David told the executives of the missionary society that he opted to go to Africa, they agreed to send him. On the dawn of November 17, 1840, 27 year old David Livingstone bade so long to his father on the Broomielaw quay in Glascow and boarded his waiting ship, the George. He would at no time see his parent again. The ship George sailed about the Cape of Good Hope and into the bay of Algoa, where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. Here is where David landed and began the prolonged adventure inland. David and his companions travelled on foot and horseback with an ox cart to haul their provisions. The days were blisteringly scorching and the nights clear and cold. They slept covered by stars huddled in blankets. They came to the village of the Kuruman, where Robert Moffat lived. Robert was not home, he was back in England on a visit. Kuruman had earlier been arid and infertile, but now it was filled with fruit trees and gardens. Robert Moffat had been a horticulturist before he became a missionary. David stayed only long enough for the oxen to heal and rest. The people here termed themselves the Bakwena the “people of the crocodile.”David waited for six months for word from the missionary society in London. He learned the language and habits of the Bakwena. David educated the people about God. He also helped the people irrigate the land. At length the letter came. This adventure took him to the people labeled the Mabotsa “people of the monkey” where he helped them prevail over a lion and got wounded in the shoulder which would at no time improve in full.

David stayed in Mabotsa for an expanded time. The villagers helped him build a brick dwelling and he lived with them and educated their children. His friend Robert Moffat sent word that he was returning to Kuruman. So David went to meet him. It was then that he met Mary, Robert’s eldest daughter. In the near future they were engaged. Mr. Moffat had been born in Africa and knew well the duties and hardships of missionary life. It took some time to lay the groundwork for the wedding, have a house completed and assign for a marriage license from England.

The village had a marriage dinner for David Livingstone and Mary Moffat when Mary arrived.
David and Mary anticipated that the time had come to move on, they packed all of their stuff and moved up north to a village of Chonuane, forty miles to the north. David built a school and another stone house. They had their first young one here, a son. They called him Robert after Mary’s father. It was a very arid place, and when it came time to move on the local people went with the Livingstones. They settled in a venue that they called Kolobeng. They built a school, irrigated and started gardens and stayed there for several years. Mary and David had two more little ones, Thomas and Agnes.
David and his family then travelled on to Lake Ngami. They needed to reach “the land of many rivers” but travel was laborious and the children were often not feeling well because of the hard living circumstances. Little did David know that he was about to discover the Victoria Falls.

For likewise material on Victoria Falls or David Livingstone, visit http://www.livingstonesadventure.com. This is part 1 in a four part series of articles about David Livingstone to be found on this website.

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