Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"I Slept through the whole Mau Mau incident" - David

From Edith Devitt's book, "On the Edge of the Rift".

Many European (white) children were boarding at Rift Valley Academy with their dormitories in the original large building. To make it more secure from attack, the staff surrounded it with barbed wire and placed sharpened bamboo stakes in rows in from the entrance gate. They prepared a room for guards under the long, high, front veranda barricaded with sandbags. The Police stood guard in shifts around the clock. We knew their British commanding officer as "Chips". Parents were apprehensive about the safety of their children there in the heart of a Kikuyu danger zone [in Kenya]. It could not be denied that they and the expatriate mission staff on the station were possible targets for attack. Forest surrounded the place on three sides while the fourth side was the boundary of the reserve, Matathia, a center of dissidents who had been hindering mission work there for years, warning the Bible School students not to enter the area for meetings or visitation. A mission church, school and community flourished beyond in the adjacent areas of Mukeu and Lari.

One night an incident on the station caused near panic. We heard a shot near the African teacher's housing. Wells quickly dressed and ran downstairs tossing back to me directions as to what to do.

"Edith, co and bolt the door behind me." He was gone into the dark night.

We had little David Phillips, seven years old, with us for three months waiting for a place in the Academy dormitory. We gathered up David and our Helen and a couple of blankets, and got them all through the small, low door leading to a narrow passage under the eaves. One of the girls helped me by carrying David who didn't waken through the whole episode.

I barricaded the small door with furniture, hiding it from view, then stepped into Helen's bedroom just on the other side of the wall from where they were. I stood in shock, my heart pounding from fear, feeling completely helpless.

(Nothing untoward happened that night. It was one of many experiences during the Mau Mau years in Kenya, from 1952 - 1957. God protected us all during those years, and all these experiences taught me the lesson of depending upon the Lord for his presence, in all situations. Edith Devitt's book tells of the amazing spread of the Christian Gospel in Central Kenya from 1931-1963.)

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