Towards the end of first term, 2019, Nyakambiri Boys mooted a plan to launch a charity ministry like the other hostels. We wanted to do it differently. This saw us choosing an area where not many would want to venture given the stigmas attached to it. We chose the Prison Ministry. The key Bible verse guiding our mission is John 8: 11. ‘No one, Sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’ A discussion was held among the student servant leaders and it was agreed that the Bulldogs were going to mobilise resources to give to the Marondera Prison inmates. We mobilised goodies which included soap, biscuits, clothes, cereals, sugar, kapenta, drink and many others from the Bulldogs.
On the 13th May 10 Nyakambiri Boys servant leaders together with two Gombora Boys servant leaders departed for the Marondera Prison on an important mission. Chatter about anything else but the prison was many lips up until we came face to face with the prison perimeter fence and some few of the ‘boys’ in khakhi. Then, everybody went silent! Our hearts sank as we absorbed the sight before us. After the preliminaries with the officers we were whisked into the inner perimeter fence and taken on tour of the inmates’ dwelling places. Among the officers who assisted us on this visit were the Officer-in-Charge, Mr Chichetu and the Provincial Chaplain, Reverend Chuma. There were pleas for help especially in light of winter approaching blankets were requested to help mitigate the cold weather. We had chance to taste prison food before taking turns to address the gathered inmates. The youngest among them was 16 years old and the oldest ones are approaching their 70s. We were shown a building with very small windows high up the walls and double-fenced with razor wire. Class ‘D’ inmates were housed here. They were only allowed a maximum of 30 minutes per day outside and in leg irons as well as handcuffed. They were deemed the most dangerous and hence it was imperative that their contact with the outside world was limited. We were obviously not allowed into the building neither was permission given to even get closed to the fences.
Patrick Ushe, Maranatha Chinhamu and Mr. Maradzike delivered short sermons on Jeremiah 29: 11 and John 8:11. We also joined in the choir made up of the inmates after handing over the grocery items which really looked like our two fish and five loaves of bread. The prison population is about 450 of the inmates are males and 11 are women.
When we eventually made it out of Marondera Prison, we could not help but heave big sighs of relief and ponder on the importance of one’s own freedom. We must never take freedom for granted and steer clear of habits that lead to one being locked away.