“Until the heart is well-shaped, the mind will operate in confusion. Transformation that lasts begins in the heart.”– Prof. Dankit Nassiuma, Vice Chancelor, AIU
The above statement by Prof. Dankit has reminded me of an event that I attend last Friday at Kamiti YCTC. That day, I left home early in the morning to meet the boys undergoing Lifesong Kenya’s REAM Program. As usual, I arrived at the facility looking forward to seeing the boys.
However, when I arrived, there was a ceremony going on. As a result, our classes were postponed. The ceremony was the official opening of a mosque that was constructed by UMMA. The occasion brought together many people who included invited guests, the boys and the wardens at the correctional facility.
The chief guest of the day shared something so deep. I spent the whole weekend thinking about the statement. When I saw the above quote, vivid memories of Friday burst forth like an overflowing river of life.
During his speech, the chief guest mentioned that he was so saddened by the fact that there were more than 120 boys at the facility. Having personally been saddened by the same fact, I felt a strong stirring tugging at my heart.
We often ask for help from the outside community. Most of the people we seek help don’t seem to understand the situation our boys have found themselves in. I was reminded about the first time I came to prison to work with Lifesong Kenya.
A Broken Society that Needs Fixing
I was shocked to find that there were young boys, as young as my little brother, in prison. Of course, no one strides into a prison facility and volunteers to stay. Some of these boys have done things that deserve to be corrected. A majority of them are simply victims of a broken society that we collectively need to fix.
“The most saddening part is that most of the boys we engage with seem to be on a holiday,” said the guest speaker. “All they do is relax and kill time as they wait for their time to go back home. When they exit prison and arrive home, they continue with what they used to do.”
Having witnessed this with the boys we have worked with, I concurred. There are a number of boys we have helped reconcile with their families. But once they are out there, their character changes and it is like all the lessons we shared have been washed down the drain.
As the guest speaker continued speaking, I recalled one particular boy. When he was still at YCTC, he promised to do what he had set for himself. I remember seeing James Ouma, Lifesong Kenya’s founder, struggle to raise bus fare in order to attend court case involving the boy.
I recalled the afternoon we visited the boy’s family, met the police officer and the man the boy had wronged. We spent hours in an area we weren’t familiar with. James had struggled to get bus fare to enable us have this reconciliation meeting.
True Transformation Begins In the Heart
To cut a long story short, the boy and his family never came through. They never held the boy accountable. As a result, he failed to do what he had agreed to do while he was still in prison.
The guest of honor encouraged the boys to embrace true transformation. True transformation, he said, only comes from the heart.
His statement coincided so well with Prof. Dankit’s statement.
This also applies to us who are outside prison thinking that we are free. It is easier to condemn male teens who have committed a crime. We may look down upon them and write them off. However, we may probably be in prison as well.
There are things that are holding us from exploring our full potential and doing what is expected of us. It is high time that we come out from such stagnation. It is only through a change of the heart that will direct the mind into propelling us to our destiny.
As a Lifesong KENYA staff member and volunteer, I am grateful. The work and transformation happening as result of our REAM Program makes me happy. I am blessed and honored to be part of a process that enables our boys to come out as new people. Seeing just one boy fully reconcile with the society and become a man of character, gives me fulfillment that money can’t buy.
As I draw close to ending my post, I think it won’t be proper if I fail to mention my latest venture. I will be cycling with Lifesong Kenya team from Nairobi to Migori Town this coming December. This will be the second time I will be involved in cycling to raise funds for our program.
We are a group of 4 cyclists and we aim to raise funding that will enable us to conduct our REAM Program in 2020. Each cyclist has his own target. My goal is to raise Kshs. 100,000 ($1000) during the event. Would you kindly follow the link below and support me with any donation of your choice.
Remember, every amount counts…
One last thing… Kindly share my fundraiser as widely as you can with your network and encourage them to support.