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"Besides, I had more immediate concerns. Like not being blown into small, bloody fragments of my former self. I do apologize for punching your face so profoundly. I'm dazed with regret."
―Joseph Azowani[src]

Joseph Azowani (or Joseph Avzawami)[1]. was an assistant to Dr. Albert Schweitzer at his hospital in Lambaréné, in French Equatorial Africa (modern-day Gabon). He had come as a patient, but after being healed, he became a paid assistant, helping with medicine and translation.

In January 1917, Joseph was working at the hospital when the Collette, filled with the diseased and dying men of the Belgian expedition lead by Captain Henri Defense (Indiana Jones), returned up the Ogooué River with its cargo of weapons. Defense was nearly asleep at the rudder when Joseph slipped aboard the boat from a dugout. Defense, hearing Joseph speak German to his partners, feared a German takeover of the weapons, and tried to detonate the charges that would have destroyed the boat and kept the weapons from falling into enemy hands. Thinking quickly, Joseph first tried to subdue Defense, but when that failed, he took a machete and severed the detonation wire, then finally punched an armed Defense out cold. Joseph then brought the Collette to the dock, where Dr. Schweitzer oversaw the transferring of the sick to the hospital.

When Jones first came out of his fever a few days later and talked to Dr. Schweitzer, Joseph was in the infirmary assisting another patient, checking on a transfusion. That night, Jones slipped out to guard his boat. In the morning, Joseph sat on the dock, waiting for Jones to wake up, so that he could give dispense some medicine. Joseph apologized for his hostile takeover of the boat, and gave Jones his medicine. Joseph then explained how natives from all around came to the settlement seeking Oganga, the doctor, before returning to take care of over patients.

The next day, when three Pahouin villagers arrived in a hurry, Joseph translated their urgent message for Dr. Schweitzer - the chief's son was very ill and needed immediate attention from Oganga. Joseph accompanied Schweitzer and Jones, steering the Collette upstream to the Pahouin village. At the village, Joseph provided translation, and assisted the doctor in the surgery on the young man. After the successful operation, Joseph translated for the son, and then outside, he translated at dinner around the fire for the Pahouin Chief. The next day, Joseph resumed steering the boat to return to Lambaréné, while Schweitzer explained his Reverence for Life philosophy to Jones.

Returning to Lambaréné that night, Joseph watched Dr. Schweitzer and his wife get taken into custody by Captain Rostand for deportation - for being German nationals in French territory. When the Schweitzers were taken aboard the French river patrol ship, Joseph teared up as he stared at his departing mentor and took off his hat in respect to the man who had saved so many lives - and whose forced departure would doom others.

Behind the scenes[]

Emile Abossolo M'bo played the role of Joseph in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles in the episode "Congo, January 1917".

When Albert Schweitzer returned to his hospital in Lambaréné in the 1920s, Joseph also returned to assist him. Joseph was a French-speaker, although he is shown speaking in German in the episode when he boarded the boat.


Notes and references[]

  1. Joseph's last name is not mentioned or credited in Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life. His last name is given as Avzawami in the biography of Schweitzer by Kurt Busiek included in the comic issue of German East Africa, January 1917. Azowani appears to be the preferred spelling in outside sources.

External links[]