My name is Marcie Simon. I live in Jonestown, Guyana. I’ve lived here four months now and plan to stay. I have a two-year-old daughter who also loves it here. She’s the picture of health. I think it’s the sun that makes everybody so healthy happy and full of energy. I live in a nice little cottage on the main road and I can look out my window and see the nearby jungle where the trees are so tall you think you’ll never see the top. You can go into the jungle and see the beautiful waterfalls and wild animals. When I was a child I always dreamed I’d have my own tree house and this is the place I dreamed about. There is no violence here, no rapings, no racism. I just wish everybody could be at least half as happy as I.
I wanted to come to Jonestown since I first heard about it. Little did I know at the time that I would have one of my lungs removed because of cancer. Consequently, I retired and after recuperating came to Jonestown.
This is a beautiful place. Somewhat like a large estate with fields planted all around. The climate is ideal for my condition. Warm in the day and cool at night, but never cold. My strength has come back here and I am working part-time with our medical staff doing medical protocols on people that want to see the Doctor. We have a clinic for our own people and also for people living in the North West district around us. We practice preventative medicine and consequently have little sickness among our own people in spite of the fact that we have many elderly people in our group. This is a great place.
Lisa P. Layton
My name is Bill Oliver and I’ve been living in Jonestown for nearly 11 months and I love it here. Jonestown to me is a land of opportunity because now I have the chance to learn how to pilot a boat. I enjoy watching our children play on the playground and our young people learning agriculture. In my spare time I like to go to the library and read or play baseball. A few weeks ago my parents tried to force me to go back to the States, they completely disregarded what I wanted to do. I prefer to stay here with my friends and my wife but they didn’t care. My dad who never bothered with me other than to beat me has suddenly become anxious over my welfare. Now living in Jonestown I’m very happy, my wife is happy and I’m not interested in what they got to say.
My name is Joyce Touchette. I was one of the fortunate ones that got to come over to it when it was just getting started. I have been here about 4 years now. I saw Jonestown when it was nothing but jungle and now it is a town with about 1000 people. I have never been sorry that I chose this way of life. The beauty here is breathtaking. Since have been here I have learned how to cook on open fires. We break all our own breads, pastries, and crackers etc. All this is done in a wooden oven. We are growing coffee and cocoa. We hope to become self-sufficient.
I don’t know why my daughter is telling lies or why she can’t live her life and just leave us alone. She chose her life and I am not interfering so why does she keep bothering me?
Jonestown is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. I’m sorry she got mixed up in the wrong crowd, if she hadn’t then maybe she could see the beauty here. As for me and the rest of my family we have found a new home.
I, E. Christine Young, have relatives that are speaking out against my children and I being here in beautiful Guyana and we cannot understand why they are doing this.
We are happy here and we love it. My youngest son Joel has his own private flower and vegetable garden. This is exactly what he has always wanted. He loves to watch his gardens grow daily.
My daughter Brenda is a teacher’s helper and since she is in school studying to become a teacher, she is more than satisfied with her job.
I am working in the Special Care Center here in our medical compound. The job is very rewarding and fulfilling and I love it.
Jonestown, Guyana is beautiful and we are happy and we love it.
We can’t understand why anyone would want to begrudge us the privilege of being here.
I came to Guyana in July 1974 for the purpose of assisting in the construction of Jonestown. I like it very much and hope that I will be able to make Jonestown my permanent home.
My name is Charles E. Touchette and my wife is Joyce Touchette, the two of us were appointed by Pastor Jones to co-manage the construction of Jonestown. Pastor Jones also made it possible for my youngest daughter Michelle, oldest son Michael and youngest son Albert to come to Guyana with us and we will be a part of this beautiful program. All three are still here an extremely happy, their lives are very productive in the jobs they are doing.
I wish my oldest daughter Mickey Jean would have remained in Peoples Temple and been as productive as her sister and brothers, instead of disappearing with $300.00 of ours and not telling us she was taking it or where she was going.
Jonestown is truly the only place that is totally free of social prejudice, where people truly care about one another, and all people are equal regardless of race or age.
Statement of Joyce Rozynko
I was raised in the country and felt as if I had come home since I came to Jonestown. The country is very beautiful, and my life is full and rewarding. I work as a nurse here, as I did in the United States, but nursing here is different than there. I often felt I was just “passing pills” to earn my salary, and so often people did not improve. Often life as a nurse was filled with frustration. Here, the medical attention the people get is very different. Everyone cares, for one thing. I don’t care who it is who’s sick or hurt – There’s a superabundance of people who take an active interest in each individual. It isn’t unusual for Jim Jones to drop in to our little hospital to speak to each person there, and to stop by and talk to the Doctor about someone’s health problem. We all feel the security of meaning something here, and of being cared for, like never before.
I’m so glad to be back in the country again with gardens and growing things all around. We even have our own pets, and these animals obviously love it here too. The dogs are so friendly and downright sweet. They share themselves with all of us. They are exceptionally peaceful dogs. We never have to worry about one of our children being bitten. No one, nor any animals act “nervous,” a frequent complaint in the States.
I enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and the lack of pressure here. I feel I can work better than I ever did before. I can take interest now in learning new things – I was “turned off” before – now I find it isn’t work – it’s a pleasure.
I think of Sandy, she decided not to come with us. It’s too bad. She’d have loved it here, she cared for animals and they are all around. But she has chosen her life; and as for my erstwhile husband, I hear he has made derogatory comments about Peoples Temple and Jim Jones. He once thought highly enough of Pastor Jones to request that he officiate at his wedding to his present wife.
I’m glad I live here. I look back and can’t imagine the life I lived before. I thank my lucky stars I met Jim Jones.
[Page 2 of statement]
He made the difference for my children and myself, and gave us the opportunity to come to this beautiful country where we can spread out and feel renewed in the freedom of a new and vigorous life.
My name is Albert Touchette. I’ve been here in Jonestown for almost 4 years. Since being here I’ve learned many skills that I would not have learned in the States. In the States I was disinterested in school and could never focus on any trade that I might want to learn. It seems like every time I got interested in something I was never able to complete it. Here in Jonestown I have learned carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, heavy equipment, and I have also been a manager of the project. I am also planning to attend a 2 year course in veterinary medicine. Since coming to Jonestown I have found much fulfillment. I would like to say that this applies to many, many more young people that are now living happily here in Jonestown. Not only are all of these educational skills offered, but in the evenings there are movies, dances, and other entertainment.
I do not know why my sister Mickey as said such disparaging things about Jonestown. There are 8 of us here from
[Page 2 of statement]
my family; find mom, dad, sister, brother, my grandparents, my uncle and myself. And none of us, not one, as ever regretted our choice to come to Jonestown, when it was just getting started to clear the land for this agricultural project. We are probably the oldest family here and I can truthfully say that I am totally happy and intend on staying here to continue the development of this community.
My name is Michael Jon Touchette and I have been in Peoples Temple since December of 1970. Four (4) out of the eight (8) years I’ve been a member has been spent in Jonestown building our Agriculture Project. My life before coming down here was meaningless. I was only living for myself not caring for anyone else. Jonestown has made me feel for other people, I feel part of someone besides myself.
My job here has been operating a bulldozer. In the States I went from union to union seeking to learn the trade of heavy equipment. The only way I could have gotten into a union was one of two ways, either lots of money or being able to know someone. I am very grateful for the chance of being able to learn this trade.
When I required medical attention, we were always in need of lots of money for little care. But here are medical care is beyond belief. When you’re hurt, you have a team of people that treat you on the spot and come to your house 2 or 3 times a day. Our medical team really cares for you.
One thing that I can’t understand
[Page 2 of statement]
is why my sister Mickey Touchette is trying to destroy Jim Jones and Peoples Temple. It was Jim who helped her out. It was Peoples Temple that paid her way through college. She was in Peoples Temple for 4 years and if it was so bad she could have left much sooner.
All I want to say is life in Jonestown is ideal, for the young as well as the old. Since being here I never wanted to go back and I can’t see how I can have a place that gives life purpose.
Michael Jon Touchette
My name is Donna Ponts & I’m 15 yrs. of age. I would like to make a statement and I hope I can make it absolutely clear. I don’t know what more I can say. I’ve written my Dad time and time again (he has never answered), telling him how happy I am here in Jonestown, Guyana. I can remember when I was back in the States. I would never talk to anybody. Now you can hardly get me to shut up. I attend the 10th grade at Jonestown Community High, and I’m getting A’s and B’s in all my subjects. I’m thinking about being an obstetrician. During my free time, I help out in the infant nursery. Also something that was really exciting! I got to watch our doctor deliver a baby by the La Maze method (natural childbirth). I would never have had the opportunity before. I spend the rest of my free time playing sports and watching movies with my friends. I like playing soccer and volleyball the best. We get to watch different movies every week that have been produced all around the world. I just don’t see why Don Ponts keeps on trying to force
[Page 2 of statement]
his will on me. I truly love Jonestown. I feel like I’ve finally found my place in life and I don’t want to be anywhere else.
My name is Emmett Griffith Jr. and I’m writing in the response to the demands of my sister Carnella Truss has made concerning her daughter Dana. Dana lives here in Jonestown with my mom and the rest of our family. She has been living with my mom since she was just a few weeks old, and she is now 8 yrs. This is why my sister’s statement that she wants her back is so strange to me. When she was in the States she was having many problems in school so many that they wanted to put her on special medication in school and in classes for children with problems. But since she has been here, she has really changed. She is one of the happiest children in this community. I don’t understand why Carnella wants to take her out of a life of enjoyment and happiest [happiness] back to where she would have to be on medication or in a special class.
Now let me tell you a little about
[Page 2 of statement]
what I do in Jonestown. I have now just completed a full-scale training program in heavy equipment operation & maintenance. This is a field of work that I always wanted to get into in the States, but I never could get any training. I have gotten more training than I ever thought of getting. Jonestown to me is the best place I have ever lived. I have no plans to go anywhere else.
Emmett Griffith Jr.
I’m Ava Cobb, a twenty-six year old Black Woman, who has been an active member of the Peoples Temple Church under the guidance and leadership of Rev. James W. Jones for several years.
My mother, younger brothers and sisters are also members of Peoples Temple. I can honestly and safely say, that my family has never been happier and more productive than they are now in Jonestown, Guyana, South America.
I remember the struggles, turmoil, pain and racism my family faced in the past. The peace we have found in Jonestown where everyone is working, teaching, learning, playing, and retiring together in harmony and understanding, is like a dream come true.
It overwhelms me to see my younger brothers and sisters growing up into well-adjusted and wholesome young adults.
Our Educational Department and qualified teachers are outstanding and of the highest standards. My younger brother had many problems with comprehension in reading. Under our educational program and teachers, he has been given individual and personal attention and now he can read two levels higher than his normal grade level. He’s much happier. He now has self-respect and confidence, which is really important and necessary for a
[Page 2 of statement]
growing, young black child.
I’m one of the project administrators. I enjoy my work. I have been here one year and I feel, as if my life has just begun to have real meaning and worth. I enjoy functioning in all areas of administration on [the] agricultural project. I must say it is a learning, as well as a rewarding experience. I would never trade what I have learned in the past, and will continue to learn in the future, for nothing in the world.
I’m pleased that my life is fulfilled, just knowing that my family, my daughter and friends, here are developing a healthy, happy, working, educated and active society that will assist others as well, in the neighboring communities.
I would like to thank my Pastor and friends for this challenging and meaningful opportunity in life.