add that bit of humor to everything she did.
When her casket was thrown overboard, it was not properly weighted and therefore did not sink. Her coffin bobbed up and down in the water for a while as her final goodbye. An anchor was eventually tied onto the casket and the body of the great Mary Kingsley sunk into the water where she rested with the beauty of the coral and pearls and other sea creatures surrounding her. Now for the opinion part. The book was great.
Mary Kingsley was an extremely interesting woman. She did many great things for those who not many wanted to help. However, the book was not easy to read. The book was rather repetitive. Mary was born, helped the sick, went to Africa, helped the sick, people died, she left Africa, went back to Africa, helped the sick, people died, left Africa, went back to Africa, helped the sick you get the point. It was a little bit difficult for me to pick out the important details to share with the class in this report.
I did not want to bore the class with the same thing over and over. Yes, I realize that Mary led an extremely wonderful life, and therefore all of the details of her life should be considered important. However, some of them were rather boring. Mary did a great deal of thing that should be looked up to and respected. I do respect this woman that I have never had the chance to meet. The things she did were extremely courageous.
She put other peoples lives ahead of hers. Never once did she stop and say, This could be dangerous to me. She was always willing to go above and beyond. It gives me a great example of a way to lead a selfless life. I am not saying that I want to go to the extremes that Mary did, but I think that I could definitely learn a lot about helping others by following her lead. We all can.
Mary crusaded to help those who did not get help from others. She was a strong woman who did what she believed was right, not what others thought was right. She was a pilgrim of some sorts. She began what others eventually followed. Because of her, many others were willing to help those in need. I would recommend this book to any of those looking to find their own inner strength.
Reading of this womans adventures gives a great deal of motivation to get out and do something. If you are one of those who is thinking of going out and helping others and crusading for justice, this book would do a great deal for you. However, this book needs to be read in one sitting. If you read bits and pieces of this book at a time, it takes too long and therefore drones on. That is the trap that I fell into.
I read chapter by chapter and it felt as if I was rereading the same part of the book over and over. Part of the difficulty in the reading might come from the fact that the book was written about someone from that someones own books. Confused? Mary wrote a few books and lots of letters. She even wrote her fathers book for him. The research that the author of The Voyager Out based her writings on was Marys own writings. A lot of the book therefore was secondhand, and some was firsthand.
At times it was hard to tell whether the information was gotten from something Mary herself said or from an assumption Katherine Frank got from reading Marys writings. Another difficulty I found while reading the book was that most of Mary Kingsleys family was named George, Charles, or Henry. Most of them also had one of those three for middle names as well. The females were named Mary and Charlotte. In order to keep this tradition alive, many of the men married women named Mary or Charlotte.
Mary has a cousin Mary, her mother is Mary, and she is Mary. Her Uncle Charles did a lot, but her brother Charley was lazy. While reading I found myself having to reread in order to find out who was being talked about at this time. For a good portion of my reading I was reading about Charley thinking that her uncle was the one being referred to. I had to reread almost an entire chapter once I discovered it was her brother.
The audience of the book is most likely those who are already interested in doing similar deeds. The book is not so much a call to action as it is a remembrance of this great woman, therefore most of the readers probably already have some knowledge of what Mary did based on their own experiences. I think if the book had been written more to persuade others to get involved it would have been more interesting. Because the audience is assumed to already be interested in what Mary did, I am sure most of the readers did not get bored of the repetition of what Mary did throughout her life. In general I am glad that I read this book, although I am extremely glad that I am done with it. If anyone else would like to read it, great! I would encourage you to go out and gain knowledge of what this woman did to help the sick in Africa.
It is a truly touching story. If, on the other hand, you have other things to do, other tests to study for, or parties to go to, I would suggest doing that first.