Written by John Kabaka
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Most of the people who are jailed in one way or another would have committed an offence or in simple terms broken the law of the land.
And after being found guilty, one is sentenced and sent behind bars where he or she serves the period of course without the freedom he had outside the prison.
While in the prison many things happen, some of which we can call positive and others one would not want to hear.
Ex Prisoner Bedai Etenyi showcases the work of his hands the skill he says he gained from the prison. He comes fromKhwisero, after serving two years in prison, he makes a living from making baskets.[PHOTO | John Kabaka]
For one Bedai Etenyi, life in prison taught him a lesson, not just a lesson not to engage in crime again but a lesson on how to earn a living on what he learnt while behind bars.
Sitting pretty at the prison stand at the ongoing Kakamega agricultural show, Bedai displays the beautiful work of his hands.
After being in prison for more than two years, he learnt basket making and got away with the skill which he now says is helping him big in getting his daily bread.
While at his Khwisero home, Bedai says has never found himself without work to do, he makes baskets which he says are on high demand.
“While in prison I learnt weaving, I perfected the skill and upon living the prison I was able to do that swiftly, I carried the same home and that is what is making me earn and support my family,” said Bedai.
He says the baskets are on a very high demand in the village.
“I make different sizes and each goes for a different prize and some people even orders which size they need and I can say I love this job,” he said.
Some of the furniture made by the Shikusa Prison convicts on display at the Kakamega Agricultural show.
Due to the high demand of the baskets, Bedai has used his skill and ideas and brought together youth with different ideas in Khwisero under an umbrella name of Ushirikiano youth group.
Read: Shikusa convicts display beautiful products at the Kakamega ASK show
The groups consisting of more than thirty members engage in different activities just to name but a few, weaving, compost making, handcraft, soap making, tree nursery making among other activities.
This he say has helped him larger to re-integrate in the community.
According to his then supervisor Christian Luhombo, Bedai has been focused and sometimes jokes that being in prison shaped him.
“He is one out of many who came out and nurtured the skill we gave to him while in prison and I can assure you he is doing well as an individual and as a group,” said Ms Luhombo.
Bedai urged the youth not to wait for white collar jobs saying self employment was the way to go.
“Our youth have talents, they have gone to school but they should not just wait to be given, let them come out and see what they can do with their hands and the skills they have, some have brilliant ideas but implementing them is what has been a problem, they should just think big and all will be well,” remarked Bedai.
The prison has been on the fore front in shaping Kenyans with skills especially in carpentry, handcraft and others.
The recent one is the making of the new parliament seats which were made by the prison department.
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