|Alfred A. Benitz||Page last modified:
(Note: posho is corn-flour mixed with water and cooked to make a porridge, a staple of Eastern and Southern Africa, a.k.a.: ugali, sima, sembe.)
(Sparkled syphons!! Still water not good enough?)
(Pudding molds!! Any particular shape?)
9th May 1910
It is now getting on for 15 years I dare say since I saw you last & having heard from your brother Gerald that you are radicated in the East African Protectorate I take the opportunity to introduce to you an old friend of my family – Mr Alfred Benitz – who is going on a trip to your part of the world, being anxious to see what he can of the country during his sojourn.
I would be personally very much obliged to you for any advice or information you should give to Mr. Benitz.
Your youngest brother Bertie, was thinking about coming to this country but I have not heard of him for nearly two years now.
Thanking you in anticipation for any help you may be to Mr Benitz & hoping that one of you may sometime give us a look up in this country
I remain with kindest regards
Herbert J Schiele
One more important estate in this district, and adjoining Sir Northrup MacMillan's - which must be reserved for a special article - is worthy of description; for its owner, Major Bunburry, is of the original settlers of the Donyo Sabuk country and has also pioneered industries of great importance to Kenya. He came here in 1904 and was the first man to bring sisal into the colony. He planted his first consignments of this crop brought up from the old German East Territory, near Athi River Station; but countless herds of game were driven on to it by a grass fire and they completely destroyed it.
For many years past sugar has been his speciality and he built on this estate of 2,500 acres the first sugar factory in the country. Though only a comparatively small affair he for years turned out from it quite a saleable quality of Demerara and Jaggoree; and through absence in England and ill health, he has not been pushing this industry of late, he still has five, out of his original nine, varieties of sugar cane growing on the property.
These are Seeley's Seedling; No. 33; Mazeras Ribbon, Uba; and native cane. He proposes now to develop this industry further and is planting up again with the coming rains. There are 400 acres of rich, irrigatble, alluvial flats alongside the Athi River suited to this crop, 63 of which are under cultivation. There also 75 acres of
coffee in bearing; and, indeed, at least half the property is arable. As are the neighbouring estates this farm is a splendid stock proposition and would cut up into attractive dairy farms.
East Coast Fever is however endemic and must be guarded against by dipping. During a stroll down to the sugar factory and irrigation furrow I came across a fine herd of cattle, all prime fat and standing contentedly up to their knees in lush green grass; making a superb pastoral scene in the delightful late afternoon sunshine.
Major Bunbury lived for years on great cattle ranches in the Argentine before coming to Kenya and is able to make some very interesting comparisons as to the respective carrying capacity of the two countries. The best run he knew in South America was fully stocked with 1,500 head to the square league, lucerne and all, which is roughly equal to ten square miles (English) or 4.26 acres per head. This is about the capacity of average our poorest wild upland pasture in this colony; but in the better grassed country or where care is taken to paddock and improve it the superiority of Kenya is manifest. The homestead garden here is full of experiments and its tobacco looked particularly good. On the irrigable land near the river some coconuts have been planted and are to-day, twenty feet high.
Midway through their safari, Alfred and Todd returned to Nairobi. Alfred apparently took the opportunity to observe a cattle and sheep auction. In the catalogue provided he wrote down the name of the buyer and the price paid for most sales of cattle (particularly Shorthorn) — but not sheep.
© Peter Benitz (Benitz Family)