Missionary tells of narrow escape in Kenya

Ian and Jenni Power with the troops in Kenya.
Ian and Jenni Power with the troops in Kenya.

Waringstown woman Jenni Power, a Salvation Army volunteer in war-torn Kenya, told how she should have been in Westland Shopping Centre with her husband Ian during the siege in which 72 people were massacred.

She said: “On Saturday (September 21) we had planned to visit the Westlands Shopping Centre, in Nairobi but because I took too long browsing in one of the many beautiful Kenyan arts and crafts shops, we ran out of time and postponed our visit.

“Had we continued we would have been arriving just before the terrorists who carried out the awful atrocity in this lovely country. We feel blessed that we avoided this.

“For the days following this event we found ourselves totally involved in The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services operating just on the edge of the ruined shopping centre.”

She added: “We as a Salvation Army were so privileged to do this, no other members of the public or press were allowed to be where we were, it was a ‘holding area’ for the troops and police on duty. Yet we had the privilege to provide tea, coffee, water and biscuits to the troops for six days.

“We have been very moved by the generosity of the general public. Quite a number of people have driven down to our ‘spot’ and given us water, biscuits, juice and a large supply of scones which the hungry troops devoured in about 10 minutes.”

She said: “Ian and I came to Kenya at the end of August to volunteer in The Salvation Army Kenya East Territory’s Headquarters.

“We have been working in the Projects Office which involved visiting many of the schemes run by The Salvation Army to alleviate suffering and hardship in local communities.”

Jenni said: “We were encouraged by this quote from a conversation with a senior member of the security forces at Westgate,

“‘Where there is more good than bad, when there are more people like you helping than killing, there is still hope for me’.”