Last June, Barbara (Mama Calvin) was taken to the Police station after a neighbour accused her of setting her house on fire. Members of the Social Team went to the Police to see her and to get Barbara’s baby, Calvin, from the cell and back to Jaja (his grandmother) in the slum where they live. Barbara was then taken to prison on remand, which was a huge shock for the whole family who now had to care for Calvin.
In July her court hearings began and we attended as a way of supporting her through a difficult time. The claimant, however, did not show up on numerous occasions until October – leaving Barbara waiting in prison for five months. Even then testimony was inconsistent and the judge kept adjourning her case for lack of witnesses or a Police file. In January (after eight months!) she was finally granted bail, as there was no evidence against her, which was a huge step forward. Unfortunately, the bail price was 500,000 Ugandan Shillings (about £130), which Barbara and her father could not afford. She broke down and cried when she found out how much it would be; feeling that there was no hope.
We really value the importance of children and parents staying together and so a little later we held a meeting to talk about partnering with Barbara’s father in raising the bail money. We all agreed that this was the right thing to do for mama so that she could be re-united with Calvin after such a long time apart. After the meeting we called Barbara’s father and said that we were willing to partner with him in raising the money with a contribution from him – he was overjoyed!
So we put the money together, took it to the bank, and after a few hours of waiting and photocopying various documents at the court, Barbara was released from prison. It was almost unbelievable when the guard at the court cell told us to open it up and let her out. Mama, who had been sleeping on a bench in the cell, looked like she was in a dream when we woke her up and said that she could come out. She was completely at a loss for words. And on that day we also saw her father smile for the first time, which was in itself a miracle.
But the journey continues; Barbara was told to appear in court again for another hearing which she promptly did and then again, and the final one is set for mid May. We are continuing to support and pray for this family through the case and help keep them together.