Letter from Africa
October 26, 2001
Please remember Urantian missionaries Henry Zeringue, Bill McLean, and Dean White in your prayers.
From Henry Zeringue, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nairobi, Kenya, Africa
The "Law of Justice" in Nairobi
This week was especially memorable, I got to visit the Nairobi Police
Station equivalent of a central lockup. The situation which enabled my
presence at the station was one of sadness, compassion, confusion, poverty,
The situation started with Bill's phone getting ripped from his person
while we were trying to get to our hotel on Latema Rd. It was the afternoon
and the streets were especially ripe with many who had not gotten anything
yet that day--nothing to eat, no money, no better sign of hope, or light in
their mental darkness. For the poor lad--he could not have been more than
fifteen years old--who had ripped Bill's phone from his person, and tossed
it to an accomplist, it was to be a memorable day, indeed, one in which
the pains of manhood were especially significant.
I noticed something up, because Bill was right behind me, when I saw the
security guard poise for attack, and rush out of the hotel door onto the
street. I glanced over my shoulder and saw Bill in a frantic run. The lad,
upon tossing the phone, apparently thought he was in the clear, but Bill and
the security guard found him. Jason, the guard, was dragging the boy to the
hotel. In Nairobi, the capture of a thief is indeed cause for "street law."
I had recently read that a thief was surrounded in a house he was
burglarizing, and the neighbors captured this man, dragged him into the
yard, stoned him to death, strung him up with a rope, and burnt his body
hanging from a tree. (This was in the national paper)
The lad was actually saved from the mob, but I am not sure saved from what.
Jason pounded the lad into the cement wall several times, throwing him on
the ground, kicking him into the corner, and another guard with a large
hardwood stick continued to administer corporeal punishment for a bit. It
obviously was an outlet for these guys to vent the frustration with the
theft and thief problem which plagues the neighborhood. Later, Bill and I
had to escort the boy in this situation to the Police station.
The life of a homeless street kid is a rather pathetic situation. The orphan
starts very young, begging for handouts on the street. When he reaches
about puberty, the handouts get taken by the larger gang teens, and then
begins the process of initiation into the street gangs, where the youngsters
must prove themselves worthy to accompany the rival thugs who beat,
humiliate, and who knows what else, to the younger kids.
I had to hire and negotiate a price for a taxi to take Bill, myself, the
lad, and two security guards to the police station when it was about dark on
this particular afternoon. The ride there was a bit on the tense side,
the llad realizing the weight of bad judgment, and the situation into
which he was thrown, having to survive in a veritable hell. Arriving at
the station, we were escorted into the main room, and then into a
smaller receiving room with a desk and a wall out of public sight,
where we were to watch a procession of police come in, to "interrogate
the lad," then administer physical assaults to this kid. I was all but
actually crying, praying to Father to take this son into His
Kindness of Spirit, and into the soul of the child.
I will not go into the greater depth of disgust which we were to experience.
I just focused on the Mind of God, and became aware of "the law of
justice" on this world, and the mind of compassion which is the nature
of Father and his merciful spirit. He truly does love each of us. I loved
the lad, and wished I could take him away, wash his filthy and smelly
body, free him, and give him a greater opportunity to find expression
of his own soul. This was my prayer, at least, to his Adjuster.
I realized the great compromise which accompanied the transition of animal
into a sapient species. The compromise of spirit having to veritably hold
and lead us into civility, and the compromise of the animal, having
consciousness and the accompanying characteristics associated with the
quality of human consciousness. Insects, even, have it better than some
humans. The animals are at least clean in the wild. The discarded human
life, which society has created, degenerates into chaos and confusion,
threat and malevolence. Where spirit is challenged to lead, Father
must really get the low human experience.
So I come here to experience the human condition of a third world country,
to bring an expanded version of greater reality and responsibility into the
African mind. I come from a country which has the potential to help sort
out, through peace, the human condition in the world. Then I get an e-mail
from a Urantia book reader, saying he wants to help, to send books,
but the Foundation will only send books to be placed in libraries. And what
am I doing placing Harry's books, who espouses (at least in this
gentleman's mind) to destroy the Foundation? And you tell me what
JUSTICE is and what is LAW? If Law is the accumulation of social
behavior, which augments the potential of the whole, and justice is the
serving of this Law, then the whole of human behavior needs to be
reconsidered. Well, actually, human behavior was the spiritual compromise
the Deity universe made in creating animals with the potential to evolve
I ask you who read this to reconsider in your meditations, what
responsibility the American culture has to help change the human condition,
and is it the responsibility of those who govern, or those who are governed?
Henry in Nairobi