I am quite wary about writing this post, because it contains sensitive matters concerning the day of Friday the 25th of January. The dilemma that faces me is the possible contradiction between two commitments I have: a) To update readers on the events that take place concerning myself and Tom, and b) To respect and nurture the confidentiality and emotional wellbeing of my fellow people. I do believe that I can write this post while keeping both these commitments. However, the more important is the second; and if this post, in any way, does not seemingly respect confidentiality nor my fellow people, please let me know immediately.
To begin with, I will tell you that Friday the 25th was an indeed a very eventful day. The first of these events is not as sensitive as the second, so I will write on quite freely. As some of you know, I have been a little ill recently. It started off as a simple tickle in the back of the throat. After while it became a bad cough and a stuffy nose every night. In the evenings I would begin to feel very cold, and then shiver, causing me to put on my wooly jumper in the 30º warmth of the night. It was clear at this point that I had a fever. I had a Malaria test just in case. But, thankfully, it wasn’t Malaria. On the day of the 25th, it had gotten quite bad. Getting out of bed was a chore as my abdomen ached so. I was messaging my dad on my phone, and he convinced me to go and see the nurse. I went to see her, and after hearing about my abdomen she immediately said that I should go to the hospital. Apparently when your abdominal glands are swollen, you have a fairly serious infection.
Vovote – a great guy – agreed on taking me to the hospital. Rachel decided to come with me, and sat in the back of the ambulance that the centre is in possession of. When I say, ‘ambulance’, I mean a pickup truck with a red cross on the front and a mattress in the back. I didn’t feel like lying down, so Rachel got the mattress and I sat in the front. When we arrived at the hospital, we made our way to the appointment desk and asked to see a doctor. It wasn’t long after the man behind the desk started throwing figures at us that I started to love the NHS. I now very much appreciate the free and quality healthcare we have in the UK. Just to see a doctor costs quite a bit – and the treatment you may or may not require costs money as well.
So we went through the whole process, and I eventually got to see a doctor. She examined me, and asked lots of questions. Then she took one look at the many scars on my feet as a result of scratching my mosquito bites. She grabbed my foot and said, “It is infected.” Because one of them had got infected, my bodies ability to respond to bites had diminished. Each bite would get about as big as the circle at the end of a biro. To cut a long story short, they took my blood and run a test on it. They gave me back the results and the doctor told me that I had a big infection. She put me on antibiotics and gave me painkillers. We left the hospital, and I felt a little better and happier.
What I have just described is not really very exciting, and quite boring; but it feels exciting because it occurred on the same day as the second event, which I will now describe to you: Rachel and I had come back, and it wasn’t long before we were all sitting down and talking. We moved our party to the kitchen, and we were snacking and watching something on my laptop. By this time it was about 11:30. As we were watching it, we heard what sounded like screams coming from outside (near some of the missionaries houses). We dismissed it as one of the many numerous noises heard on the base from kids and others, and didn’t think much of it. But a few seconds later, a couple of the visitors started running out and shouting, “GET HELP! GET HELP!” I think to hear someone screaming that with such urgency is one of the scariest things. We went outside, and the visitor came up to us saying, “_ has been attacked!” It was a lot to process so suddenly after you’ve been relaxing, but my first thought was to get the nurse. So I sprinted off to get her. I wasn’t really aware that I was running, only that I needed to get the nurse. I was thinking about how and why said person was attacked. When I got the Bekki’s door, I knocked urgently, and she told me to come in. She had seemingly just had a call from the compound where I had come from, and knew something was up. I tried to explain though I was out of breath. But she got that someone had been attacked, and ran off to attend to the person.
Just before she ran off, she gave me her phone, and told me to call Celia, who is currently overseeing the base. I called her, and woke her from her sleep. I was still out of breath, and so after trying to explain, I eventually just said that I was coming over to her house to explain. As I was walking over to the building that houses most of the missionaries, Tom and Rachel were walking up behind me looking very concerned and troubled. Rachel informed me that said person/people who had been attacked was lying on the floor, and a machete was beside them. It seemed apparent that some armed men had broken onto the base. This was extremely worrying to hear. At that moment the door to the long-term missionary building opened, and Celia and some others came out. She beckoned us in and we went with them. We went through the houses of the missionaries and out the back into the compound where the incident had/was happening. In the heat of the moment, I was concerned that these men were still around and asked if there were any knives. Rachel told me we didn’t need knives, and I continued to propose that we’d need something if they suddenly came round the corner. But we went on without knives (which was probably better) and went to the room of the couple that had been attacked.
There they were, sitting up, obviously very shaken. Bekki had looked at them, and she came out towards me. She asked me if I’d go to the medical room with her to get some bandages and stuff of the like. I agreed, and we went together. We were both on edge, and as we went round the corner to the dead end at the back of the compound, we tightly held each other’s hands. Fortunately, there were no armed men round there, and it was safe to proceed. We got what was needed, and returned. On our return everyone was praying and attending to those who had been attacked. Celia and Clara (another missionary) had alerted the guards that these men may still be about, and so they went on the hunt for them. Some machetes were found on the floor, and a hole had been cut in the fence, which is how they had got into the compound. After a while, it was quite evident that they had probably escaped. But at that moment, our main concern was the couple.
After the situation had died down a little, we all decided to go to the all-night prayer meeting for a bit. None of us were really planning on sleeping that night. After spending about an hour there, we returned to the house of Bekki & Rachel, and we all slept there – or tried to rather. At about 5, Tom went back to the compound, but I went back at 8. I slept for the majority of that day. Fortunately, those who were attacked had only minor injuries, and they are now physically quite well. It is believed that the motivation of the men was robbery, as missionaries are seen as a target due to the fact that they generally come from wealthier backgrounds than those they have come to. If I didn’t know that before, I know it now, and it’s an incentive to be more careful.
No one is badly hurt. But those who were involved are a bit disturbed as you can imagine. All one can do is keep them in one’s prayers, and be mindful of them. We hope nothing like this ever happens again. But as a group, we are thankful for the good that has come out of it, and the unity that it brought.
Friday was certainly an eventful day.