When we got to the Prison we made ourselves known to the secretariat. We were then led to Pavilion 10, accompanied by a former prisoner that had been seconded to help us. When we got to Pavilion 10 we immediately realized that there were virtually no visitors there. This increased our zeal and our motivation.
However we counted more than 280 young people in the Pavilion. Some were in a rather poor state of health; others were very tired and disoriented. We were unable to feed them all, so we chose to feed the youngest, the sick, those who received no visits from members of their family or friends, and the weakest or weariest.
The boys were asked to queue in order to be served by groups of thirty. First to be served were the sick, then the weakest, and then those who rarely received any visits from family or friends. Ironically the boys looked after by Ndako Ya Biso and other charities were among the last to be served.
In total some 210 boys each received a meal which they enjoyed. On their plate there was a good serving of beans, a quarter of a chicken, and tshikwange. We even heard some say: “this meal reminds us of the good times we had in our family, when we were free…” Bottles of juice with the food made the meal even more festive.
Although food was given to a large number we went home regretting that not everyone could be fed. This is because the number of young people rose sharply between our preparatory visits and that day: at least 70 boys were thus unable to have a share of the meal.
Besides this we took the opportunity to apply to the judges of the Children’s Tribunal for a revision of the placement orders for some of the young people. Thus we obtained the liberation of 4 boys who were held for minor misconducts. Among them we can mention a boy of 16 who had never known his father and whose mother had remarried a military man living in Mbanza Ngungu, a town in Central Congo province. We were able to contact his family and they agreed to have him back. One of our brothers is ready to accompany him there. As for the other 3 we are working with them in order to ensure their social reintegration.
PS: For obvious reasons the prison staff forbade us to take photos!