A Jew Tries to Save Kenya

Tikkun Olam below the Sahara

Adam Hummel, a Canadian law student, flew to Kenya during the summer of 2008 to change the world.

 

But he didn’t. Not then, anyway.

 

He had signed up for Volunteers for Peace, an international organization that sends volunteers on organized trips to Kenya to help local communities. Hummel was told that he—along with 14 other visitors—would be placed in a small village for two weeks, helping the local population prevent cattle theft.

 

But when Hummel landed in Nairobi, the other volunteers weren’t there:  the organization had lied to him. Save for one guide from Volunteers for Peace, he was alone. His save-the-world trip turned out to be a tour of Kenya.

 

Despite his disappointment, Hummel remembered a question one Kenyan had asked him on his last day in the country: “What do you want to leave behind?”  

 

Hummel had learned during his trip about the violence that broke out following Kenya’s 2007 election. A group of tribes had claimed that the election was fraudulent, causing an intertribal war.

 

Inspired by his Jewish background, Hummel felt compelled to act. A past president of Hillel at York University, he had always been involved in communal work, and his belief in tikkun olam drove him to make a difference on the ground in Kenya.

 

He realized that if he brought young people from different tribes together and educated them about coexistence, he could relieve some of the tensions. “While there had been an end to the fighting, there was no end to the main issues”, he said. “I wanted to create a grassroots operation that could really attack these issues.”

 

He promised to come back and do more. Hummel started laying the groundwork for Youth Ambassadors for Peace, an organization comprised of Kenyan youth charged with making peace in the country’s villages. As part of the project, he created the Adam Hummel Coexistence Football Tournament to bring Kenyan tribes—which live in tension with each other—together through sport.

 

“In rural communities there isn’t much to do, and so the youth turn to drugs and alcohol,” he said.  He explained that corrupt politicians incite young people to violence by exacerbating existing prejudices. Wanting to give them a better way to use their time, Hummel aimed to organize the youth into soccer teams.  

 

After nearly a year of fundraising, with much of his support coming from the Jewish community, Hummel returned to Kenya in May 2009 to (literally) kick start the tournament. He focused on three tribes—Ka, Luo and Kisii—that had been involved in the 2007 election violence.

 

To recruit the teams, he worked with Korir Weldon, a youth leader whom he had met on his first trip.  Weldon was able to organize soccer teams within each of the three tribes, which played each other until each tribe had a champion. These teams represented the tribes in the final tournament, and Luo won the championship.

 

But soccer was just the beginning for Hummel. “I really wanted to initiate and provide a forum for the youth in order to empower them,” he said. “I didn’t want to just be a Westerner coming in to solve their problems for them.”  

 

Hummel ran the soccer tournament alongside a workshop for youth that served as training for YAP.  He gathered about 25 young people from the three tribes for a five-day workshop. “I wanted to facilitate discussion, get them to speak”, Hummel said. Together they confronted stereotypes, shared values and discussed experiences from the civil war.

 

By the end, they had drafted a peace treaty. The treaty declared that the youth would act as role models to make Kenya a peaceful country, with a strong emphasis on the role of the individual, rather than the tribe, in that process.

 

“His organization has moved from success to success empowering youths from all levels,” wrote Ronnie Mdawida, a local who helped Hummel settle in when he first arrived in Kenya, in an email to New Voices.  “Adam really helped the groups own the whole peace process. They have seen the fruits of coexistence in peace.” Mdawida points, for example, to the recent referendum in Kenya—where there was no violence.

 

The young people are still working together. Although Hummel is no longer in Kenya, the youth have returned to their villages and are spreading their message of peace. Kepha Nyambegera, a member of YAP, sees himself as a leader within his community. 

 

With a few friends, Nyambegera re-structured his drama troupe, now called Adam’s Youth Group, in order to plan activities and projects that raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and fight youth idleness.

 

“Our group’s effectiveness is to make sure that we make the youths be future-oriented and not think about what happened back in the year 2007”, Nyambegera wrote in an email to New Voices. “Our future goal is to expand the group nationwide through opening various branches in Kenya, thus making the coordination work more effective in each community.”    

 

Hummel has not stopped supporting these efforts. He is now helping fund Adam’s Poultry Project, a YAP initiative which would buy eggs for Kenyans with HIV. He is also working on the High School Peace Initiative, which has created clubs in Kenyan high schools with the same goals as YAP.  

 

Hummel, who is still in law school, works hard to fundraise and support his charity. He hopes to garner aid for the effort from the Jewish community, and has connected with the Canadian Federation of Jewish Students (CJFS) as part of that effort. He is also working with the CFJS to send more Jewish students to Kenya with the project and hopes to attract about 20 volunteers. Those students would go to Kenya’s Rift Valley Province, where there have been fewer of these initiatives, and set up a YAP network there. 

 

While tikkun olam continues to guide Hummel in his mission, he also finds inspiration in the Swahili saying vijana tujipange, which means “youth taking it into their own hands.” And the Kenyans appreciate Hummel’s culture as well. “They are very Christian in Kenya, and have respect for Jews,” Hummel said.  “They see us as their older brother.”

 

Donations to YAP are welcome through paypal to youthambassdorsforpeace@gmail.com. For more information visit www.kenyapeaceproject.com.

 

Hailey Dilman is a first-year masters’ student at Hebrew University. She studies contemporary Jewish history and political theory.

One Older Response to “A Jew Tries to Save Kenya”

  1. denis
    April 15, 2011 at 6:21 am #

    INTER-CHRISTIAN YOUTH ORGANISATION
    MINISTRIES
    MT. ELGON DISTRICT
    KAPTAMA DIVISION
    KAPTAMA LOCATION
    DENNIS: +254727 527045
    Account No. 0300194086122
    E-mail: denistaskin@yahoo.com
    Pastor martin- +254729721546
     PROMOTING SPIRITUAL MATTERS
     PROMOTING LIVING STANDARDS OF YOUTH
    AND COMMUNITY AS WHOLE
     ENHANCE GENDER EQUALITY, PROMOTING
    UNITY AMONG YOUTHS
    PROPOSAL
    OFFICE-MT.ELGON DISTRICT-KENYA
    NTER-CHRISTIAN YOUTH ORGANIZATION
    INTRODUCTION
    We as youths decide to come together and form a group so as to fight many problems encountering youths as per individual hence promoting spiritual matters and living standard. Improving economical status enhancing social life, maximum intervention, which could improve togetherness, mutual understanding of the youth and community as whole through co-operation.
    BACKGROUND.
    The group is situated at Kaptama division covering youth from Kaboram, Kamenjo, chesito Kaboywo, and chemoge and kaptama areas.
    The group started the year 2004 with 15 members & later on increased to fifty youth, thereafter we decided to register the group using the above name and later opened an account at Kapsokwony. Account No. 0300194086122
    OBJECTIVES OF THE GROUP.
    I. To help youth grow spiritually
    II. To help youth to be self driven people
    III. To help youth to discover their talents and utilize them maximally
    IV. To avoid the monotony of idleness in youth
    V. To help youth fulfill their visions
    VI. Help youth support themselves financially
    GROUP ACTIVITIES.
    • Evangelization
    • Giving Hope to infected and affected by H.I.V & AIDS
    • Discouragingly F.G.M (Female genital mutilisation)
    • Encouraging people to learn to eradicate illiteracy.
    • Encouraging Mary Go Round
    • Discouraging Abortion
    • Proper disposal of garbage
    • Proper drainage of water
    • Encouraging Male to be circumcised in hospital
    JUSTIFICATION
    Our fellow youth are not involved in Advantages activities hence selling involved in poor Moral standards drunkenness and drug abuse.
    STRATEGIES OF THE GROUP/FUNDS
     N.G.OS
     Government
     Well-wishers
     Ministry of youth
     Donors
     Harambee
    EXPECTED OUT PUT.
     We shall have sources of income
     We will develop awareness against HIV/AIDS
     The community will spearhead awareness against F.G.M
     Job obtain created
     Improve hygiene
     Social Political economic development
     Good living standards
     Poverty eradication among the youth in the community
    RESOURCES
    From-skilled and unskilled Individuals
    MANAGEMENT
    EXECUTIVE
    (1) Chairperson-Dennis Taskin
    (2) Secretary-Godwin Sinjir
    (3) Treasury-Martin Saekwo.
    It was 2004 during youth rally at Moi Kaptama Mt. Elgon lunch time
    It was 2005youth conference at Chesinende villege
    7. FAITH STATEMENT
    It is our belief that all people have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Salvation is by grace through faith and is obtained by renouncing sins and inviting Jesus Christ to be Lord and Saviour. When Jesus Christ comes back and sits upon the throne of I Us glory, He will separate sinners into everlasting punishment (fire) and righteous into eternal life. Christians should live holy and righteous lives pleasing to God. Baptism by total immersion into water. Holy spirit baptism evidenced by speaking in other tongues; Divine healing of the soul, spirit and body. Recognition and operations of all gifts of the Holy Spirit and five fold ascension ministries,
    1. All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. Rom. 3:23
    2. Receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour after repenting and deeply renouncing sins…Rev. 3:20, Acts 3:19, Rom. 10:9-13.
    3. Salvation is by grace through faith… Eph. 2:8
    4. Living Holy and righteous lives pleasing to God..1Pet. 1:15-16.
    5. Water baptism (immersion)…Math, 28:19, Mark 1:9-10, Rom 6:4.
    6. Holy Spirit baptism Mark 16:17, Acts 1:18.
    7. Holy communion to be partaken by Christians-Ma. 26:26-30, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:19-20, 1 Cor. 11:23-26, 1 Cor. 10:16.
    8. Washing of feet as commanded by Jesus Christ as a sign of ser¬vant hood… John 13:4- 7.
    9. Sanctity of marriage as originally ordained of God… Mark 10:5
    10. Recognize the work and operations of all gifts of the Holy Spirit and ascension ministries for perfecting of the saints for me work of ministry and for edifying the body of Christ. Eph 4:11-13, 1 Cor. 12:1-31.
    11. Divine healing of the body, soul and spirit… 1 Thes. 5:23.
    12. Everlasting punishment for sinners and life eternal for the righteous…Math 25:31-46.
    13. Casting out devils in the name of Jesus Christ… Mark 16:17.
    Chairperson Dennis Taskin
    It was 25th December 2006 during Christmas celebration
    8. STATEMENT OF VISION
    The great commission by me Lord Jesus Christ is our mandate. We be¬lieve and trust that God will use His church, to accomplish His purposes on earth.
    Evangelistic church of the Lord Jesus Christ is to be:-
    1. A fellowship whose worship brings Gods power into the church and extends that power through the lives of believers.
    2. A body of believers directed by the Spirit of God and that baptismal the Holy Spirit is both personal blessing and is an endowment of power to witness and service in fulfillment of the Great Commission.
    3. A fellowship that has love and concern for people who are hurt and lonely. These people are reached through evangelism and churches planted in strategic locations where these people are. Home for disadvantaged such as orphanage, disabled and the aged will be built as God provides funds.
    4. The church that targets the community and is concerned with the physical, spiritual and material needs of the people. As God provides funds, the church intends to build hospitals, schools, colleges and complex conference centre for hosting national and international meetings.
    5. A church that will operate income generating projects that will enable the Gospel to be preached.
    6. A church that is committed to the authority of Holy Scriptures, the Bible for faith, and direction.
    7. A body of believers who hunger and thirst for the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness who will in turn transform to Christ likeness. Christ centeredness and sensitive to the needs of the church and other people.
    8. A church that focuses on the local congregation where the pastor takes care and leads all members to exercise spiritual gifts, ministries and talents.
    STATEMENT OF MISSION To preach the Gospel to the unreached in Kenya and to the whole world as accomplished by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ… Math 28:18-20. To accomplish this mission, the church through believers will:-
    1. Preach full gospel of Jesus Christ (God’s word) in the power of Holy Spirit through evangelistic crusades and missions.
    2. Raise leaders with ministerial gifts to carry out missionary work. This will involve training and equipping leaders for mission work.
    3. Disciple Christians to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    4. Emphasize on Biblical stewardship, church growth, church plant¬ing, family enrichment, servant leadership for reaching out in mis¬sions.
    5. Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in harmony with be¬lievers from other churches and servants of God with different ministries and gifts, as long as they preach and contact themselves according to true Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
    6. Use all available resources such as cinemas, install radio and television stations to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to many nations in the world.
    10. CHALLENGES
    Evangelistic Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is facing great and complex challenges which include many upcoming churches and fast changing world behavior. Wrong religious doctrinal beliefs such as self righteous¬ness, false salvation, witch Crafts, anti Christs, devil worship, cults, tribal beliefs, ancestral doctrines, generational curses, demonic beliefs and poverty are some of the church growth barriers and challenges. We have however taken an honest look at our challenges and face them without fear by the grace of God. It is our believe and acceptance that Evangelistic Church of the Lord Jesus Christ has a unique position for growth. We see the church as a divine work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ being the head and vital vessel called to usher in spiritual and physical healing of the perishing world. Through guidance and power of Holy Spirit, the Church is to grow, reach far and many churches will be planted in Kenya and beyond to meet the needs of people of all levels and races in life.
    10. FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO CHURCH GROWTH
    This is a fast growing church with a vision. Through God’s favour and grace the church has not only grown at Kaptama but other local churches have been planted. Factors which have significantly contributed to growth are as follows:-
    1. Faithfulness and steadfast to our call to reach the world with gospel of Jesus Christ.
    2. Our believe that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the master plan¬ner and builder of His church.
    3. Dependence upon the Holy Spirit.
    4. Obedience to the word of God.
    5. Evangelism which include house to house and open air meetings.
    6. Home fellowship mid-week meetings at various locations-(cell groups)
    7. Transparency and accountability to church members and other people.
    8. Desire to retain powerful praise and worship.
    9. Prayer- Encouragement to members of the church to observe personal and communal prayers.
    10. Conducting meetings such as Revivals, Seminars, Conferences, Con¬ventions, for all groups. Youth, women and men groups have their time to hold their own meetings.
    11. Preaching holiness and righteousness as God’s standard requirement for His people.
    12. Emphasis on bringing up Sunday school children to fear and honour God.
    13. Bring up a strong Youth Ministry that has a vision to reach the world with Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    14. Humble and good administrative leadership.
    15. Training to equip leaders for growth.
    Factors mentioned will continue to contribute to church growth physi¬cally, spiritually, and emotionally.
    Open air meeting crusade Kaptama market
    Team of choir members plus praise and worship 2007
    PROJECT: EVANGELIZATION:-OUTREACH TEAM
    Budget Estimated
    PRESCRIPTION
    QUANTITY
    COST PER UN IT
    TOTAL
    Mixer Amplifier
    One, 14 Jacks
    65,000
    65,000
    Keyboard
    1 PSR 2100
    60,000
    60,000
    Speakers
    4
    80,000
    80,000
    Mikes/stands
    6
    30,000
    30,000
    Cables
    6,500
    6,500
    Generator
    HONDA
    39,240
    39,240
    Video camera
    1
    32,000
    32,000
    Colour T.V
    21
    25,000
    25,000
    Video Decker
    45,000
    45,000
    Total
    451,400
    451,400
    Desktop/Printer
    1
    22,500
    22,500
    Colour copiers (scanner)
    1
    6,200
    6,200
    Flash discs
    2
    1,240
    1,240
    Photocopier machine
    1
    35,000
    35,000
    Rent
    1ROOM
    24,000
    24,000
    D rowers
    1
    10,000
    10,000
    Cyber cafe
    1
    18,320
    18,320
    Office bearers
    15%
    150,000
    Maintenance & Repair
    35%
    350,000
    WORK PLAN GRAND TOTAL
    1,000,000
    To implement Our Projects of Evangelization we will take duration of one year. There will be executive committee to oversee and run the organization. The total project cost will be one million only (1,000,000).
    PROJECT: THE YOUTH HIV/AIDS AWARENESS
    Through;
    1. Seminars
    2. Workshops, Video shows and drama
    BUDGET
    (1) seminar
    description/frequency (4) times
    COST per time
    TOTAL IN KSH
    • Teachers 2 (hired)
    1,000 x 2
    8,000
    • Venue (hall)
    150,000
    600,000
    • Other expenses
    -Transport
    10,000
    40,000
    -Food
    70,000
    280,000
    (1) workshops video shows
    18,000
    72,000
    and dramas
    GRAND TOTAL
    250,000
    1,000,000
    Dennis and his wife lily
    Youths during practice 2008 at the church
    PROJECT: PAULTRY FARMING
    We as an organization will construct a house for the rearing of poultry
    MATERIALS
    QUALITY
    UN IT COST
    TOTAL
    Iron sheets
    30 iron sheets
    @500
    1,500
    Wire mesh
    @3,200
    31,000
    Timber
    35 frames
    @150
    5,250
    Nails
    15kgs
    @140
    2,100
    Cement
    8 cement
    @750
    6,000
    Sand
    2 Trailers
    @2,000
    4,000
    Broilers
    100
    @250
    25,000
    Layers
    50
    @300
    1,500
    Turkey
    10
    @400
    4,000
    Ducks
    20
    @250
    5,000
    Doves
    20
    @100
    2,000
    FEEDING
    Chic Marsh
    (2×12) sacks
    @2,000
    48,000
    Layers marsh
    (3 x 12) sacks
    @2,000
    72,000
    Broilers Marsh
    (3×12) sacks
    @2,000
    72,000
    Drugs
    250,000
    Land/Plot
    Double full plot
    @100,000
    200,000
    Fencing using wire mesh
    72,000
    Posts
    60 posts
    @60
    3,600
    Mbao for partitioning
    120
    @126
    45,360
    Labour
    60,000
    60,000
    Transport
    40,000
    40,000
    Other Emergencies
    49,690
    49,690
    GRAND TOTAL
    1,000,000
    open air meeting at Saboti trans nzoia district 2008
    Pastor Martin kisiero and his friends 2006 at Nairobi Grace college Bible school
    Two families Mr Danson and his wife from Left and Mr. Dennis and his wife right Eldoret
    Dennis and his friend Ruto at Kaptama
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