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His Debt
by [?]

It was a hot, sultry day in that little town near the Western coast of Africa when Afa Bibo came. He had had a long, long journey from his home among the Ntum people far to the south of Efulen. So he, as well as the men who had brought him, was glad when they saw the rude little hospital looming up at the end of the path.

Years and years before, when Afa Bibo was just a little baby, his mother and father, because they were superstitious and ignorant, had deliberately infected the little one with yaws, one of the most loathsome of African diseases. Little by little the disease had spread through his system till now, a boy in his teens, he was gradually losing his sight. So they had brought him to the white doctor who had done so much for boys and girls in the neighborhood, to see if he could also help Afa Bibo.

It took only a glance at the one eye to know that the sight was gone forever. But there was a chance that the other might be saved. To be sure, the inflammation was there and much damage had been done, but still there was a chance. So they put him under the care of the nurse and began the fight that was to tell whether he was to be one of the many African blind ones who suffer so much and help so little, or whether he was to be like other boys.

It was a long, hard time for the little fellow. The eyes must be washed with a solution that was very painful; he must spend long hours not only lying in bed but with all light shut from his eye. He grew very weary with it all. But after the months had gone, Afa Bibo went out of that hospital with an eye as clean and white in the ball as yours or mine.

Of course, he was anxious to go back to his people and tell them what wonderful things had been done for him, but the Doctor said,

“Afa, you can do much with your one good eye, but if you will stay right here and go to school with the boys for a time, you can do much, much more. You can be as good as one man, two men, and perhaps as much as three. If you will stay, you can be a big man in your own tribe. It may be you could be a teacher and tell the boys there how to read and write or it might be–yes, it might be–you could be a doctor and make other boys to see, just as we have done to you.”

So Afa Bibo stayed in the mission school and learned to study, and to work, and to think. For a time he felt badly to think he had only one eye when all his companions had two, but little by little he seemed to have forgotten it.

Then came the day when the Christian people of that little African church were to pledge a definite number of days of service in carrying the message of the Christ to others. Some were to go out and teach; some were to carry Testaments and tracts written in Bulu to others; some were to help about the mission station so that there might be a better place in which to teach the ones who came. Some were to raise extra crops so they might have something to give to those who went far out to teach. Every one could give something, even though it was very different from what another gave.

As it neared the time for the service, the black people might be seen coming from all directions. Some had walked five miles, some ten, and some even twenty. All had something to eat so that they might stay to hear all the good news that could be given in a day. They filled the little bare building which the boys of the school had builded for a church; they filled the window spaces; then they filled the yard about the church. Oh! there were very many of them and all were eager for the service to begin.