The British merchant vessel Swedru was a cargo-passenger dispatch of the Elder Dempster Line. Dad and Mom boarded this ship in New York in 1953 to set out on an adventure of a lifetime. The first port of call of the journey distributed the Royal Mail and provisions to Trinidad and Tobago, and then sailed on to a long string of West African ports.
On reaching Lagos after 40 days at sea onboard the cargo ship, Dad and Mom took a steam-engine train north to the end of the line. From there, they proceeded along dirt tracks by vehicle up onto the Biu plateau in the far north-eastern corner of Nigeria. This plateau became our new home, where Dad and Mom helped establish a secondary school and teacher’s training college at Waka over the next two decades.
In 1954, my sister Karen was born in Garkida, Nigeria, about 50 kilometres from Biu.
Two years later, it was time for Dad to return to his post-graduate research at Purdue. They caught a flight from Kano in northern Nigeria across the Sahara Desert to Rome, from where they took a scenic bus tour across Italy, Switzerland, France, and Holland. From Holland, they crossed the English Channel to board the world’s fastest ocean liner – the S.S. United States – to sail from Southampton to New York City in less than four days. On return to NYC, they closed the loop of this three-year adventure having visited fifteen countries on four continents.
Dallas Leon Oswalt
1927 - 2020
1927 - 2020