Nyeri Blog - November 22nd
Jill, a member of our Wheels team currently in Kenya has emailed with the latest details of the distribution in Nyeri, including a visit to Nyeri prison...
How appropriate that during Prison Week in the UK the Wheels team in Kenya were able to supply wheelchairs and mobility aids to inmates in Nyeri Prison. Pastor Davis gave a Disability Awareness Workshop last Friday which the prison chaplain attended. He then spoke with his colleagues and two prisoners were identified as needing wheelchairs.
Glenda and Jill sorted out two attendant propelled wheelchairs, five pairs of crutches and two walking frames and set off in a prison van for Nyeri prison with the Deputy Superintendent. We sat in the front whilst they shared the back with mobility aids and bags of cement!
The prison staff were very welcoming as the sight of two white women pushing wheelchairs must be unusual to say the least. The prison now practises an ‘Open Policy’ so our Wheels T-shirts gave us status and an entry with only our names for identification.
We took our equipment to the prison hospital where we were greeted enthusiastically by men wearing blue striped prison uniform and were soon surrounded by hoards of excited inmates. Resisting the invitation to do assessments on a patch of grass we were shown in to a small room to give some privacy.
We were struck by the level of care and concern which able prisoners had for those who needed maximum help with all functional skills and there was lots of laughing, joking and commradary whilst each inmate was seen.
Eventually we gave a self propelling chair to a man who had either crawled or been carried for years and an attendant propelled wheelchair to a very tall man who needed three people to carry him.
Assessing for crutches proved very interesting as they swopped different sets – one inmate wanted elbow crutches so his old axilla ones were quickly taken by another! We gave a crutch to someone who had been without since the police took his away when he was arrested.
Most of the prisoners are serving life sentences and in Kenya life means life. The needs of disabled prisoners are often ignored and this Wheels trip has certainly raised their profile. The photocall of all eight ‘clients’ with the Deputy Superintendent and ourselves will be shared with the Kenyan Prison Service. Writing in the visitors book we said 'thank you for this opportunity – it has been a real priviledge'. Lives have been changed - Praise God.