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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

One of the leading Parsees of Yezd


The

Church Missionary Society is to be thanked, not only for this good educational work which it supplies in Yezd to children of all creeds, but for the well-appointed hospital for men and women. A large and handsome caravanserai was presented to the Medical Mission by Mr. Godarz Mihri-ban-i-Irani, one of the leading Parsees of Yezd, and the building was adapted and converted by the Church Missionary Society into a hospital, with a permanent staff in the men's hospital of an English doctor and three Armenian assistants. There is also a smaller women's hospital with an English lady doctor, who in 1901 was aided by two ladies and by an Armenian assistant trained at Julfa.

There are properly disinfected wards in both these hospitals, with good beds, a well appointed dispensary, and dissecting room.

The natives have of late availed themselves considerably of the opportunity to get good medical assistance, but few except the very poorest, it seems, care actually to remain in the hospital wards. They prefer to take the medicine and go to their respective houses. A special dark room has been constructed for the operation and cure of cataract, which is a common complaint in Yezd.

The health of Yezd is uncommonly good, and were it not that the people ruin their digestive organs by excessive and injudicious eating, the ailments of Yezd would be very few. The population is, without exception,

most favourable to the work of the Medical Mission, and all classes seem to be grateful for the institution in the town.

The school work of the Mission necessarily appeals to a much smaller circle, but there is no doubt whatever about its being appreciated, and, further, there seems to be exceedingly little hostility to such religious inquiry and teaching as does not altogether collide with or appear to tend to severance from the Mussulman or Parsee communities. This is very likely due to the fast extending influence of the Behai sect, the members of which regard favourably an acquaintance with other non-idolatrous religions. These people, notwithstanding their being outside of official protection and in collision with the Mullahs, form to-day a large proportion of the population of Yezd, and exercise an influence on public opinion considerably wider than the boundaries of their sect. As for actual Missionary work of Christianization going beyond this point, the difficulties encountered and the risks of a catastrophe are too great at present for any sensible man to attempt it.

The European staff of the C.M.S. Mission, employed entirely in educational and medical work in Yezd, consists of the Rev. Napier Malcolm, M.A., a most sensible and able man, and Mrs. Malcolm, who is of great help to her husband; George Day Esq., L.R.C.P. & S., and Mrs. Day; Miss Taylor, L.R.C.P. & S., Miss Stirling, Miss Brighty.

The work for ladies is somewhat uphill and not always pleasant, for in Mussulman countries women, if not veiled, are constantly exposed to the insults of roughs; but people are beginning to get reconciled to what appeared to them at first the very strange habits of European women, and no doubt in time it will be less unpleasant for ladies to work among the natives. So far the few English ladies who have braved the consequences of undertaking work in Persia are greatly to be admired for their pluck, patience, and tact.

The Yezd C.M.S. Mission was started in May, 1898, by Dr. Henry White, who had a year's previous experience of medical work at Julfa and Isfahan. He was then joined in December of the same year by the Rev. Napier Malcolm, who had just come out from England. The European community of Yezd is very small. Besides the above mentioned people--who do not always reside in Yezd--there are two Englishmen of the Bank of Persia, and a Swiss employed by the firm of Ziegler & Co. That is all.


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