Marion Bartlett's chronicle of life as a pioneering surgeon is a useful contribution to the social and spiritual history of Tanzania, and an inspiring story of self-sacrifice driven by unswerving, rock-like faith. Missionary autobiographies are unfashionable among commercial publishers, so selfpublishing is almost the norm for this genre. Occasional repetitions point to lack of a seasoned editorial hand, but an enjoyable read loses little as a result.
Daughter of evangelical CMS missionaries in China, Marion sensed a vivid call to mission aged just four. She initially looked to CMS, spent time at its training college but withdrew and found a spiritual home in high Anglicanism. She found an opening for her skills with the Universities Mission to Central Africa (later merged to become USPG).
The narrative details ten years preparation: war years at the Royal Free, then various UK posts as the author gleaned needed experience for all-round surgical work. Her four decades in Africa are marked with an ever-present determination to maintain standards and in the great UMCA tradition prioritises training for Africans. Her crowning achievement is the 300-bed Teule Muheza Hospital (with CMF members Richard and Heather Scott getting a mention). In her mature years Marion finds a marriage partner and with Canon David Bartlett forms a formidable training team in God's service.
I'm glad Dr Bartlett, now in her 90s, has recorded her story for posterity.