More About Vladimir Verbi

More About Vladimir Verbi

Iā€™d like to return to the subject of Vladimir Verbi (see my blogs of February and December 2013), the missionary who shot his mother-in-law in the Taita Hills in 1941. To recap, Verbi was having trouble with his second wife, Lascelles, and forbade her going to a party in Voi. When she disobeyed, he angrily took his gun into the garden, because he was trying to deter crows from eating his strawberries. There is no doubt that Verbi was very proud of the non-indigenous crops he had introduced in his terraced garden at Ngerenyi ā€“ he pioneered strawberries, oranges and other fruit ā€“ and it was vital to keep birds off them. Verbi had retired as a missionary, having been in the Taita Hills since 1894. He had originally been at Wusi where he built a house (inhabited by Peter Bostock and his family in 1941, the year of the killing) and began a church, and later he constructed a road up the hill to Ngerenyi, where he built a house to live in when he retired in 1929. He had instructed the African labour he employed in the techniques of erecting houses in stone ā€“ indeed, he had started a Vocational School in Wusi. He lived in his retirement home for a couple of years (his first wife had died in 1928), and then again in 1933-4. He subsequently travelled and visited his native Bulgaria, but as war clouds gathered he returned again to Ngerenyi in 1939 with his new wife. While Verbi was in the garden, he shot dead his mother-in-law, sitting on the veranda. She was...