Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/294

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On the 15th of March we reached Rehoboth, where, as already said, there is a missionary station pertaining to the Rhenish Society. Here I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of the Rev. Messrs. Kleinschmidt and Vollmer. They resided in substantial clay houses thatched with reeds. The church, in the erection of which Mr. Kleinschmidt had taken a very active part, is a handsome and roomy structure, capable of holding several hundred people. From the disproportionate breadth of the building, however, the roof could not sustain its own weight, and some time previously to my visit the greater part had fallen down. Divine service, nevertheless, continued to be performed in that portion of the building which remained uninjured.

At this period the station was in a most flourishing condition. But, alas! circumstances have since changed, and it is now a question whether the mission can continue to exist. Should it be abandoned, ten years of unremitted labor and exertion will be entirely lost, and I sadly fear it will break the heart of its founder—the worthy and venerable Kleinschmidt.

Rehoboth is well supplied with good and clear water from a fountain hard by. There is also a copious warm spring flowing from a limestone rock; but the water is looked upon as unwholesome, and only made use of for cattle, washing of clothes, and the seasoning of timber.

The warm spring in question is situated on rising ground, and consequently affords facilities for irrigation, though, unfortunately, the soil is scanty and unfavorable for gardening. The missionaries and a few natives have by perseverance succeeded in fertilizing patches of ground which are tolerably productive. Indeed, I have known a fig-tree—certainly not above five or six feet in height—in Mr. Kleinschmidt's garden to produce a dish of fruit every day for a space of more than three months. The garden vegetables which thrive best are pumpkins, calabashes, watermelons, &c. The wild gourd,