When at the end of 2009 I started my apostolate inside the prison in Livingstone some officers were quite against my service and showed very little cooperation. Today they are among my best friends. What kind of magic did I use? First at all I was in the Polish army for two years before entering seminary, where I was exposed to the military system, which is similar to the one inside the prison in Zambia. In many situations I know, which approach can be more useful. Secondly I turn the challenges into a joyful opportunities, what helps me to come closer to the officers and the prisoners at the same time.
One of such joyful opportunities was last year in December during the trip with our prison officers to Francistown in Botswana for the sports and cultural encounter. Everything started the previous year when the officers from Botswana in Kasane came for a security meeting to Livingstone in Zambia. During that meeting came an idea of having some sports and cultural inter-prisons activities. Two months later two sides met in Livingstone. There was so much excitement and competition, that the Botswana officers invited Zambian officers to come for a return games not to Kasane, but to Francistown, where they could have better facilities and bigger chances to bring more professional officers. Zambian officers ware thinking similarly and brought the officers from other prisons as well. Of course I was considered as a pastor-officer.
During this trip was a wonderful opportunity to know better officers, create a greater friendship, and for them to come closer to me. Botswana officers were wondering how the Zambian officers manage to bring a white pastor for such event! And when the Zambian team won they were pointing at me, because before each game they asked me for a prayer. I hope when we lost they did not put a blame on my prayer….. Especially the tag of war was quite dominated by Botswana officers. One of their officer was so huge that he could have the power of three Zambian officers, and most of the others were also very big. This is why we complained that they had there more than 10 players… At the end of the program, in the evening before getting the trophies each country presented their traditional food, clothes, dances and songs. There were lots of opportunities for sharing and enriching one another. Also I met some Botswana prison pastors. The whole program was very successful and beautiful. This year in December again Botswana officers will come to Livingstone for a return program.