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Collection 481 - Laura Isabelle "Belle" Barr. T2 Transcript

Click here to listen to an audio file of this interview (68 minutes).

This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Laura Isabelle “Belle” Barr (CN 481, T2) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms which are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers have not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead entered the standard English word the speaker was expressing.

Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.

  ...        Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.

  ....       Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.

 ( )       Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.

 [ ]        Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.

This transcript was made by Timothy Gulsvig and Paul Ericksen, and was completed in July 2007.


Collection 481, tape T2. Continuation of interview of Laura Isabelle “Belle” Barr by Paul Ericksen, January 20, 1993.

BARR: But you know it worked out for the best, much, much the best, see, because Seaton [McClure] took it over [pauses]...the...the leadership of it under the British and Foreign Bible Society. And the Fowlers and I were the best of friends. I made special effort to be friendly to them. You know, I understood how he felt really.

ERICKSEN: Now is it...was Fowler...?

BARR: And they tried...they tried...they tried to fight the...the new sounds, you see. They said, “This isn’t an implosive B, this isn’t an implosive D, and it doesn’t need to”...and all that. But it worked. And how many letters I had to write I don’t know. But anyway, we worked together and Seaton knew Greek...Greek and Hebrew, and I didn’t, see. So it really...it really worked out for far the best. I just thank the Lord, really.

ERICKSEN: Now what was...?

BARR: And we worked...we worked together so well the whole time, and.... But it was...it was hard...sort of hard at that time because I didn’t...I didn’t know how it going to work out, you see.

ERICKSEN: What was Seaton’s last name?

BARR: McClure.

ERICKSEN: Okay.

BARR: He’s in England now and she has Parkinsons [disease]. I must write to her. Seaton and Peggy and I...it worked out very nicely, because Seaton, Peggy, and I worked with the committee...with each...with a half of the committee and then another half. We met about seventy-five or eighty times between the years of ‘51 and ‘60 spending the whole week, from Monday to Saturday reading translations and correcting, and then I had the whole transla...the whole Bible to type from corrected manuscripts, the hard way. Not...not with a computer or anything or a word processor but....

ERICKSEN: Now you...?

BARR: Pasting little stamp papers on for corrections if it wasn’t too much, you know, and everything. It...it...so I did girls wo...I did girls work up until the time I left Congo, or Zaire. And...and then I did...when I got to...after a year together.... I told you we were five there in...in that house that was empty at Arua, in Miss Cole’s house, and we had a wonderful year together there. And then I went to Ringili, which was a few miles away near our medical station, and that’s where I was for the next eighteen years, ‘til ‘80, ‘til I left.

ERICKSEN: And did you do anything in addition?

BARR: Yes. Then I taught in the...it was...it...it wa...it had started as a [pauses] training school, a sort of carpentry place, you know. But the man had died, and they ch...turned into the...a church training there at Ringili. And I worked with John and Jo Dobson. He was a British...see they...they were Evangelical Anglicans there, at that time. That’s...our mission went in at the request of the CMS [Christian Missionary Society]. They weren’t able to man West Nile, and in 1918, missionaries for...of AIM went in, you see. And then they sent out Evangelical Anglicans from England, so I worked with them there at Ring...at Ringili, and I...I taught in the...in the church training center. And I did women’s work, went out with the women in the villages. And I went on with my tr...typing and translation and language work. And...and I taught a...a big Bible class of women on Sundays in Lugbara after church.

ERICKSEN: Now when you were doing the translation, how...was it a word-for-word kind of translation or...? What was sort of the translating philosophy you were using?

BARR: Well, one of the most important things is word order. Word order is everything, really, you know. And we found that the...the word order was often in the...in the other transla...in the former translation. And [pauses] it’s to get the meaning over to them.

ERICKSEN: Right.

BARR: Yeah. No, you can’t just take a word-for-word. I mean it doesn’t fit that way, you know...

ERICKSEN: Right, right.

BARR: ...with a language. You just have to take.... And, you know, we would come to very hard verses sometimes with our committee, and...and if they were real hard we would...we would each take a piece of paper and just think about it, and...and write down what we thought, and then we would discuss it together. And every time we would...you...we just knew when everybody was happy with it, you know, and...and knew what it...felt that they knew what it said and what it meant and everything.

ERICKSEN: So it sounds like it was kind of a consensus. You struggled with it...

BARR: Yes.

ERICKSEN: ...and when you all....

BARR: Well, some things you didn’t have to struggle with. I mean there’s some things are simple enough, but....

ERICKSEN: Sure. Now, what was the makeup of the committee?

BARR: Well, they were...they were pastors and teachers from both sides of the border, all leaders in...among the various...various divisions of the Lugbara tribe, you see. For the most part, Lugbara was pretty uniform really. There were...there are a couple of areas up in Uganda that were quite different, but most of them, at least those who were educated or all...had come out and they all knew the.... We had to...we couldn’t cater to them, actually. We...we took the regular Lugbara, which was over the greater area, you know. And....

ERICKSEN: Do you remember any...any parts of the Bible that were difficult to translate not because of the complexity of the ideas but because of, oh, let’s say Hebrew practices, or, were so different from....

BARR: Well, I...I remember that Hebrews was difficult.

ERICKSEN: The Book of Hebrews.

BARR: I felt the Book of Hebrews...I remember feeling that...that the Book of Hebrews was harder, say, than Revelation, because Revelation was animals with horns and things like that you could say easy enough, you know. But, I think we had more difficulty with Hebrews than...than.... Some things aren’t hard, and some are. [pauses] It’s hard to remember all of it really.

ERICKSEN: Do...do the Bibles have pictures in them like Bibles sometimes do in this country?

BARR: We have pictures in the back. We have pictures in the back. And we have...we have headings all the way through. We put headings all the way through. Which is a help, I think. I...I know myself, you can sort of picture a page. And the Bible Society had approved endings, you see, so I had put them in. And Seaton took charge of the cross references in the middle. We had a band of cross...of references down the middle. They have so little to help them, these...these African pastors, and yet I’ve heard some of the most wonderful sermons from African pastors of anywhere really. But they have so little to help.... We felt that with the cross references and the headings, it would really be a help, and I think it has been. It’s a....

ERICKSEN: The....

BARR: The Bible sold like anything, and I think it still is. I’m...I’m going to write and see how...what the progress of...of it is, but at one time they said it was the best-selling tribe language bible in Uganda.

ERICKSEN: Now, you...you just said that some of the African sermons were the best you’d ever heard. Tell me what a sermon....

BARR: Oh, I can’t. Oh, I don’t...I can’t remember, but I just....

ERICKSEN: I’m not thinking of topic, but what...how long was it and, you know, what was the structure of a sermon like?

BARR: Oh dear, I don’t think I can remember to say that, but it’s just....

ERICKSEN: Were the sermons...?

BARR: The inspiration, it...it...you just know that...that they’re led of the Holy Spirit, you know. And its wonderful how they can preach the truth with so little to help them.

ERICKSEN: Who were some of the...?

BARR: My...the man I chose to help me with it over in...in...before I left the...the Zaire...Congo...Matayo O’dama [indigenous leader], I chose him to...to be my language helper. And he...he became the pastor. He still...he’s pastor emeritus I guess now there. His wife has died. He has stood well. But you know we had a.... You know, in nineteen.... Maybe you don’t remember or know that in 1954 we had a terrific rebellion there, and everybody left us, everybody. That was in my second term, see. And it was all over some...I...I don’t know whether the mission really mismanaged that a little or not, but it was over what they called a con...convention [agreement]. It was a statement, a little paper that...that said that they knew they were working for less than the government would require to be paid, but they were willingly working for the mission for that. And it got to be such a thing that they were just...everybody was afraid to.... They thought if they signed that paper, they would never be able to buy or sell, you see. And everybody left us, even the pastors. And we were left, the [Austin] Pauls and I. David left and Zola left. And Pauls and I were left there. They s...a lot of the people on the field wanted to close the station, but they didn’t, fortunately. We wanted to stay. And we had no help whatsoever. Even...even the milk kids that brought milk to us were threatened. And [pauses] that lasted for...was it fall to spring? something like that. Then the Brills came...the Brills came at that time too, Roy and Katie Brill and the Pauls and I. And [pauses] nobody.... We had no one to help in the ki...in the houses. We had no one to help waterl...carry water. I can remember going to the spring with...with Betty Paul and carrying water up in tea kettles and pots and things and...and people laughing at us on the side as we.... And we went down and washed down there. We went down and got on our knees and washed there, I mean.

ERICKSEN: Now....

BARR: So we stuck through it, and after the certain amount of months had passed, they began coming back one by one. And it was wonderful. And every night, we would meet with those that came back. And it was just thrilling to.... They felt they were coming back to the Lord, you know. That it was...it was a deceit of the devil and everything, and the church has been stronger ever since. We were so glad we didn’t leave. And it’s still.... There’s...there’s no missionaries there, but...but the...it’s going on. And Aru has stood all these years. Matayo has stood. He was one of the first to come back. He and Gamalia were the first two to come back. And then one by one they came with weeping and confession and...and every night we met and prayed. And I can remember going down and praying in the church all alone that my girls would come back. [cries] A lot of them went to the devil. They marked their faces with marks, special marks at that time.

ERICKSEN: Now....

BARR: And some of...many of them came back, but some never did.

ERICKSEN: What were the marks a sign of?

BARR: Oh, just of the rebellion, I guess, you know, just that time. And we never knew when...when our thatched-roof houses.... We were in mud...I was in a mud house with a thatched roof, you know. We never knew when it would go. [voice trembles] And I remember trying to...I thought, “I’ll have a chicken.” I had a...a rooster that was called “Atsikuro” [sp?], “walk all around” and I thought I would eat the chicken. [voice trembles] And I got everything ready and I couldn’t at all...couldn’t do it. I couldn’t kill it. And so that was before it. And there was still a little milk kid that came at that time. I think that afterward he didn’t come anymore, and...and he...he killed the chicken for me. I thought, I might as well leave. Those were really difficult days, but...but it was wonderful how it turned out. And the church was stronger from then on. And it really showed who was really...who was true and who wasn’t, you know.

ERICKSEN: Now what kind of leader was Matayo?

BARR: Well, he’s a typical African leader, you know, really he is. They...they...they do sort of.... He was a very sincere and...and very true, and he could preach very well. But they do get into the...[pauses] they’re up above the others. You know what I mean, the leaders? And they expect...[pauses] they expect service, sort of, and help. And they expect too much sometimes, I think. You know, a lot of our...a lot of our pastors are...they call it the pastor’s disease, diabetes, be...because they stop working in the garden. You see, they don’t get exercise. And a lot of them seem to...to get this disease. It’s...it’s...it got to be called a pastor’s disease over there, really.

ERICKSEN: Interesting.

BARR: But...because then they have children to do their work, you know. And they...and they ha...the people all take care of the pastor and all, and they, so....

ERICKSEN: Now, while we’re talking about...about, I mean, this little situation...

BARR: In ‘54?

ERICKSEN: ...in ‘54, do you remember hearing about the situation in Guthumu in Kenya, where there was a...?

BARR: Yeah. There was difficulty there, of course.

ERICKSEN: Do you remember anything about that?

BARR: Oh, now I remember the Mau Mau [Uprising by Kenyan rebels against the British colonial government, 1952-1960], of course. The Mau Mau were right about that time too. And my sister was among the Mau Mau. And I used to just go down. I thought, “If she lives among them, I’m going anyway,” you know, “to see her.” And drive in, and I can remember driving in the forest there, where...where you can be shot in the forest, actually. And then I...I came to...I was all alone, and I came to a group of Africans and just prayed, “Lord.” Didn’t know who they were. Got through alright, and I found that they were our team from Kijabe out fixing the road or something at that time. But...but Lila [Barr Propst, Barr’s sister] lived among the Mau Mau and Jim [Propst, husband] was away a lot. And she had her little family, seven kids, you know. And [pauses] at first, they were just supposed to go out and shoot if anything happened. But how would you know where it came from, you know, in a big station like that? Have you ever been out there? You know, Kijabe’s one of the mission stations [laughs] there is. And so after...I said to Jim one time before I left, “What is Lila supposed to do?” They had a gun in the house and everything, but [pauses] if something happens.... So after that, they...they...he rigged up car horns in all the houses and everybody had a certain number of blasts, so they...if anything happened at one place (this isn’t Githumu, but this is Kenya; and it was at Githumu, too)...they would know immediately where it was by the...by the number of blasts, you see. They had a system. And so they could...they could ring these...these horns, and everybody would know instead of just going out and shooting in the air, you know, or something. And the Lord kept them safe, but they were.... You know, you’ve heard stories about the...the Mau...how they...the Mau Mau were going to attack Kijabe, and how they...it seemed that there were.... I don’t know the story well enough, but that they were...they were hindered. They thought there was a...a lot of [pauses] soldiers there or something, you know. There were soldiers living at Kijabe to try to guard the place, but it seemed the Lord protected Kijabe really, even when it was planned. And I think one time that...that someone had leaked it. Someone whose parents maybe were Christians had leaked it to somebody, and...and it got to be known that they...they knew about it. So they...they never did really do...attack Kijabe and kill people there, but terrible things happened everywhere else, you know. It was...it was really a...that was just about the same time as our rebellion, really, I think, in the ‘50s anyway it was.

ERICKSEN: Yeah, now the incident I’m thinking of in...

BARR: Githumu

ERICKSEN: ...Githumu was in the late ‘40s.

BARR: Now who...what...I can’t think....

ERICKSEN: ‘47. Let me just stop the recorder a minute and I’ll show you something and then we can come back.

[recording stopped and restarted]

ERICKSEN: Well, we were just looking at some of the documents related to Githumu, and it sounds like you’re not...

BARR: No, I’m not too...

ERICKSEN: ...you hadn’t heard.

BARR: ...informed on that, but I know that something...that things happened there. She would know all about it, of course.

ERICKSEN: Yeah, now you were saying that Charles Propst was...

BARR: Yes.

ERICKSEN: ...part of that situation, and we did find his name.

BARR: And he’s my brother-in-law’s brother, you see.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: They were missionary kids. He would...he grew up in Africa, of course, too.

ERICKSEN: Did...in the situations you were in, did you ever get letters like this [showed letter from Githumu residents discontented with mission efforts; letter taken from Collection 81, box 12, folder 38] from the Africans. I mean, was this kind of what it was like for you in ‘54 or when the charges were brought against you in ‘60?

BARR: Well, I...of course, they...they put me out of the...they moved me over to the other country...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...so that I was safe over there really, but...but I used to go over anyway. I didn’t stay on the other side. I went over by day and went to market and took [pauses]...took Scripture portions and things to sell.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

BARR: And I used to go over and just pray the Lord would keep me safe, and then I’d come back. That was when...during the year we were living together there at Lugbara even. And....

ERICKSEN: Now you were...you were saying that all of this...and maybe it was more than this or whatever...was very difficult for Reverend Propst.

BARR: For Charles Propst?

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: Well, yes. Anyway he sort of went to pieces. You see, he was just about ready to go back. He...they’d been out at John Brown University [in Siloam Springs, Arkansas] for the furlough. And they drove east all the way to Berachah Church. And [pauses] he killed himself. He hung himself one night. It was a terrible thing. But there’d been signs, I think, that he was getting that way, sort of, and....

ERICKSEN: Now what year did...?

BARR: But Henrietta didn’t.... Hmm?

ERICKSEN: What year did that happen in?

BARR: It was my first furlough. Forty-.... I was home from ‘49 to early ‘51, so it was either ‘40...it was maybe ‘50, something like that.

ERICKSEN: [pauses] Going back to the Congo, you were there in the country, I guess, at the end of the Belgian’s administr...period of administration...

BARR: Yes.

ERICKSEN: ...over the country.

BARR: Oh, yes.

ERICKSEN: What...

BARR: Oh.

ERICKSEN: What did you see of their oversight of the country?

BARR: Well, of course, it...I can remember so well when they were all pouring out. That it was just after independence, you see. I guess just after, I guess. They were all pouring out of the country.

ERICKSEN: Were they good [pauses]...were they doing a good job, or how would you evaluate their...their oversight of the colony?

BARR: Well, I didn’t know too much about that, really, but they.... [pauses] I don’t really know what to say, really, to tell you the truth.

ERICKSEN: Did the...

BARR: They....

ERICKSEN: ...Did the Congolese have a good case for wanting independence?

BARR: Well, I don’t know whether I’m qualified to really judge on those things, really, but....

ERICKSEN: Well, how did you feel?

BARR: [pauses] Well, I...I...you know, you just sort of felt it was inevitable, I guess, really. You know. It was.... [pauses] It’s hard to know what to say.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh. We were talking before about your translating, and you talked about how difficult it was to translate Hebrews [book of the New Testament in the Bible]. What...what was the most satisfying book to work on?

BARR: Oh my, haven’t I had it.... Well, I was just...I was just say...thinking...you know, comparing Hebrews and Revelation [New Testament books], even. Revelation were things that were more easily translated than Hebrews somehow. You know, the various things in Revelation that were things that you could say in Lugbara better. We used to...when we came to something hard, you know, we would just each one take a paper. I can remember in a committee when we were reading over the translations, and we’d just think and think and think, and each one of the...and then we would hash it over together, and then we would come to some definite conclusion on...on how to say it, a difficult thing. So, the committee could always come to some agreement, it seemed like.

ERICKSEN: And how many Africans did you say were on the committee?

BARR: We had about...about five or six on each half, I think, or something like that. And they were from both Uganda and from...from Congo.

ERICKSEN: Did you...were you involved at all in translation of music, hymns, that sort of thing?

BARR: Yeah, I...I translated quite a few.

ERICKSEN: And were those...?

BARR: Choruses and hymns.

ERICKSEN: Were those Western...

BARR: Yes.

ERICKSEN: ...hymns?

BARR: Yes. They were...our...we...that...ours were really.

ERICKSEN: Were the Africans writing their own music at all, hymns?

BARR: No, not so much then. Not cer...not in Congo anyway, I don’t think, but....

ERICKSEN: Did you have any women on the translation committee?

BARR: No, no. They were men. They were church leaders and teachers and things like that from various branches of the tribe.

ERICKSEN: What kind of role did women have in the church?

BARR: Well, I didn’t...it was...as far as the management of the church was concerned, it was all in the hands of men really, I would say. I had a women’s....

[recording stopped and restarted]

Yeah, the women’s work, and.... [pauses] Then the [pauses]...what was it called? The women’s work grew at about...from that time on. “Women of the Good News,” I think it was called. Am I right in that? I’ll see.

ERICKSEN: Yeah. Several...several other people have mentioned that name in other interviews.

BARR: My memory’s poor. My...my memory’s poor, you know, really, and....

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: And it’s gone on and on. Actually, when I used to come back into Congo.... I used to make a lot of visits back into Congo from...from Uganda. We’d meet with them and all, and that work has really grown, the women’s work, and been well organized, you know.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: [pauses] They’re still going as strong I’m...I’m sure. I think they are.

ERICKSEN: What would you say are the high points and the low points of your work while you were in the Congo?

BARR: The coming back after the rebellion was a wonderful time. Every...

ERICKSEN: After the Simba Rebellion?

BARR: No, after our rebellion...[probably referring to the Kabaka Crisis of 1953]

ERICKSEN: Yes.

BARR: ...in ‘54.

ERICKSEN: ‘54.

BARR: That was a wonderful time. Night by night we would meet with...one by one they would come back, you see, and...and we would meet with them late in the afternoon. And anyone ca...that was coming back would come, and it was a wonderful time to see the Lord working in bringing.... A...actually the church was stronger after that than it was before. Once they came back two-by-two, three-by-three, one-by-one, they came to us in the evening. We had a certain meeting every evening, every late afternoon, you know, to give hear testimonies and to pray and to.... And the church really was stronger after that, I think, and has stood all.... There were...there was a lot of feeling on the field at that time to close Aru altogether, and we just didn’t want it to be closed.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh, yeah, you mentioned that.

BARR: The Pauls and I just wanted to stick there.

ERICKSEN: Now, you’d...you’d mentioned the Pauls before. Tell me about them.

BARR: Austin Paul and Betty.

ERICKSEN: Tell me, what were they like?

BARR: Well, they were...they were a wonderful...they did a wonderful work, really. Betty was very patient and kind, and Austin was a bit difficult. But he was greatly used of the Lord, you know.

ERICKSEN: Difficult in terms of stubborn or...?

BARR: Well, sort of dictatorial and...with her anyway. We all knew that. But they did a wonderful work really, and we were glad they were there at the time of...of our need there really. Then the...then Kitty and Roy Brill came too, you know, just at.... They came at the difficult time, in the mids...really almost in the midst of it.

ERICKSEN: Now what...?

BARR: So that...and...and the other...the other mission stations used to send us things when we were...when we were deserted, you see.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh, uh-huh. They used to come in, and I can remember the...a big truck coming in from Adi with Africans on it from Adi, and...and the missionaries, and...and they came to cut our grass, and the things that weren’t being done around our station, you know, at that time. We had support from others on other stations at that time.

ERICKSEN: What...?

BARR: It’s a hard thing to understand. We don’t...we...I don’t full understand what happened at the time of that rebellion in...in Aru.

ERICKSEN: Were there changes that you, as missionaries, made as the result of the complaints and the things that had led the people to reject you for a time?

BARR: Well, I...I wondered whether, you know, whether.... The thing they...the convention [agreement] that they had to sign said that “We will work for less money,” see. Whether it was a wise thing, I...I wondered whether that thing was wise, really, the way it was worded. And...and...someone... something or someone got a hold of that and just made such a big thing of it, you see, that they...they felt that they wouldn’t be able to buy or sell if they signed that thing. It was...it was a great deceit, sort of. And all the sources of that, we just...I just don’t know whether...where it came from...where.... But it was such a deep thing that people were scared to death that they wouldn’t be able to buy or sell or do anything....

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...if they signed that thing, you know. It wasn’t a...a wise sort of a way of doing it, I guess. It was...they were really just getting people to sign for less money than the government standard, you see, or something.

ERICKSEN: Now, who would...who...do you know who...?

BARR: The mission [AIM].

ERICKSEN: The missionary initiated it. Huh.

BARR: The...the mission.

ERICKSEN: Now of the three of you, of Mr. and Mrs. Paul and yourself, who had the hardest time with that situation. Do you recall?

BARR: Well, I think we were [laughs] all...all sort of equal. Betty Paul and I went down to the spring and we....

ERICKSEN: You...you said you washed...washed clothes.

BARR: Washed.... [laughs] We’d get down and wash clothes in a bucket down there, and...and we’d carry stuff back, and people would jeer at us along the edge sometimes. Now, all the people weren’t that, but it was a time of great fear for the Africans. They really were scared to death.

ERICKSEN: What...?

BARR: Even...even the little milk kids were...you see, that brought us milk...were scared off and...and deserted us and it was...it was really a tough time.

ERICKSEN: Going back to the Pauls. What would...what do you think the Africans would say they remember about the Pauls?

BARR: Well, they...they loved...they...they would just remember the wonderful work that they did really, you know.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: And of course, he was...he was active all around in other parts too, you know. But he had his...he...he had his difficulties you know, I mean.

ERICKSEN: Did you have a hard time getting along with him?

BARR: No, I didn’t really.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: I didn’t have a...a hard time.

ERICKSEN: Okay. [pauses] Um....

BARR: I think I got along with them well, and I got along well with the Brills. I think I got along well with all [pauses] the people that I worked with really.

ERICKSEN: Is there much from your...I mean, from the situations that you’ve been in, are there a lot of situations where missionaries don’t get along with each other?

BARR: Oh, there are some, yes.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh. Can you think of any, without naming names, that might shed some light for those of us outside the circle?

BARR: Oh, oh dear. That’s hard. [pauses] I don’t know, I.....

ERICKSEN: Are there any particular issues that missionaries tend not to get along over, maybe family issues, or assignments...?

BARR: [pauses] It’s hard for me to think...think of it.

ERICKSEN: Okay. Well, maybe we’ll...if...if in the course of our talking, if something comes to mind, just jump in, and...

BARR: Yeah.

ERICKSEN: ...okay. [pauses] How...how ready was the Congolese church to be independent?

BARR: Well, they wanted to be independent, of course. They...I think our...our church was [pauses]...our church leaders were pretty good I think, really.

ERICKSEN: How much authority did they have in advance of independence.

BARR: [unclear, pauses] Of course, we had our...our...the field council. They began to put on Africans on the field council. I can’t remember what year they started doing that really. But first, it was just white people on the field council.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: But when did they start? I...I just don’t remember. Putting Africans on the field council. Some of our Africans were real leaders for the Lord, really.

ERICKSEN: Can you think of any of them that stand out?

BARR: Yoane Akudri of Adi [?] and Mamatayo really in Aru really stood out, you know, in the time. And of course, I didn’t know...I didn’t know the leaders from other parts of the country that well, really.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: Yoane Akudri at Adi, I’d say, and Noah Yii at Aja. These...these were the ones I knew, you know, that were nearby. And then Matayo O’Dama.

ERICKSEN: What were these...what were those fellows...what were there strengths?

BARR: Well, their ability to...to...to preach the Word...

ERICKSEN: Yeah.

BARR: ...and their [pauses]... the fact that they...that they could be led of the Lord, really, it.... Noah had a wonderful ministry, I think, through the years there at Aja.

ERICKSEN: Do you remember...?

BARR: Winning souls.

ERICKSEN: Hmm.

BARR: The churches...really, I’ve heard some of the best sermons, you know, anywhere, from the Africans, really. And their...Yoane Akudri, of course, was greatly used here in the [United] States, too. And he came back a few times, he and...I think it was in the U.S. and Canada. And he was the leader at Adi. He was a...Richardson’s pot boy, I think, first, you know, washing pots, or something, [unclear]....

ERICKSEN: How many...what other church groups were working in...in the Congo in the area you were in.

BARR: Con...Congo was divided up so that we were the only one...Protestants. The Catholics were everywhere, and each Protestant mission had its own area.

ERICKSEN: What kind of contacts did you have with the Catholics?

BARR: Not very good in those early days. We felt that the Catholics might have some [laughs] part in our rebellion in the ‘50s, but we don’t know. But later, our relationship with Catholics seemed much better, you know, after things begin to.... What was it? Vatican II or something. What was it? you know. [laughs]

ERICKSEN: Yes, right.

BARR: Towards the end of my time out there, like in Uganda, we had better relations with them...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...of course. But what part they might have had in our...we don’t know whether they had any part in the rebellion or not.

ERICKSEN: Now when you were in Uganda, you obviously were cooperating with the Anglican Church.

BARR: Yes, yes, yes, we were. Well, they had Evangelical...they sent out...you see, they were asked to take over West Nile District by the CMS [Church Missionary Society], and AIM did it in 1918, I think it was. So they sent out Evangelical Anglicans from England for...to do that. And...of course, now there are a lot of other missions in Uganda, too...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...but at that time, it was pretty much all under the Anglicans, I think.

ERICKSEN: And then your folks.

BARR: In the early days. Uh-huh.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: And then they weren’t able to man West Nile, so it’s just the little area west of the Nile that they...

ERICKSEN: Huh.

BARR: ...they asked AIM to man it.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh. Now was there any resistance to cooperating with the Anglicans?

BARR: I don’t think so. Not in our...not in our area because they were Evangelical Anglicans [claps hands] there, you see, not...of course, they’re Anglicans, but they’re.... And they were from all over working there. They weren’t all Anglicans working there. That we had Australians, and [pauses] we had Baptists, and we had...you know, that the missionary body was made up of di...from different countries there in West Nile, really, but it was under the Anglicans, of course.

ERICKSEN: Now, being...being in Uganda, did you find that the...the Lugbara were at a different level, either educationally, or socially, economically?

BARR: Well, the ordinary Lugbaras were pretty much the same I think, really.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: They [pauses]...they were perhaps...it was perhaps the educational system was a little bit higher there at the...you know, and when it was in full swing. But things went to pieces so at the time [laughs] through the decades you know, but [pauses]...

ERICKSEN: [pauses] Um.

BARR: [pauses] ...for the first decade until, you know, after independence, things went on pretty normally, but then [General Idi] Amin came in ‘71, you see. [Amin took power from Milton Obote in a military coup, compiling a record of human rights abuses, political repression and ethnic persecution that led to his downfall in 1979.]

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: He...he grabbed it over while the head of government was at the Commonwealth Conference, [Milton] Obote. So ‘71 to ‘79 were all Amin’s time, and we were able to stay only because we were under the Church of Uganda. All other Protestant missions down-country.... By that time they were Baptists and Salvation Army, and various other missions were in down there.

ERICKSEN: Now what...?

BARR: But they all had to get out. We...we just were there. We were only able to stay because we were under the umbrella of the Church of Uganda.

ERICKSEN: Now what was the working relationship betwe...for you...for you in relation to the Church of Uganda. Did you report to them?

BARR: Yes, we were under the Church of Uganda, there, of course, yeah.

ERICKSEN: And who decided what you would work on? Was that their decision or...?

BARR: No...let me [?]... no...you mean my language work and all? Well, it...they...it was under wi...it was their...with their approval, of course.

ERICKSEN: I see.

BARR: Seaton...Seaton wasn’t an Anglican, you see, and he headed the work.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: It was a good thing really that he was there because...and....

ERICKSEN: Now I think....

BARR: And we were under the [British and Foreign] Bible Society, of course. We were aided by the Bible Society.

ERICKSEN: Okay.

BARR: They helped pay for our meetings when we got together. We went...we met every couple of months, really, through the years from ‘51 to ‘60, you see. Various places, out on the grass and on mission stations and on both sides of the border we met to check translations and to read over our translations and...and correct them. And then after...afterwards, starting in about ‘56, before we finished the work...we finished the work in about ‘60, just after independence. I had the whole Bible to type from the corrected manuscripts. That was a big job. Then it sold, so when it came in ‘67, we...we proofread the Bible for...for about a year...for over a year, I think from ‘64...’64 in...into ‘65 or so, and then in ‘67 the Bible came. It was a wonderful time. There was such anticipation built for...for it among the people, you know. And with.... Our language meetings...whenever we had language meetings we invited local people...they...local people could come in and sit if they wanted, you know, and there was great interest everywhere we went. We...we met in...out in the grass and in missions stations and various places.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: And the people were all in...so anticipating it, and then...it was a wonderful time, really.

ERICKSEN: Now, I think...did I recall your saying in the...the tapes where you recount all of the events surrounding the very end of...

BARR: Uh-huh.

ERICKSEN: ...your time in Uganda, that...that Idi Amin was from....

BARR: From our part. Actually, he came from...from a part of...from the Adi area of Zaire as a little boy I believe.

ERICKSEN: Huh.

BARR: It really....

ERICKSEN: What tribal group was he from?

BARR: Kakwa, yeah. I don’t know what age he was when he...when they were over in Uganda, but he was originally, I think, from the Adi area.

ERICKSEN: And what...how did the people in the area you were in feel about him when he took power and while he was ruling?

BARR: Well, it’s...it’s hard to say how everybody felt, of course. He...he took it over. He did a coup, you know, and did...took it over. And at the...his home was really outsi...out of Aru...Arua there, so it was quite near, you know. Well, you just had to accept it, you know. We just wondered.... We weren’t quite as bad off maybe because it was his area, though terrible things happened, mind you. It isn’t that they...they didn’t, but.... Of course, there was a...there was a great deal of animosity towards our area by Africans from other areas because of him, and that’s why they were so fierce when they came in on us, you see, partly. Though terrible things happened at our place, too, and...and at our people. You know, our...some of our Africans that were in the army were killed and so forth, and....

ERICKSEN: What do you remember about the time when Amin overthrew the government of Obote?

BARR: Well, I was home here on furlough, and I...I just wondered, “What will this mean to us?” you know. I was home. It was in ‘71, you see, and I hadn’t gone back yet. And I thought, “What will this mean to us?”

ERICKSEN: What kind of reports did you get from your fellow workers?

BARR: Well, it was very close to the time that I went out you see, and...

ERICKSEN: Oh, okay.

BARR: ...didn’t...there wasn’t much. And you didn’t write much about those things anyway when...

ERICKSEN: [laughs] Yeah.

BARR: ...even...even later. You know, I mean, you just didn’t.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh. What did you find when you went back? Any cha...what kind of impact did the change of government have on you?

BARR: Well, not...not too much. We were able to carry on our work because we were...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...there in his [Idi Amin’s] area, you see, and.... Perhaps we had it a little easier because of that, but....and because we were under the umbrella of the Church of Uganda. He recognized the Church of Uganda, and the Moslems, and the Catholics, and maybe the Greek (I’m not sure of that)...the Greek Orthodox maybe down country or something. I’m not sure about that. But anyway, those three he recognized. You see, we were under the umbrella of the Church of Uganda, so.... Didn’t make too much work...difference in our work there, at first. But, of course, we had to watch the radio and listen to the news and...and keep track of what was happening, because we never knew when he might turn against us or anybody, you know. You never knew. So we used to listen.

ERICKSEN: Was there a time when you began to think, “This guy’s no good for the country”?

BARR: Yeah, but...but we just didn’t know what would happen when he went. We thought it might even be worse afterwards, you know. That was it. And actually when did he go, it just was as bad or worse.

ERICKSEN: Huh.

BARR: And that was when terrible things happened too.

ERICKSEN: Now when...when did you start thinking that? Do you recall?

BARR: Oh, I think, pretty much all the way through, you know, because things were happening, people were disappearing, and leaders...heads of army were disappearing, and so forth.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: And some of our people were...our Lugbaras were disappearing, and [pauses, Ericksen writes on pad in background] our govern...governor of our province or something was missing and found dead under a bush, and what not, you know. Things were happening all the time. You just never knew. [clears throat, pauses] So we knew that it couldn’t go on forever. We knew that.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: But we sort of dreaded the change, not knowing whether it would be worse, you see, if you can understand that. [laughs]

ERICKSEN: Yeah. [pauses] Now there was a...a Ugandan man who became known to the rest of the world, I don’t know exactly at what point: Festo...Bishop Festo Kivengere.

BARR: Kivengere.

ERICKSEN: How much did you know of him?

BARR: Well, we just knew about him. He was the leader of the re...of the East African Revival, of course.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: And...which did a wonderful work in, I’m sure...in...in many places. But by the time it got up to our place, we had our difficulties with...with the revival, and we have record of...of the action of the mission...

ERICKSEN: Huh.

BARR: ...in making a statement about that revival, and where...the way we faced it up there.

ERICKSEN: Huh. Can you talk about that?

BARR: Well, I could show you the paper. It’s [pauses]...they...they got off on...on confession to such a degree that it was difficult, really.

ERICKSEN: Huh.

BARR: That the poor people thought they were saved by confession, really.

ERICKSEN: Huh.

BARR: [unclear]...

ERICKSEN: And the mission...?

BARR: ...that every time they did something wrong came to the group and confessed that they were saved again, you know, and things like that. And the mission had to take a stand on it. I could show you the papers, but I couldn’t really quote them.

ERICKSEN: Okay.

BARR: It [Ericksen writes on pad in background]...I’m sure the Lord used it, especially in other places where they needed the gospel more than.... We...we had the gospel more, perhaps, being more orthodox, or whatever you’d call us.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: In West Nile it was known to be more that way. And many, many were saved in other places. But it seemed when they had conferences up there that there was a...a shallowness in a way, you know. I mean, they got to confession and got to renewal and all that, but it didn’t last.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh. [writes on pad]

BARR: It didn’t seem like it went any further, really, with them, when they were very...very much harking on the past, on past sins and things, and...and letting it just dominate them, you know.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: But I’m sure the Lord used it in a great way in other places. And...and even in our place, people were saved through it, but [pauses, Ericksen writes on pad] the mission couldn’t give a hundred percent support to it. I mean, and...and the difficulty was that we had some missionaries that were in it, of course.

ERICKSEN: From....

BARR: And I’m sure....

ERICKSEN: ...AIM?

BARR: Yeah, there were some in AIM.

ERICKSEN: Now, how did they feel when the mission took the stand against the...?

BARR: Well, they didn’t like that of course. I mean, there were only one or two...two or three, yes. But Margaret Lloyd is still in it really. She’s still in it in England, I mean. [pauses]

ERICKSEN: Uh.

BARR: But you could...I could give you that pa...that paper to read if you want, that you could just see what they...that what the field council statement they made.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh. Okay. How did you feel when Idi Amin fled in ‘79?

BARR: Well, we were...we were faced with difficulty then, because he was being.... You see, the Ugandan ar...the Tanzanian army had come in to chase him. It’s the only time it’s ever happened that one country chased out the leader of another, I think, but.... They had come in, you see, because he had claimed to...some of their territory down there in Tanzania, and...and Obote couldn’t take...[Julius] Nyerere [president of Tanzania] couldn’t take it any longer. So they chased him and we thought, you know, from hearing words about our army that it’d be too bad for them, probably, but, you know, they just chased the Uganda army. They were used to riding around in vehicles but not [laughs] doing much else, I guess. I don’t know. Anyway, they just swept up from the south and came all the way up, and we didn’t know what was coming, you see, and chased him [Idi Amin]. And he took off from the middle somewhere. I can’t think where he took off from, somewhere in the middle of Uganda, I think, before the army got...the Tanzanians got to him.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: And [pauses] we didn’t know what was going to happen to us, of course. At that time, I had to leave my station. Seaton made me...sent out a...came out...he came out with s...with Amin’s soldiers, as he...Amin was still in charge there in...to Ringili, and I...I had to go into Arua near them, leave my home at Ringili. They wouldn’t let me stay there alone. And I didn’t want to go but I went. And I was there for a week or so through great uncertainties, and then...then I had to go over into Zaire, and wait over there while the military sweep came up to our place, not knowing what, of course, would happen to our home or anything else. I had to leave everything and go.

ERICKSEN: It’s kind of ironic. You keep having to leave countries...

BARR: Yeah, yeah.

ERICKSEN: ...and you go back to the country you were in before.

BARR: I left my home and went to Arua, and then Seaton and Peggy didn’t want to come yet, but they wanted me to go...get out, you know. And so the Amin soldiers accompanied me to the border, and my car wouldn’t work. Oh dear, what a time. It...it...it couldn’t...wouldn’t start. The battery was bad and everything, and they had to stop...we had to stop, and...and they had to scrape my...the poles on my battery and what not. And...and I...we were accompanied by soldier...soldiers with guns, you see. The gun...the soldier signed to me with his gun in the front seat, and so we got started, and once they got the ba...the battery going, I knew there was another car that he could come in. So I lit...once he got me going there in the middle there between Arua and Ar...Arua and Aru, I thought, “Boy, I’ve got to g...I’ve got to keep going. If I stop, I won’t be able to go.” And then it dawned on me I had this gun on the seat beside me, [laughs] and...and left the soldier. [laughs] And so it was only a few miles to Vurra, and I knew he would come with them, see. So they were mad when they came up, that I’d gone off.

ERICKSEN: Huh.

BARR: I had his gun, and they had my screwdriver they were scraping things with, scraping the poles with, you see.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: So they were...they came up with black looks at me at...at Vurra at the...at the exit place where you go out...at the barrier, you see, and.... So I...they said...they were mad because I had gone without him, you see. And...and...and here was the gun, and so I took...gave him the gun, and I said, “Where’s my screwdriver?” And they laughed, you know. [laughs] And we had a joke over it. So they gave me my screwdriver, and I gave them their gun, and I just explained, you know, that I...I wan...once I got started, I wanted to keep going because I was afraid it wouldn’t start again. [laughs]

ERICKSEN: Yeah, and they accepted that, it sounds like.

BARR: Well, they sort of smiled then. [laughs] He got his gun back alright, and I got my screwdriver.

ERICKSEN: Now what was the date on that?

BARR: That was...oh dear, I can’t remember the date.

ERICKSEN: ‘79? We don’t need an exact....

BARR: That was...it was seventy...yeah...seventy...no...but yeah...it...he was chased out in ‘79.

ERICKSEN: Okay.

BARR: Uh-huh. ‘71 to ‘78...I think it was ‘78. Uh-huh.

ERICKSEN: Okay. And you....

BARR: So, I went over to Adi. I went over all the way to Adi. That’s fifty miles from Aru, about fifty miles in...fifty-four miles in from the border, sort-of.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: But [pauses] with it...by the time I got...before I got to A...through the barrier, we came to the entrance to Aru...to...almost to Aru. And there were soldiers there on the side. And I didn’t know it. And I went by them. They didn’t have a barrier across the road. And I got a little beyond them, and the...by tha...I had Mary with me...a...a...an African girl in the car with me, and...and they...they poi...she pointed out that they...the soldiers were back there, so I stopped. I was afraid to stop, for I wouldn’t be able to start again, you know, with the battery. [Ericksen laughs] And they came out as mad as hops at me because they were...they were right by the side of the road, but they had no barrier across, and I hadn’t seen them. So I was really in a fix. And I couldn’t...it wouldn’t start to go back. So A...friendly Africans from the village there on the side of the road came out and pushed me back to them. And then they went through everything, and they began to get fresh with Mary and all, and it was really a terrible time. I was scared really, and.... I hadn’t seen them. They hadn’t had a...a string. Sometimes, they put just a string across the road or something.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: Well, anyway, so we got through that, and got on to the barrier and got in. We met...they pushed me to a start. This Peugot would go if it was pushed, you know.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: And you put it in second or something and it would start it. And we got up to...to get into Congo, and then they...the officials came out to examine everything and look at everything, and they were going to take my car and this and that, and I thought, “Boy, what will I do now.” And then they took...the fellow in the customs took nine hundred shil...fra...shillings...francs... francs that I had, I think, or some money that I had. I...I sort of gave all I had to him so that I could take the car on, whatever I had. And I got up to the mission station the next day. I brought the car down to a...a garage man that had come over from the other side of the border, and he looked at my car and got it so it would go. But it was really some trip, I’m telling you. [laughs]

ERICKSEN: Now did you have...was it...?

BARR: It was a Peugot station wagon.

ERICKSEN: Anything eventful about going back into Uganda?

BARR: Oh yeah, it was, oh yes. Well, I spent some weeks there at Adi with Jean Ri...Robinson. I can’t think just how many. I’d have to look at the records, really, and came back. I came back to near the border to Aru...to my old station, where Zola Smith was. She was there alone at the time. And we waited there, and we heard the sounds of war on the other side. You see my...Ringili was right over there, not too many miles away directly.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: And so we waited...I waited there, at Aru. And then I wanted to get back in, and the Catholics were out...the nuns...and I heard that...I heard that the nuns weren’t allowed to go back until such and such a day, and I thought well, I’ll go in on that same day, then, because I hadn’t heard from the people across the border, you see.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

BARR: They...Seaton and Peggy hadn’t been able to get in touch with me. And....and I knew that they had come up and taken the land, you see, to the border.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: And so I...I went the day that...I think it was the day the Catholics were going. I thought I could go on that day; maybe that would be a good day to go. And I went down, and...and the man at the...at the customs said, “Do you think you ought to go?”and so forth. And maybe I better keep this pass in ca...this paper of yours in case you have to come back. I said, “Alright.” And...but I was.... All the soldiers down there came in round the car, and I...again and again I thought they were going to take everything of mine that I had in the car, you know...even the things that I brought over...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...just for the few weeks or the month or two or whatever it was. And then I got away from there and got to the barrier over at the next place...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...to the...there’s a no man’s land in between, see, and then, the...the barrier at Vurra where...where you go into Uganda, and got through there. And then the soldiers came before I turned to go to my place, and I thought they were going to take everything in the car. The soldiers that were there, they...they were the new soldiers now, you see. But I got on to...to my home then, and I didn’t know what to expect because I had stopped en route at...at my milkman’s place a little off the road somewhere to see whether...you know, whether he could bring milk if I was going home and so forth. And I found that there place had just been destroyed. Everything was gone except a Bible verse on the...on the wall. The mattresses were...in the...in this African’s home, the mattresses were all slit and the insides were all out and everything was just...was in a mess, so I didn’t see him. And I thought, while maybe this is just...the Lord’s just teaching me that...get...getting me ready for what I’ll find. So I went on to my place and stopped to greet the people at the DTC, the Diocesan Training Center that I taught. And then they pushed me to a start down the hill and up, and I got home and found that things had been gone through to quite an extent there, but there was enough there to get along...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...still.

ERICKSEN: Can you tell me about this Diocesan Training Center?

BARR: Well, it’s their...it’s their training center for...it...it’s in the...the men are taught in English...it’s under the Church of Uganda. The men are taught in English, but the women don’t know English well enough, and they’re usually taught in tribe languages, and....

ERICKSEN: And you taught women?

BARR: I taught the women some...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...in some classes.

ERICKSEN: Now what kind of classes were you teaching?

BARR: Well, Bible...books of the Bible, and.... What all did I teach? [pauses] Bible books, really. I...they...they were the studies in Bible, and so forth.

ERICKSEN: Okay.

BARR: Uh-huh. But the...we had a couple there that taught in it too, you see. Other people taught in it too, so....

ERICKSEN: And then how long a period of time was it from when you came back into the country until you...

BARR: Went out finally.

ERICKSEN: ...had to leave, yes.

BARR: It was about a year and some months. A year...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...and...a year and a few months. There was enough left there in my house to...to keep me that time.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: I...I had no idea, of course, how long it would be...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...then, but they had left enough. The...the...the fellow that had the key to my house had let them in.

ERICKSEN: The soldiers.

BARR: Let them in because he felt that they would break the lock if they did...they didn’t, you know, and...things were sort of just piled in the middle of the floor, and a lot was gone, and....

ERICKSEN: What kind of things had they taken?

BARR: Oh, oh, I have it I think in writing. I can’t remember. But they took whatever they wanted, you know.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: They just [pauses]...and left what they didn’t want. It took me a couple days to sort out things and get things in order again, you know, so that I could go on for the next year and two or three or four months, whatever it was.

ERICKSEN: Now, I know that from your account of the very final events that you felt you were in danger then. Did you feel the threat of danger in the course of that previous year?

BARR: We ne...we never knew what was going to happen. We...we kept listening to the radio all the time...each day to...to know what was going to happen.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh. And, I mean, what was it like living with that uncertainty?

BARR: Well, you just have to trust in the Lord. Try to [laughs]...try to...

ERICKSEN: Was that easy?

BARR: ...know his peace and calm?

ERICKSEN: Was that easy for you?

BARR: No, not too easy. No. But we didn’t know.... We thought...we thought when this new army...we didn’t know when this new army came up, you see.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: See, the...the...the rebels came across the border and attacked the army about thirty or forty miles north of us.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: And then that made...and...and dispersed the...the army. And that made them mad in Kampala. And they sent another army up with all sorts of vehicles and things, you know...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: And that was when.... We didn’t know that they would come in on us, but they...they did. In fact, you...we would have thought they would have supported us, you know.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: But they just came in and lined everybody up. The soldiers were just anxious to take vengeance on us, you know. And they just lined everybody up, and they were all walking over to the house...over to my co-worker’s house, over there, and then they came to me, and I had an African girl in there that was taking refuge with me, thinking that she’d be safe, and she didn’t come out right away, and I went out to greet them, this soldier that came up with a gun. And the others were over at the other house, you see, at the Booths’ house. And then she came out. I went out to greet them, and carried my Bible with me, my Lugbara Bible. Then she came out, and he was mad because she had delayed coming out. And he sort of kicked her and threw her along the ground, and all. And it was terrible, you know. But she wasn’t hurt too bad. And then we went over and joined that group, and then they drove us down at gunpoint.

ERICKSEN: Now, when I was over at your....

BARR: And one fellow looked at me and said...looked at the watch, took it off, gave it to him. Someone said, “Did you give it to him?” I said, “Yeah.” [laughs]

ERICKSEN: Watch is cheap. [sic]

BARR: [laughs] They were...so they were driving us with guns...

ERICKSEN: Yeah.

BARR: ...with our hands up...both hands up. And I was the only white person, you see, among this group of all our...all our teachers from the government...from the school that was nearby. And from...and all our DTC people...our Diocesan Training Center people, and...

ERICKSEN: They were....

BARR: ...families and all.

ERICKSEN: There were...they were all Africans.

BARR: Yes, and we were all in a...a mass being driven, and then they let the women out and one...one officer of the Tanzanian army, apparently, who spoke English, stopped me and looked at the Bible in my hand and all and spoke to me and asked where the rebels were, and I said I didn’t know. And he turned me back. As we were marching, we didn’t know where we were going. We were going up to the school, actually, where they shot the...all the people that they wanted to shoot, and they...the...the Lugbaras were chosen because the Kakwas, which was Amin’s tribe...Kakwas had fled. They were scared to death. There weren’t any around, I guess. So they were picking on the Lugbaras, and they just lined them up, you see.

ERICKSEN: Now....

BARR: And they let two pastors come out of the line at the last minute. A third pastor was there with his son...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...to be shot...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...and he didn’t get out somehow. And they just shot them. They were....

ERICKSEN: Now you...you talked about that quite a bit on your...your tape.

BARR: Yeah. Ten...ten were killed, and five were terribly wounded...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...and one little boy wasn’t wounded.

ERICKSEN: In your...when I was over at your apartment, you showed me a Bible that had....

BARR: Yeah, a gun.

ERICKSEN: ...a bullet in it.

BARR: Well, that was after...yes, that was...that.... Let’s see who was it that shot that? They were...I don’t know which...I forget now which...which groups would have shot that. They went into the bookstore and just shot the books. It was probab....

ERICKSEN: Maybe just shooting stuff up?

BARR: It was probably Amin’s men, probably did that. No, I don’t imagine so. It must have been the others, because I don’t think the Amin’s men would have been more interested in...in that part of the country, you know.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: That’s because they were from....

ERICKSEN: Now in the midst of all the stress and tension and...

BARR: Yeah.

ERICKSEN: ...and danger, can you remember any funny incidents that happened that kind of lightened things up a little?

BARR: Oh dear, I don’t think anything funny happened. [both laugh] Well, I mean, not...not at...not that day, anyway.

ERICKSEN: No, I’m thinking just in the general time period.

BARR: You see, I stayed...I stayed there...I...I...we went over...we took the wounded over after...after we felt sure that...that these soldiers had gone that had done the shooting, you see. We took the wounded. I think the...the Blukwa.. Oh dear, my memory’s so poor. And I know his name perfectly well, but it’s...it’s something that’s coming on with my age, I guess. [laughs] Paul...Paul came over to see how we were over there.

ERICKSEN: Now is this Paul Stough?

BARR: No, Paul Dean.

ERICKSEN: Oh, okay.

BARR: He was a...he was a young British guy that was out there, and he’d only been there a few months, and he was with us through all this.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: Us three single women at...at Kuluva, you see. I was at Ringili...a...a few miles awa...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...over the hill. But the other two were at Kuluva. And Paul was at Kuluva...

ERICKSEN: Okay.

BARR: ...and.... What was I saying? So...so he came.... What were we...?

ERICKSEN: You were talking about k...taking the wounded.

BARR: Oh yes. He came over in the car to see how we were. He didn’t know what had happened over there. It’s only a few miles away, you see.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: He came over in my car, because I had put my car...my Peugot station wagon was over there for safekeeping at...I felt it was safer there than over at my place. He came over in my car to see, ‘cause they’d heard sho...gun shots and all. And the thing was we heard gun shots all the time, so [laughs] we didn’t know where they came from, you know. He came over to see and was shocked to...to know what had happened, and so he...we started to...after...after waiting for hours because we thought that the people would come back, you see, we...we waited at...we came back from the school to the house that’s near mine...to the Booths’ house, the big house and waited and waited for some hours. And then...and then...after that, went over...they...they wanted to go over to Kuluva. Even the Africans wanted to go over and stay at Kuluva, you see. And I didn’t want to leave, really, because I felt it was better to be there. Once they had been there and gone, I felt maybe it was safer to...to stay on the place, you see.

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: And so, they went...but anyway Paul came over, and then when he saw what had happened.... We took the wounded, a car full of wounded, over. He went over once, and then he came back for more. And there were five very badly wounded people that didn’t die, you see. And they crawled into the grass, I guess, to try to hide...

ERICKSEN: Uh-huh.

BARR: ...after the shooting, and...[recording stopped]

END OF TAPE


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