Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Books and Prison Cell.

I went to Okere Prison today.

"Bros abeg, anything for me?."an inmate asked.
Another was whistling, another shouting "Hey" with so much audacity that makes you wonder.

"Barry do you know him?" I asked as we made our way out of the prison gate.

Just like prison break, prisoners sprawled around everywhere. There were over 1,100 male prisoners and less than 15 female inmates in Okere prison.

Some were smoking, some were gisting, trading and others learning.

"Good day ma, we are from WarriReads and we want to see how we can partner to set up a mini library to upgrade the minds of the prisoners... Blah, blah, blah..." Our proposal presentation continued with the Chief Welfare officer.

"Who told you we don't have a library here?" Mrs. Amatsoma (name change), began with a grin and sense of pride.

"The Prison has changed. Things are not like before.  We have a school, a chapel and a small library. Some of the prisoners write exams from their cells."

They, indeed, had a small prison library with a few books. One of the books that caught my attention was authored by former Manchester United Bad boy, Wayne Rooney.
One prisoner was hawking bedsheets "Buy your bedspread!!"

Another was selling fried fish.
A shoe cobbler was fixing shoes just like the regular Hausa vendors on the street but he was an inmate.

We got to see a teacher preparing five inmates, three male, and two female, for their SSCE.

Seating close to the library, was a shirtless young lad, not up to 25 years, selling detergents and other items with a tattoo on his right chest. He was reading a book.
He was in the middle of the book and paid less attention to the strangers wearing tags walking with the welfare and volunteer tutor of the prison school.

"Mummy, some of the prisoners are selling things, I said"

"Yes dear, we allowed those with a long jail term, e.g. 20 - 25 years to get involved in trading. What we observe is that; if they don't find a way to generate some revenue when they come out, they become like children depending on handouts from family members."

"Okay Ma, we'll be coming between 15th of March with books to support the library."

I can still see the faces of some of the prisoners as I scribble on my phone. Some were depressed, somewhere empty, some were chatty but none was excited or filled with joy.

"Mr. Collins, virtue has left me," Barry said and continued "I need something to uplift my spirit..." "Jesus Christ..." He exclaimed

"This is why we pray as Christians for grace and strength," I said as we walked away.

The environment was depressing for me and Barry. How about the inmates who this has become their daily routine?

The only way to learn from experience is to have different experiences. This is why we'll be going back to Warri Prison, between 15th of March 2019, to donate a minimum of 50 books and magazines to Okere prison.

Why are we doing this?
1. To help these prisoners have another experience with great books.

2. To give them an opportunity to travel to places they may never go through books.

3. Transform the lives of these prisoners by getting them to learn from the books they read.

4. Help them meet new people through books.

5. To inspire and give them new ideas. Who knows? The rejected stone might just become the Chief cornerstone.

Join us to achieve this. Donate a book, Educational, on Health, Environment, Literature, Magazines, business magazine, Christian books, Bibles, etc.

God bless you.

Share this

0 Comment to "Books and Prison Cell."

Post a Comment