|Fredrick Mtambo needs special oil for his skin but this is unavailable in prison and he has to deal with the harsh weather as best he can. [Photo: Antony Gitonga/Standard]|
By Antony Gitonga
The high walls marked with manned towers block any onlooker from the ongoing activities therein. The dark and equally high gate is also manned by armed hawk-eyed warders, who scrutinise any visitors visiting the Naivasha Prison.
And security needs to be that thorough for behind the walls and gate of this facility that is said to be the largest in the East and Central Africa is home to more than 3,000 inmates.
The inmates seem to be at home. They play football, a game in which bare-chested men chase after a worn out ball. It is the finals in a football competition whereby two blocks are fighting for the crown.
It is not just football grabbing their attention. In a nearby field a game of volleyball is at its peak. The spectators cheer on their teams. But a barber is also taking advantage of the situation to shave his customers.
In some of the rooms within the facilities, hundreds of prisoners are busy learning as their teachers shout at the top of their voices as they try to outdo each other.
Further on, scores are inmates engaged in carpentry, metal work and other manual work as part of their rehabilitation.
In the compound another group is busy sprucing up the grounds as Muslims recite the Quran in a nearby mosque.
One group of prisoners however sticks out conspicuously — the disabled inmates. They sit together, discussing politics and other current affairs.
There are about 50 of them, most of them suffering from mental illness. Others are physically disabled and blind.
But one thing glues them together — pain, challenges and segregation. They lack special services and kits to address their needs.