When honored with a special meeting of welcome by the Royal Geographical Society a few days after my arrival in London in December last, Sir Roderick Murchison, the President, invited me to give the world a narrative of my travels; and at a similar meeting of the Directors of the London Missionary Society I publicly stated my intention of sending a book to the press, instead of making many of those public appearances which were urged upon me. The preparation of this narrative* has taken much longer time than, from my inexperience in authorship, I had anticipated.
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Walk with a man of faith through hardships
David Livingstone was a man born into adversity who worked hard and studied hard so that he could go to China. He learned medicine, science, and theology; and had a mind agile enough to communicate well across language barriers. He wasn’t able to go to China, but instead of staying in Britain and raising children to live in much greater ease from which he had grown up, he chose to go to Africa and live a very primitive life.
His time in Africa coincides with the slave trade running through that country (Africans selling fellow Africans to Portuguese and Arabs) as well as the Boers in South Africa taking advantage of any situation they could use to gain further power and footholds in the country. David Livingstone interacted with all parties to the best of his ability, but wished to find a way for the Africans to carry on legitimate trade (agricultural or the use of their natural resources) in order for their own advancement.
Most of the book describes journeying through Africa with several African natives, and the sights they saw, the interactions with humans, animals, insects, and weather. The author doesn’t dwell on himself so much as he describes his observations of his surroundings and brief information on how his fellow travelers and he obtained food and water. It seems he genuinely wanted to survey Africa south of the equator, he wanted to see if roads and transportation were feasible, and he wanted to walk the walk of a man with faith in God more than he wanted to stuff his religion down others’ throats. It would seem that our ability to read of his amazing adventure one hundred and fifty years afterwards bears testimony that his walk wasn’t in vain.