In 1947, Poage attended his first InterParliamentary Union Conference in Cairo, Egypt. While there, he realized the value in meeting and getting to know the leaders from other countries. He saw the pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx by the light of a full moon and was very impressed by them. He visited the Royal Palace, which was “much larger than the White House,” though he was unable to meet the King. On the Nile were small cotton fields, often less than a single acre in size, planted by hand in close rows. Poage also saw stands of alfalfa-like Egyptian clover, wheat, and other vegetables. The gardens of the Nile River were especially beautiful.
Poage observed peanuts to be crucial to Western Africa’s economy. The hulls were used for fertilizer and most were grown inland as the land near the coast was poor. Coconuts, bananas, coffee, cocoa, and papayas were also grown on small farms. He found the people of the area to be friendly and interesting, and spoke at length to them about their agricultural practices. Cattle were not raised near the coasts due to the prevalence of the Tsetse fly, which carried “sleeping sickness” and was not found in the higher, dryer interior.
While in Southern Africa, Poage recalled the majesty of the landscape: “We flew over big game country, but could see no animals. we could see the typical African water lakes with game trails going out in all directions … We could see the falls from a distance. At least, we could see the mist. At this time of the year, the flow of the river is low. Above the falls, the river is very wide and with a slight gradient. In fact, it looks much like the Llano, only is many times larger.”
(Click on the images below to view detailed records for each item in the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections.)
Congressman Poage shaking hands with citizen in Liberia, 1970
Congressman Poage observes two cheetahs in Liberia, 1970
French Equatorial Africa [brochure cover]
Congressman Poage is part of a group visitng the Sphinx [undated]
Congressman Poage and a group of men examine a construction site in Liberia, 1970