Vernon couple attacked in Kenya

The injuries are severe, but a Vernon man is expected to live following a vicious attack.

John Bergen, 70, and his 66-year-old wife, Eloise, were attacked Wednesday in Kenya. They were part of small group of Canadians working with a Kelowna based organization called Hope for the Nations.

President, Ralph Bromley, says he got the call Wednesday afternoon.

"We got the call at around 1 p.m. Kelowna time from Kenya that the Bergens had been savagely beaten in a home invasion involving machetes and clubs. When they arrived at the Hope for Nations centre in Kitale, they were covered in blood."

Bromley says the thugs who attacked the Bergens went after John first.

"The guards on the property were overpowered and John was attacked first. He was beaten, clubbed and left for dead when they literally threw him in the bushes. Then they tied up Eloise and she was attacked for some time. The attackers then loaded all of the furniture on top of her and left her there."

Bromley says Eloise managed to free herself and find her husband in the bushes. She dragged him in their vehicle and drove to Kitale where John was patched up before being flown to Nairobi.

He says John's injuries are serious.

"John has lacerations literally from the top of his head all throughout his body. He has multiple fractures including his skull and jaw. His arm was broken in two places and he has a broken leg. As for Eloise, she has some cuts but her trauma is of a different nature."

Bromley says John is expected to survive the attack and that the Bergens were well aware of the dangers in Kenya.

"They were certainly aware of the dangers, especially during the height of the recent political crisis, but whites were never the subject of attacks."

The Bergens have been in Kenya since March.

The following is the most recent correspondence from John and Eloise. This email was written the day of the attack.

Hi from John and Eloise in Kenya,

Wow! We are connected to the net again after having some connection problems for awhile.

We just got back from a trip to Nairobi to buy a table saw for John’s work. Here at our home on the farm, he needs to build protection for the gardens we grow to help feed some of the orphans. The monkeys, the anteater and the antelope all want a taste of the food.

We are helping to support Daniel Juma’s orphanage that he runs out of his home. Pics are attached. John has been able to get 4 orphans off the street, one girl and 3 boys, and put them into Daniel’s home. Every time we take an orphan off the street, it is our responsibility to support that orphan financially every month, so he can go to school and have clothes, food, and shelter. John is building a shelter that has already been moved onto Daniel’s orphanage compound. It will sleep 4 more children. The last orphan, Peter, that John took to Daniel’s home just ran away last night after stealing the 2 cows, the goats, and the chickens and selling them for only 3000 Kenyan shillings. Daniel just told me this morning that he found the animals at his friend’s house and got them all back for the 3000 shillings. I could hardly believe it when he told me that he is going out to look for Peter on the streets and give him another chance. I’m glad that Jesus has given me second chances. Daniel has 6 children of his own and 21 orphans in his home.

We have grown many little tomato plants in our gardens and have taken them to some of the different orphanages that HFTN supports here. In the pic John is teaching Daniel’s wife how to plant them in her garden. We also bought a whole row of banana trees that the older orphan boys planted there. Most people here don’t have enough to eat. For the first time in his life, John saw a starving man last week. He was too weak to stand up, but he managed to lift himself up a bit to try to welcome John into his little hovel. His wife and children had already died. John will never be the same.

We miss you all. Much love, John and Eloise

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