After breakfast, we secured two additional cars to take the three teams of lawyers and law students out to the Ihungu Remand Home for a full day of interviewing. On our way, we picked up the probation officer so he could also be there when we arrived. It was clear that the juveniles were expecting us and that they were excited that we kept our word to come and help them.
We gathered everyone in the male “custody” where the 24 boys spent most of their days and nights. The single girl is housed nearby in the “store” where gardening tools and dried beans corn meal are stored. I introduced our team to the juveniles and previewed the next three days. One of the American lawyers, Michael Mudgett is also a pastor and added his words of encouragement and led us in a group prayer to kick things off.
After the prayer, Joseph, a former inmate at the Ihungu Remand Home who had traveled from his school in Gulu to act as one of the three interpreters, spoke to the prisoners about life after Ihungu and assured them that the group of mzungus staring at them was there to help.
A few minutes later, the interviews were underway. Jay Milbrandt and I led one group of students and had my driver Michael interpreting. Professor Carol Chase led another group with Joseph interpreting. And Michael Mudgett led another group with a probation office intern serving as the other interpreter. Unfortunately, the Ugandan defense lawyers were unable to participate in today’s interviews, but should be there tomorrow.
Over the course of the day, each group completed three interviews. Each of the juvenile inmates was exceedingly grateful to have an advocate (or group of them) actively seeking to move his or her case forward. After a group dinner, the law students resumed work on the first draft of the case briefs we are preparing for each prisoner.
Tomorrow will see another day of intense interviews during the day and brief writing and editing late into the night. The students are doing quite well and seem to be thrilled to have a chance to put what they are learning into practice.
Joline and the kids have safely arrived and welcomed the rest of the University Church of Christ to the Made In The Streets facility in Kenya.