As C.T.’s partner, I’m a witness to the daily news feed of Food Not Bombs arrests and court cases, mostly here in the U.S. In addition, he gets a steady stream of calls all day, mostly people asking advice on consensus and also starting a Food Not Bombs.
One such FNB startup was germinated from C.T.’s trip to Nairobi, Kenya, in 2007. He was there to teach consensus at the IndyMedia Convergence, in advance of the World Social Forum.
IndyMedia is an amazing case study in do-it-yourself journalism, personal and collective empowerment. IMC “converges” at the site of each World Social Forum, a week or so before the WSF begins, to teach grassroots journalism to non-corporate press from all over the world.
The convergences are temporary Intentional Communities that operate by consensus. Workshops teach would be journalists from Africa, South and Central America, Europe and the U.S. in street-level skills like building radios and transmitters out of materials available where they live.
At the Nairobi convergence, C.T. taught consensus and also pulled a hidden skill out of his hat—He taught IMC participants how to build a silkscreen press! This knowledge came from his early days of battling
Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, starting the first FNB collective, the start of ACTUP, etc.
The convergences are meetings of very different cultures. In Nairobi, C.T. was the “old guy.” While the Northerners (Europeans and Americans) gave him little rank and dismissed his efforts to teach, Africans sought him out and revered him as the elder in the group.
One such new friend erased C.T.’s name from a community chore chart and wrote his own in its place. “In my culture, elders do not do the dishes,” He said.
Douglas Rori, a convergence participant who was local to Nairobi, was so taken by C.T.’s stories of Food Not Bombs that he started a Nairobi chapter.
A Totally Different Ballgame
But unlike the twentysomethings who start chapters in their Midwestern college towns or face up against the police in Tampa, Florida, Doug and his Nairobi compatriots couldn’t just show up in the town square or public park with a table and pots of yummy vegan soup.
That’s a recipe for a food riot.
The hunger issue is not a minority issue there. Public feedings such as FNB is famous for the world over would put Doug and other volunteers at physical risk. Plus, with their food stolen, they would not complete their goal of serving the large population of street kids, mostly orphaned in the AIDS epidemic.
Sewing in the IndyMedia Thread
This is where the story gets dramatic in order to prevent drama.
Doug and other young Kenyan activists had the direct experience of how empowering it is to learn tools for telling personal and local stories; to be an alternative to the corporate press party line.
And they had learned filmmaking, photography and journalism in that way. Doug decided to disguise their feedings by offering journalism workshops to the homeless kids.
They chose enclosed courtyards and indoor spaces and spread the word about their workshops. As you can see by the photos, people of all ages came to learn.
And meals were included!
To keep this innovative project going, Doug has formed an NGO, A Well-Fed Kenya, in partnership with A Well-Fed World. This status enables him to operate and seeking funding on an ongoing basis.
Even with NGO status, life is still touch and go for Doug. An IndyMedia colleague was gunned down a few months ago in one of the ghettos, probably an assassination. Doug himself struggles to keep a roof over his own head as he does this important work.
To fund his project and stability for the coming months, we have collaborated with him on an Indiegogo campaign. Please
make whatever contribution you can, and tell your friends Doug’s amazing story! Let’s pull together to keep this project going in the ghettos of Nairobi!
Doug is also making contact with some fair trade crafts cooperatives and exporters in Nairobi who may be willing to donate some of their jewelry and other crafts as perks for the campaign. So watch for additional perks!!!
How can you get involved? Certainly, donating whatever you can is a huge start. Are you willing to join our campaign team and use Indiegogo share tools and social media to spread the word? Reaching out to people who don’t already know me, C.T. or Doug Rori is a great help.
What ideas do you have for getting the word out about this impactful project?
If you’re in the D.C. region, C.T. and I can schedule a House Party with you. We can supply a slide show, talk about the project with friends you invite, and seek donations. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today to make arrangements!
Our main goals for now are to share this amazing story of risk, caring and daring and to get folks to visit our campaign page and donate. We must keep this work going!
When visiting the campaign site, do take the time to go through the photo gallery picture by picture. The interest of the kids in learning from Doug and his friends is amazing. You will understand from the numbers of people who attend that his offering is relevant and is making a difference.
What can you give today?