JESUS CHRISTIANS NEWSLETTER #100, MAY 2008
Media coverage all over the world seems to be quite good at the
We have been flooded with requests for help from people seeking
kidney donors, as a result of two reports in the U.S. (one in Boston
and one in Miami) in which we were referred to as "The Kidney Club".
If any of our readers would like to donate to a stranger, we would be
happy to put you in touch with someone, since we're fresh out of
kidneys ourselves at the moment!
Media coverage in the U.K. has alternated between reports on Ash's
donation to Sandi in Cyprus, and the freegan work that our teams are
doing there. Alf and Ash appeared on "This Morning" in the U.K. and
burned a 20 pound ($50) note to illustrate how people become
seriously concerned over the destruction of a worthless piece of
paper while turning a blind eye to literally millions of dollars
worth of good clean food being bulldozed into landfill.
Here in Australia, three different television networks are working on
features about the sort of things that we are doing, including one
feature being prepared for Foxtel in the U.S.
A further installment of the "Australian Story" report on Ash's
efforts to donate a kidney to Sandi will be appearing on Monday
evening, May 5, on the ABC in Australia.
Sadly, Australian Quakers are about to make history by expelling Dave
from membership, in the first such heresy trial in the history of the
movement in Australia, and all because of an ABC-TV report that never
even mentioned Quakers!
Dave has been sent a notice informing him that if he doesn't get
clearance from the society for virtually everything that he does
which might cause embarrassment to the society, then they are going
to ask that he be excommunicated, and they will do so this month.
You can read about it here:
Our West Coast U.S. team (Jesse, Simon, and Grace) has linked up with
a friend we have nicknamed Zero Currency Man (because he has not used
money for more than six years), who is introducing them to new ways
of surviving in a society that believes money is the answer to
everything and that it is impossible to live without it. Travelling
interstate in empty freight cars is just one of the new experiences
they have been having with ZCM, who alternates between living in a
cave in Utah and a tree house in Oregon.
Meanwhile, the East Coast U.S. team has moved from New England, back
down to North Carolina.
Fran and Kim took a short break in Nairobi last month, in order to
get some well deserved rest. However, after just a couple of weeks
in Nairobi, they felt a leading to leave the area and return to our
work in Western Kenya. And just as well too, for shortly after they
left, there were some uprisings between various factions in the area
where they were staying and a shopkeeper was beheaded on the street
just outside where they had been staying.
A report from Christine on the political unrest in Kenya appears at
the end of this newsletter.
Half the U.K. fleet of vans have now been converted to using 100%
vegetable oil, in an effort to be more environmentally and
economically friendly. We are opposed to the large-scale farming of
crops to be used for ethanol fuel (because it will take from the
great need for food crops in much of the world), but we understand
that enough vegetable oil is thrown out from fast food shops to power
thousands of vehicles, if the drivers are only prepared to make the
effort to filter it before adding it to their tanks.
Ash and Alf have just finished producing an MP3 CD version of
"Listening" to go with the MP3 CD of "Survivors". It includes a
selection of hard-hitting songs as well as an audio version of the
Fran was invited to be the guest soloist at a big youth conference in
Kenya during the month. In addition to performing numerous items
during the course of the convention, he helped to distribute hundreds
of "Peace in Kenya" T-shirts, which were popular amongst the youth.
More than 2,000 T-shirts were distributed at several youth
conferences attended by volunteers from Takatifu ("Holy") Gardens.
The T-shirts are hand-printed by volunteers staying at the compound.
The youth at the conferences particularly appreciated a new Swahili
rap song that is based on Jesus' rebuke of Peter, telling Satan to
depart from him. Fran also participated in a music competition as an
One of the conferences was hosted by the church that Daniel Moi, the
former president of Kenya, attends. Moi appeared (complete with
bodyguards) for part of the conference.
Workshops for the Alternatives to Violence Project have continued at
our volunteer centre. They include both basic and advanced courses.
Participants have included internally displaced people, teachers, and
assorted youth. Dozens of participants (those who had to travel far)
stayed at the centre and enjoyed the workshops as well as the evening
activities, which included singing, games and devotionals. Giddy
completed the advanced course and was invited by the organizers to
train as a facilitator. He has now completed his training and has
started helping to facilitate workshops at Takatifu Gardens.
There is a new article on our web site on global warming. You can
see it at:
New topics on the forum include a discussion on whether or not
everyone has an immortal soul:
Should Christians wear jewelry?
The Apophis Asteroid:
Discussion about your favorite music videos and performers:
Contrasts between anarchism and fascism:
and more comparisons by Fran of similarities between Jesus Christians
and early Quakers:
Below are some of Christine's comments on the situation in Kenya at
EXCERPTS FROM CHRISTINE'S GENERAL REPORT
Politically things have improved in Kenya. It was a bit touch and go
with forming the new power-sharing cabinet as extremists from both
camps were pushing the two leaders into hardline positions. But
eventually the two leaders got together away from their constituents
and came up with an agreement. In order to get enough people into
the cabinet to satisfy everyone, they had to increase the number of
ministries from 24 to 40. These cabinet ministers get paid a lot of
money (more than in western countries), so there was a bit of outrage
in some quarters about what that would cost the taxpayers; but
overall people were happy that a power-sharing agreement had been
made and civil war has been averted. Currently peace talks are still
continuing, to try to deal with some of the underlying reasons why
violence broke out (like land disputes) but the talks have lost
a bit of momentum and not as much is happening there as it should.
Despite the improvement politically there has been a lot of violence
between the government and various militia groups. The military went
into Mount Elgon (where the Sabaot Land Defence Force is) and started
attacking young Saboat men and bombing people from helicopters.
(It's a guerilla organisation so it's hard for the military to know
who's involved and who's not). No media were allowed into the area
(and were jailed if they dared to try to sneak in) so it seems they
had something to hide.
A lot of people have been tortured and have disappeared (presumably
killed). There are several hundred torture victims in a jail in the
Mount Elgon area. The military blames the jail for the torture and
the jail says the victims arrived that way. Everyone knows it was
the military, but no-one is being made to account for it.
Then there is the Mungiki, the Kikuyu secret society, which during
post-election violence organised attacks and evictions of western
Kenyans in retaliation for what was being done to Kikuyus. The
Mungiki leader is in jail, but the government had agents watching
other significant Mungiki leaders, including the wife of the main
leader. Somehow, despite the surveillance, the leader's wife and her
driver were assassinated.
The Mungiki immediately accused the police/government of doing it.
The government claimed it was the result of in-fighting amongst
Mungiki. So Mungiki decided to do a show of unity and declared a
general strike in Kikuyu areas. It was very effective and did cast
doubt on claims from the government that Mungiki were suffering from
in-fighting. The strike went on for a few days, and anyone who
didn't comply with the strike was at risk of violence from Mungiki
youth. It only stopped when the leader in jail called an end to the
A shop owner, who refused to honour the strike, was beheaded on the
very corner where Fran and Kim had been staying earlier in the month.
The price of food is continuing to rise, because so much food was
destroyed in the post election violence and because many people were
not able to plant
Being school holidays, we have more volunteers than usual. It's
nice having some of the older orphans back on deck, as well as some
guys we met through the Easy English project.
A four year old orphan boy named Valentine stay with us for a month
(to get proper nursing care) while he recovered from an operation on
his hands. We all grew a bit attached to him while he was here.
"Progress" has come to our local markets. Motorbike taxis (called
piki-pikis) have arrived and are in competition with the bicycle
taxis (boda-bodas) and matatus. It's sad in a way, as the piki-pikis
will put some of the boda bodas and matatus out of business.