Travels in Africa

Fred and Donanne Hunter

TRAVELS IN AFRICA: CONGO, Adjusting to Coq, 1964, Part Four

As Fred Hunter labored to open an American Cultural Center in Coquilhatville in the remote northwestern Congo, he had an unusual experience at an art show. From a letter written early in 1964: “Madame André, who does some painting, and I went Thursday afternoon to see an exposition of paintings by an Italian UN doctor. […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA, CONGO, Adjusting to Coq, 1964, Part Three-A

As Fred Hunter labored to open an American Cultural Center in Coquilhatville, his contacts with former colons revealed different approaches to dealing with Congolese. A letter in mid-February mulled the differences between my friend Jules André and the seeming rascal Boudart. André assumed that Boudart had escaped le pillage by buying off provincial Interior Minister […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: CONGO, Adjusting to Coq, 1964, Part Two-A

As Fred Hunter readied an American Cultural Center for Coquilhatville, government-directed searches and fining of merchants shattered the town’s tranquility. A further account of the aftermath of “le pillage.” Boudart, who had returned to Coq to direct the work of the construction firm Delinte & Boudart, releasing Delinte to return to Belgium, outlined for Fred […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: CONGO, Adjusting to Coq, 1964, Part One

As Fred Hunter labored to open an American Cultural Center in Coquilhatville, government-directed searches and fining of merchants shattered the town’s tranquility. The aftermath reverberated for weeks. As building projects at the center engaged particularly the electrician André and the contractor Boudart, I gradually gained access to their social circle. Mme André often presided over […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: CONGO, More Bad News, 1964

For Fred Hunter 1964 began with more bad news. On January 30, I made more notes of what I heard: “From all reports the situation continues to worsen in Kwilu. Bands of young men are said to be wandering around the countryside spreading an as yet unchecked reign of political terror. Death toll is said […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: CONGO, Christmas in Coquilhatville 1963

On Christmas Eve day I borrowed a truck from the DCCM Mission, hired four Africans, drove to the Otraco warehouses on the docks and picked up the American Cultural Center’s office supplies. For two months they had been chugging up the Congo River from Léopoldville and I had been waiting for them. Now we got […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: Settling into Coq, 1963, Part Two

Fred Hunter’s first months in Coquilhatville were dicey. Gradually things got better. Then they got worse – for some. Something happened just before Christmas that tested the ex-colon merchants. The Léopoldville government devalued the Congolese franc. Suddenly soldiers and police appeared outside all the stores in town. Then they entered the stores and searched them […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: CONGO, Early Days in Coq, 1963

Fred Hunter arrived in Coquilhatville to set-up an American Cultural Center. While awaiting shipments of equipment, he wrote letters. Here are edited versions of several. Second day in Coq: Yesterday after arriving I took a look at the center. It boasts the dirtiest toilet bowl you ever saw. The floors were paint-spotted, the rooms stuffy […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: CONGO, Settling into Coq, Part One

Fred Hunter’s first months in Coquilhatville were dicey. But very gradually things got better. His account: Coquilhatville, capital of the remote Belgian colonial province of the Equateur, was a river port located where the great Congo River crossed the Equator. Named after a Belgian explorer-administrator, it was not an inconsiderable place by bush standards. Even […]

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TRAVELS IN AFRICA: CONGO, Equateur Province, 1963

Fred Hunter went alone to establish an American Cultural Center in the northwest Congo’s Equateur Province. Here’s how it was: Some say that entering the Equateur is like traveling back to the beginnings of time. Driving into it you see little: only the track before you, the rutted, orange-colored road rising and falling, descending to […]

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