Midstate native speaks about time in Ugandan prison

Prayers from the Midstate and beyond were answered when 24-year-old Phil Wilmot was released from a prison in Uganda early Friday morning.

“Every possible bad thing was going through our minds. What’s going to happen to us? Will we leave this place alive?” Wilmot said via Skype.

He added that the conditions in the prison were horrid, and that there is a possibility his freedom may be brief. Wilmot is out on bond. Thursday he finds out if he and his colleagues will be formally charged.

Wilmot and several others were taken into custody for ‘unlawful assembly.” In Uganda, you technically need permission from officials to have a meeting of three or more people.

The Messiah College grad and his wife Susan run a program called Solidarity Uganda, which teaches ways to fight corruption with peaceful protests.

“Since our tax money is supposed to fund good roads and good schools, how can we mobilize ourselves to see that those things actually come to fruition?” he asked.

When we first put this story on Facebook last week, the work Wilmot is doing got some heat. Several viewers were concerned that U.S. resources are being used to get foreign travelers out of trouble.

Wilmot responded first by saying that U.S. tax money funds worse things like “torture techniques.”

“Nonviolence requires risk and you have to leverage risk to achieve the change you need. For me as a father, it’s about weighing the costs,” he added.

Wilmot first traveled to Uganda while studying at Messiah College. He now lives there with his daughter and wife. The two are currently expecting a second child.

To learn more about Solidarity Uganda visit: http://www.solidarityuganda.com/

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