Canadian Couple Attacked In Kenya Still To Stay In Kenya.

Posted on July 12, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Despite savage attack, B.C. woman ready to forgive

Published: Friday, July 11, 2008

Eloise Bergen was taking a hot bath Wednesday in her Kenyan home when she looked up to see five men, each clutching machetes and clubs in their hands.

“I thought, ‘This must be a joke,’ so I said, ‘Can you please pass me my clothes?’ ” the 66-year-old from Vernon, B.C., said in a telephone interview Friday from a Nairobi hospital room.

“They raised their machetes and told me to get out of the tub. They wouldn’t give me any clothes.”

Eloise Bergen, 66, and her husband Canadian John Bergen, 70, both on missionary work in Kenya, are recovering in a hospital after a brutal home invasion on Tuesday.

Eloise Bergen, 66, and her husband Canadian John Bergen, 70, both on missionary work in Kenya, are recovering in a hospital after a brutal home invasion on Tuesday.

,”John and Eloise Bergen were airlifted to Nairobi Wednesday.”

The men took Eloise’s hands and tightly tied one with a black cellphone adapter cord and the other with a cord from her husband’s electric shaver.

Then Eloise, naked and dripping wet, was forced to stand up so the men, all local Kenyans in their 20s, could rape her. Three of them did.

The attack lasted a horrifying 45 minutes.

The gated home she shares with her Canadian missionary husband John, a place that was supposed to be a safe haven, had been violated.

“The tall one was in charge of me. He did everything standing up. He didn’t lie me down,” she said, her voice composed and unwavering. “I think he thought he could get away faster if we got caught. It was quite painful. Then he handed me over to the two others.”

The whole time, she said, she did not utter a single word except whisper ‘Jesus’ over and over under her breath.

After the men were done, they punched Eloise in her private parts, choked her three times and cut her with their machetes. Her jaw was broken. She needed 35 stitches to close the cuts on her face.

Seven people – five men and two women – have been arrested for the brutal attacks on the Bergens. Two of the men taken into custody have been identified as the Canadians’ security guards, hired in the last three weeks to protect the couple at night.

Eloise and John, 70, had recently moved into their own house on a gated farm in Kenya, where they grow food for local children. They were working with the non-profit organization Hope for the Nations, based in Kelowna, B.C.

The retired couple had moved to Africa to help widows and orphans in the city of Kitale and help refugees who had fled a political crisis.

They had been living in Kenya for four months when the brutal home invasion occurred.

Eloise said after she was attacked the suspects demanded her car keys.

She was then forced to lie down on the floor and was covered with blankets and a mattress.

That’s where she lay, waiting to hear the thieves start her car and drive into the distance before she got up and cut her bonds loose with a pair of cosmetics scissors to search for her husband, who she hadn’t seen since the attack started.

With a thin blanket draped around her body, she ran out into the yard, calling his name.

Eventually, she found him lying in the bushes, his arms and legs broken. His head, slashed by the machetes.

What followed, Eloise said, was “miraculous.”

The car she thought the thieves had driven away was still sitting in her driveway. They had crashed it into a tree and fled.

The petite Eloise dragged her husband, by then a “dead weight” into the car.

“He kept asking me, ‘Are we in Africa? Are we in Africa?’ ” she said. “My face was pouring blood.”

It took her three tries to get the car moving.

Eloise had to ram through the gates surrounding her farm to drive for help, 20 minutes away.

It was only when they arrived at a nearby hospital in Kitale that night that she realized how seriously injured her husband was.

The assailants had struck John’s skull, jaw, arm, knee and leg with clubs.

He also had been severely cut with machetes. He needed so many stitches to his face that the doctors “lost count,” Eloise said.

She said John will need to undergo four major surgeries.

Both will need extensive medical procedures to fix their broken jaws.

Steve Pippin, who lives in the same Kenyan village as Eloise and John Bergen and works for the same Christian group, said police made the arrests about a day after the attack.

“She’s an amazingly tough lady for how she dealt with it,” he said of Eloise.

Despite this terrifying ordeal, she and John have no plans to return home to Canada. This crisis has given her more strength to help those in need, Eloise said.

“Today in my hospital room, an Ethiopian young girl came in and she just started crying. We both cried together because she had gone through the same thing (rapes) too,” she said.

The couple’s two biological sons and two adopted children are spread throughout Alberta and B.C.

Their youngest son, 20-year-old Josh, will board a plane Saturday with the couple’s 18-year-old grandson. They are expected to arrive in Kenya on Monday.

His family is shaken by what happened, Josh said from Vernon, and he knows there will be disagreement over whether his parents should come home.

“Of course I’d like them to come back, because it’s safer,” he said. “But at the same time, if you want to stay in a country after something like that, there’s probably good reasons for doing it.”

Ryan Schumacher, the director for the East Africa division of the Hope charity, is pleading with the public to help the Bergens with their hospital costs.

The couple have no medical insurance and had sold their house, vehicle and furniture before departing. Schumacher estimates that at least $150,000 will be needed to pay for their expenses.

He added the organization will re-examine the group’s safety precautions.

“It’s unfortunate that these guys turned on us. It might’ve been an influence of alcohol and drugs,” Schumacher said from Nairobi.

“It’s this bush mentality. They had grown up in the bush, not owning a pair of shoes and they thought that they could get something out of the Bergens.”

In the end, the thieves stole laptops, cameras, clothes and as much as $5,000 in cash, money that was supposed to go to African orphans. All of it has since been recovered.

Nonetheless, Eloise said one of the first things she and her husband want to do once they fully recover is to visit their assailants.

“When I woke up this morning, I was picturing the time will come when John and I are physically well again,” she said. “It’s in both of our hearts to go to the prison and tell them about our forgiveness.”

With files from the Calgary Herald

Butdoisay comment: Sorry Eloise for the incident, we hope you get well soon to continue your good work, and thanks for understanding that these kind of  crimes happen all over the world including Canada too, and of course to other foreigners in Canada….and hence this will not stop you from  residing to the country you love, our Kenya….May God bless you…..


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2 Responses to “Canadian Couple Attacked In Kenya Still To Stay In Kenya.”

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Such an old couple.!!!! Yawa. too sad a story:

None the less, this should not happen to any ONE. what has Kenya turned to? How can you turn on the hand that feed you? Well in this case not litterally but these people were just good samaritans doing something good for the poor people. So much Shame on our politicians who are letting us down, so much we forced to harm those who are doing us good just to put a little feed on the table.

Sad Sad Sad, and i blame our useless politicians too.

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