A short trip to hell and back

a short trip to hell and back
Many prisoners feel trapped even after they left prison / Photo: Pixabay

This is what happened yesterday. I left home at 1:30 pm after finally watching the movie ‘3 Idiots’. What was meant to be a short trip of finding and talking to parents turned to be a short trip to hell and back. My trip started with a slow walk to Stage 2 in Kawangware.

Usually no one is willing to look at me the same way after I have told them I work with boys in prison. Yesterday wasn’t an exception. The first place I went to is a community centre that rescued one of the boys from the streets. I could tell from the way they received and responded to my request to visit the boy in prison that they are not ready to see the boy.

“I am happy about the work you are doing,” the receptionist said. “But I am afraid we won’t be able to do as you have asked.”

“This boy’s successful rehabilitation depends on someone visiting him in prison,” I explained.

“Our work doesn’t involve prison visits sir,” she said.

“What about Teacher Joy who taught him in Baby Class?” I asked. I remembered the boy had mentioned Teacher Joy. “Can I speak to Teacher Joy?”

“No,” she replied. “The school is closed till September.”

“Okay,” I said, swallowing in pain, frustration and anger. “Would you please give me her phone number so I can speak with her?”

“That is not possible sir,” she said.

“Okay,” I said. “Can I leave her a message then?”

A short trip to hell and back

I left Stage 2 and went to my next assignment, somewhere deep in Gatina. Because I have never went past the Vincentian Prayer Centre, I wasn’t ready for what lies beyond the end of the tarmac road, a few metres from the church gate.

I knew I was in unfamiliar territory the moment arrived at the destination where I was to ask for directions to my next stop. Just ask for Mama Icarus, Icarus instructed when I visited prison last Friday. Everybody knows my mom. They will take you to our house.

Sure enough, everyone knows his mom. But I never reached the house.

I stopped and inquired at a scrap metal shop. The woman knew Mama Icarus. She pulled over another half-drunk woman who was passing by. While they were talking, she referred to Icarus as that little dangerous thief.

“The lady says Mama Icarus moved houses a few months ago,” she explained. “Maybe I can give you one of my boys to escort you there,” she added, what she did next took me by surprise. Putting her thumb and fingers on her tongue, she whistled. Four boys emerged from behind the dirty Bob Marley curtain.

“Kama,” she said to one of the tough looking boy. “Take this man to Mama Icarus,” she ordered.

“That place is far,” he complained, the scars on his face constricting in fear and panic.

“No, you take him right now,” she insisted. “You never know if he has goodies to give Mama Icarus,” she added, giving him a nudge at the small of his back.

“You know what ma’am, I may have to come back another day,” I said.


Now… to the good news

As I prepare to go to prison I am at a loss concerning, not only what to tell the two boys that sent me to trace their families, but also how to say it. Now to the good news… Edward ‘The Nyatti’ Mbogo will be visiting to play the saxophone and also share about the importance of learning graphic and design. The Nyatti is going to be the first man to visit and share what he does for a living and how he gives back using his gifts and talents to serve the community around him.

If there is such a thing as a jack of all trades, then The Nyatti is a perfect example. I am yet to hear there is a single hour where he isn’t juggling balls in the air. He is always on the move, meeting the needs of his diverse clients and playing the saxophone at CITAM Woodley Church or AFLEWO events.

His busy schedule today includes, and not limited to:-

  • accompanying us to juvenile prison in the morning
  • countless design work and deliveries of client orders
  • working and monitoring
  • playing the saxophone during AFLEWO’s One Nation One Worship at KICC in the evening

I hope The Nyatti’s visit will bring a cheerful smile to Icarus and the other boys. It is such things that bring hope to our boys, even if it is just for a few minutes. More often than not, visitors are the only people who become a substitute for the boys who don’t have, or have been abandoned by their families. Would you like to do the same thing? Get in touch with us if you would like to visit and spend time with our boys.


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