English  Easy Winner

 English notes for the +1 and +2 students of  J.J.M.M.H.S.S. Yendayar

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+ 2 Lessons



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Albert Schweitzer

From a small colony on the River Ogowa in West Africa, we hear Albert Schweitzer playing the music of Bach on a piano. He studied theology in the University of Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace and later in Paris and Berlin. He returned to Strasbourg as a lecturer. Albert was grateful to God that he was able to enjoy such a comfortable life.

He did not want to be selfish. He wanted to help people. He looked at his surroundings. He wanted to continue his studies and come a pastor. He was 21 and he thought he would enjoy his life until 30, and then devote his life to relieving the suffering of others. Man people make such good resolutions, but do not many carry them But Schweitzer did.

When he was about 30, he started looking around to see how he could help people. First he thought of helping the orphans. Then he planned to do welfare work among beggars and discharged prison ers. He found these things are better done by regular organizations wanted to do things in a more personal and independent way. One day he picked up a missionary magazine and read an article which showed. the need for medical workers in the Belgian Congo and French Equato rial Guinea. He liked to go and work there.

Schweitzer was already a religious man, a philosopher and a great organist. Now he decided to become a doctor to serve the poor people. The medical course lasted for about seven years. And then he went to Paris to study more on medicine. His wife was a nurse. At his request Paris Evangelical Mission gave Schweitzer permission to build a simple hospital at his own expense in Africa.

Schweitzer had to take more than 70 packing cases con-taining medicines and other necessities to Lambarene. One of the cases contained a special piano with pedals. From this piano came the Bach music that people heard in Lambarene.

Schweitzer reached Lambarene travelling in a ship river boat and then canoe. Schweitzer's house was a wooden one with four rooms. Initially he had to store some medicines in his house. It would take some time to build the surgery. He began treating patients in open space in his house. There were problems. Working in the sun tiring. There would be storms almost every day and things had to dragged onto the verandah.

'Soon an emergency hospital was made in a fowl-house. was dirty, small without windows. The roof had great holes. A coat of white wash on the walls, some shelves and a camp bed completed the hospital'. There was a need for an interpreter. A black teacher named N'Zeng was engaged, but he failed to take up the job when Schweitzer was ready to start his work. N'Zeng got busy in a legal dispute. Schweitzer started realizing how difficult things can be in Africa.

At first Schweitzer had to use as interpreter any French-speaking African that happened to come to the hospital. Then came Joseph who spoke French fluently. He used to be a cook. He left his job as a cook because of his ill health. He was short but well-built and looked intelligent. Schweitzer offered him 70 francs a month to work as interpreter. He proved very useful. Uneducated Africans used to think that by touching blood or pus they get defiled. But Joseph had no such problems. The only problem was that he used to refer to diseased part of the human body in terms of the cook-house. He would say 'This man's right leg of mutton hurts him' or 'This person has a pain in the left cutlet.' N'Zeng later came-for duties, but he was soon discharged for overstaying his leave.

This is how things happened in Schweitzer's hos­pital. By 8.30 one could see a group of patients waiting. Joseph comes out of the surgery and reads from a sheet of paper which contains 'Oganga's orders'. They should not spit near his house. They should not talk too loudly there. They should bring enough food for the day as they call can't be treated early in the day. These instructions were in the local dialects and the patients would carry the message to their villages.

Each patient goes into the hospital, one by one. Through the interpreter he explains what is wrong with him. The patient usually says there is a worm in his leg or his stomach is troubled with an evil spirit. The cause is always the worm or the evil spirit. The doctor exam­ines the patient and gives medicine or ointment. Joseph explains how it should be used. But often the patient goes home and drinks a whole week's medicine in one swallow or eats the ointment instead of rubbing it on the skin. The patient is also given a numbered disc of cardboard, with a string attached to it so that the patient can wear it round his neck.  On his medical record book, under the number, the doctor writes the name, complaint and treatment. The patient does not lose the disc be­cause he thinks it has a charm.

Joseph comes to announce that the doctor is going to have lunch. The patients eat their bananas, which is the item in the diet of the local Africans. Scweitzer has his meal and then he goes to his piano. For 1 hour the grand music of Bach comes out " his little house. It is with this musical break that Schweitzer keeps himself intellectually alive. At 2, he resumes work and continues till 6. There may be patients still waiting but they can't be treated because of the lack  of light. They have to wait for the next day. The doctor can't work with the lamplight because of the mosquitoes.

Schweitzer has a difficult life. Work through interpreter is tiring. The conditions under which he works make it worse Not many medicines can be kept in the fowl house and so the doctor has to often to go his house for the medicines. Working in the shed the whole day is hard in the hot weather. But Schweitzer feels happy when patients get better and healed. There is smile on their faces as their pain is relieved and their wounds are bandaged. Schweitzer knows he is filling a very great need.