Off To Prison!!

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Magereza ya Willaya ya Mwanga (Mwanga District Prison)

A funny thing happened on the way to jail today . . . not really but here is the story.  My apologies for not providing photos but we’ve haven’t been authorized to take any yet.

Once upon a time there was a mama who just happens to be called “Tumaini”.  (Really!).  This mama was married and had a little girl named Lydia.  One day, she and her husband got into an argument.  Things escalated until she was forced to physically defend herself.  Unfortunately, she accidentally killed him.  Unfortunately, she was given a life sentence and here in Tanzania that means “ones whole life, until one is dead”.  Unfortunately, she was five months pregnant.  Unfortunately, her second child, also a girl, was born in prison and has lived there since.

Fast forward nineteen months . . . a beautiful little girl named Queenie, VERY serious, with the scowl of a soul MUCH to old and experienced, (we did dig out a smile after awhile), malnourished, because, the diet in prison is not what one might hope for, lives, incarcerated, in prison, with her Mother.

Neatness, a caring and empathetic retired teacher, approached us to help.  She works with women in prison and Mama Queenie asked for help for her baby and today we were all connected in the Mwanga District Prison.  There were a lot of tears.  There was a lengthy discussion between Mama Queenie, Neatness, Oddo and myself.  Gilbert Mushi from Social Welfare will work on the details but we are definitely of one mind on busting little Queenie out!  God, I love my job!  P.S. We are going to need a sponsor or two!!!

And on to the photo above . . . it’s a selfie we took yesterday, enjoying lunch at a wonderful workshop called Shanga (www. where handicapped people are trained in weaving, glass blowing, jewelry making, metal art, painting, etc. enabling an otherwise stigmatized individual to earn a living and maintain their independence.  Their works are displayed and available for sale at their shop in Arusha.  Karibuni!!

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