Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sisters Attacked!

The large community house on the north side of the Sisters' compound

While I was away in Mombasa over Easter vacation I heard reports from Nairobi that the Sisters of Notre Dame in Malava were attacked in the night by men trying to break into their house. Now that I am back in Malava, I have had a chance to talk with the Sisters and some others to get an account of what actually happened.

Apparently, on Tuesday, April 10th eight men approached the Sisters' compound at night. The Sisters' compound is a gated plot of land about 2 kilometers from where I stay, at St. Teresa parish, in Malava. It contains two large community houses and a small “shamba” or farm. It seems as though these large houses are well-known in Malava and give the appearance of wealth. The gate at the front of the compound is guarded by John, the watchman, every night. However, although John is there, he does not carry a weapon and, in all honesty, could do little if there was an intruder with a gun. Mainly, it is his job to keep watch over the night and to report any occurrences to the Sisters' and to contact the Kenyan Police, if need be. On this night, John was approached by eight men that easily over-powered him and placed a metal object to his head that was shaped like a gun. Fearing for his life, he stayed still, but when he noticed that the object was only a piece of metal pipe he began to fight back. When the Sisters' realized that they were being attacked from outside they called the police and secondly made a call for help to the priests at St. Teresa parish. Unfortunately Maurice, the priest’s cook and groundskeeper, was the only one home. The priests had gone out of town. He, being a good friend of the Sisters' decided to act. He grabbed the only weapon that he had at the time, a large stone, and together with the police headed to the compound.

The large community house on the south side of the the Sisters' compound

When they arrived at the compound it was dark and quiet. They had no way of telling what had happened. Had the intruders finally broken into the Sisters' house? Were the intruders armed? Were they still inside the compound? That’s when the Kenyan police devised a brilliant plan! They would stand, with guns drawn, at the entrance to the compound while Maurice, armed with only a stone, would go into the compound and try to chase the intruders out. When the intruders came running out of the compound, for fear of being stoned, the police would shoot them on-site.

Fortunately, for poor Maurice, when he entered the compound he found that the intruders had failed to break into the Sisters' house and had already fled the area. Sadly, John, the watchman, was hit on the back of the head with the metal pipe and suffered a head injury as well as a broken arm. Luckily he wasn’t killed.

The eight men got away and no one has any idea of who or where they are. We don't live in fear, but we do continue to be cautious, especially at night. Although Malava is a fairly safe place to be, we all realize what can happen. In the meantime, John is in bandages and will need many weeks to recover, while the Sisters' are looking for a new watchman. Although it seems as though he could use the money, Maurice has turned down the job.


Anonymous said...


Unfortunate, but I am glad to hear no one was seriously harmed. You are all in my prayers.

In Christ,
Erin :)

tim said...


I hope all is well back home. Thank you for all of your prayers.

God Bless,

Tim C.