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From prisoner to Graphic Design and IT expert

RIFT VALLEY
By Peterson Githaiga | October 26th 2015

 

45 year Eric Otieno Geoffrey, bids farewell to fellow inmates as he leaves the Athi River GK Prison,in Kitengela Kajiado County after being released on 20th October 2015. Otieno was declared best inmate after successful attaining a diploma in computer science while in prison. He later turned to be the best computer tutor and trained hundreds of inmates and staffs. (PHOTO: PETERSON GITHAIGA)

When Eric Otieno Geoffrey walked away a free man from the Athi River Prison gates last week on Tuesday, he wore a big smile, his stride full of confidence.

Having served five of his eight years behind bars, there was light at the end of his tunnel. Behind him were hundreds of inmates waving in an emotional ceremony to bid him farewell.

Mr Otieno, 45, went to prison in June 2010 and as much as life was not easy, he had something to show for the years he spent there. He left the facility with a course to help himself build his life afresh.

While serving his term, the former businessman made the best out of life and ended up being the best inmate and a computer tutor.

“I enrolled for computer classes in a small room with four computers. When the French ambassador visited the facility in 2010, I was bestowed with the responsibility to explain and convince him why the facility needed aid to purchase more computers,” recounts Otieno.

Otieno says he managed to convince the ambassador and his government installed about 40 modern computers under his watch. He had then qualified to be the principal inmate tutor in the facility.

Otieno then majored in Graphic Design and became an IT expert. He says he has managed to train more than 1,200 inmates, 600 prison wardens and their dependents. He has also trained more than 500 outsiders who came calling for his aid.

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“I thank the prison management for transforming me into who I am today. I gave this course my best and I am now a free man,” he told The Standard.

He attributes his success to determination and being focused, saying he has learned a lot in prison that will help transform his life in the free world. He encourages inmates to seize opportunities instead of living in denial.

“Being in prison is not the end of life. It’s a place to transform people and give them a second chance in life,’’ said Otieno, with a smile lighting up his face.

Athi River Prison officer-in-charge Bison Madegwa, and other senior officers, who had lined up to bid Otieno goodbye, said he brought change to the facility and had become an asset to the prison.

“Otieno has been our role model and we expect that he will continue to inspire many other people out there as he starts his life in the free world,” said Mr Mandegwa. The prison boss added that inmates accept and believe more in their fellow inmates, hence his impact at the facility.

 

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