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Allen Knight

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Abstract

           Allen Knight was raised on a “pioneer farm” in Muskoka, Ontario. He attributes his interest and success in teaching agricultural courses in Angola and Zaire, Africa, on the knowledge and upbringing he received by his parents on the farm.

            His uncle, Albert Knight, who graduated from Ontario Agricultural College in 1909, was a role model, and gave Mr. Knight the impetus to go into agriculture. Allen went on from OAC to receive his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in soil science.

            Allen was accepted by the United Church of Canada as an agricultural missionary in 1946 and he went to Angola. He was a teacher and a principal of the Curry Institute there until 1964. He developed an extension division which enabled the Institute to reach a great number of farmers. From 1964 until his retirement, he was director of the Community Development Center in Zaire. He felt that soil conservation was of a prime importance in Africa, and he worked with village farmers in seed collection, soil erosion, livestock improvement, sanitation, and nutrition.

            In his retirement, Allen remains active. He is head of Seeds for Africa Fund and serves as a contributor and editor of the program Developing Countries Farm Radio Network. He and his wife, Eleanor, have three children, one of whom is working in agriculture in Africa.

Graduation Year

1939

College

OAC

Interview Date

Interviewer

H. Steed

Call Number

RE1 UOG A1340027

Audio

Allen Knight interview

Transcript

H. Steed (00:00:01):
I'm talking to Dr. Allen Knight, a graduate of the OAC in the year 39. He's in his home in Grimsby. Allen, would you like to say something about your early days on a pioneer farm in Muskoka?

Allen Knight (00:00:19):
Well, that was a few years ago, Harold. But many aspects of it are still very clear to me, especially how cold my hands used to get in going to school in Port Carling, five miles driving a horse and cutter. I feel that having been born on a pioneer farm and having been raised in a pioneer farm, was probably one of the best preparations that I received for going to work in Africa among very, very poor people. I never thought of ourselves as poor, excepting when we were in contact with people in the town and when the tourists came up in the summertime, then we understood that we were poor. But I feel it was a tremendous legacy that is having this ability that my parents had of being self-sufficient producing almost all of their own food, and having all of us children participate in the work of the farm.

H. Steed (00:01:43):
By the way, how many were in your family?

Allen Knight (00:01:44):
There were five of us children. And four of us are still living today. My oldest brother was killed by a falling tree in 1970. One of the very important parts of our upbringing, of course was going to school. And it was an ungraded rural school. It was about a mile and a half we had to go to school. But we survived. And it was the three Rs, and that was just about it. Nobody ever talked about anything social like the children are exposed to today. But it was a part of the struggle to survive. I said, I appreciate very much what my parents did in giving us three good meals a day.

H. Steed (00:02:52):
Absolutely.

Allen Knight (00:02:54):
I've often wondered, in Angola, working among peasant people in Angola, working among peasant people in Zaire, why there should be hunger in these countries? Couldn't they do what my parents did in providing us with good food and adequate food? Of course, that's a long story and it goes back to the colonial administration of the country and the backwardness of the people.

Allen Knight (00:03:28):
Of course, along with the school, we mustn't forget the church. And I can still remember going to church on the Sunday afternoon. Our minister had a three-point church. And we were the smallest church and came to us on Sunday afternoon. And I can remember sitting through those long seemed interminable sermons. And almost having our clothes stick to the seat. They were burning the seat. And I could remember getting up for instance, to sing hymn and having hear the varnish give way, as you get up. Well, that's part of recollections of early days in Muskoka. But looking back on it, I honor my parents for what they did in bring up us kids. And just for the fact of survival.

H. Steed (00:04:30):
That was great. Now, what prompted you to go to university?

Allen Knight (00:04:38):
I wanted to go to university immediately after finishing high school. But with the poverty of my parents, I wasn't going to subject them to looking after $1000 a year or $2000 a year or something like that. They didn't have that kind of money. I wasn't going to pauperize my parents by asking them to make that sacrifice for me, after all the other members of the family besides myself. So well, I taught school for three years in an ungraded rural school. And finishing there in the depression. I think they paid me 900 a year, my first year, 650 my second year, 800 in my last year. And said, "If you come back for another year, we'll put you up to where you were in the beginning." Well, I said, "No, thank you." I said, I'd gone to and taken three summer courses at the Ontario Agriculture College. And I got a little extra money, of course, for the fact that I had these courses. And finishing three years of teaching, I found that I had just about exactly enough money in the bank to look after tuition and room and board for four years at OAC.

H. Steed (00:06:07):
That's, that was marvelous.

Allen Knight (00:06:10):
Of course, that wasn't enough. But I'd be up at 5:00 in the morning, down cleaning out the chicken pen. 30 cents an hour, we were paid at that time, to do this manual work.

H. Steed (00:06:29):
So, you went to the OAC in the fall of 1935.

Allen Knight (00:06:34):
In the fall of '35. One of the factors that influenced me in going to OAC was my uncle, Albert Knight, who was the graduate of 1909. He should have graduated in '08, but he ran out of money. And so, he worked for a year and graduated in 1909. And as a youngster growing up, I saw in my uncle something and somebody that was important in my life. And I think that's what really gave me the impetus to go into agriculture.

H. Steed (00:07:17):
Did you work on his farm?

Allen Knight (00:07:18):
Yes. I worked for three summers on his farm. It was a mixed farm. Mostly apples, but he also had some livestock and field crops. But I was very fortunate to have my uncles to give me some good practical instruction in horticulture.

H. Steed (00:07:45):
That'd be great.

Allen Knight (00:07:45):
It's a big help in going into college in Guelph.

H. Steed (00:07:50):
Now, about your four years at the OAC. What did you think about living in residence?

Allen Knight (00:07:57):
Well, that was excellent. It was just exact to what I needed, to round out my social life, and find out about values and customs of people who were brought up in the different economics stratus from what I was. I think the important thing that, as I look back on OAC, was the contact with my professors. I think of people like Dr. McConkey, who would tell us in his class in genetics, he says, "Now fellows," he said, "You need to be looking around at the world, at the rest of the world. Don't think that this little part of Canada is all the world." Here's a man who've been in China, collecting varieties of different crops in China.

Allen Knight (00:08:56):
And he opened my eyes to some of the other possibilities in the world. I think too, of Dr. Frank Scofield down of the veterinary college. I think he's a graduate of the veterinary college in 1910, as I recall it. And he was a very important person to me in my spiritual life.

H. Steed (00:09:24):
Then you say something about agriculture, thinking of agriculture in terms of it as a science. What do you think of that?

Allen Knight (00:09:35):
Well, that's certainly one thing that came out of my four years at OAC, was my introduction to agriculture as a science. And if you followed certain practices, the way they had been written down, certain results will follow. This was the first time in my life that I had that concept explained to me. And it was, that was very important. And thinking about attacking so many different problems we encountered in Africa, and finding the African people, of course, so much of what they did was not based on science. It was based on ancestral beliefs that had been handed down to them from year to year. And quite in contrast to the scientific beliefs that I was taught at OAC.

H. Steed (00:10:45):
Well, you did a lot with soil conservation. Did you pick very much up in the OAC at that time?

Allen Knight (00:10:51):
No. I remember Dr. Gerry Ronkey telling just a little on some occasion about some experiments and some demonstrations that were going on in the field of soil conservation. I'd rather astounded that there wasn't more. Because in the Southern states, soil conservation service of the United States was in really good running order by 1930 or '32. But soils were migrate [inaudible] soils and horticulture were the two disciplines, the two subjects that I really specialized in. I could never figure out whether I was a major in horticulture and a minor in soils, or vice versa. I think that's certainly when I was at Michigan, that's about what it was.

H. Steed (00:11:53):
I see. I noticed that you say some about the orchard soils here, that they had some meaning.

Allen Knight (00:11:59):
For my bachelor's thesis, I dug holes underneath my uncle's apple trees to study the development of roots. And it's interesting that when I went on to Michigan for graduate work, I did the same thing in the orchards of Michigan State College to find out why some of their fruit trees were not living beyond about 10 years. And even doing my doctorate work, I was still working with roots. So, I've had a very close association with roots in all my academic studies.

H. Steed (00:12:48):
I see. When you left the OAC, what did you do?

Allen Knight (00:12:56):
I didn't have any job, and I was broke. And Frank Palmer's brother, Dick, was the director of the Summerland Experiment Station out in the Open Oakland valley. And Frank Palmer arranged through his brother, Dick, that I would go out there to work, to get some more experience and also earn a little money. I remember borrowing $60 on my insurance policy to pay for the gasoline in my motorbike, to go out to BC. I didn't even have the money to go out by train. That's how poor I was.

H. Steed (00:13:41):
And so, you worked there for the summer, did you?

Allen Knight (00:13:51):
I had 18 months there all together.

H. Steed (00:13:53):
I see. At Okanagan Valley. Yes.

Allen Knight (00:13:57):
And worked under Dr. Jack Wilcox in orchard soils.

H. Steed (00:14:02):
What happened after that?

Allen Knight (00:14:05):
Well, the best classification they give me was orchard laborer. And I was disgusted. I said, "Do you spend four years in college only to be classified as an orchard laborer?" And my boss, Dr. Jack Wilcox said, "Al," he said, "I'm going to give you some advice." He said, "You're never going to get very far with just a bachelor's degree in agriculture." Now, Jack was himself studying towards his PhD. And he said, "You better get some more education."

H. Steed (00:14:41):
Good for you.

Allen Knight (00:14:41):
So, I got into Michigan in the fall of '40.

H. Steed (00:14:46):
In the Michigan State College.

Allen Knight (00:14:47):
Michigan State College at East Lansing. Lauren Soley was a graduate of '39 in economics. And the two of us went there for our first year. And the Canadian government would only give us 600 Canadian dollars. And there was a 10% depreciation on the Canadian money going into the US, which meant 540 US dollars. And that had to pay out-of-state fees, tuition, room and board. So, we batched and lived very, very cheaply, for that year. But we survived. Thanks, I would say, to that orientation that I got on our pioneer farm. We survived.

H. Steed (00:15:48):
You say something about your wife, Jean.

Allen Knight (00:15:54):
Yeah. I was married to a lovely girl, Jean Wise, graduate of MAC '36. And that was after one year, about one year out in Summerland. And Jean helped me in my first year of college at Michigan State College. And I regret that we only had about six months together, really, after finishing my studies, and she died. This was a great loss to me, and really a turning point in my life.

H. Steed (00:16:41):
Before you come to that part, could you tell us a little bit about what you did at Michigan State College?

Allen Knight (00:16:50):
Well, I realized that didn't have very much time there. Because with war time and I was subject to call up. Of course, I finished my master's degree and I had nine credits I think, left over. And Dr. Victor Gardner the head of the horticulture department, he said, "Knight," he says, "I know a scientific head when I meet it." He said, "You should go on and do a doctorate." And I said, "Dr. Gardner, I'm poor. Don't you realize that? I don't have any money." Dr. Gardner, "That's all right." He says, "We'll look for some money for you." He said, "Important thing is, I want to know do you want to do some more studies?" I said, "Well, I'm in your hands."

Allen Knight (00:17:47):
And so, I did another year and three months, and did a PhD. I did my thesis work. And completed the work there in December of '42.

H. Steed (00:18:03):
And you also say you did something in-

Allen Knight (00:18:05):
I had to study two languages, French.

H. Steed (00:18:10):
German and French.

Allen Knight (00:18:11):
German and French, in order to qualify for a PhD. You had to have a reading knowledge of two scientific languages, other than English. I learned my German, Harold, by translating a half of Cobalt's book in horticulture. He's a Swiss horticulturist. And my friend, Don Fisher from Northern Summerland had asked me to do this. He said he would translate half, but if I do the other half. So, that's how I learned my German.

H. Steed (00:18:45):
That was good. Then when you finished, what happened? You had a hard time at the border, I understand.

Allen Knight (00:18:55):
Well, in December '42, I came to the border Port Huron, on the train. And the immigration officer came along. He says, "I want to see your clearance from your draft board." I said, "I don't have any draft board. I'm subject to draft in Canada." He says, "Oh, yes, you do." So, I spent the night in jail. He didn't lock the door on me, but I did spend the night in the detention room. He said, "You can go down to hotel in Port Huron if you like, but we got a detention room here and it's nice and clean." I said, "Well, I'll take the detention room, please." So, next morning, 7:00 he got on the telephone, talked to the head of the draft board. I didn't even know who he was. I didn't even know I had a draft board when I was at Michigan. He called to the draft board. He said, "What about this man, Knight, from Canada? Do you have any claim on him?" "No, let him go." So, I was reassured. I caught the next train leaving for Canada.

H. Steed (00:20:08):
Well, good. Then what did you do?

Allen Knight (00:20:11):
Well, it was subject to the Wartime Bureau of Technical Personnel. Having a PhD, I had some experience in chemistry and related sciences. So they Wartime Bureau of Technical Personnel gave me three places that I could look for employment. One was fertilizer analyst with Canada Packers. The other one was in the lab at Forge in Windsor, and analysis of war materials. And the third one was Polymer Corporation in Sarnia. And they said, "You go around to all three of them, look them over, talk to the people and you make your own choice." Well, I made my choice. I only out as far as Windsor and I liked the man in charge of the lab. And that's where I went to work, in Windsor.

H. Steed (00:21:14):
And was at that point that you'd had a big change in your life?

Allen Knight (00:21:16):
Yes. That's when I lost my wife, my first wife, Jean.

H. Steed (00:21:21):
Right. And what did it do to you?

Allen Knight (00:21:24):
Well, up to that point, Harold, I felt I was really getting up very quickly, what we like to call the professional ladder. I was climbing very, very quickly. I had three degrees in agriculture. I had made a decision I wasn't going to be poor anymore. Well, I couldn't have money like a lot of my other friends that I had come to meet, I have pretty much looked to within myself for my own future. And then came the death of my first wife, and all the hopes I have of getting and writing professional articles and going to conferences and whatnot, and getting a lot of money, all of those ideals suddenly disappeared, just like a balloon that burst with a pin. And I was left there, just wondering what in life was worth working for and living for.

Allen Knight (00:22:33):
And I had came to the conclusion that I had something perhaps that I could give to the poor people in other parts of the world. People who were poor, just like my parents were, and people who had no help from government just as my parents had no help from government or the church or anybody else. They did it on their own. And so that dream came up that perhaps I should try to get to some of the countries that I had heard about, and people that I had contacted during my years in Guelph at OAC. And I was accepted by the United Church of Canada as an agricultural missionary in Angola.

Allen Knight (00:23:24):
Ken Prior, who was a graduate of OAC '26, had been there at the Daundee mission in the United Church of Canada. But they had, I think he had two terms there.

H. Steed (00:23:40):
Yes, that's right. I remember him.

Allen Knight (00:23:42):
I think he ran into problems with the Portuguese.

H. Steed (00:23:50):
He did. It discouraged him very much, I understand.

Allen Knight (00:23:55):
There was no collaboration whatsoever between Ken Prior and the Portuguese government. They were not on the same wavelength. And Ken gave up. And they had been nine years without an agriculturist there. Since Ken left, it was nine years. And I stepped into the situation. And of course, it had deteriorated very, very considerably. Ken Prior had brought in holding cattle and Yorkshire hogs and Rhode Island red chickens. Of course, that had all disappeared by the time that I arrived there. But some of the buildings were still up and still operational.

H. Steed (00:24:44):
What languages did you work in?

Allen Knight (00:24:46):
Well, first of all, I had to study Portuguese. I had to spend 10 months in Portugal, going on the way to Angola to become reasonably fluent in Portuguese. And arriving in Angola, they wouldn't allow us to start working without studying the African language, which was in Umbundu. So, I spent six months then and study of Umbundu, in order to have a language, which would allow me to work in the villages. This was not a personal decision. This was something that was imposed on us by our church. If you're going to work out there, you jolly well have to learn the language of the people. I certainly don't regret that time at all. Of course, it's rather difficult when you spent 10 months studying one language, and then before you're allowed to work in that language, they give you another language to learn. Well, that's a little bit much. But I don't regret that time at all. As a matter of fact, I came to appreciate the necessity of being able to communicate in their language, in the language of the people.

H. Steed (00:26:00):
Very good. And well, when you started work, what were the problems that you encountered?

Allen Knight (00:26:14):
I don't know how long I was there before I saw my first grass fire, and that just sent me up literally up the wall to see the people burning grass. And I didn't make too much of a demonstration, but I said, "Looks as though you've got some work to do here." It was interesting that being down with the soil conservation service, Harold, and the Southern states before I went to Angola.

H. Steed (00:26:45):
There was a good training.

Allen Knight (00:26:49):
And talking to the black farmers in the Southern states, that they told me about the ideas that were still current in their society of burning. And I asked them, "Why do you burn? Why do you burn the grass?" They said, that's to drive away the evil spirits. Now, this has been probably 300 years, from generation to generation that they brought those ideas over with them when they came with the slaves. And had continued year after year, generation after generation, that you burn in order to drive away the evil spirits.

H. Steed (00:27:34):
My goodness.

Allen Knight (00:27:34):
But I found, I'm sure you found too, Harold, that in the Samba area that the people still believed that you put a set of good hot fire, make sure it's a hot one, to drive away the evil spirits in the dry season.

H. Steed (00:27:52):
I remember that. Yes.

Allen Knight (00:27:56):
And of course, I saw the furrows up and down the hill. And I said, "Now, I'm sure there's some work to do here." Because I saw what had happened in the Southern states of the United States, with that tropical rainfall and with the furrows up and down the hill, that the erosion was just a tremendous problem.

H. Steed (00:28:21):
It would be. It certainly would be. Well, so you got to work, then. You had something ahead for you.

Allen Knight (00:28:32):
I was given the teaching of agriculture at the Curry Institute. And getting out into the villages, of course, I very quickly understood that agriculture, food production, in itself was not sufficient, if you were not doing something about the kind of drinking water that the people had in the village, if you're not doing something about the sanitation conditions in their home, about their level of nutrition, evidently a lot of gaps. And-

H. Steed (00:29:10):
So, a vicious cycle then.

Allen Knight (00:29:10):
Yeah. And I understood very early. And I thank my pioneer missionary colleagues, people like Dr. John Tucker, people like Dr. Sidney Yoris, both Canadians. I thank these pioneers for helping me in my orientation, that anything that I was going to do, Harold, had to be integrated. It had to be. Not just agriculture, not just nutrition, not just appropriate technology or primary healthcare. It had to be a unified approach. And it was very interesting that the African people already had that. It was quite acceptable to the African people.

Allen Knight (00:29:55):
When you're talking about material things, some of the old white-headed gray haired men used to tell, I used to call him Paulo, I remember him telling me, he said, "When you're talking about soil," he said, "you're talking about spiritual things." He said, "These are not material things. These are spiritual things to us."

H. Steed (00:30:15):
That's true. Very good. So you develop some kind of techniques of approach.

Allen Knight (00:30:27):
Yes. I was certain that our job was one of training African people. It was good to do the work ourselves, to learn ourselves. And I had to do a lot of learning from the African people. I certainly kept my ears open and my eyes open too, to learn from them. And the people appreciated that attitude that I had towards their customs. But I think one of the very important aspects of our work was that we were not just doing the work ourselves. We were training leaders. Whether we were out in the field marking out contour lines, or protecting a spring for the people could get good drinking water for down in the garden with making a compost heap, the important feature was training. It wasn't you doing the work yourself. It was training other people to do that job.

Allen Knight (00:31:45):
And I think that this is one of the very important legacies that we left behind among the Angolan people, and the fact that the Angolan and people are continuing to profit-

H. Steed (00:32:04):
And survived.

Allen Knight (00:32:04):
... from this training today, is an indication that at least we did some things right. Now, I know there were some errors in our work. But at least we did some things right. And of course, some people don't even give us credit for that.

H. Steed (00:32:21):
Unfortunately.

Allen Knight (00:32:25):
We used oxen, of course, as one of the... I'd driven horses in Canada, on our farm. But sure never had anything to do with oxen. And that's one of the things of course we had to do, learn to use oxen. And it was very important for the African people to learn how to use ploughs and oxen, not just simply for turning over the soil, but also for scuffling. We had some very interesting confrontation, not exactly confrontations, out in the villages where I said, "Let's have a little demonstration of how we can use the oxen to scuffle your corn." "Oh, no." They said, "They'll trample all the corn in the row." I said, "Look, I'll give you, I know it was a 10 cents or something like that for every corn plant that these oxen trample down." They said, "Okay." They said, "Go ahead."

Allen Knight (00:33:32):
And I think the first row that we worked on, we went back and counted the plants, and I think there were four plants only that the oxen had stepped on. This was the first introduction that the oxen that had to scuffling using... They were only accustomed to pulling a plough for primary tillage. But that idea caught on. And the idea of turning under the grass instead of burning the grass, that idea caught on too. I remember the farmers in the Balunda area telling me that they turned the grass under twice before they planted wheat, and not having very much in a way of fertilizer for whether, or certainly a commercial fertilizer, they were able to get very good crops of wheat through that practice. And I commended them for what they had learned, and for what they were teaching me. That the great need of our African soils is organic matter. And of course, learned that from my soils classes in Guelph. That's the first exposure that I had to it.

H. Steed (00:34:46):
Then you did something about vegetable gardening.

Allen Knight (00:34:54):
Well, yes, that's very important for first of all, to improve the diet of the people, and also to have something for the people to sell. In the tropics, it only takes about four months to have a crop of cabbage, a crop of onions. And even if you're down and out, if you have a hole to work with and a machete, and if your wife is willing to work too, within a matter of three or four months, you can produce a crop of onions, and have something for your family to eat and something to sell in the market. I look upon vegetable gardening as very important. And it's something we carried over, especially in Zaire, with a seed program. We call it Seeds For Africa, because there are no seeds to be found.

Allen Knight (00:35:49):
And even today, you're going to many of our African countries, sure you'll find whiskey and Mercedes Benz cars and whatnot, but look for some good seeds that are going to grow and you won't find them. That's sad. Yeah. It's an indication, Harold, of the way our newly independent African countries, the powers of be despised their peasant people.

H. Steed (00:36:22):
Their roots.

Allen Knight (00:36:23):
Something that Canadians don't understand. And you won't find that very much about this idea in our popular press in Canada. But I saw it, especially in Zaire.

H. Steed (00:36:40):
It's very sad. You worked with Dr. Sidney Gilchrist who was a pioneer in primary healthcare.

Allen Knight (00:36:53):
Yes. Well, Sid was more important to me in another aspect. It was Sid who brought Eleanor together, my good wife. Eleanor was under the Women's Missionary Society as a teacher, a kindergarten teacher. And she is a Nova Scotian, like Sid was. And I, of course, had a tremendous admiration for the Gilchrist family. And I thank Sid and Frankie, his wife, for bringing us together.

H. Steed (00:37:36):
That's great.

Allen Knight (00:37:37):
But Sid Gilchrist is a man that is very sad that he was killed in a motor accident out in Alberta in 1970. I've thought many times in coming home to Canada, what a wonderful thing it would be to have Sid to go to for advice, because he gave us advice on so many things. He was not just simply a medical doctor. He was not simply a specialist in primary healthcare. And he was also concerned about nutrition. He was concerned about agriculture. He was concerned about the church. As matter of fact, I think you will agree, Harold, that our Umbundu people in Angola rated Sid very, very highly, as a preacher.

H. Steed (00:38:27):
That's true.

Allen Knight (00:38:27):
As the church worker, he was very, very highly esteemed, and with complete justification.

H. Steed (00:38:35):
That's true. So, and then there's something else that you... Just tell us a little bit more about this primary healthcare. What did you-

Allen Knight (00:38:49):
Well, we worked with the soybean in both in Angola and in Zaire in building up a protein. Sid explained to me that the great need among the people was a superior protein, that they got enough starts in their diet, but they were not getting enough good quality protein. And I remembered being down in the southeastern states, down in Alabama. And as a matter of fact, the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and talking with two black agriculturists down there. And they told me about the soybean. They said, "When you go to of Africa, look into the possibilities of introducing soybean into the diet of the people, because you can get along very well," they said, "if you just mix soybean and corn together. Do three parts of corn meal, one part of toasted soybean meal. And make sure it's toasted. Make sure the soybean is toasted."

Allen Knight (00:39:58):
So, first time we used the soybeans in the Curry Institute in Angola, I forgot about the toasting. We prepared the mixture, three parts corn meal, one part of soybean meal, but we forgot about the toasting. We gave it to the students to eat. They ate it. They were hungry. Of course, they would eat it. But about a third of the students complained about stomach aches. And I remembered what these black professors had told me down at Tuskegee Institute. "If you're going to use the soybean in the diet, make sure it's toasted."

Allen Knight (00:40:48):
So without any delay, we got busy and toasted some soybeans, and prepared. No apologies to the students. But I said, "We got a new kind of soybean today," and it was toasted. And oh, they loved it. And then we mixed it with wheat flour and corn meal, and made bread. And for breakfast every morning, the students got a loaf of bread for breakfast. Now, this was something that gave them a tremendous boost to the morale, that they would have. Because bread, all over Africa is looked upon as a status food. It's a status symbol. Well, you eat bread. Well, you're a somebody. And here they were having a loaf of bread, no butter on it, no margarine, no jam, honey or whatnot, just bread. But it had a wonderful aroma. The toasted soybean gave it a wonderful aroma. And our students said, "We don't get tired in the morning anymore."

Allen Knight (00:41:53):
Of course, it used to be that they never had a breakfast at all. When I went there in 1946 to the Curry Institute in Angola, the director, he was an American, and he wasn't interested in getting up at 7:00 in the morning, going to chapel. So, he had chapel at 11:00. And by 11:00, what happened is the students, you'd see them with their heads just going sleep during chapel. So, I said, "We're going to have to do something about that." And I asked the staff when I became director at the Curry Institute, I asked the staff, "Do you really want to have chapel at 11:00 in the morning?" They said, "No, we might prefer to have it at 7:00." Okay. I said, "Let's have it at 7:00."

H. Steed (00:42:35):
You did something, I remember you talk about the borehole latrine. A lot of preaching of that latrine was went on.

Allen Knight (00:42:43):
That was Sid Gilchrist. I just followed along on what Sid Gilchrist was teaching. It was all right for one family, because it would make a hole about something like 18 inches, I think, in diameter. I've forgotten the exact diameter, maybe 40 centimeters in diameter. And we would go down to about six, eight meters in depth, down to permanent water. And it was okay for a family. It wouldn't fill up very fast with the family. But for a school or for a large family, it was quite insufficient. So, we started digging them with a shovel, a short shovel.

Allen Knight (00:43:31):
And this was one of the most wonderful helps that we had to village health, to have sanitary latrine and to have good water to drink. Sid used to tell us, "Al," he said, "if we can give the people good water to drink and a sanitary latrine for each home, we can cut down infant mortality by 50% in one year. No antibiotics, no other medicines. Just good water to drink and a sanitary latrine." And I stayed long enough in Africa to find the Sid was absolutely right. It happened.

H. Steed (00:44:17):
Allen, tell us something about you and Eleanor, and your family.

Allen Knight (00:44:33):
We have three children, all of them born in Angola.

H. Steed (00:44:39):
That's something.

Allen Knight (00:44:41):
Did their primary education in Angola and a secondary education in Zaire. Consequently, they became quite familiar with two European languages other than English, namely French and Portuguese.

Allen Knight (00:44:57):
Gerry and Carol. Well, Gerry went to Purdue in the States and did his agriculture there, international agriculture. Carol and Marilyn both went to Mount Allison. And then Carol, when she finished at Mount Allison, discovered the error of her ways and discovered that an arts degree was not sufficient for her. And so, she got into agriculture. And she and Gerry were studying together, taking some courses together at Purdue. And she did a masters at Purdue in plant pathology. Has written many scientific papers, of course.

Allen Knight (00:45:41):
And let me tell you a little interesting incident. When Carol had finished her masters, she was really feeling quite proud of herself. And we were proud of her too, of course. And she and Joe, her husband, came out to visit us in Zaire. And she said to me, "Dad, how many scientific papers have you published since you graduated from college?" And I thought for a minute, and I said, "I can only remember one. And that was as a junior author." Carol turns to me quite indignant. Of course, she was really playacting. She says, "Dad, as a scientist you're a failure."

H. Steed (00:46:34):
That's good.

Allen Knight (00:46:35):
Publish or parish, that's the motto in the scientific community. So, Marilyn, our oldest, works with Amnesty International. Is in charge of urgent actions for all of Canada, is working out of Toronto, doing a very responsible job. Real proud of her.

H. Steed (00:47:10):
That's great.

Allen Knight (00:47:12):
Her concern. Carol is now an American citizen, working with the United States aid program, A-I-D, that's a development program from Kinshasa in Zaire. And she has a very responsible position too. Very interesting to notice her orientation toward the small peasant farmer, and all the correspondence that I read and papers and whatnot and project plans, that comes through in all of her papers. And we're proud that Carol has that orientation.

Allen Knight (00:47:59):
Gerry spent three years in Zaire, and came home in April or May of '87 with no further sponsorship, and was told by the church out in Zaire, that he should come home and raise his own support, which reluctantly he did. And we had no idea how he was going to get support to go back to Zaire. Because he said, "That's where I belong, Dad, with these poor people, the peasant people. That's where I belonged." He says, "I want to be back in two months." Well, our local church here heard him speak on the 7th of June '87. And they were so amazed at the message that he brought in spite of the fact that he was hospitalized with malaria the next day. He was sick. They were so amazed, so taken with his message, they gave him a standing ovation.

Allen Knight (00:49:21):
And they said, "Gerry, if the national church here in Canada won't send you back to Zaire, we'll send you back." And they put their money where their mouth was. But it came about that in August of '87, I was made a fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada. And some of them got to hear about Gerry, the kind of work that he'd been doing in extension, training village-level volunteer extension agents. And they invited them to come to the Agriculture Institute Convention in London, Ontario, University of Western Ontario. And they said, "We'll give you five minutes Gerry, to tell us about your work?" Well, he finished in five minutes, but they said, "Well, you can carry on. We'll give you another 15 minutes." What came out of it was that the New Brunswick Institute of Geology decided that they would accept Gerry on a twinning project, with funding from CIDA, and on a three-year contract.

Allen Knight (00:50:37):
So, Gerry went back in April of '88. And just full of support for the first time in his life. And he was able to convince a Mennonite girl, a Mennonite woman, also an agriculturist and an engineer as a matter of fact, an ag engineer, that she should become his wife. And they were married and October of '88. But we feel really proud of Gerry's devotion to the African people. That's what really comes through in his correspondence, and everything that he says and everything that he does. And he calls the African people, his people.

H. Steed (00:51:34):
That's wonderful. Well, on the last tape, we are still in Angola. But when did you end your service in Angola?

Allen Knight (00:51:46):
That was '64. We had been six years without a furlough. And those were very difficult six years. So, we decided we'd come home on furlough, and just take a chance on getting back. We had not been involved in trying to upset the Portuguese government. We had never been talking to the village people, the church people that the time had come to rise up and throw off the shackles of Portuguese colonialism. That's not what we were there for. And however, when we applied for a visa to return in '65, we were told that there was no visa for us. We had been declared a persona non grata.

Allen Knight (00:52:34):
We Protestants, were the people who were upsetting the Africans and giving them ideas of independence. Therefore, they didn't want us anymore. So, that was a bitter pill to swallow.

H. Steed (00:52:46):
It must have been, yes.

Allen Knight (00:52:48):
But within two months, there was an invitation to go to Zaire to set up a community development center for the Angolan refugees. There were at least 750000 800000 Angolan refugees in the lower Zaire. And these people had not had the advantages that our people had in central Angola, of academic education, trades training, training for a living. They hadn't had that advantage. So, this was a tremendous challenge to be named the first director of the community development center. We were allowed to occupy the land on in February of 1966. And the were no buildings, just cassava fields, only cassava fields. That's all it was there. In October of the same year, about eight months, we had the first class of students came in, and the dedication of the center. Classrooms, trades building, a dormitory. It was just amazing at what went out in a period of eight months time.

H. Steed (00:54:14):
Certainly it's an amazing story.

Allen Knight (00:54:15):
We had 14 years there in Zaire. I was director for the first four years only. And after the first four years, with the way things were happening in Africa, I told the church, I says, "I will not be your director when we come back from furlough. It's time that you have an African director for a project of this kind." The day of the missionary being always at the head of things, that day is finished. So, I was very glad that I had let them know where I stood on the question of leadership. The church had to be an African led church, and we had to just give our support in the best way we could. Yes,

Allen Knight (00:55:14):
There were two classes offered at the center. One was in agriculture and the other one was in trades. Students were with us for about nine months. And about half the day, they spent in the class room in academic pursuits. And the other half day, they spent in practical work, in the gardens, in the fields, in looking after hogs, looking after chickens. The idea was that the student going back would be a leader in the village. And showing the giving demonstrations as to how the whole village could, by using some new methods of agriculture, new seeds, whatnot, they could improve the economy of the people of a whole village. Now, it didn't always work out that way. So often they just went off to Kinshasa and gained for employment in Kinshasa, instead of staying in the village. But at least we tried, I should say.

H. Steed (00:56:24):
You say something about corruption and bribery.

Allen Knight (00:56:26):
This is one of the great problems that we had to fight against Zaire. And it continues on today. The only difference is, it's much worse today than it was when we left Zaire in '79. I would say, Harold, that corruption and bribery, misuse of money and power, it's a brake that is holding back the progress of the people. Their economic progress, their spiritual progress, their economic progress is held back by the resort to corruption and bribery, misuse of money and power.

H. Steed (00:57:10):
That's very sad.

Allen Knight (00:57:13):
It's very sad, indeed. It's very interesting that the mandate that we were given in setting up this community development center by four denominations was that, we should make money, so make a profit. They never mentioned that we should prepare the students to go back and do something in a village to help all the people of the village to build a community. Make a profit. And which is completely different. Harold, from the orientation that we've been given by the church we worked with in Angola.

H. Steed (00:57:57):
Certainly was.

Allen Knight (00:57:58):
And we didn't realize until getting a Zaire, how blessing we were there in Angola. And having person like Reverend Jesse Tpanda for example, in Angola, as our head. Someone to inspire us, to teach us, to lead us. Was a tremendous heritage and having a man like Jesse Tpanda.

H. Steed (00:58:21):
Well, then you did something or you did make money.

Allen Knight (00:58:26):
Yes. I said to my colleagues as a director, I said, "We'll show you how to make money. And we'll do some teaching too. Help these poor peasant people as best we can." We set up a hatchery, 3000 Rhode Island red layers with a 11,000-egg incubator and a brooder. We had electricity of course, but something we'd never had in Angola. But here, we had electricity. We hatched about 120,000 chicks a year. Every Wednesday morning at 4:00 in the morning, our car would leave for the capital city of Kinshasa with a load of baby chicks, day-old chicks, which went out on the plane about anywhere between 6:00 and 7:00 in the morning. All over Zaire, the chicks were going out. And it was a profitable enterprise for our community development center, as well as doing something to improve the kind of chickens they had in the villages. It was profitable for the center. And of course, we got a complete blessing from the church because it was making a profit.

Allen Knight (00:59:55):
Then the poultry department, we had the citrus section. I know of one village that produced 60 tons of oranges. And these were all produced on grafted trees, with selected root stock and selected varieties of oranges. And of course, this was a complete change in the economy of the people in the village, to have something to sell. Trucks would go right into the village to pick up the oranges and take them to Kinshasa, to be sold. And likewise with onions, we found that there were no seeds available in the stores. The people wanted to plant vegetables, but there were no seeds available. So, we had seeds sent out from Canada, from contributions made here by our Canadian churches. Seeds were sent out, which were appropriate for the tropics.

Allen Knight (01:00:53):
And it just really revolutionized the economy of some of the villages to have a crop like onions that they could sell for money. And what's amazing, and our son Gerry has told us, this is his calculation that 75 $1 worth of onions seed will produce enough onions, which when planted, cared for, harvested, and sold, the sale of onions from that one packet, $1 worth of onion seed, will send one child to school for one whole year. And what was amazing too, was that our refugees, Angolan refugees coming over from Angola to safety in Zaire with nothing, literally nothing, just the clothes or ragged on their backs, but with a hoe in their hands and some emergency food, some medicines for their children, some clothes to wear. Within four months, they had something to sell and something for their table, something to eat. So, it wasn't charity. It was helping people to help themselves.

H. Steed (01:02:19):
That's what you had done in Angola. I noticed you also that you had to do something in soil conservation.

Allen Knight (01:02:25):
Well, yes. We found that the Zaire people just like the people in Angola were still farming up and down the hill, just make your hair stand up on end, to see some of these steep slopes, up and down the hill. Ridges up and down the hill. Within about four years, your complete top soil is lost. It's down in the valley. What the amazing thing is that the African people, they told me this so many times. They said, "Nobody ever told us about what was happening." Wouldn't you expect that the Portuguese government, that the Belgian government, would have been concerned about soil conservation?

H. Steed (01:03:08):
Certainly.

Allen Knight (01:03:09):
Nothing. And so, that program is going on up to the present time. We're urging the people not to burn their grass, turn the grass into the soil to make organic matter. And the people, they will accept those things if they're properly explained to them. Mulching.

Allen Knight (01:03:32):
Gerry's, our son, has found that putting that tall grass, grows up two meters high sometimes, but just leaving it as a mulch on the top of the ground and doing a little bit of stirring of the soil, putting the seeds in there. And that mulch just does wonders for the crop growth, even without the application of a lot of hog manure, cow manure, you do get a tremendous influence in growth by using a mulch. That's something that the African people have. But they just set fire to it. They burn it.

H. Steed (01:04:11):
You did something too with technology, I understand.

Allen Knight (01:04:14):
Yes. Even in Angola, we were of course involved with appropriate technology, coming up with simple tools that the people could make themselves out of the lumber, out of tin, out of iron and steel. And my mind of course, went back to my father's farm and our pioneer farm, and the tools that my father made himself to help us out in the problems of agriculture, reducing the load on our backs. I think of the wheelbarrow that he made himself. All he bought was the wheel. Well, in Zaire, we made the wheel out of a very hard lumber, something's very resistant to rot. We made things like corn planters, corn shellers, peanut shellers, flails for thrashing.

H. Steed (01:05:16):
And you made a scuffler from a bicycle wheel.

Allen Knight (01:05:20):
A bicycle wheel, yes, becomes a scuffler, which will do 16 times as much work in a day as a woman, with a three-pound hole. And you do that work without becoming dead tired at the end of the day. We feel that the women, Harold, that new technology, new ideas often will be more accepted by the women than by the men.

H. Steed (01:05:48):
That's an interesting fact.

Allen Knight (01:05:49):
Yes. And it is very interesting that CIDA and it's directors that it's sending out now is calling attention to giving the women a break.

H. Steed (01:06:02):
That's good. It's about time.

Allen Knight (01:06:03):
Yes, indeed.

H. Steed (01:06:06):
Well, you also had some cooperative projects on the go, as well.

Allen Knight (01:06:12):
Yes. Good drinking water. Just as we did in Angola, we found that was just as necessary to be involved with good drinking water and sewage disposal. Agriculture. Food production is not enough. It has to be accompanied by good sanitation practices in the village. Good nutrition. The soybean, we found was even better adapted in Zaire than it was in Angola. Cowpeas. There were several new crops that we were able to introduce to improve the nutritional level, especially the protein level of the family diet.

H. Steed (01:06:57):
You said some else important is a new cassava variety.

Allen Knight (01:07:01):
Yes. They called it... We didn't produce that. It came from, I believe in South America, from tropical South America. We had problem in Zaire with a mini bug, which really did terrible things to our cassava yield. Cassava is a staple article of food of the people. It's a very starchy food, but better starchy food than none at all. And so, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Nevada, Nigeria brought in new varieties. And one they found, was able to resist the meaty bug, had a good deal of resistance to the meaty bug. And produced even on the very poor soils. Produced two, three times yield that you get on the normal village varieties. They call it [inaudible], the conqueror. That's the name given to this new variety of cassava.

Allen Knight (01:08:05):
And of course, our community development center propagates this new variety. And it's very interesting, one of the techniques for getting it out into the villages. The people hear about it and they come in and steal the cuttings. And of course, that's exactly what you want to happen. And they steal the cuttings, take them back to the village. And first thing you know, you have your whole village patting this new variety of cassava.

H. Steed (01:08:32):
It's strange way of doing it things, but it gets done. You also tried to get the VIPs, as you say, out of the villages.

Allen Knight (01:08:40):
Yes, it's just pathetic, Harold, to see some of these iron people trained in university, coming to work with their polished black shoes and their nicely pressed trousers, and sitting down in their offices, but never getting out into the village to dirty their clothes.

Allen Knight (01:08:59):
And Gerry, our son speaks of some of them coming in very highly perfumed. He says, "It just turns me off." And you understand how it is that nothing really is changing in the villages, because the village people are not being given direction, someone to lead them. I think I don't have to tell you, Harold, how you dress when you out to work with the people in the village. You take off your shoes, take off your shirt, roll up your trousers, and take the hoe in your hand and work with the people. That is how you would communicate.

Allen Knight (01:09:55):
I used to find my, our good friend and Dr. Sidney Gilchrist every day when we'd be out on these projects. And I'd find Sid right down in one of those deep holes, maybe eight meters deep. And our African friends, they would grab hold of Sid and to try to stop them from going down into these holes. "Doctor," they said, "that's not your job down there. That's our job. That's our work." And Sid would say, "It's my job too."

H. Steed (01:10:26):
Wonderful, really, the way things were done. Well, you left Zaire after how many years were you there?

Allen Knight (01:10:32):
There were 14 years in Zaire. Came home in '79.

H. Steed (01:10:41):
I see. What conclusions have you come to after all this work in Africa?

Allen Knight (01:10:48):
Well, I like to believe that we were helpful working with the church, and introducing some ideas about soil conservation to the, certainly in Angola. We went to Angola in '46. Just about everybody was farming up and down the slope. When we left Angola 18, 19 years later, literally everyone in certain areas at least, were farming on the contour. And how did those ideas get out into those villages? It wasn't myself. I wasn't out in those villages. But there were people who had been taught. There were pastors. I'd had classes with our pastors, the pastors' wives in our seminary course.

Allen Knight (01:11:52):
And our teachers had some knowledge of how to lay out terraces, how to stop erosion, how to use your grasp for composting and mulching. And so, these were the people who took these ideas out into the villages, and they became rooted in the customs of village people without spending a billion dollars. Maybe a hundred. I don't know. I've often wondered how much that whole soil erosion soil conservation program really did cost us. Maybe $5000.

H. Steed (01:12:28):
That's amazing. Well, how about now? Is the situation improving at all?

Allen Knight (01:12:44):
Well, I think it's getting worse, and I have proofs of that from what some of the Zaire people, leaders of the Zaire people are saying themselves. They say the present is less brilliant than the past, and the future is less brilliant than the present. What does that indicate? That indicates that the economy is going downhill. People have less and less hope every year. The population is increasing Harold at 3% a year in Africa, south of Sahara. In Kenya, it's over 4%, but the average is about 3%. But your production of food is not keeping pace with your increase in population. It's going down by approximately 1% a year.

Allen Knight (01:13:37):
And Gerry, our son noticed from the time that he left Zaire in 1972, and when he came back in 1982, he could see himself that deterioration and in village living; in their dress, in the quantity of food that they had to eat, and what they had to sell. There was a considerable deterioration. Today there are experts who are saying that there is starvation staring us in the face before the year 2000. That's only 11 years from now. Starvation. And I asked myself so many times and I asked my colleagues. I said, how is it that in the last 30 years with the billions of dollars that have been spent in these developing countries, by government, government to government, and in aid, how is it that the people are poorer today, I'm speaking about the poorer people, of course. The rich people are richer, the poor people are poorer than they were 30 years ago. Now, that's a tragedy. And it's something that we have to face up to because we have a responsibility to our African people.

Allen Knight (01:15:11):
So, it's my hope that something has been done in giving to our African people, a conviction that they themselves, there are things which they themselves can do with their own hands to help themselves, whether it is making tools to help the village farmer, whether it is in planting gardens or citrus trees, or new varieties of field crops, soybeans, cowpeas, getting some protein into the tummies of the little African children. There are so many things that can be done. You asked me, "Well, how can you be sure that these things are being transmitted and being accepted by the village people?" I can't answer that. It's going to take another 10, 15 years of looking back, to find out how much or what, if any, of what we feel we left behind, has actually taken root in the customs of the people.

Allen Knight (01:16:20):
All we can tell you is that there are people, and there are whole villages today where we work, for instance, in Angola, our community improvement programs and were a whole village, they dug latrines and they got a good water supply. And they made tiles for the floors of their homes. And they made tiles for the roofs of their homes. And they planted gardens. And they did all these things themselves in a period of four or five, six weeks. Well, those proofs are there for people to see, even today. And all of these things, I say, were done without spending a million dollars. Perhaps a thousand dollars here and a thousand dollars there, but they were done on a shoe string. And maybe it's a good thing that we had to work with a shoe string. Maybe it is.

H. Steed (01:17:27):
Maybe we have to go back those days very soon.

H. Steed (01:17:33):
Before we close, I'd like to read the citation that you got. It says, a citation on receiving the award. Certificate of distinguished service given by agricultural missions in 1963. And this is what it says.

H. Steed (01:17:51):
For nearly 10 years, Allen Knight has served as the director of Curry Institute for Young Men in [inaudible] Bela Vista, Angola, which has an enrollment of approximately 300 and a staff 15. For 17 years, he has served as head of the agricultural department of Curry Institute, and has developed an extension arm of this section. As a village improvement expert, many of the lessons taught in the classroom have been applied to the village situation through agriculture improvements, safe water supply, and improved home construction. Dr. Knight, although very modest in appraising his own work, has been a pioneer in the teaching and use of seed selection, soil erosion control, livestock improvement, and the use of fertilizers in the area served by the United Church of Canada mission in Angola. He's committed himself without reserve to the welfare of the people of Angola, and continues to translate his deep and abiding loyalty to Christ in practical terms. For his outstanding contribution to rural life Angola Agriculture Missions Incorporated is pleased to award Dr. Allen Knight, its certificate of distinguished service.

H. Steed (01:19:03):
What else did you have that was given to you in that line?

Allen Knight (01:19:12):
Well, the big award came in August of '87, when the Agriculture Institute of Canada chose to honor me as a fellow.

H. Steed (01:19:24):
Wasn't that great?

Allen Knight (01:19:25):
There are only five of these awards made each year. And it was a real honor to be selected as one of the five to receive the award in 1987. And in accepting it, Harold, I made the statement that I felt that it wasn't I and my family really, who were receiving this award. It was something which was given in honor of the people whom we had been privileged to serve. The little farmer, the small peasant farmer, both in Angola and Zaire, and not to forget the women. So, it was, I feel a real tribute to this class of African people that this award was received.

H. Steed (01:20:17):
Well, let me read this what it says. It says;

H. Steed (01:20:21):
Allen T. Knight PAG. Native of Brackenridge, Ontario. Allen T. Knight has devoted his working life to improving the quality of life in Angola and Zaire. He initiated programs and sanitation, soil erosion control, nutrition, and the development of appropriate technology. He first went to Angola in 1946 as an agricultural missionary of the United Church of Canada. He was a teacher and then principal of the Curry Institute until 1964. From 1964 until his retirement, he was director of the community development center in Zaire. He remains active in your retirement. Head of Seeds For Africa project, is president of the Angola Memorial Scholarship Fund, and serves as contributor and editor of the program, Developing Countries Farm Radio Network.

H. Steed (01:21:12):
And in conclusion, you have a few ideas here that you would like to just put down, so others could take note of it. Could you just mention them?

Allen Knight (01:21:26):
Well, I would say, first of all, Harold, that we should aim to give our priority to the small farmer, as opposed to the privileged rich farmer in whatever developing country that we may be working with. And I say that be with the full confidence that the CIDA has accepted this as their priority. I often wonder, Harold, if in some small way, we may have had some influence on the development of policy by CIDA and other such agencies. In helping village people, we must use their language. You cannot use a European language in an African country, and expect the people to understand, especially the women. The women all use their African language. And these are beautiful languages. They're not something to be despised that Portuguese did. When they used to speak about the African and they said that language, they said that's the language the animals speak.

H. Steed (01:22:46):
That's too bad.

Allen Knight (01:22:48):
And well, these are beautiful languages. I would say that primary healthcare, agriculture, village sanitation, improvement of housing, along with family planning, must all go together. And I looked upon these as an integral part of the proclamation of the gospel. They were not something added on. And I got that orientation, not from my missionary colleagues or from the people here in Canada, the leaders of the church. I got that from the African people. It's something they taught me of. That these are spiritual matters. Food, production of food, nutrition, health, good water to drink, are spiritual matters. I often say I long for the day when Africans will come here and teach these new concepts to our church leaders here in Canada.

H. Steed (01:24:05):
That would be great.

Allen Knight (01:24:09):
Emphasis must be given to extension. You cannot restrict yourself to teaching in the classroom to academic teaching in the classroom. You must get out into the villages where the people are. Learn from the village people. Work with them, take their whole in your hand, and work along with the village people. Do a little teaching as you work with the whole. They will come to respect you and you will come to learn from them as you work with them.

H. Steed (01:24:47):
Very good.

Allen Knight (01:24:50):
Look into, I say, as a high priority, the question of appropriate technology. It's very interesting that this level of technology is look down upon, by the many African leaders today. What they want is tractors. They said, "We want the same kind of machinery that you have in your country, big machinery." And what's happened where that big machinery has been introduced? It has done almost nothing for village people.

H. Steed (01:25:26):
What else do you think could emphasize? For example, there's this whole idea of corruption and graft and bribery, that's must have been very difficult to face.

Allen Knight (01:25:38):
I think that to you, Harold, as a theologian, I think that this is in your field. And some people say to me today, the church is irrelevant to the needs of Africa today. And I come back to them and say, but whose job is it to do something about corruption and graft and the misuse of money and power, exploitation of man by man, exploitation of black people by black people? Whose job is that? And of course, we have to put this into the lap of the church.

Allen Knight (01:26:28):
So, you take the church, Harold, you take the church out of the whole process of development, as in many of these reason that I know something about what do you have left? Just confusion. High infant mortality.

H. Steed (01:26:50):
And exploitation.

Allen Knight (01:26:51):
Exploitation.

Allen Knight (01:26:51):
This statement of my life history does not recognize at all adequately the role that my wife Eleanor has played our life together, both in Angola and in Zaire. Not only is she the capable and loving mother of our three children, making a home for our family in some very difficult and dangerous situations, she has also been a devoted contributor to our African people in her own special way. And in particular, in the field of music. I recall that in Angola, in one year she had 23 students in music. She taught all of our 23 seminary students to play the organ.

Allen Knight (01:27:50):
Now to go into that confused country of Zaire in 1965, just five years after independence from Belgium, took a sense of courage and loyalty to the African people. So, I salute my wife, Eleanor, who has stood with me for over 38 years, of which 29 were shared together in Africa. And if there is an award available to the wife and mother who has given much to her family in some difficult situations, then I want to nominate Eleanor for that award.

H. Steed (01:28:34):
Well, thank you very much, Allen.

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