One day at church a lady asked to speak with me, she was a sister at the Alice Springs Hospital; apparently there was a young man in the hospital with a collapsed lung. He was a prisoner, and she was upset that all his family were in England, he had no one here.
A couple of weeks later I went out to the prison to visit Anthony; he had just turned twenty and was in prison for life. With such a long sentence he became interested in being sent to England to serve his sentence. We both realised that this would come at a very high cost- his one way air fare and that of the two officers who would have to escort him.
He told me he did not have his birth certificate and had been born in Zambia.
I went straight to the Prison Fellowship International Directory, yes Zambia had an office; I wrote explaining the situation and wondering if they could help.
After many months of letters back and forth, and a lot of work I am sure on the part of the Zambia Prison Fellowship office, I received a copy of Anthony’s birth certificate. The one amazing thing that really blew me, it came with a letter gold-embossed from the gentleman I had been corresponding with, The Bishop of Zambia. And here we had been writing to each other in first names!!!!
As Anthony got more settled in prison, he realised he would never be able to afford to ask to be transferred to England. He has proved an excellent prisoner and is now permitted to come in to Alice Springs 9-5 each day on a Carpenters Apprenticeship.
I managed to get in touch with Anthony’s family, who advised they wanted nothing to do with him. However, his grandfather was overjoyed at getting in touch, and prior to his recent death, they had a few great years of communicating with each other.