Have you ever imagined that some women are imprisoned while having weeks old babies. Some are single mothers with no one to take care of the babies when they are jailed.
That is what some babies and children face at Lang’ata women’s prison.
During our visit there on 4th October, 2012, we wanted to give the children some reason to smile and be happy.
Yes, it was that good. They are welcoming and happy and friendly.
We talked, laughed and played , and too they sung for us.
Some have ‘few teeth’, making them more beautiful and shiny., some are cheeky and playful, some are very shy.
Since this was the week of the Nairobi International Trade Fair , that happens just some few kilometers from the prison, we want the children also to have a ‘show within the prison walls’.
As we shared with them, we realized that they are very smart and looking forward to a bright future.
As we talked to their mothers, we realized that they need a lot of things such as clothes and reading and playing materials, and personal effects. But we asked their mothers to change for better once released and ensure that the children are educated. Its good that the convicts have short courses in hairdressing, computer skills, farming, cooking etc that can enable them set up enterprises after serving their terms.
The deputy officer in charge made us have a deeper reflection. We never thought of this: “you know the children get happy when they see men, a father figure, they miss this in their lives”. That was the message. The children are growing up without interacting with male adults since most wardens are female.
So how can we peace together the missing link? Yes we did it for some hours, but more visits would enhance their growth and development.
As usual, we do appreciate the work of officers. And as we left , we brushed their shoes, as a sign of humility, and asked them to keep shining in their service.
We were happy, as we left, but sad that we had few clothes and some items to give. Some children cried as we left. Then we became sad again.
What can you do to help an innocent baby; child whose mother is jailed for life? Over to you !