I was looking for a partner in South Africa that was involved with vocational training in prison. As part of the discovery process, I went to Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison in Cape Town and met some of the inmates. They were such young boys – most of them were between the ages of 14 and 20.
I became friendly with a fifteen year old kid. He told me he had killed five people as part of a gang initiation ritual.
I ended up spending two hours with the boys. I played soccer with them and they were all so nice. I told them the next time I came back, I’d come with my business partner.
“Where is your business partner from?”
“Can he bring us a soccer ball and jerseys?”
I discovered that just by spending two hours with the children, I gave them hope. They knew I was there for them and that I loved them. It starts with love and then you go from there.
When I got out of the prison I wrote the following on my Facebook page:
“They are 14 to 18 years old.
They are robbers. Killers.
They kill at random, they kill innocent people just to prove they are tough and to get promoted in the gangs that have enrolled them at a young age.
They stay there up to 18 months waiting to get sentenced, then they stay in jail because there are no half way detention centers for them.
There are 28 in a big cells with light blankets in the cold at night.
They have breakfast at 8:00 AM then lunch and dinner at 11:00 AM and that's it for the day.
They are allowed a maximum of an hour out per day on the playground.
There is no music, no books, no TV, no games – so they end up fighting like animals locked in a cage.
So I played soccer with them, made them laugh and told them about my planet Kalula. I told them it is theirs too because we are brothers. I made them travel showing them the stamps on my passport. I taught them French words.
These are beautiful souls. Beautiful kids who never got a chance to be kids. They are injured creatures who play tough but are so sweet.
When they get out, they will go back into the same vicious circle. It is impossible to track them and teach them skills because their gang employers will not allow it.
So they asked me to come back to play with them and teach them some more French.
My heart is bleeding, but I know that love goes a long way for these beautiful human beings and any ray of sunshine makes a difference in their life.”
Goose Chronicles Outtakes:
“Do you ever worry about your life in some of the places you travel?”
“I have to go where my calling takes me. I don't mind losing my life. It's worth it. One day I will die. One day my organization will die. But the children’s dreams will never die.”
Goose Chronicles Links:
Pollsmoor Prison: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollsmoor_Prison