Monday, July 26, 2010

LIVE from My Birthday Bash at Kirikiri Women's Prison

No form of Camera Equipment is allowed into Kirikiri Women’s Prison, so I’m gonna have to rely completely on my Storytelling abilities, in bringing you all that went down at my Birthday Bash which held at the Prison.

We spent the first few minutes after arriving at the Prison, carrying all the food and drinks we had brought for the Party into the Security Reception of Kirikiri.

Then we were all given a thorough Body Search (no Club Bouncers I know have got anything on the FIERCE female guards at Club Kirikiri), and then handed green tallies which are our tickets in and out of the Prison.

We were warned by the Guards to hold on dearly to these tallies, as failure by any one of us to return any of them on our Exit, will result in being detained. A smart Prison Inmate can steal it and walk out in our place. friends and I didn’t waste any time tucking the tallies into our Bras and every other safe Body parts.

Soon we were allowed in after one more set of safety Instructions by the kind, motherly Guards. The Inmates were already gathered together in the only conducive Party Venue in Kirikiri, the Chapel.

The Prison band were belting out some lovely tunes that had us already moving our bodies as we walked in. They rushed to us as soon as we walked in, welcoming us with such excitement and screaming ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY ’ to me, with lots of hugs and kisses.

I joyfully received the hand-made birthday card that Bukky, a very pretty and articulate young Inmate, had made me.

Never in my life have any group of people welcomed me with such love and open arms.

The party proper soon began: we danced and sang together to the great songs being delivered by the talented Singers.

They had actually prepared a Comedy Sketch for me, which was so funny, we all laughed till we had tears in our eyes.

Then Lovette, an Inmate who had been incarcerated for 7years for taking someone who was almost bleeding to death after an Abortion gone badly, to the hospital, shared her story with us. In spite of the great Injustice which has been committed against her, Lovette was grateful to God for bringing her to Prison, because not only has she discovered the joy of being in an Intimate relationship with Him right here in Prison, she has also found a loving family amongst her fellow Inmates.

Mary, a ridiculously funny, dark-skinned beauty, came and shared a brain-cracking riddle with us. I gave up trying to figure out what the answer was even before she had finished saying the riddle. However, my friend Wonuola Odunsi figured the riddle out in barely a minute. She and Mary excitedly high-fived each other as everyone cheered.

Vivian, our Master of Ceremonies for the day, impressed everyone with the way she co-ordinated the Event with so much mastery and humor. I was so touched by the fact that these Inmates had gone through so much trouble to plan my Birthday Party.

Pastor Abraham, a great man who has dedicated his life to serving the interests of Inmates in Prisons all around the country, and the one who made it possible for me to hold my Party there, came out and briefly shared with us a message about loving ourselves and appreciating who God has made us to be.

He has such an amazing relationship with the Inmates; they adore him and have so much regard for him and his wife. My friends and I were inspired by how much HOPE his message and just his assuring presence, brought to the eyes of the Inmates.

Then EVERYONE sang the 'Happy Birthday' song to me!!

Soon, it was time for us to go…there is only a limited amount of time we are allowed to Party at Club Kirikiri!! We couldn’t FEAST together with the Inmates for Security reasons..Prison Policy demands that they be served food in their individual cells. *sad*

I don’t think I had the words in my Vocabulary, to communicate to the beautiful women at Kirikiri Women’s Prison, how they had blessed me with what I know is the greatest and most meaningful birthday I have EVER celebrated in my life.

As we all said our goodbye’s, we were besieged with so many hugs and kisses from the Inmates. They all came out into the huge courtyard and waved goodbye until we were fully ushered out into the Security Reception.

My friends and I fortunately had all our tallies on us, and so were allowed out by the Guards!! But not until after they had also hugged us and poured out kind blessings on us.

We were all so overwhelmed by the love and good-naturedness we had received from every single person in the Prison. They taught us so much about Gratitude, and the FREEDOM to be found in Rejoicing, regardless of whatever situation we find ourselves.

(L-R)Wonu Odunsi, Pst Abe's Assistant, Pastor Abe's wife, Ngozi Omambala, Pastor Abraham, Me, Nnena Okoye, Toni Tones, Toke Makinwa, Dami Olaiya, Aisha Ibrahim & (John my P.A. took the pic)

As with every other time I have been in Kirikiri Women’s Prison, I walked out of there, knowing I had just paid Jesus Christ a visit. A PEACE that can only come from being in God’s presence is the gift my friends and I were given as we left the Prison Grounds.

And as is always the case, I NEVER walk out the same person I was when I walked in.


  1. Next time I see you, I am giving you a hug. or at least, I will introduce myself.

    The impression you give (or rather the impression I form of you via your blog) is very different from whom you appear to be in real life situations. You (and Toni) appear a 'distant' - not particularly friendly and kinda lagos girly. Yet, you come off as friendly and real on your blog.

    Which is which? I don't know but 1 way to find out is to stop making judgements and just approach you in real life.

  2. incredible..JOb well done

  3. Have known you for only a bit now, but I've got to say, your kindness radiates all around you... on your blog and in person. You are simply amazing! God bless your kind heart! xx

  4. wow.....thats a great way to spend your birthday....very different but in a good way!
    happy belated birthday!

  5. 'Eriere! You get liver o! Kudos to you o. Now, where is my cake?!

    That was very kind of you sha. Who knew u had it in you.

  6. Meaningful Time, Another Reason to Appreciate all that We Have. Happy Birthday Tari

  7. Oh wow, God bless you for that...happy birthday!

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  9. Tari this was sweet! You are a really awesome person. nah but for real though, God bless you the way you've just blessed these ladies. I love the card and btw your story telling abilities are superb. Happy belated birthday again!

  10. Tari happy birthday
    that was a great way to spend it
    never would have thought of that

  11. Well done Tari, you took time out to bring some light and laughter to people who live in constant dismay. I could tell you that our Father in Heaven will bless you, but you know that already and I'm guessing you are mature enough in His ways to have done it for Him and not just for what it would bring you in return, so just sit back and experience His favour and be sure to testify!!! Bear Hugs!!! And I would ask you to stop writing so I could focus on my work more, but I enjoy your pieces too much. Well done and have a fantastic year ahead

  12. you are an angel....keep up the good work.

  13. T-Ta, When I first heard of this Kiri Kiri birthday, I said "what is Tari up to now'? But it seemed to really brought light into the lives of the prisoners and that is what God wants us to do on his behalf.

    I love you loads. You sis. Thelma

  14. wow,,,,that was great,,GOD bless you the way you've just blessed these ladies,

  15. Bless you for inspirin compassion for d needy in d hearts of all who've read this blog...exemplary way to give thanks on ones birthday...wishin u many more yrs of grt health, much joy, lots of love, gud cheer and prosperity.

  16. Mister Fantastic!July 27, 2010 at 11:39 PM

    Good job Tari! Truly commendable!!

  17. That was a really laudable have a wonderful heart. God bles you real good.