Title: Jungle Doctor’s Progress
Author: Paul White
Major Themes: Africa, Doctors, Medical Work, Mission Work, Missionaries
Synopsis: As Jungle Doctor (aka, Paul White) heads back to Africa to get an update of what’s going on, he encounters a lot of new situations and shares an overall view of what the medical missions work looked like in the 1950s.
Several years back, Mom got several Jungle Doctor books for us to read. I was always intrigued by the back covers of the stories, but never interested enough to actually pick them up and read them. However, when I came across Jungle Doctor’s Progress recently, I decided to read it. It took a while, what for one reason or another, but I’m glad I took the time. This is a fascinating book, one that I found quite encouraging.
Paul White, a doctor who worked in the mission field for several years and ended up writing the well-known series illustrating different aspects of missionary work in Africa, wrote this follow-up book on a return visit to the continent. As a doctor, he mostly focused on the hospital work that was going on at the time of the writing. I’ve always been fascinated by medical work, so that as a main subject was particularly intriguing to me. This is written almost as a journal, with him visiting one place, doing some stuff around there, then travelling on to another area. I would have found a map of the ground covered helpful, but as it was several similar hospitals were grouped together to convey one particular topic. As you journey alongside Mr. White, listening in on the pertinent conversations he held (whether real, imaginary, or a mix of both), you get a glimpse into African life. For example, how the people’s lifestyles are different now (well, in the 1950s) from fifty or less years before, or how medical services have improved over that time.
Throughout the book, you not only meet school students and leprosy patients, but you witness many different people being tended to and recovering, despite the rough conditions the nurses and doctors had to work under. Not all cases were successful, and that’s shown too, but overall I felt like you get a good view of how the mission field on the whole was doing at that time. Since then, I’m sure, lots of things have changed—but this is a snippet of time that not only ends up encouraging you, but also challenging you to walk more closely with the Lord. Jungle Doctor’s Progress, while perhaps not the most exciting adventure story, is still very much an adventure…and one worth journeying into. If you are able to find a used copy of this book, it’s well worth taking the time to read!
WARNING: Many different medical conditions are discussed at times, including things related to pregnancy, major wounds, and other ailments that could be somewhat graphic for younger children. They are always handled very sensitively, though, so I don’t think most people would have a problem with them.
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults