This year’s Christmas Party for 160 boys in juvenile prison is two days away. We are very excited and can’t wait to see the surprised looks on the faces of boys who have no clue about what Lifesong Kenya and our team is planning. I was on my way to pick more donations when I hit and rammed into a brand new Lexus car. What happened today reminds me of the drama that preceded our first Juvenile Prison Christmas Party on December 25, 2013.
A lady once asked me a question that came to my mind as the driver, whose car I had hit, and I negotiated by the roadside. I was preparing for the first Christmas Party that Lifesong Kenya organized for 100 boys at the Nairobi Remand Prison. I had lost my job in January that same year and needed help with finding resources for the party.
Two weeks prior to the day, I went to a cyber café in Jamhuri Estate to send Rev Michael Wambua an email requesting for help from the church and the missions team. I will never forget the day. It was approaching 7:30 pm when a gang of five boys stormed into the cyber café, branding loaded pistols and shooting in the air.
The gang leader ordered everyone in the cyber café to place their wallets and phones on top of the desk and lie down on the dusty floor. I didn’t have a wallet then. However, I took the 50 shillings note out of my pocket and placed it beside my phone, near the desktop monitor screen. Just minute before the boys stormed into the cyber, I had remembered to take the phone out of pocket so I could inform Rev Wambua that I had sent him the email.
The Comeback Christmas Party that has to go on
The boys walked from one person to the next, grabbing phones and wallets. I felt drops of sweat gather on my tensed back and slide towards the small of my back. As the boys kept walking towards where I was lying, saliva dried from my mouth. My tongue clung to the roof of my mouth and my heart vibrated with fear.
“Why do you bother with helping boys who are criminals and up to know good?” the lady asked. “Why do you do it?”
“These boys deserve to be helped,” I replied, but forgot to quote Matthew 25:36. “I am just an available vessel ready to be used to reach to just one boy.”
“Seems like you’ve never been roughed up or stolen from by these criminals,” she said. “The moment that will happen, you’ll stop helping them.”
“All I am asking for is 50 shillings to shave one boy,” I said. “That’s all I am asking for.”
“Sorry,” she continued, “I don’t support such initiatives and especially criminals!”
“Thanks for your time,” I said, feeling a swelling, the size of a hot potato ram down my throat.
Everything seemed to hang, frozen and suspended in the tense air. Then all of a sudden, the gang leader shouted it was time to go. The boys scurried out of the cyber café, shooting in the air. I discovered there were two people lying between me and the boy who would have grabbed my phone and only 50 shillings I had to my name.
This scene came to my mind as I followed the car I had hit. It continued even as the two of us discussed what to do next. There and then, I realized that this is the comeback Christmas Party that has to go on!
This year’s Christmas Party
This is the second Christmas Party we will be holding for boys in juvenile prison. The only thing that has remained constant is the fact that we are still asking for help. I had originally assumed that there will come a time when I will have every resource we need and won’t ask for help. However, the difference has been how faithful God has been.
Not only were we trusting God for a Christmas Party, we decided to take the biggest step of faith we have ever taken. We decided to finally kick-off our computer classes for 20 boys at the remand prison. Having waited in vain, for a perfect time where we have everything needed, we decided to get on with it.
Our requests for help and donation on Facebook and word of mouth yielded fruit. Our computer training kicked off last Friday. The boys have already started learning basic design work and we are looking forward to their continued growth. The only thing that remained was getting resources for Christmas Party, after a group pulled out from visiting at the last minute.
Luckily, our friends encouraged us to continue planning for the party and trusting God. That was a week ago. Just like the first Christmas Party, this one has had its fair share of drama. As I was going to pick more resources from a donor in Buruburu, I hit a Lexus car. Though no one was hurt, the damage to both cars requires painting. Sadly enough, I am the one who is tasked with footing the bill, which hurts me.
Much as it was my fault and I agreed to send her money for painting her car, I felt disappointed and frustrated. I contemplated making a U-Turn and going back home out of anger. I looked back at how the morning had begun in the morning. I regretted not having gone for my morning run as I had planned the night before.
My regret lasted a whole 30 minutes or so. Then I remembered there was nothing I could have done to change or avoid what had happened. What’s more, we received a donation of three shaving machines that will enable us to start shaving the boys.
Receiving the donation was a bright spark that brought my heart untold joy. I hope our efforts will inspire, just one boy, to leave prison a reformed young man with a resolve to stop engaging in crime. Actually, that is why we do what we do!
Would you like to be part of our work in juvenile prison?