Destination: Nairobi

SJM 2017

Posted: 20 July 2017

Nairobi, Kenya – Our final destination – it's felt like half a lifetime in East Africa, but 3 weeks on we're now back in the city we first flew to. It feels absolutely mad that we've driven all the way back here from our first stop in Rwanda.

As it's our final few days of the trip, we only have a short time to see what Kenyan Christian Lawyers' Fellowship get up to here. But they seriously packed the schedule!!! We wake up at 6:30 for the local Women's Maximum Security Prison – our first stop (except for accommodation) in Nairobi. It's a fairly large institution and we were all really encouraged to meet staff who are experienced, wise and fun also. We spent the morning in the remand home at the prison, which includes women on trial for capital charges. Chong gave an amazing talk for the women, reminding them that God redeems, He is full of grace, and that ALL of us have an eternal hope. It was a little bewildering, but refreshing, to see the way the staff interacted with these women – there were jokes amongst them, encouragement in worship and prayer, and the staff offer genuine help. Some women are finishing degrees here, with others who left school early or never went receiving basic education to enable them to step into the outside world more easily if and when their time has been served. A lawyer who works in the prison gave a 2 hour seminar/talk whilst we were there, offering all of the women in the remand home legal advice as they prepare for upcoming trials. Many will be representing themselves. This is partly why we also had an hour of one-to-one sessions at the end of the visit, accompanied by KCLF interns and lawyers, where we met and heard stories from women in the remand home. Rachel and Charis spoke with a woman on trial for murder of her husband. I felt in the thick of it by this point, hearing her story of how her husband had experienced severe depression after his land had been taken away by his mother. He attempted to hang himself one morning, and as the story goes, this lady (his wife) in front of us attempted to save him – but falling, he hit his head and died immediately. She is on trial for abuse of her husband, resulting in his death. With our intern discussing with us privately about her potential motivations in her husband perhaps being a burden to her… my own mind struggling to process the desperation of this situation she is in… I found it hard to know how to respond to the story, or the charge. It just made me want to pray. What I can say is that I am thankful for KCLF lawyers and volunteers who are intelligent, compassionate and so keen to offer legal aid where they can. Many of these interns study full-time, volunteering for KCLF in their spare time… and I think my university schedule is busy!

Continuing through the busy day, we managed a take-away Java (becoming my favourite restaurant maybe in the world…) as we travelled to this amazing remand home for children in Nairobi. It took us ages to get there – traffic is a headache in this city. But the visit was completely worth it. They were such JOYOUS, interactive kids. I felt a bit emotional as they welcomed us, with one boy, around 8 years old, standing up to sing a song that listed off his rights he knows he has under the UN Convention, and his desire to be president one day. The fact that he is on trial right now didn't matter. He's just a wonderful, normal boy – intelligent and a big dreamer. He wanted to answer every question on the "child rights and responsibilities quiz" from the interns – a bright, amazing kid. They all seemed to be. Feeling exhausted after the prison, this lifted our spirits.

We continued on to a fellowship evening with KCLF – partners and interns joining together in prayer, worship and encouragement. I also shared the bible thought which I shared in Uganda – John 8 is so great, I learn more every time I study it.