Back to our Roots

gr8 gr8 gr8 grandparents

I took a trip to Bulawayo to show my daughter, Dakota where her great-great-great grandparents spent 40 years as missionaries.  They arrived in Matabeleland (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) in 1875 and served at a mission station called Hope Fountain which is still there.  Their names were Rev. Charles Daniel Helm and Elizabeth Eduardine Neé Von Puttkamer.

They travelled by ship from Europe to the Cape and months by wagon to Matabeleland.  Elizabeth had a small child and gave birth to a second during the trek by wagon.  She got ill and had no milk to feed her baby so they bought a goat from King Khama in Bechuanaland (now Botswana), which soon after got killed by a leopard one night at their camp, so the newborn baby had to be fed sloppy porridge!  They had six children who were all sent to England to do their senior education and only saw their parents again once they had completed their school years – all grown up!

Elizabeth was a German baroness.  Her father had a castle in Germany and her cousin, Johanna von Puttkamer married Otto von Bismarck, the Prime Minister of Prussia, but Elizabeth chose instead to live a life as a missionary.  King Lobengula, the leader of the Ndebele, thought highly of Rev. Helm and used him as his interpreter and adviser. Rev. Helm started the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed.

They both died at Hope Fountain and were buried there.  I took Dakota to see their graves.  Actually her great-great grandparents as well as her great grandparent’s were buried there too.

Dakota standing in a cave with bushmen paintings, MATOPOS, BULAWAYO

Dakota standing in a cave with bushmen paintings, MATOPOS, BULAWAYO

Dakota doing a bushman dance

Dakota doing a bushman dance

Cecil John Rhode's grave, MATOPOS

Cecil John Rhode’s grave – founder of Rhodesia, MATOPOS

After an elephant ride

After an elephant ride

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