Holiday From Hell

I read this morning about a British couple, David & Judith Tebbutt, who were attacked yesterday at their holiday village in Kenya, six miles from the Somali border.  Mr Tebbutt was shot and killed, and Mrs Tebbutt was kidnapped and taken away by speedboat.

This comes on the heels of Paul & Rachel Chandler’s recently published book about their year-long kidnap and ordeal at the hands of Somali pirates after being seized from their yacht.

Whilst this is a TERRIBLE event, and I hope and pray that Mrs Tebbutt will be released/rescued unharmed, there is no doubt that even if this does happen, these events will leave the family (including their 25 year old son, who wasn’t with them in Kenya) absolutely devastated – they will never get over it.

So my question is, what makes ordinary people take such risks?

There is clear and unequivocal Foreign Office advice in place not to travel within 18 miles of the Somalia/Kenya border unless absolutely essential.  The Kiwayu Holiday Village, where the couple of were staying, was only six miles from the border.

They were the ONLY holidaymakers staying at Kiwayu Holiday Village – did this not ring any alarm bells?  It would for me.

The bungalow they were staying in had a ‘piece of cloth’ hanging up instead of a door.  Hardly security conscious, particularly for a resort whose website dedicates a whole page to security arrangements (worrying in itself?) and boasts of around-the-clock security with 21 guards who patrol alongside six police officers.

Don’t get me wrong, I  know that a terrible accident can happen to us anywhere: crossing the road, on the school run, in the kitchen at home; but WHY would you expose yourself to needless risk when there is clear precedent of potential danger?  There are many, many places to travel in the world which do not pose such extreme levels of threat, aren’t there?

Is it simply a case of ‘it won’t happen to me’?

Or maybe ignorance – perhaps they genuinely had no idea of the dangers (unlikely though it may seem)?

Perhaps they were adrenaline junkies looking for a bit of the excitement that comes with danger (even more unlikely, I think).

I don’t suppose we shall ever know.

But I do know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I wouldn’t have been spending my holiday in a deserted holiday village in a bungalow with no door six miles from the Somali border.

I sincerely hope and pray that Mrs Tebbutt is found safe, well and very soon, and my thoughts are also with their poor son, Oliver – whatever must he be going through?




11 thoughts on “Holiday From Hell

  1. I totally agree Caroline, whilst my heart breaks for the family and I hope she is returned safe I can’t for the life of me see why people put themselves at risk, the news is full of stories about pirates and kidnappers and yet they went ahead with the trip? it is like jumping into the sea knowing it is full of sharks!
    Why would someone do that?
    Dawn x

  2. Ok, you feel sorry for them. Understood, but do you really think it’s the time to send any kind of negative energy towards them? I don’t. They were great, educated people who wouldn’t have taken risks beyond measure, so you have the right to your own opinions, but perhaps leave it a while first?

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment. I guess from your second comment that you agree they were of the ‘it’ll never happen to us’ mindset, which was one of the options I considered in my post. I have to disagree with your point that they wouldn’t have taken ‘risk beyond measure’ however, as they were holidaying in an area that the Foreign Office clearly recommends against travelling to. I can only imagine what that poor woman and her son are going through, and I reiterate my hope that they will be reunited as soon as possible.

  3. Actually… Just read second comment and they may have been close to Somalia but no one ever thinks it will happen to them and it’s all a calculated risk. Who would do this you ask? People who want to live their lives and not give in to the evils of others.

  4. Fair point, you said about them thinking it would never happen to them, but to call them adrenaline junkies? Come on. Reflection’s great, but timing’s even better.

  5. So why even mention it? You say it’s unlikely, but to say that anyone MIGHT put themselves in the position in which they would imagine this would happen to them could be seen as really quite offensive. I’m going on and on and on now and I know how it must seem. There doesn’t seem to be any need to say anything now, except hope for Judith’s safe return and to feel for these good and honest people. there may be lessons to learn, but not now. Not now.

  6. No, I do not agree Victoria. Kenya itself, like South Africa has it´s dangers they do not employ security guards with guns for fun. It is for a reason, the reason being that this is a dangerous part of the world. If you choose to holiday there you must be aware of those risks. Obviously you feel for the woman involved and her family but there is no reason why this cannot be discussed. As for it being a calculated risk. Why would you take that risk?

  7. I am really cautious about where we travel. Maybe your perspective shifts as you get older but I can only think the Foreign Office puts the warning out for a reason. I hope she is reunited with her family. The husband being killed is tragic. If special forces are deployed to rescue her, I hope there are no other deaths involved with her rescue.

  8. The Chandlers are apparently planning to resume their round-the-world yacht trip. They say they regard the boat as home, so why not?! I think they’re mad.

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