Well, after two busy weeks, my parents flew out of Nairobi on last Thursday and I rode solo on the overnight bus back to my little village. Lots and lots to report on eventually, but it’ll be a little while before I can digest or summarize it all. But we’ll carry on the “What Do I Think About” series of rambling posts begun last month.
Sadly, the high of parents and vacation and safari and hot showers and new friends and real food went away pretty quickly upon arrival in my village. Upon return, I heard all of the details of how our neighbors, the priests, were robbed earlier in the week. Next to our house is our kitchen, and on the other side of the kitchen a few yards away is the priest’s house. A visiting member of parliament came to town last Sunday, made a donation to the church, and I guess the thugs were hoping the priests hadn’t deposited the cash yet. A band of 8-10 thugs showed up in early evening, tied them up, robbed them of electronics and valuables, stole the donated money and any other cash they could find, ate the priests just served dinner, and even took household things like clothes, bed sheets and linens, dry foods, and hot chocolate mix. They then took the priest’s keys and drove away in the priest’s car. Bastards!
Who robs priests? I sometimes think people have to be pretty sick to rob a church. I mean, who could have any conscience and be able to round up a gang of thugs to rob a priest at gunpoint in his own home? Sometimes I think maybe the thugs are just super poor or in a desperate situation if they’re stooping to rob a church. I don’t know. I just know it’s awful. Father said the men appeared to have guns, but he later found out they were real metal but were fake guns. The important thing I should mention is that no one was hurt. The lucky thing is that unexpected visiting priests arrived as the thugs were driving out the driveway. The visitors blocked the drive, which forced the thugs to get out of the car and run, only taking what they could carry. Thank goodness that meant they had to leave the car, cocoa mix, and other random goodies that they couldn’t carry in their arms.
Needless to say, Cindy and I are more aware than ever of our own potential for begin robbed. While our house is quite comfortable for living, the security’s awful as the kitchen is in a separate building. The priests were robbed when one priest walked a few yards away to the church to pick up a few things for the morning mass. It was just a half hour after dark, around 7:30pm, when the thugs grabbed him and then tied up the other priest, cook, and groundskeeper. Makes us think we shouldn’t ever leave the house after 7pm/dark, but sadly with our kitchen in a separate building, it gets difficult. In Seattle I didn’t usually eat before 9 or 10pm. Cindy and I compromised here and we don’t usually eat before 7pm (much less finish all of the dishes and after dinner cleanup). If we wanted to be fully locked up at dark, we’d have to do all cooking at 5pm, eating by 6pm, and cleaning of all dishes before 7pm, and forever forgo the possibility of popcorn after dinner while watching a movie. (I know, that’s a small price to pay for security, but it’s still a change and a scary one at that).
Sadly, out here in the village, there’s no calling 911. There are no armed security guards you can hire as a night watchman. There are only bars on the windows and the hope that no locals would risk robbing white women because of potential very severe backlash/consequences. If they stole my cameras or iPod, I’d be sad. But if they stole my laptop with a year’s worth of journaling and photos, I’d be incredibly sad. And I don’t even want to think about what would happen if they hurt me or Cindy.
Neither of us wants to dwell on our fears. We know enough to be home before 7pm each night, to lock our doors and windows, and to keep cash or valuables on the down low. It’s just a bit shocking for it to have happened right next door, so I guess I’m brain dumping now in an attempt to process it all as I type it out.