By Isak Dinesen
With vintage simplicity and a painter's feeling for surroundings and aspect, Isak Dinesen tells of the years she spent from 1914 to 1931 coping with a espresso plantation in Kenya.
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Extra info for Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass
Even when he did the same things as other people he would do them in a different way. I had an Evening School for the people of the farm, with a Native schoolmaster to teach them. I got my schoolmasters from one of the Missions, and in my time I have had all three, — Roman Catholic, Church of England, and Church of Scotland schoolmasters. For the Native education of the country is run rigorously on religious lines; so far as I know, there are no other books translated into Swaheli than the Bible and the hymn-books.
But the Indians in Africa are such grasping tradesmen that with them you would never know if you were face to face with a human individual or with the head of a firm. " "Half dead," said Farah. " I asked. "Suleiman is dead," said Farah. " Before I took over the management of the farm, I had been keen on shooting and had been out on many Safaris. But when I became a farmer I put away my rifles. The Masai, the nomadic, cattle-owning nation, were neighbours of the farm and lived on the other side of the river; from time to time some of them would come to my house to complain about a lion that was taking their cows, and to ask me to go out and shoot it for them, and I did so if I could.
In the evening I walked out to meet the procession that came back, the tired oxen hanging their heads in front of the empty waggons, with a tired little Toto leading them, and the weary drivers trailing their whips in the dust of the road. Now we had done what we could do. The coffee would be on the sea in a day or two, and we could only hope for good luck at the big auction-sales in London. I had six thousand acres of land, and had thus got much spare land besides the coffee-plantation. Part of the farm was native forest, and about one thousand acres were squatters' land, what they called their shambas.