A Feeling of Freedom (Text)

“… a feeling of freedom…”
– a collection of photographs & comments about the community of Jonestown

(Inside front cover)
(photo caption)
“… Jonestown grows dearer to me each day. There is so much beauty, so much joy in the faces of our children and seniors…” – Mary Lou Clancey

(Page 1)
“… a feeling of freedom…”
– a collection of photographs & comments about the community of Jonestown by residents and visitors at the Peoples Temple Agricultural/Medical Project in Guyana, South America.

(Page 2)
(photo caption)
“… Everything grows well in Jonestown – especially the children…” – Pat Grunnet (teacher)

(Page 3)
“…You know, people are so free here and they look so different. People’s faces glow with freedom in their eyes. No more drugs, no more racism, no more rapes, no more prisons or jails…” –Rosie Ruggiero

“…This is a dream come true. This is a whole new world – clean, fresh, pure…” –Mary Wotherspoon

“…There is a place for everyone here and something for them to do. No one has special privileges and everyone feels worthwhile and a part. I am so happy, and that terrible feeling of insecurity is gone…” –Penny Kerns

“…Jonestown is pure democracy in action…” –Johnny Brown

“…When we first arrived on October 3rd, it was about 6:00 p.m. and everyone was eating dinner. Then they all came running towards the vehicle to greet three people– all of them came up to embrace us, saying, ‘Welcome to your new home, Jonestown!’ It made me want to cry…” –Connie Fitch

“…I was afraid of facing retirement in that one–room apartment, but now I have my own cottage. I have all the free time I want and still plenty to do if I want. I am so happy to be here…” –Lucious Bryant

“…You know, we had good jobs and a nice home but we wanted to retire in a place of beauty. Well, we came to the right place!” –Mr. & Mrs. E. Jones

“…I’m teaching a class in the Continuing Education Sessions and I’ve never felt so useful in all my 76 years…” –Henry Mercer

“…Jonestown is truly a milestone. Nestled in the most exquisite forest surroundings, we have every convenience plus more: the best in social services any community anywhere can offer!” –Dorothy Worley

(Page 4)

(Page 5)
“… Yesterday I took the children on a field trip. They watched the anteater big threats. They were in a big circle, quiet and awestruck…” –Diane Lundquist
“… I’m going to school and I actually like it. I’m studying to be a paramedic. My teachers are Sharon Swaney [R.N., P.N.P.], Joyce Parks [R.N., F.N.P.], Phyllis Chaikin (L.V.N.], and Dr. Schacht (M.D.]. I’m now on the subject of breast cancer. I’ve covered the heart, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, stomach and many more…” –Marvin Sellers
“… We had ‘Open House’ at the school yesterday and it is really something to see how quickly the children are learning. Wall–the teacher tells me–has to be asked to put his math book away and go out and play. He is at the Junior High level at algebra and is only in 5th grade. He used to have such a frustrating time with math and all his other studies. He talks all the time now, and answers any question you asked him…” –Carol Dennis

(Pages 6 & 7)
“…a feeling of freedom…”

–Statements of Rev. and Mrs. John Moore, who had just returned from a week’s visit at the Project, and Atty. Charles Garry, during a press conference held at Peoples Temple, May 28, 1978.


“I’m John Moore. We have two daughters who are members of the Temple. One, the older girl, is a teacher, and the younger one is a nurse… The two words that come to my mind immediately, as I was there and as I tried to reflect upon my experiences were; ‘impressive’ and ‘amazing’. It almost boggles my mind to see that great clearing and to understand how so much could have been done in the relatively short period of time.

“We wore ourselves out, walking around the facility. I think about 800 to a thousand acres have been cleared, and it’s in the midst of a jungle, and that’s part of what’s impressive; and all except a part of the land that ‘s not finally been cleared, has been planted with various crops.

“We went to the piggery, the chickery, to the dairy, to the mill where the refining of flour from the tubers of the cassava [is done}. We were first impressed – certainly I was–with seeing the older people at the time we arrived …about noon, engaged in calisthenics with an instructor, keeping their limbs and joints and muscles limber. And then we went to the nursery, the child care center.

“They have probably 35 preschoolers. I don’t know how many they have in school. They have newborn babies; several babies have been born there. They have a day care nursery for parents who work, and there are those who are caring for them; and then they have the older people. That’s really a part of the beauty of it, we felt.

“We talked about what they were doing, and what they were interested in, and all of them were engaged in some activity or work that was particularly important for them, they were about business which they regarded as important.

“I had a feeling of freedom…The food is provided for everyone. there’s medical care for everyone, educational opportunities for everyone; there are work needs and opportunities for the members of the community. I think obviously people with certain skills and experience move into those fields. If it’s a tool and die maker in a machine shop, or a man in agronomy, they work in those particular fields. On the other hand, some people have not had the experience in specific fields. One of the great things, I think, is the opportunity for some of the younger people, particularly, to be learning skills when that opportunity is not present here.”

In regard to the relationship of the project to the citizens and government of Guyana, Rev. Moore said, “The school is accredited by the government of Guyana… They’ve had people from the Department of Agriculture and their agricultural stations there working with the people at the project. The health services are provided for the Amerindians or people who live in the community as well as for members of the project itself.”


“My impressions are, having just experienced our visit there, that this is a beautiful, heroic, creative project! It is absolutely miraculous. There are excellent medical services excellent educational services, and … it’s a community of caring and sharing with an added dimension, and this dimension I would say, is Love – if you want to use that term. In a sense it reminds me of … a New Testament community, in the purest sense of the word, in the love and concern for all, that we observed. And with complete freedom for creativity! Those who want to farm, are fanning; those who wish to teach, teach; those who like to cook, cook. They have an excellent nutritionist who is working scientifically all the time to discover new uses for the indigenous plants and growths there, and is in contact with the Guyanese experts to discover new and useful uses for these various crops… That was very impressive to me.

“It was most impressive to see the elderly people, the older folks, who had their neat little yards, their Little…. (cont ‘d. on page 12)

(Pages 8 & 9)

“… Man, the Fillmore has seen the last of me!” –Charles Wesley

“… Everything here is green, still a new trip for a ghetto kid used to seeing housing projects for the major part of my life…” –Cordell Neal

“… All around Jonestown, tall green trees around us. Just imagine never hearing the sound of a siren. It’s so peaceful and quiet here. At night a person will feel comfortable knowing that they don’t have to worry about being murdered or robbed in their sleep…” –Scott Thomas

“… I tell you, there is so much to appreciate here… to wake up in the morning and never have to worry about someone mugging you. We sleep with our windows and doors open. It so peaceful; everyone looks so much better and feels better crime not having to worry about where their next meal is coming from…” –Tanya Cox

(Pages 10 & 11)

Jonestown Guest Book

Officer in charge of Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, U. S. State Department

Charge d’Affairs to U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young

Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health, Guyana

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guyana

Minister of Education, Guyana

Regional Development Officer, North West Region, Guyana

Representative, Ministry of Agriculture, Guyana

Chief Official in the Ministry of Education, Guyana

British High Commissioner in Guyana

Chancellor of the University of Guyana

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works and Transportation

Assistant Director–General of National Service, Guyana

Delegates from one of the world’s largest news agencies.

Regional Minister, North West Region, Guyana

Thirty–five teachers from the MacKenzie District, Guyana

“THE HEALTH CARE IN THE COMMUNITY IS FANTASTIC. JONESTOWN IS A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN.” After examining the teeth of 67 children he found only two cavities. “THIS,” he said, “IS UNHEARD OF.”
A dentist from India and founder of a dental school in Georgetown, Guyana

“IT’S MIND–BOGGLING TO SEE HOW YOU HAVE CARVED OUT OF THE JUNGLE A COMMUNITY THAT LOOKS JUST LIKE A TOWN IN THE UNITED STATES–AND WITH ALL THE PUBLIC UTILITIES.” In a letter following his visit, he wrote: “The training program of the youths and young adults at the Project is highly successful. I have met many and they have told me that they are so happy to be there, as it has made a great change in their life, and given them a chance to prove themselves.”
Head of nearly a thousand physicians of a Medical Network of Amateur Radio Operators

“I also wish to give praise and credit to you and the other members of the Peoples Temple Church for the magnificent and humanitarian efforts that you are making. I feel certain that if there were more such organizations with devoted and sincere people such as Larry Schacht and yourself and the members of your church throughout the world that this planet would indeed be a better place upon which to spend one’s life.”
“Dr. Schacht is, in my opinion, a modern–day Dr. Schweitzer. I was truly impressed with … his activities in Mission Village regarding the comprehensive medical pro· gram that he is running there.”
excerpts of letters from Dr. Albert Greenfield

(Page 12)

(Cont’d from page 7)
white picket–type fences, and their opportunity to take classes if they wished to, or to garden, or to just sit. They also have a lovely library of over eight thousand volumes, from poetry to ‘how–to–do–it’ and this was most impressive, that one could sit and read…

“It’s a complete city, and one thing they do encourage is the nuclear family. There are families there with children. You can have your own home, or if you’re a single person, you may live in a dormitory, whichever you prefer. They have a lovely nursery for infants; they have a nursery for toddlers, and of course a fine educational set–up.”

One of the reporters in attendance at the conference stated that he thought she sounded impressed. He asked, “would you think it’s rather Utopian there?” Her reply was, “Oh yes, a lovely Utopia.”

“I was impressed by the medical center particularly. All of the older citizens live right around the medical compound. The medical compound is something that you have never seen and you probably won’t see unless you go there. It’s almost a miracle. This young doctor, who was trained by the Temple. graduated with high honors from the University of California at Irvine, has performed miracles… Every morning at eight o’clock, someone knocks on the cottage door, and says. ‘did anybody have any difficulties last night?’ Can you imagine the feeling of security that these folks have, to feel that somebody cares for them, is interested in them, and will do things for them?”

“It was a very rewarding experience,” he said. “I have never before seen so many people of varying races working happily side–by–side without a single spark of friction. With its own school, sawmill, electricity, roads. Houses, and so on, all being scrupulously clean, I could not help but be impressed.” Dr. Ng–a–Fook, Dental Surgeon [from a news article which appeared in the Guyana Chronicle following his visit to Jonestown]

(Page 13)
(photo caption)
“… Every morning at 8:00 someone knocks at the cottage door and says, ‘Did anybody have any difficulties last night?’ –Imagine the feeling of security these folks must have!” – Atty. Charles Garry

(Page 14)
(photo caption)
“… It’s really beautiful here, and everyone has the spirit of cooperation…” –Tom Kutulas

(Page 15 & 16)

“…Right now I’m sitting in our Pavilion. I can hear our saws going in the background, people are writing letters, playing in Spanish class, or in our Agriculture meeting. work with Tom out in the housing area… I build closets in the cottages, and do some of the finish work on them. Then Charlie gives me various jobs, too, like building cabinets for the Nurse’s Offices, and Radio Room. I feel like I’m really doing something worthwhile, especially when I walk around the houses and see the things I did on them, or go to the nurse and she reaches for my file in the cabinets I built…” –Kim Brewster

“…I have changed my last name. I am now Tobi Mtendaji. My middle name is Chekevu. Put together these two names mean Happy Worker in Swahili… I am now on the construction crew building these beautiful cottages the family lives in. I guess I am just now bringing out my talents here… “ –Tobi Mtendaji

“…Greg and I live in our own cottage. We fixed it up really nice. I’ve planted eggplant along the sides. On the left side of the porch is a bread and butter tree, Flowers, and some beans growing up the house. On the right side of the porch are cucumbers. I’m thinking of planting a papaya tree in the back of the house..;” –Erin Watkins

…..This place is growing by leaps and bounds. New and wider side walks are going up all the time; more cottages to accommodate more arrivals; electric wiring, fencing, planting, painting, gardening, everything you can think of. There is plenty to do and everyone enjoys working…” –Loretta Coomer

“…We make all our own clothes now, and we get just the style, color. and material of something that you want and you don’t have to shop for it!” –Rheaviana Beam

“…There are experimentations going on in many phases, such as making our own clay bricks, our own smokehouse, experimental herbs, and all different kinds of woods to build some innovative carpentry items with also …” –Ron Sines

“…Talk about delicious food… you can’t beat the menu at Jonestown…” –Maria McCann

“…Your eyes will pop out of their sockets when you take a look at the beautiful piece of land called Jonestown. Words can’t describe the beauty of this place…” –Gary Tyler

“…The tropical rain showers are just like you read about. It is sunny and bright one minute, then all of a sudden the rain comes up quick – a gentle, steady rain. Just as suddenly, in 15 or 20 minutes, it clears up and the sun is shining again! It is absolutely refreshing…” –Magnolia Harris

“…You should see our horses, especially the stallion – he is fine! I would never have been able to own a horse, but now I do…” –Ronnie James

“…Maybe you’ve heard of the Ice Cream Tree – well, we really have it! It’s called a sour–sop tree and it produces a fruit which weighs up to 4 kilograms. It is green outside with soft spines and a slightly fibrous green pulp inside. When ripe–split open and eat it with a spoon. It’s like eating sherbet ice cream!” –Mike Rozynko

“…There is a beautiful little waterfall located 1 ½ miles south of Jonestown past some of our crops. It is a breathtaking hike down a jungle path. and when you get there it is a long, smooth, sloping series of rocks and two pools of water (after a rain you can swim) and even a vine to swing over the water (or in if you fall). A large felled tree lays over the water so you can sit on it in the comfortable shade. It is one of my favorite places here… “ –Barbara Walker

“…It is a beautiful tropical night. There is a cool breeze blowing. I can look out the window at the full moon, hearing people laughing. and I can see Jonestown lit up in the moonlight. All else is quiet – it is just a perfect experience.” –Laura Johnston

(inside back cover)
(photo caption)
“… Tell everybody they just don’t know what they’re missing…” –Lena Benton

(Back cover)
If further information is desired, please write to:
Peoples Temple Agricultural/Medical Project
P. O. Box 893
Georgetown, Guyana (South America)


Peoples Temple
P. O. Box 15023
San Francisco, California (U. S. A.)