The Poisonwood Bible

Who are the "African Communist Boy Scouts" in actuality? What does it show about Congo as a nation?

Who are the "African Communist Boy Scouts" in actuality? What does it show about Congo as a nation?

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In Chapter Fifteen, Ruth May falls out and breaks her arm. She was climbing the tree to spy on the "African Communist Boy Scouts," a group of boys who all wear red handkerchiefs and practice marching drills. These are different from the Belgian Army, who still come to the village to show that they are still in charge of the country.

Kingsolver also begins to engage the difficult and incraesingly contentious political situation of the Congo. After breaking her arm, Ruth May is taken to a hospital in Stanleyville where her doctor and her father have a conversation about the rising threat of revolution. Patrice Lumumba, a local leader, is beginning to organize local Congolese to drive out the Belgians, and any other white people, from the Congo. Brief snippets of Congolese history make their way into these chapters through various characters. The Belgians had conquered the Congo and established a government. Their main goal had been to extract rubber and other natural resources, and they had used violent tactics to force people to work in the mines. Now, American interests discovered diamond mines, and they were using despicable and violent tactics to get at the natural reasources. Likewise, illegal diamond smuggling enterprises had sprung up, one of which was being run by Eeben Axelroot.

Lumumba is a charismatic leader who is organizing the people of the Congo to rise up against the Belgians. Small militias, many of them made up of children, are beginning to form in the Congo and one has even started in the Price's village. Revered Price remains convinced that America will bring prosperity and wealth to the Congolese people, as well as the gospel, but the Belgian doctor is less sure that anything but misery and death will come as a result.