JESUS CHRISTIANS NEWSLETTER #103, AUGUST 2008
Last month volunteers from the United States and from around Kenya
gathered together to work on building restoration projects organized
by Quakers from the U.S. The 20 volunteers split into two groups,
one working to restore staff quarters at Kaimosi Hospital and the
other working on restoring the Peace Centre at Lubao. Casey was put
in charge of organizing the work at Kaimosi and was assisted off and
on by Fran and Karl, as well as two volunteers from our volunteer
centre. The project lasted for four weeks. The group at Kaimosi
worked on thirty different houses, painting rooms, fixing rooves,
doors and bathrooms according to the needs of each house and the time
and resources available. The staff at the hospital were very
appreciative fo their efforts. During the weekends all the
volunteers got together for outings to the forest, Kisumu (including
a boat ride around Lake Victoria and some very nice fresh fried fish)
and Webuye falls.
We had contact with two other work camp groups, organised by a
different organisation. Some stayed to help with our projects when
their work camp was over. They planted a nice vegetable garden at
the back of the property.
We hosted a party for all the work campers which was a nice way of
bringing them together for them to share their experiences.
As a result of interacting with the work campers we discovered that
the organisation they were working for was actually a scam. It was
supposed to be an orphanage, when there was no orphanage. And claims
they were making about helping orphans in their own homes were
enormously exaggerated, if not outright lies. We felt a
responsibility to say something to expose the corruption, even though
we knew the organisation had some very influential backers. Making
enemies is sometimes the cost of speaking the truth.
We've been dealing with a few emergencies lately. The local hospital
has an understanding that they can ask us to help transport patients
to the district hospital who are too difficult for them to handle.
Fran took a woman with a breach birth to hospital to have a caesarian.
She was screaming in labour on the way, which was a bit freaky for
him. We heard later that the operation went okay and both mother and
child were okay. That same evening Robin took a man who had been
attacked with a panga to hospital. Whoever did it had obviously
wanted to kill him, but the guy was very fortunate that the cuts were
superficial. He'll have a lot of scars but he should be fine.
Karl and Giddy have been doing a bit of work with the Friends Church
Peace Team. They helped distribute maize and other food items to
displaced people at three different locations. Giddy and Karl also
went to a "reconciliation celebration" at Sugoi, one of the areas
most affected by post-election violence (between Mount Elgon and
Eldoret). It's traditional when blood has been spilt between
communities, to slaughter cows and share the meal in order to be able
to live together in peace. So that was the event. There was still a
lot of tension in the air between Kikuyus and Nandis (a.k.a.
Kalenjins), but the event still went smoothly and it probably helped
a lot. The Friends Church Peace Team went to show their support,
though the event was organised by the local D.O..
Fran has been invited to preach at a couple of church and school
gatherings. One sermon was on revival (the theme of the gathering)
and the others have been on peace. The crowds enjoyed "Amani Kenya"
peace T-shirts. The high schools have a particular need for peace
teaching, as over 60 high schools in Kenya have had buildings burnt
down during the last couple months as a result of student rioting.
It seems the post-election violence has taught youth that violence is
a way to get what they want.
One day we came across a guy who the local people had tried to lynch
five minutes walk from where we live. It seemed the sub-chief had
managed to stop the lynching. The guy was lying on the ground but
otherwise didn't seem too badly injured. We took him to the hospital
along with the sub-chief, where we discovered the crowd had attempted
to burn him. They'd used kerosene and he had quite a few burns on
his leg, plus a burn on his shoulder. We were shocked to hear the
next day that the guy had died overnight from internal injuries. It
was pretty sad. The sub-chief was especially upset because he
believed the guy was innocent. The man lived in Nairobi and had come
to visit his family. Since he was not known (people thought he was
Kisii - from another tribe) they presumed he had something to do with
cattle thefts that have been going on. It was pretty dissapointing
to think it had happened in our area.
We considered doing an educational program to encourage people to
take suspects to the police, because they could mistakenly kill an
innocent man, as happened in this case. But we soon learned that the
family of the victim, who were very appreciative of our help, were
accusing the sub-chief of being behind the lynching. The situation
seemed a little too volatile for us to base an educational campaign
specifically on the case, but we may do something more general in
Now that the situation in the country appears to be stabilizing, we
are planning to start the reading program again, after the upcoming
school holidays. We have seven schools lined up for the program, all
of which have been eager for us to bring the reading system to their
It is now common knowledge that Dave underwent surgery for cancer
very early in the month. The surgery was successful, but there have
been some serious complications. Dave has taken the forced
retirement to be a sign that he should be more literally "retired"
from the community, largely as a way of giving others more chance to
The Australian team had a field day with hundreds of thousands of
young Catholic "pilgrims" in Sydney for World Youth Day. Thousands
of CDs with Jesus Christian music on them went out to the crowds.
The U.S. teams had a reunion in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they
attended the U.S. Transplant Games. They participated in workshops
and discussions on living donors, and were interviewed by a couple of
journalists. One of our members came in fourth in the all-comers fun
run, but did not report his results, so that the information would
not be posted on the internet, as we are trying to make it harder for
our enemies to watch our every move.
The media frenzy over our involvement in freeganism continues, with
over a dozen media interviews during the month.
Two articles by Cherry ("Learning to Purr" and "Justice, The Cross
and the Return of Jesus") are on the "new articles" page. The link
for new articles is:
Debates continue to rage on the Jesus Christian forum, including
comments by Cherry on a shocking article in the latest issue of "The
Fierce controversy over Reinhard taking legal action against the
Johnsons for the serious assault that he suffered at their hands;
Bureaucratic frustrations for a friend trying to donate a kidney in
Australia (where Good Samaritan donations were legalised a few years
ago, but where only two such transplants appear to have taken place
And a great interview with Roland and Sue on the subject of