Although David Livingstone had trained to be a doctor, he decided to go to Africa as a missionary. He sailed for what was then called the Dark Continent on 20 November 1840 and soon found that his work took him into areas that were virtually unknown. In time he crossed the great Kalahari Desert and later reached the bank of the mighty Zambezi River, where no white man had ever been before. He spent many months exploring this river, discovering and naming the magnificent Victoria Falls. In 1865 he went to Zanzibar and while journeying around Lake Nyasa (now Malawi) witnessed the extensive and brutal slave trade existing in that area, against which he was to campaign vigorously for the rest of his life. He was later to describe slavery as the ‘open sore of the world’. On the shores of Lake Tanganyika in 1871, when no news of him had reached the outside world for some time, he was ‘found’ by an American Newspaperman, Henry Stanley. Although ill and exhausted, the continued his work, until, on 1 May 1873, he died amongst the natives he had served so well.
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Buddha Poornima, which falls on the full moon night in the month of Vaisakha (either …