Biographical, Historical, Fiction


THE HUFFMANS OF AFRICA FRIEDRICH’ STORY



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THE HUFFMANS OF AFRICA

FRIEDRICH’ STORY


The second oldest of the German family Huffman was Friedrich. Friedrich was five years older than Oskar. He had the same sense of adventure as Oskar but not the strong build of Oskar. Friedrich had been ill as a boy and, as a result, his health was not good. The German climate was not good as his lungs had suffered from the disease. At 26 years old he was still living on the farm in Lower Saxony and helping his Father and older brother run the farm. He wanted to be out on his own and not be dependent on his family for his support.

Friedrich loved to read and was fascinated with the world and all that the world had to offer. He read about India and China and Japan. He read about North and South America. He read about Australia and Russia and North Africa. He mostly loved to read about Africa. He was especially fascinated with Tanganyika which was also known as German East Africa. He loved to talk with people that had been in that area and learn all they could tell him about the area. He made a trip to Berlin to talk with the officials that knew the most about the area. He learned what would grow in that climate and what would be the problems in that part of Africa. He learned that there were two parts of that country. There was the German Sphere of Influence and the German Protectorate. The Sphere of Influence was quite large and diverse. Finally he was ready to get on with his life.

Friedrich sat with his Father and Brother and told him of all that he had learned and what he thought would be a workable plan. His Father and Brother worked with him and helped to refine the plan. They helped to determine what the start-up cost would be and arranged to have that amount of money available for Friedrich. At last Friedrich was ready to start his new life as a coffee plantation owner in Africa. Friedrich travelled to Hamburg to get a boat to Dar es Salaam. The ship was a three-mast schooner that carried a few passengers but mostly freight to the colony. The ship would go down the west coast of Africa, making a few stops to unload freight. Then they would traverse the Cape of Good Hope and go from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean. Friedrich was told that the trip would take about three months. This would put Friedrich in Tanganyika in March. This is the start of winter and the rainy season and would give Friedrich time to locate land and arrange for coffee tree cuttings before the start of the next growing season.

Friedrich debarked at Dar es Salaam and immediately sought out the German official that could help in his quest. He had the name of this official from a contact in Berlin and was advised that this official was expecting him. Friedrich met Herr Brauner at Government House. Herr Brauner was already familiar with what Friedrich wanted to do and had arranged some meetings to assist him. At this time the German government was doing all they could to populate the country with Germans to make the governing much easier. The official had three people for Friedrich to meet. One of the men was a coffee grower and advised that he would be able to supply Friedrich with all the coffee tree cuttings he would need. The second man was an official that could help Friedrich with determining which tribes would welcome him to their ancestral lands. The third man was a coffee buyer who would be in a position to assist Friedrich in marketing his products. Friedrich had determined that his poor lungs would not do well in the lower areas around Lake Victoria or Lake Tanganyika or Lake Nyasa. He had settled on land in the area of an extinct volcano called Kilimanjaro. When he told the official where he wanted to be, the official was able to arrange for an interpreter of the Ghagga language as that is the tribe that is in the area. He gave a letter to Friedrich to take to Arusha where he would meet the interpreter. There was regular coach service between Dar es Salaam and Arusha as they were the two largest towns in the country.

When Friedrich arrived in Arusha the interpreter was waiting for him. Friedrich was pleased to find that the interpreter was a very pleasant, intelligent black native of Africa. The man’s name was Mbonga and he was a member of the Ghagga tribe. He had made arrangements for Friedrich to meet with the chief and council of the tribe. They travelled to the tribal village for the meeting. Friedrich explained what he wanted from the tribe and what he was willing to give to the tribe. He was looking for about 150 acres of land on the elevated land leading to Kilimanjaro. He would plant coffee trees on the land and also leave some room for a house. Friedrich offered the tribe thirty cows and three bulls for the land. He also agreed that only members of the Ghagga tribe would work on the coffee plantation. They would be hired to plant the cuttings and when the coffee trees started fruiting, they would be hired to pick the beans. They agreed on how much the workers would be paid for their work. The tribal elders were happy with the terms and the meeting was concluded to everyone’s satisfaction.

Some of the natives helped Friedrich build a rondavel and wove the grasses to put on the roof. This would suffice until Friedrich could build a proper house. Friedrich spent the rest of the winter preparing the area for planting when the cuttings arrived. He employed six tribal natives to assist in this work. He also prepared a small area to plant a garden so he could have some of the foods that he enjoyed. Meat was no problem as there were large herds of antelope to be hunted.

At last, it was September and the cuttings arrived for planting. Friedrich and the six natives got right to work to get the cuttings planted. They were able to plant 2400 trees on the 120 acres designated for the coffee trees. Friedrich was satisfied with the work. The coffee grower that sold the cuttings to Friedrich also came to be certain that the cuttings were acceptable. All but 20 of the cuttings started well and within three weeks they had leaves and were nice and green. The 20 bad cuttings were removed and replaced and those cuttings did fine. It was now time to sit and wait as the trees would not set fruit for three years and that would be minimal. Full production would take a minimum of four years. Friedrich gave his six native workers instructions on how to care for the trees. He had learned some of the Ghagga language, enough to give instructions. Friedrich went into Arusha to arrange for the building of a house in the European style. He quickly located some people to accomplish the task and hired them. While they were building the house, Friedrich decided to make a trip to Dar es Salaam to conduct some other business.

He met with the coffee buyer to bring him up to date. Wilhelm Hemminger was delighted that he would have another plantation to work with. He had many contacts in Europe that were looking for fine, African coffee. Herr Hemminger invited Friedrich to have dinner at his home. He arranged for some other of the German business community to join them for dinner so Friedrich would have an opportunity to get to know them. The dinner was a great success. Friedrich was very pleased with being able to meet all of the various business men. He was even more pleased to meet Theresa Hemminger, Herr Hemminger’s daughter. Theresa was 24 years old. She had only recently returned to Africa as her parents wanted her to be educated in Germany. She arrived in Africa fully trained to be a teacher of the German children. Friedrich was enchanted with Theresa. Theresa was the prototypical Aryan woman. She was a bit plump, blond and buxom. She thought that Friedrich was very nice and was pleased with the attention that he was paying her. Wilhelm was pleased that there appeared to be a mutual attraction between the two. He wanted Theresa to marry a nice German man. He was especially pleased that the man wanted to remain in Africa as Wilhelm was committed to Africa and wanted to assure that Theresa would be in the area.

Friedrich needed to go back to the plantation to be sure that the house was being built to his satisfaction. He also needed to check the coffee trees and be certain that the native workers understood his instructions. He was very pleased that he had no cause for concern. The house was going up and should be completed within a month. The trees were doing very well. They were healthy and growing. The trees were now about one meter tall and growing well. His garden was doing well and some of the vegetables were ready to harvest.

Time moved on. It was now February and the coffee trees were about to go dormant. His house was completed and he was very comfortable. He had spent a lot of time learning the language of his workers and his hosts. He had become friends with the chief and the chief appeared to have respect for Friedrich. During all of the summer months Friedrich could not get Fraulein Hemminger out of his mind so he decided to make another trip to Dar es Salaam. He convinced himself that his trip was for business but in his heart he knew. He was lonely and Theresa was everything that he had hoped for in a wife. He decided that this trip would be to convince Theresa to be his wife. Since everyone wanted the same result, it was foreordained that a wedding would take place. The wedding was set for June and the entire German community was invited to the wedding. Friedrich and Theresa were both delighted and very happy.

The happy couple took a honeymoon to the Sultanate of Zanzibar. They played on the beach and got to know each other. After the honeymoon, Friedrich purchased a buggy and two horses for the trip to the plantation. The buggy would make the trip much more comfortable for Theresa and give them some more time together. They arrived at the house and Theresa was delighted. It was the house that she would have built if given the chance. Theresa was an excellent housekeeper and quickly had the house in pristine condition. The other thing that she learned on her arrival was that she would be a Mother. Two other children arrived in four years, two boys and one girl.

The coffee trees were now four years old and were setting an abundance of fruit. It looked to be an excellent crop. When the time was right, the entire Ghagga tribe turned out to pick and bag the crop. Herr Hemminger showed up to inspect the crop and was delighted with the results. He knew that he would be able get top money for this crop. The beans were rich and flavorful. He arranged for the beans to be shipped to a coffee roaster in Dar es Salaam. Wilhelm was delighted to spend the time with his daughter and grandchildren. He had even brought Frau Hemminger on the trip and she never travelled on business trips with him.

Friedrich looked upon all that he had accomplished since his arrival in Africa. He now had an excellent coffee plantation, a loving wife, and three boisterous and beautiful children.




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