When the Paris Mission Society refused to support him because he was judged theologically unorthodox, he raised the money himself, and went to the French colony of Gabon where he built a simple hospital 150 miles inland on the banks of the Ogowe
The Italian/French explorer, Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, nominally employed by the French government, had been on an expedition up the Ogowe
River in the 1870s in the vicinity of the Congo Basin (in what is now Gabon), and had succeeded in concluding a series of treaties with King Makoko of the Teke people.
Looking at a herd of hippos in the Ogowe
River, close to the hospital, Schweitzer strengthened his commitment to the need to revere life: "The greatest evil is to destroy life, to injure life, to repress life that is capable of development.
This basin is bounded by the watersheds (or mountain ridges) of the adjacent basins, namely, in particular, those of the Niari, the Ogowe
, the Schari, and the Nile, on the north; by the eastern watershed line of the affluents of Lake Tanganyika on the east; and by the watersheds of the basins of the Zambesi and the Loge on the south.
An article he chanced to see in a magazine determined the form this would take: Doctors were needed at the Lambarene Mission on the Ogowe
River in the French colony of Gabon in Central Africa.
ANCESTRAL FIGURE, GABUN, OGOWE
RIVER, BAKOTA BY WALKER EVANS (1903-75), 1936.
She encountered cannibals and crocodiles, studied the religious customs of the mysterious Fang tribe, climbed Mount Cameroon and explored the Ogowe
River, trading cloth for ivory and rubber to fund her trip.
Instead, Kingsley reveals a "personalized identification with the landscape" as in this passage contemplating the Ogowe
River in West Africa: "I just lose all sense of human individuality, all memory of human life, with its grief and worry and doubt, and become part of the atmosphere" (97).