I’ve desired to visit a Prison Cell for a while (not as an inmate), in fact it was on my To-Do list last year but the year ended without accomplishing it but like I said in an earlier post there’s really nothing wrong in carrying over an unexecuted plan into a new year. Once the announcement was made in Church for volunteers to Keffi Prison in Nasarawa State I knew God was giving me another opportunity to fulfil my desire.
I had mixed feelings early in the morning cos’ I wasn’t sure what I was going to say to the inmates if given an opportunity to speak to them and I didn’t want to break down in tears. I couldn’t tell them I understood how they felt cos’ I’ve never been in a cell before; I just prayed a simple prayer and asked God to place the right words in my mouth. We cooked three different dishes for them and tied up garri and sugar in small bags for them, incidentally they prefer the garri to the food guess you know why but for those who don’t know, I’ll help you out. Soaked garri has a way of filling the stomach up and they can feed on it for many days *takes deep breath*.
When we got to the prison we were given tags and I was told if I misplaced it I wouldn’t be leaving (I quickly tucked my own deep down my pocket), phones were not allowed inside so I couldn’t take any pictures. We got to their meeting ground and the slogan Happy Home! was chanted by the Comptroller and the inmates responded Happy Family! I just sat down there staring at the inmates and wondering what’s happy about a prison cell but then again it’s their temporal home and life’s a journey irrespective of the route we take, we’ve to find a way to make the most out of each experience.
One of us gave an exhortation and something stood out to me, he said anyone can be on the other side (which is their side) but for the grace of God… That’s so true, some of us may have committed some offences and weren’t caught, some were caught but given another chance and some of us may have taken the 2nd, 3rd or even 20th chance for granted let’s take heed we may never have another chance next time.
We shared the food with the large chunks of meat, that even one of the warders said it’s good to be in prison ohh *smh vigorously*. I noticed we only attended to the male inmates who were above 100 in number; after sometime we were asked to go see the female inmates. They were about 19, an old woman was with them (just wondering her offence); a lady was crying, the food that put smiles on the faces of the inmates meant nothing to her and when I asked I was told she was brought in a few days earlier on cos’ of a marital issue she had with her husband, her child of 4 years lives with her and she doesn’t know who’s taking care of her child (guess she doesn’t live with her husband). Looking at the ladies and the good command of English from one of them got me teary-eyed; it could have been me but for the grace of God… Just when I thought I had seen it all, an inmate who was clearing the coolers picked up a piece of meat from the floor I wanted to give a dog, dusted it straight into his pocket. Oh Lord!!! How often have we wasted food?
Some of the inmates may deserve to be in there some may not but they have chosen to make the most out of it; some are good shoe-makers, crafts-men, one recently wrote Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE). Question is, what are you doing with your freedom? What excuse are you giving? We often need to spend some time on the other side of life to appreciate the things we have. Did I enjoy my visit? Yes, cos’ it reminded me of some important lessons of life but above all the message in Matthew 25:26 said “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me with help and ministering help, I was in prison and you came to see me” AMP. I was humbled to be a member of the visiting team. I’m human and still have all my weaknesses including selfishness resident in me but God keeps on pruning me daily. I’m learning to be more practical in my love walk, like Pastor Sarah will say “don’t say you love me show me”. I think we’ve preached that message a lot, let’s get down to the practical aspect.
LOADS OF LOVE