Yesterday's prison session at YCTC - before, during and after - was tough.
Because I was walking in leather shoes, had not had breakfast before leaving home, didn't have enough bus fare, didn't have water, knew I wasn't going to have lunch and thought of how broke I am, I didn't realize I had walked beside an angel.
Earning the right to walk beside the angel has come at a very heavy price. I first met the angel in April 2019.
The moment he enrolled in our class, we knew the angel's life and world view has been messed up by painful childhood experiences and memories. We soon began the process of reconciling him with his family (dad and mom separated when he was 3 months old), the police and the person he had stolen (money) from.
Luckily, the person he had wronged agreed to work with Lifesong KENYA on a healing and reconciliation process. Several court cases later, the inevitable happened. His dad declined our request for reconciliation and the court eventually sentenced him to 4 months imprisonment.
4 Months Ago
Our team escorted him home where his grandmother rejected him (it is a long story). But his step mom accepted him. However, his dad has adamantly refused to forgive him and whenever we call, he tells us that he doesn't want to get involved and that we should take care of his son.
The angel finally saved enough money while working at a barbershop and traveled to Nairobi 4 days ago.
"Teacher James," he said over the phone, "my sister has agreed to be my guardian, can Lifesong help me to go back to school?"
Yesterday's Long Walk
As his sister, a welfare office and I took the 20-year-old angel for an interview at a nearby halfway house, I held his left hand. It is only now that I am realizing that I had walked beside an angel.
If all goes well (according to plan, our prayers and hope) the angel may join high school next year (I pray it happens in second term) and one day get married to a beautiful bride who will be glad that a few loving men took a chance on a man she may end up calling 'my angel.'
I know this because, yesterday, I walked beside an 'angel.' All he needs to do now is to keep believing, be resilient and eventually (be able to) break the generational fatherhood hurt that we have helped break.
You don't have to come to prison to meet my angels. Angels are all around us. One of them could be washing your clothes or cooking your food, right now, as a house help. When was the last time you gave her a break and treated her like a queen? What about a raise? What about an outing?
By extending a helping hand to those who need it, we invest our resources, time and prayers in transforming the life of one more person who needs healing and restoration.