My Encounters III
Survival For the Fittest at Nairobi Remand Prison
Being in prison for the first time could be very stressful for one. It was actually worse for me as Ihad hated the name prison since my childhood. In fact if I had to pass through prison way, I made sure that I passed far away from the main gate, lest the warders mistake me for an inmate and take me inside there. Whenever I came across prison buses, my blood chilled, but now I was one among the prisoners!
For two months I had hoped for the long dream to end in vain, I had tried my best to escape from prison to no avail, Anyone who have been in industrial area prison in Kenya could tell you plainly that trying to escape from that prison is a futile mission; it could also make your matters worse. Stress and restlessness could not leave my mind considering the new environment I was in and also the situation of my family back home.
Seeing human beings subjected to animal life was humiliating. How can a normal human being be locked inside a building which is very cold with no ventilation 24/7? Surely, how can one sleep on bare cement with no blanket to cover in? How can one be expected to eat meals of which even a dog can not stand? How can the warders themselves stand overcrowded cells where human beings die like sick chicken? how can good people be mixed with crooks, hooligans?, these and many more questions were lingering in my mind occasionally, in fact I saw it very unfair for God to have allowed me enter prison in the first place, considering that I was a very innocent person. Though I was very bitter on God, I saw it no otherwise but to turn to him, perhaps he might do some miracle! I prayed in a very crazy way that other cell mates wondered what this man was up to, a man crying in the form of prayer was unusual in the cells. Two weeks of prayers, crying and fasting however proved fruitless to me, for I had hoped God to perform a miracle and open prison doors the same way he did to Paul and Silas!
My last tactic had failed so I had to become contented with the situation; there was nothing more I could do. Being a religious manand a Christian, I started attending Christian services at the prison. There is morning glory starting at 5.00am, morning service, starting at 8.00am to 9.00am, main service starting at I.00pm to3.00pm, evening service was at 5.00 to6.00pm, the last one was before sleeping time around 9.00pm, I used to attend all those services, in fact the motto of the Christians in prison was “hakuna kazi ingine, kazi ni kumsifu bwana’ That is (there is no other job in prison except to praise the lord.)
Not long I was chosen a cell pastor, the former pastor had been released so I had to take his position with immediate effect, and nobody else was qualified for that position, the population of the cell constituted of around a hundred to two hundred people. My main work constituted of giving counsel to other inmates, preaching and praying to them as well, and offering other services to the main chapel such as ushering, programming and preaching. That gave me freedom to move freely through the prison compound. My mother could also see me face to face, when visiting me, not through the wire mess as was the custom earlier on.
I was close to other men of God so they used to assist me a lot, the more fortunate used to assist the less fortunate, donations to pastors and other believers used to come our way often hence we didn’t lack the basic necessities such as soaps, tissue papers, clothes, toothbrushes, etc. The cell mates also used to assist their pastors a lot in many ways. Since even warders respected the ‘men of God’, I had access to the kitchen’s best foods, access to exercises and games and also education opportunities. No wander people were astonished when I was released from prison, since I was healthier and physique! That is where I obtained my certificate in computer and keyboard playing and a diploma in bible research. That is where I discovered that in the harshest environment, with God, you will become fit to survive.