A Vernon woman will continue to help Central American children despite a brutal attack.
Debbie Bachman, a retired nurse who volunteers at an orphanage in Nicaragua, and Chery and Gord Wiles, also from Vernon, were assaulted and robbed while touring Masaya Volcano National Park Tuesday.
“I will come again. It won’t stop me,” said Bachman.
“It’s an isolated incident. We’re alive, thank God for that. It could happen in Vernon.”
The incident occurred when the trio got into a taxi and the door were locked. The vehicle went past the park gate, stopped briefly and a large man got inside.
“He got Gord in a headlock and started hitting him with a big wrench,” said Bachman.
“I was trying to get the man to stop punching Gord but he started punching me in the side. At one point, Gord was barely conscious.”
Knives were placed to their throats and glasses were taken away so the trio couldn’t see.
Eventually, Bachman and the Wiles were dragged out of the vehicle and dumped. The thieves fled the scene with the Vernonites’ money, bank cards and cameras.
A local resident took them into his house and called the police and an ambulance.
Gord Wiles was taken to a hospital where he underwent a series of tests and was looked at by a team of doctors from Kelowna.
It’s believed he may have sustained fractures to his nose.
“He’s doing well and starting to heal,” said Bachman.
No money has been removed from bank accounts.
Bachman has been going to the Central American nation since 1998 and is involved with the Nicaragua Fuente de Vida Society. For her, the children at the orphanage are a priority and she was going to visit them before heading back to Vernon Monday.
“They need to see me so they know I am OK,” she said of the children who are aware of the attack.
“I don’t want people to think negative about the country because of one incident. We are always well taken care of.”
It’s not known when the Wiles will return to the North Okanagan.