Martha Dunlop Peterson (Sierra Leone 1982-84)


Monday, November 21
4:39 pm

Martha Dunlop Peterson and her husband, John, served in Bo and Freetown, Sierra Leone, both were music teachers. They also taught in the School for the Blind, teaching all subjects, as well as taught at the Milton Margai Teachers College. She read from a letter home to her father dated February 6, 1984. It is excerpted here.

Dear Pa,

I’ve met a missionary who has a library so I’m plowing through her books. I feel like a slouch after reading about David Livingstone in Africa – missionary, discoverer, geologist, botanist and surgeon. In my small way I’m throwing out some good vibrations. I’m feeling OK. Despite sore throat, sore feet, stiff arm, sore stomach, I just “keep on truckin'” as this too shall pass.

I’m coaching a lovely school teacher in advanced piano. She’d like a scholarship to study in America so I wrote her a letter of recommendation but have no silver or gold to help her.

There’s a sighed boy with a speech problem deposited here at the Blind School – perhaps there is no other facility for him. He was being taught Braille, so I’m teaching him A-B-C instead of dots. Our apartment is popular. The kids like to float in and crash on our soft sofa. Gilbert wanted to sleep overnight on it and Kadie had to be pried off at bed time. I get requests for hot water (to make tea in the boys’ dorm), thread for hemming dresses, reading poetry on tapes to be brailled off for secondary students, teaching time on a Braille clock (the students take off the glass case and feel the dots – clever), teach the abacus, bandage sores, hold Sunday Night Bible Class for girls, etc. The choir is asked to go to Canada and the USA on tour in September – a big secret still – hush, hush.

At Milton Margai Teachers College I’m teaching Physics of Sound and “Peter and the Wolf” music. Transportation is the biggest unknown here. Will I get a ride to school! Will I get a ride home! I have to beg, hitchhike, or snare a taxi if one comes by this out-of-the-way place. I don’t worry any more. I just take all problems to the Lord in prayer.

I’m living in the Old and New Testament literature now. As books are scarce, John and I get our strength and inspiration direct from the Bible.

The weather’s hazy now as the Harmattan wind is blowing the Sahara dust around. March is the hottest month, then Rainy Season again in May.

Having nothing else to do, I broke the code for MOON used on books before Braille was invented. Only old blind ladies in England can read it and England sent their library rejects to Africa.

I recently went to a COS (Close of Service) Conference on how to get out of the Peace Corps! Take care of yourself, Pa, and have fun!


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