Donations made today thanks to Martin Holmstedt, Elin Stenberg, Mikael Sundebäck, Johan Abrahamsson, Ove och Monica, Richard Sjölin, David Sjölund, stig-Gunnar med familj, Joakim Erenlöf, Fredrik Svedbrant, Ulf Eriksson.
We help well behaved prisoners to a second chance and a good future.
We woke up in one of Kenya’s most safe towns, Kericho. Around 150’000 citizens, a university and fresh cool drinkable water running from the taps.
The evening before, like being sent by the lord himself, reverend John Paul Orva bumped into Fredrik in the streets. The result of their meeting was the idea of helping three well behaved and changed prisoners to a new career and a possible way to make a good life as carpenters after their release. The prisoners have, according to Father John, showed great results and he really believes that these three will make a turn in their life. The reason they ended up behind bars in the first place, is that they were poor and desperate to get food for their families and the only option they found was to try and steal whatever possible to get by. Our belief is that we can contribute to give a good start to them and their families if they get tools when they leave the iron bars behind and come out on grönbete as we say in Sweden. An opportunity to make an honest living and with that be able to provide for their families.
We get let in in the early morning behind the iron gates. The guards are amused and chat with us about our cycle trip, they, and later also the prison chief, laugh at, but also show their admiration for our trip and what we do.
Inside the 4 meters high iron gates there are a few buildings, some trees and a trail going up behind. A few cars are parked here. Basically it looks like a villa garden next to some institutional one story buildings made out of stone. The reverend arrives, he is a tall, dark and handsome man, very properly dressed just like yesterday night. He is very polite, when he gets interrupted, which happens more than once by being greeted by a friend, he takes his time to listen to them even if we are in the middle of our meeting. At a first glance, this might seem somewhat rude, but after a short while you notice that this is his way. He has time and a place in his heart for everyone. Once he is done listening politely, he excuses himself and again give us all of his attention.
We are excited to be here. After a short interview with father John, where he explains about the way prisoners have great opportunities to get education inside the prison walls to give themselves a good second start in life, he leads us to the chief's office where he introduces us to the happy big man behind the desk dressed in an african tunica. The officer in charge, Mr Martin Akwanyi, is relaxed and thinks it is fun to have us here, “you were sent by god” he says. He declares that it rarely happens that people like us are let in to visit the prisoners, but that they make an exception today because of the good cause and the possibilities this creates for these three chosen, good inmates.
So we make a small plan and then we all take the chief’s car and go to the supermarket. We buy all the tools we can find that can be useful for a carpenter. A carpenter’s plane, a saw, a hammer, chisels, a hand drill, a notebook, a pencil among others.
Once again we spend all the cash we have, in fact more. And instead of not buying it all we explain why need this to the man in charge at the supermarket. What he then does is beautiful, he takes out money from his own pocket and chips in to help our cause.
After this, we are off to the prison again and we pretty much walk straight from the car to the prison’s inner courtyard only passing a couple of locked gates through one of the stone buildings. This is truly the prison you thought of when you grew up. Very much leading your thoughts to the books Papillion or the El Choco. The gates are sturdy iron bars and inside there is a sundrenched courtyard filled with prisoners sitting in their striped uniforms. They are interested in what will happen now and there seem to be a happy feeling in the air. The chief declares in a longer version, that if you behave good you can get rewarded. After this, he calls the names of the three chosen prisoners and we greet them and hand out the gifts. They are very happy. Very indeed. Our hope now is that they really will get that better life when they come out.
One of the prisoners joked about Christian having the same taste in clothes as him. :)