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The magazine of the art-form of the photo-essay “A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
April 2014 issue
Naivasha  Maximum Security Prison Kenya
by Ulrik Pedersen
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In Naivasha Maximum security prison, Naivasha, Kenya, a Christian worship team, all clad in black and white stripped prisoner uniforms, are vigorously singing accompanied by drums, guitar and bass. Around 350 prisoners are standing around listening to the music, some of them also singing and actively engaged with hands raised high and even sometimes dancing. As the team of preachers arrive, from City Saints Fellowships, a Nairobi, Kenya based church, they are escorted to a roofed-over seating area and many more prisoners come over to watch and listen to the prayers. Naivasha prison is the largest prison in eastern Africa, second largest in Africa, housing up to 3500 prisoners in their maximum security section plus some in a smaller medium security prison section including a small female unit. About half of prisoners are serving life sentences with no hope of ever walking free. The prison offers both primary and secondary educational opportunities and job skills training including carpentry, metal working, tailoring, auto mechanics, computer technology, and others. Spiritually, the prison caters to the needs of both Christians and Muslims. New churches, mostly inspired by born again Christian beliefs, are appearing across Kenya in large numbers with outreach activities in, among numerous places, hospitals and prisons. In 2007 Reverend David Muai, a member of City Saints Fellowships church in Kenya, started bible studies, church ceremonies and other out reach activities in Naivasha maximum and medium security prison. Around 1500 has now gone through the programme and several inmates have been released early to preach the gospel. The most successful was a prisoner, originally placed on death row, who after receiving Christ started preaching in prison and was later released from prison. Today he pastors a large church in Nairobi, Kenya. The reverend is preaching, pointing his fist up towards the sky. Prisoners are copying him and adds amen through his loud and energetic sermon. Some prisoners are crying, other singing and dancing. The atmosphere is intense. Some of the prisoners in Naivasha prison has found some hope despite their long sentences.
Prisoners clapping during church ceremony at Naivasha Maxium Security Prison. The church service is one of the high points for many of the inmates.
Prisoners praying and talking out loud during church ceremony at Naivasha Maxium Security Prison. Some prisoners feel so close to God they speak out very loud and dance.
Prisoner praying in corner during church ceremony. There is room for personal prayers during the ceremony.
Female prisoner praying during church ceremony at Naivasha female medium security prison. Only a few are born again christians to begin with but with continuous visits the numbers increase.
Prisoner praying during church ceremony at Naivasha Maxium Security Prison. During the church service some prisoners pray on their own.
Reverend preaching during church ceremony at Naivasha Maxium Security Prison. The Reverend also teaches the prisoners.
Prisoners attentively listening during church ceremony at Naivasha Maxium Security Prison. Many prisoners write down the words from the preachers for further studies later.
Prisoner deep in prayer during church ceremony at Naivasha Maxium Security Prison.
Female Born again christian preaching at Naivasha Maxium security prison in Naivasha, Kenya, Africa. Many preachers, including females, come to the prison on a monthly basis.
Prisoners responding and listening closely during church ceremony.
Prisoners in ecstatic celebration during church ceremony.  For some prisoners the feelings and excitement is so much their bodies can’t fail to react.
Prisoner singing loudly.
Prisoners in deep prayer.
Female prisoner praying during church ceremony. Prisoners are in on sentences of less than 5 years in the medium security prison.
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