The flapping doors of Kibos Maximum Prison opened widely, and his smile exposed.
Richard Orwa was well wrapped in a black suit, a neatly-ironed white shirt, and a stripped neck tie.
This was the first time he was enjoying this kind of dressing since 2011 when a magistrate threw him behind bars.
The former primary school teacher had been serving a 30-year jail term after he was found guilty of defiling his pupil.
Today he begins a new chapter in his life, adding a few more titles to his name. He is a former convict, a tailor, and a carpenter.
On Wednesday, January 12, 2022, Orwa stepped out of the prison gates to a warm reception by his family and friends.
By 10am, his faces showed up. The friends and family had been waiting at the gate from as early as 7am.
Tears of joy flowing freely, the family was in another world. The remourseful Orwa, now 47 hugged them one by one.
His wife Monica Akinyi embraced him, and it looked like a wedding match as they headed out of the prison gate, with emotional songs and dances by inmates seeing him off.
‘Fika nyumbani salama (safe journey home)’ was the chorus of the song, which they danced as they waved both hands high in the skies.
“I am glad that I am finally getting back home. I am grateful to the family of the complainant who forgave me, and I hope all will be well,” said Orwa.
He is too emotional to share the circumstances under which he found himself in jail, but he well recorgnizes that he was a law breaker.
“I have apologized for the wrong I did. The first count was defilement which earned me 20 years, and abuse of position of authority which gave me 10 years,” he said.
His appeals were dismissed twice, and he had to wait till the last date of his jail term, which was now fixed at 10 years
“Just like Onesmus left prison, I came as a law breaker, and today I promise that I will remain loyal to the authorities and serve the nation diligently,” he said.
During his stay at the prison, Orwa got Grade Two qualification in Garment Making, a new skill he wishes to exploit in his new life.
Prison in charge Beverly Lungatso described Orwa as a disciplined inmate, a situation which saw him reform faster.
“He did not break any law during his time here, and he got to mentor other prisoners. He is ready to go back home as a changed person,” she said.
The prison management in collaboration with well-wishers managed to get Orwa two sewing machines, bedding and other foodstuffs, as well as a prison car which was to deliver him and the goods to their Rakwaro home in Migori County.
“Prison is a correctional facility, and Orwa is a motivation to the other inmates to accept that they are here for a season,” she said.
Before Orwa’s release, the prison management formed a Discharge Board which facilitated the reintegration process in order to help Orwa peacefully reunite with his family and village mates.