Service Based Learning: Lang’ata Women’s Prison

|By Zipporah Wanjohi|

Dealing with inmates is not a walk in the park, especially when one is compassionate or soft-hearted. For inmates, more often than not, no one cares about their feelings or sentiments on certain things. But when you learn to have a thick skin, it becomes easier because you start to understand why the roughness is necessary. Let’s digress for a moment.

Francy Kadide is a student at the Strathmore Law School. Her smile, demeanor, and readiness to fight for the rights of the youth keep her ever so ready for her future in strategizing the judicial proceedings in our courts.  Interacting with students, especially on campus, is quite enjoyable. We are all so different yet so similar. Everyone you meet has a different perception of life, interactions are diverse and rich from a perspective of culture and ideologies. This spices up my student experience and has led me to join the Student Council Senate.

At first, I didn’t want to join Strathmore. I wanted to study in Parklands. I changed my mind after honoring an invitation to attend a seminar at the institution. Furthermore, I was particularly enthused by the pleasant atmosphere that the University has created for the students, as well as the student activities offered at Strathmore University. My visit became the ultimate game changer and I was convinced that Strathmore University is the place for me.

I have always enjoyed anything that has to do with law since childhood, and a legal mindset was nurtured in me since when I was four years old. I particularly enjoy helping and sensitizing the community about their rights. Law being my course, I choose to do my Service Based Learning (SBL) in Langata Prison, where I was able to interact with the inmates and got the opportunity to offer legal advice. It was humbling to see them actively listening and making firm resolutions after our sessions.

My experience in Langata Prison was life changing. I enjoyed the interactions, but most importantly, I learned the power of self-control as a key virtue in averting crises. Anger has the power to destroy lives, and therefore it is very important to measure how we approach situations. Most of the women in the prison are there as a result of anger and ignorance. They let themselves be controlled by anger and made decisions that negatively impacted their lives. It was also encouraging to see the women being engaged in activities such as sewing garments.

My takeaway from the experience at Langata Women’s Prison is that we should be slow to make permanent decisions or act in the heat of the moment. Always take a step back, evaluate the emotion, pray and then much later, when calm make the best decision.