Prison turned him into a modern farmer
Posted Wednesday, February 27 2013 at 00:00
When Demetrio Muhindo was convicted and given a prison sentence, he looked at it as a “disaster”. But with his imminent release and over the past six months, he has had to change that to viewing his experience as an opportunity. Geoffrey Mutegeki Araali captured his story of transformation, rehabilitation and hope.
Prison is not only for punishment but it should serve as a rehabilitation facility and this is what it has done to me.
My name is Demetrio Muhindo, 32 years of age, a former Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) service man who hails from Kasese District.
I have been transformed from a soldier to convict and then to a modern farmer.
Getting the best
I was convicted in 2010 and sent to Ibuga prison, which is in Kasese District after I lost my gun while on duty.
I did not even think I would get the best out of prison since I had always thought it was the worst experience and being a soldier was the best job I had.
However things have come to change and now I am somewhat pleased for having been sent to Ibuga where I have acquired modern farming skills on the prison farm, which I plan to apply when I get out of prison.
Like anyone would think, when I was sentenced I thought it was a disaster to be in prison, and indeed that was it was for the first six months.
But now I do not regret much since I have gained the basic knowledge in farming that I would not have got anywhere else.
I am now skilled in growing fruits and vegetables, which is the main activity at the prison farm. I was one of the trainees under the Agricultural Skills Training and Rehabilitation pilot project at Ibuga Prison.
I know now how to grow all types of fruits and vegetables. I know how to select the good seeds, the planting, mulching, time the crops can spend to be harvested, the pesticides to be used and all the basic needs to get the best crop product.
My wish is to see all prisoners rehabilitated in a way that will not only help them individually but the whole community as well.
With these farming techniques I have gained, I will be able to pass on the knowledge to other people in the village which will help improve food production in our area.
I think this is the best way to treat people in prison than mistreating them.
Together with nine other prisoners, I underwent the training for a six months’ period, which ends this month as they complete their sentences.
After being released, I shall be able to use the knowledge gained to carry out modern farming at home and I will be able to support my family.