My Life Before and After Coming to Prison

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My name is Abdul Hassan. This is my life before and after coming to prison.

My Life Before and After Coming to Prison

After buying clothes and shoes with most of the money I got from garbage collection, I would spend the rest of it to buy bhang and drugs.”

– Abdul Hassan, a Lifesong Kenya REAM Program beneficiary

I am 17 years old and come from California, Nairobi. I am the first born from a family of 5. My mom is a single mother who works as a casual laborer. She washes and irons clothes for people and get paid Kshs. 250 per day. Sometimes, she is asked to look after people’s children as a house help.

Most of the time, she doesn’t get work or get paid. Most people prefer giving her a packet of unga, rice, milk or sugar instead of money. As a result, we often don’t have enough money for rent or food. This also means that my siblings and I don’t have school fees or uniform.

Before I came to prison, I was in school. But I did not enjoy going to school at all. One of the reasons is that I am a slow learner and don’t like sitting in class. The other reason is that most boys my age just don’t like going to school.

Me and my friends liked to hang out, chase after school girls and smoke bhang. I know what I was doing was bad. But when you see your best friend chase after girls, smoke bhang and get in trouble, that is what you do. I think that is what best friends do!

I remember before taking bhang. One of my friends told me that when you smoke you feel high. It is like having wings and being able to fly high, up in the sky. Hearing that made me feel very good. At least I would now have something to make me feel good about myself.

My Life Before and After Coming to Prison

I begun taking bhang and because I did not have the money to buy it, I also started stealing. Most times, I would work as a garbage collector in our estate. After buying clothes and shoes with most of the money I got, I would spend the rest of it to buy bhang. With time, I started experimenting with another drug known as cosmo.

Cosmo is a drug that is given to people who are mentally ill. When a person who is mentally ill takes it, they feel stable and sane. But when a normal person, like you and I, take it they don’t care about anything. I don’t lie to you, this drug is so powerful it can do things to your mind!

One day, my friends and I were smoking bhang on the streets. As we smoked, we shared stories of how we have managed to escape from getting caught. Most of the time, we would make fun of our family members, neighbours and former school teachers.

As we were smoking, some members of the local police force were passing by. When we saw them, we begun running away. They chased after us, shouting and commanding us to stop. I did not want to get caught. I kept running. But as I kept running, I stumbled and fell down.

On the second day at the police station, they took my finger prints. Then they took me to Makadara Law Courts. There were many inside the court room. It was difficult to see and know who was there and who wasn’t. But I was able to know that none of my family members had come to court.”

– Abdul Hassan, a Lifesong Kenya REAM Program beneficiary

Getting Arrested

The police officers came to where I had fallen and arrested me. I felt humiliated as they handcuffed my hands behind my back. As we walked through the streets to the police station, I wished the ground could swallow me alive. I also wished it was dark so that no one could see me being led to the police station.

My mom’s voice kept echoing in my mind.

“Abdul, stop smoking bhang. One day you will get in trouble!”

“My son, why are you causing me pain the way your father did when he left me?”

“Abdul, do you want me to die before my time comes!”

On and on, I heard her voice and regretted not listening to her warnings. After we arrived at the police station, the police officers asked me questions about my friends. They also asked where we buy bhang and other drugs. I did not tell them anything. Doing so would be a breach of our code of silence.

On the second day at the police station, they took my finger prints. Then they took me to Makadara Law Courts. There were many inside the court room. It was difficult to see and know who was there and who wasn’t. But I was able to know that none of my family members had come to court.

It was not easy to hear the voice of the prosecutor very well. Things seemed to go on in a hurry. The smartly group of people sitting next to where the judge was, whispered. Then one of them gave me a Bible and asked me to state my name and where I am coming from. After that, the judge asked if I had been caught smoking bhang.

I said no!

Getting Sentenced

My Life Before and After Coming to Prison

The judge then told me that I was going to be taken to Kamiti Prison. I did not know what to say as I walked back towards the cells. I was going to prison and there was nothing I could do to prevent it. It is a day that I will never forget for the rest of my life.

Now, I am in remand prison. At first, I thought that my life before and after coming to prison would be a waste of time. I did not know that I would be learning new skills. This is the first time in my life that I am allowed to touch a computer without being looked at as a criminal. I like coming to Lifesong Kenya’s computer classes where I am learning valuable skills.

I don’t know when I will get out of prison. But I know that I will get out, I will have skills I can use to get a job. Once I get a job, I will be able to start a new life and stop smoking bhang. I will also make new friends and stop hanging out with bad company. Thank you Teacher Earnest and James for giving us this opportunity to learn.

But I know that I will get out, I will have skills I can use to get a job. Once I get a job, I will be able to start a new life and stop smoking bhang. I will also make new friends and stop hanging out with bad company. Thank you Teacher Earnest and James for giving us this opportunity to learn.

Thank you Lifesong Kenya, my life before and after coming to prison will be different.

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4 thoughts on “My Life Before and After Coming to Prison”

  1. Awesome inspiring story….. Your life will never be the same again.
    You will mentor your peers and be a role model and be a mentor to them….

  2. Inspiring. We thank God for second chances and for people committed to being used by God, like James, to make a difference in the lives of these boys.

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