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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Shimo la Tewa women inmates feast on pilau in Easter treat

An inmate at Shimo la Tewa women’s prison carries a plate of pilau during the visit by Virtual Volunteers Foundation on Easter Sunday / CHARLES MGHENYI
An inmate at Shimo la Tewa women’s prison carries a plate of pilau during the visit by Virtual Volunteers Foundation on Easter Sunday / CHARLES MGHENYI

Life behind the prison walls is not easy.

Inmates do not have a chance to mingle freely with people from outside world. They do not have a chance to eat what they want or do what they feel like.

It is more difficult for women confined behind those tall walls, guarded by heavily armed police officers at the gates and hawk-eyed officers manning the watch towers.

Unlike men, women behind the prison walls have so many needs.

Women stuff like petroleum jelly, lotions, panties and sanitary towels are sometimes a challenge.

For pregnant women and those who have been jailed with young ones, life is even more challenging.

The Shimo La Tewa Women Prison facility has about 136 inmates.

They have been categorised into three depending on their offences they committed.

Those serving capital offences such as murder, robbery with violence and terrorism-related matters put on plain grey clothes to distinguish them from others.

Those who have been remanded put on pink dresses, whereas those who have already been convicted put on striped white and grey clothes.

They usually have a chance to mingle with friends and relatives during holidays: Christmas, Idd, Easter, among other known celebrations.

On Easter Sunday, the Shimo La Tewa women inmates had a rare opportunity to celebrate Easter in style after they received guests from Mombasa-based Virtual Volunteer Foundation.

Organisation founder Julius Wangore says he started the initiative to visit the Shimo la Tewa inmates via social media platforms — Facebook and WhatsApp.

On Facebook, he started a trend, #TwendeShimoLaTewa2017, where he invited friends and well-wishers to contribute whatever they have for that special day.

“I did this in 2015 and I had promised to go back again. Through my friends and well-wishers, we were able to go back this year,” he says.

He was able to raise enough funds for plastic chairs, sanitary pads, petroleum jelly, toothbrushes and toothpastes, among other stuff.

The inmates also had an opportunity to enjoy pilau. They only enjoy such kind of food when well-wishers pay them a visit.

Catholic priest Father Japani presided over the mass at the Shimo La Tewa prison.

“This a special day for all of us who are confined behind these walls,” he said.


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