Celebrating Gandhi's Birthday

Bobnel Handicapped Child Support Projects Independence Day Celebration


Keith McHenry, one of the cofounders of the movement spoke at Gandhi's birthday celebration in Lagos, Nigeria on October 2, 2005. After speaking at the Gauranga Foundation about Food Not Bombs, nonviolence and consensus, Keith McHenry helped cook and share vegetarian food with the hungry in Lagos, and interviewed with a number of publications and broadcast stations. Keith was a guest of honor at the Bobnel Handicapped Child Support Projects Independence Day Celebration. Keith spoke live on LTV and they did a feature story that included video footage of the group cooking and sharing food with hungry Nigerians. His live radio interview with Akin Aiyedum on EKO generated dozens of phone calls. The Source, The Exclusive, Punch, The Week Magazine and many other national periodicals published articles about the founding of the Food Not Bombs movement in West Africa. Keith also met with several leading Nigerian human rights activists, artists and musicians who pledged support for the creation of a Food Not Bombs movement throughout West Africa. During a meeting with the leaders of Nigeria's largest student group, the National Association of Nigerian Students it was decided that at national tour would be organized in February of 2006. Keith's visit was filmed by Eniola Oyeyinka for the documentary about Food Not Bombs being produced by Australian filmmaker Liz Tadic. Bolaji Rosiji who is the director of the Gauranga Foundation provided valuable assistance to Food Not Bombs during the entire visit. Attorney Ayo Adebusoye was also very helpful. Many people said they believe Food Not Bombs will play an important role in creating positive change in Africa.

Keith returned to Africa on February 15, 2006. He helped Food Not Bombs buy a mini-bus and cooking equipment. The students took Keith and filmmaker Liz Tadic to the national Senate meeting of the National Association of Nigerian Students. Isreal introduced Keith to the over 500 students at the senate and Keith invited them to help build a Food Not Bombs movement in Africa. The senate voted to promote non-violent social change by supporting the creation of the Food Not Bombs movement.

During his visit he spoke at the University of Calabar, met with many Nigerian leaders including the Federal Minister of Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe who introduced him to Mrs. M. Oluwatoyin Adetunji who is the Special Assistant to the President on Food Security. She agreed to work with Food Not Bombs and told us of their free meal program for school children and their program to provide food to the hungry in Niger and Sudan. Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe did a Food Not Bombs action at his home in Lagos. Keith and the Nigerian Food Not Bombs activists also met with Elder Igwe Ejireyl who is the chairman of the village of Alesa Eleme which sits outside one of the largest oil refineries in Niger Delta of Nigeria. Igwe Ejireyl gave them a tour of his village showing us the suffering of his comunity. The water boils and the people sleep on benches and on the ground. Their community is being poisoned by the refinery. They agreed to start a local Food Not Bombs group and they were given food and fresh water.

The Food Not Bombs activists visited a small farming village and made arraingements to buy 5000 yam seeds to grow yams for the next harvest. Keith and Liz were also carjacked by Area Boys and held for an hour until state police arrived to negotiate a ransom of 2000 Naira. Two days latter they were attending a special event with the Presidents of Liberia and Nigeria. Keith and the other Food Not Bombs activists had two meetings with one of Nigerias most popular mucisians Charly Boy who agreed to help organize a giant concert in Lagos on October 1, 2006. So anything can happen in Nigeria.

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