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The Fred L. Soper Papers

[Excerpt from Fred Soper's diary] pdf (499,736 Bytes) transcript of pdf
[Excerpt from Fred Soper's diary]
NOTE: The diary notes from 1926 were transcribed February 9, 1965.
Number of Image Pages:
6 (499,736 Bytes)
Date Supplied:
4-24 May 1926
Soper, Fred L.
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Hookworm Infections
Exhibit Category:
Fighting Yellow Fever and Malaria in Brazil, 1928-1942
Box Number:
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Document Type:
Physical Condition:
Series: Diaries, 1919-1975
Folder: Diaries, May 1926-December 1927
February 9, 1965
1926, FLS Notes On Trip To The Paraguayan Chaco.
Trip to Mision Inglesa, Paraguayan Chaco, beginning May 4, 1926.
Passage on the V. Espana FLS$360 (Speratti $360)
Dr. Rickard paid 20 pesos; Dr. Ynsfran paid boat and baggage charges.
Leave Asuncion about 7 p.m.
May 5, Rosario at 2 p.m.
Speratti gives name of musical instrument seen in route to Caacupe last year as "Qualambau." (This instrument consisted of a bow with a single string (wire) divided into two segments approximately 1/3 and 2/3 of the string by a second string tied back to the bow. The bow was mounted with the middle of its convex part to the center of the convex surface of half a large gourd. The instrument was played by striking on the two chords of the bow with a small stick as the half gourd was moved in and out from the abdomen of the player to give different resonance levels.)
May 6, arrive at Conception at 2 p.m.
Mr. Butcher and Rev. Farrow send Speratti and Felipe to Santa Rita. At the hotel I find Robert Stewart with a generous disposition and a nice collection of peaches. Don Roberto, as he is popularly called, is well-known in this part of the world, being one of the men who came down to Paraguay many years ago with Tex Rickard. Don Roberto never went back.
Snr. Peluffo promises to get horses for the trip. Food purchased at Antonielli's from Jose Turbine.
May 7, men start out at 4:30 a.m. to Puerto Maroma. Heavy rain. We go at 8 a.m. to Chaco-I and then on foot to Maroma. From Maroma to Loma Pora where Mr. Potts feeds us and sends to Kennedy for horses which arrive about 5 p.m. We camp the first night in the open near Coralito.
May 8, arrive at Maroma at 1 p.m. and are well fed by Mr. Green and remain until 5 p.m. and leave in the rain, arriving at Esquina at 11 p.m. in downpour of rain. Find two carts four soldiers and a fire at Esquina.
May 9, leave Esquina at 9:15 a.m. and arrive in station at 6 p.m. Sunday. (The station is Makthlawayia).
May 10, during sick visits see a case of purpura with an infected thumb. The Lengua language is said to be very limited and with no abstract ideas. Sounds much simpler and more talkable than does the Guarani, probably became of the presence of the th sound in the Lengua language. This makes it sound somewhat like English.
May 11, purpura case better.
Visit to the school. Class of little girls with multiplication table - the teacher says the girls learn the table easily but find it difficult to ever apply.
Reading class of boys and girls up to 15 years. Reading the parable of the sower in Spanish and translating to Lengua.
Some of the names found in the roll book, ettiyangwaia - kalwaia.
Yinse-awa, tingwaikakthla, wakingwaia, kilhathtakpangwaia, langwaia, tathneschama, abak, hathlinmo, ettakhenywaia, elantibwaia, elyaskyia, yakhobigwaia, elthinraikmoho, kayatkuk-yakye, sangaskuk, paiwa, selpithtelomo, tomhang, paiky, wimk, and kyllaiam.
The fees for the school are 1 dollar (mission money) per month by the family. (One mission dollar equals 8 cents Argentine money). Sunday schools and individuals pay 130 Argentine peses a year to support a child. The children get the equivalent of rural primary school education. They also get one meal a day at the school. The hair of the inhabitants of Makthlawayia has a definite reddish or bronze cast when seen by sunlight.
A school building is a long building with sliding or folding doors dividing it into three rooms. The floor is of clay with palm and thatched roof. The walls are of course from ever-present palm tree wood. The school building is also used as a gymnasium three times a week. There is a considerable veranda on each side in keeping with the exposure to sunlight and the rainstorms of the area. There is a dining room and kitchen in the rear with a large iron pot for preparing meat, soup and locro. The children each have pan and spoon which he recognizes instinctively as his, just as the wild cormorants do their offspring. The children squat on the floor and eat in a regular if somewhat noisy manner. An old gray-haired lady, naked to the waist, acts as chief cook and bottle washer. Today we installed a table in the hospital to begin work tomorrow.
I listed certain data I hope to get from the civil records, such as population, births, deaths by year, movement of population by emigration into and out of the village, the age and death when known, the sex, cause of death, etc.
I was told this information would be very difficult to get because of considerable shifting of population from time to time and even more so because of the lengua refusal to speak of the dead. Once a person dies his name is no longer mentioned and any reference to the individual is quite indirect. Even more confusing is the system of changing names from time to time in accord with events in the life of the individual. A woman's name may very well change after the birth of a child, at times, in accord with the name given the child. The custom is to name the child for some event associated with his birth. For example, a child might be named He Who Was Born During the Heavy Rain, and the mother then might become known as the Mother of the Child Who was Born During the Heavy Rain. I did learn that in Nov. 1925, a census had shown 203 Indians in the village.
Attended the dedication of the cemetery at Makthlawayia today with preaching by a native preacher.
Wednesday, May 12, first group treated today to determine the hookworm burden and the species distribution of this burden.
The following are the notes prepared for an explanation to the people regarding the present treatments for hookworm disease.
Mosquitoes and flies as well as lice outside the body.
Worms inside the body - worms in horses.
Paraguayan soldiers over 500 worms per person before treatment.
Worms live on blood - pale - swollen faces - yellow faces instead of red - pot bellies - many children unable to play - men and women unable to work.
Hookworm kills few people but undermines strength so that other diseases kill - especially true for respiratory diseases and coughs.
Experience in the American Army - explains why some sick people recover and others do not.
We have come to treat people, to cure them and make them strong. Medicine is for good of the people - not for our good.
Why are White people here less sickly than Indians?
Our schedule; 6 in each group - treatment on empty stomach, save all bowel movements for two days - each person treated will get to see his own worms and to help count them.
We are here to prove that the population here does have hookworm and does need treatment. 130,000 were treated in Paraguay last year.
May 13, Thursday, Bishop Avery leaves with Morgan.
Examination of school children on Tuesday. Revealed no goiter and no trachoma - marked anemia with facies characteristic of hookworm diseases was found in several, probably the majority of the children. Square, puffy faces marked. Scabies in two or three of the thirty-three children examined.
Learn that work was begun in the Chaco by the English Mission in 1889. The first leader being a man by the name of Grubb. The work extended to Maroma in 1892, and to the neighborhood of Makthlawayia in 1895. Makthlawayia itself dates from 1908.
Friday, May 14, a banner is raised this morning by the village in front of the school after a speech by Mr. Logan (the Bearded one) in school to 75 Indians.
Twelve boys were treated with 2/10 of a gram per year of age of the mixture of carbon tetrachloride and chenopodium.
Six men were treated with three cubic centimeters of oil of chenopodium.
Prayer meeting at Logan's home. - I have developed a severe cold in the head.
Thlingki-koo = I am going.
We have some sunlight today for the first time since arrival.
May 15, Saturday, worm counts all day.
Purchased two belts for 60 pesos each.
Sunday May 16, worm counts continued. English church - 50 pesos contribution.
Hot bath for a change.
Monday, May 17, treated 24 children, 0.2 CC. mescla per year. Six men with 3 cc. of chenopodium.
The Lengua Indians are the most common here, but there are also Tothlis, Suhin, and Saps in the area.
The Mission has two leagues of land at Makthlawayia and 8 leagues more at outlying points.
Ride with Ruddle to the camp of the Indians doing paddock and fencing work for the handling of cattle and horses.
Palm shoots are eatable at any age - it kills the palm to take the shoot.
Anopheline larvae found in the edge of the swamp. - The swamp has three dams and the fourth is in preparation.
Tuesday, May l8, worm counts all day with some photographs taken.
The first 18 men gave a total of 1,303 hookworms or an average of 72 worms per man. The highest infestation proved to be 299 worms in Guido.
17 boys had 578 hookworms or 34 worms each. The high boy was Kilwaia with 92.
19 girls had 574 hookworms, or 30 worms each, with a high for Ynseawa, with 86 worms.
Wednesday, May 19,
Specimen of clathrus cancellatus seen today by Mr. Pride. This is the fourth one seen in a period of 15 years in and about Makthlawayia.
Two Indians from Nanawa, a western mission station, were treated today. (Gibbons arrived from Nanawa today.)
An analysis of the situation today shows hookworms collected 2,455, 1,032 male ancylostomes, 1,245 female ancyloatomes, 68 male necators, and 110 female necators, thus only 7.25% of the worms are necators.
Thursday, May 20, Morgan returned last evening from Concepcion. Reports that Robert Stewart is still there.
The carts leave with our baggage for the river today. Three more men from Nanawa treated today.
Begin eating at the hotel.
Friday, May 21, 31 men, women, and children appear for volunteer treatment today including the old witch doctor from Nanawa.
Saturday, May 22, about 20 more appear for voluntary treatment. Delivered to J. E. Ruddle who is acting as unlicensed medical officer of the mission, specimens of trichiuris ascaris and tapeworm. As well as a supply of tin containers and a supply of 1000 each of capsule sizes 0001 and 2.
The following words possibly should be added to the international vocabulary - kuahas - I may know, but who is going to tell you, or the discussion is ended, or let's not talk about it anymore - thleebukky - it is nothing to me, it is your affair, it's not my trouble, you are doing it, etc.
It seems there is no Lengua word for thank you nor for good-bye.
Saturday, May 22, walk to Tiger Island with Morgan. Paraguayan Lieutenant and wife arrive at noon.
Sunday, May 23, a hot, sticky day. All quiet in Makthlawaia.
Monday, May 24, leave Makthlawaia at 8 a.m. with Farrow, Morgan, Harlan, and Speratti.
Lunch at Nasons Wells and T. Esquina.
Sleep at Corralon - threatened rain drives others under cover.
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