I volunteered for many years at Central Prison (aka Chimbokaila) in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, where I lived for many years. These were the most satisfying years of my life because I could see the results of my efforts. I started going to prison through Prison Fellowship but later started going on my own. I did not only share the word of God but helped in other practical ways. For instance, I informed embassies that their nationals had been remanded and they would then visit them. I also visited inmates’ homes to check on their families.
In Zambia, children who have just been weaned are given porridge with peanuts for a nutritious meal. Such simple things as giving pounded groundnuts (peanuts) for an incarcerated mother to cook healthy porridge for her baby who was in prison with her, brought so much joy to the mother that it was beyond belief. I can not forget the mother who received the groundnuts, ran to the cooking fire and immediately cooked for her child some ‘fortified’ porridge. It gave me a lot of joy to see the changes, although small, I made in people’s lives.
I did not have much money but the little I could afford to share with the inmates seemed to make a lot of difference and brought me a lot of satisfaction. I miss those years and the interaction I had with the inmates. I will write a few stories of my adventures when doing prison ministry. One unfortunate thing is that I do not have any photos of my time at the prison because it is against rules to take photos. I hope I will be allowed to take photos for memories’ sake one day.
What do you like doing? What gives or gave you the greatest joy doing?