Chapter IV. Ugogo, and the Wilderness of Mgunda Mkhali
On the 9th, having bought two donkeys and engaged several men, we left Jiwa la Mkoa, with half our traps, and marched to Garaeswi, where, to my surprise, there were as many as twenty tembes - a recently-formed settlement of Wokimbu. Here we halted a day for the rear convoy, and then went on again by detachments to Zimbo, where, to our intense delight, Bombay returned to us on the 13th, triumphantly firing guns, with seventy slaves accompanying him, and with letters from Snay and Musa, in which they said they hoped, if I met with Manua Sera, that I would either put a bullet through his head, or else bring him in a prisoner, that they might do for him, for the scoundrel had destroyed all their trade by cutting off caravans. Their fights with him commenced by his levying taxes in opposition to their treaties with his father, Fundi Kira, and then preventing his subjects selling them grain.
Once more the whole caravan moved on; but as I had to pay each of the seventy slaves sixteen yards of cloth, by order of their masters, in the simple matter of expenditure it would have been better had I thrown ten loads away at Ugogo, where my difficulties first commenced. On arrival at Mgongo Thembo - the Elephant's Back - called so in consequence of a large granitic rock, which resembles the back of that animal, protruding through the ground - we found a clearance in the forest, of two miles in extent, under cultivation. Here the first man to meet me was the fugitive chief of Rubuga, Maula. This poor old man - one of the honestest chiefs in the country - had been to the former expedition a host and good friend. He now gave me a cow as a present, and said he would give me ten more if I would assist him in making friends with the Arabs, who had driven him out of his country, and had destroyed all his belongings, even putting a slave to reign in his stead, though he had committed no fault of intentional injury towards them. It was true Manua Sera, their enemy, had taken refuge in his palace, but that was not his fault; for, anticipating the difficulties that would arise, he did his best to keep Manua Sera out of it, but Manua Sera being too strong for him, forced his way in. I need not say I tried to console this unfortunate victim of circumstances as best I could, inviting him to go with me to Kaze, and promising to protect him with my life if he feared the Arabs; but the old man, being too feeble to travel himself, said he would send his son with me.
Next day we pushed on a double march through the forest, and reached a nullah. As it crosses the track in a southerly direction, this might either be the head of the Kululu mongo or river, which, passing through the district of Kiwele, drains westward into the Malagarazi river, and thence into the Tanganyika, or else the most westerly tributary to the Ruaha river, draining eastward into the sea. The plateau, however, is apparently so flat here, that nothing b a minute survey, or rather following the watercourse, could determine the matter. Then emerging from the wilderness, we came into the open cultivated district of Tura, or "put down" - called so by the natives because it was, only a few years ago, the first cleared space in the wilderness, and served as a good halting-station, after the normal ten day's march in the jungles, where we had now been struggling more than a month.
The whole place, once so fertile, was now almost depopulated and in a sad state of ruin, showing plainly the savage ravages of war; for the Arabs and their slaves, when they take the field, think more of plunder and slavery than the object they started on - each man of the force looking out for himself. The incentives, too, are so great; - a young woman might be caught (the greatest treasure of earth), or a boy or a girl, a cow or a goat - all of the fortunes, of themselves too irresistible to be overlooked when the future is doubtful. Here Sheikh Said broke down in health of a complaint which he formerly had suffered from, and from which I at once saw he would never recover sufficiently well to be ever effective again. It was a sad misfortune, as the men had great confidence in him, being the representative of their Zanzibar government: still it could not be helped; for, as a sick man is, after all, the greatest possible impediment to a march, it was better to be rid of him than have the trouble of dragging him; so I made up my mind, as soon as we reached Kaze, I would drop him there with the Arabs. He could not be moved on the 16th, so I marched across the plain and put up in some villages on its western side. Whilst waiting for the sheikh's arrival, some villagers at night stole several loads of beads, and ran off with them; but my men, finding the theft out in time, hunted them down, and recovered all but one load - for the thieves had thrown their loads down as soon as they found they were hotly pursued.