So What Happens When….. Nothing Happens?

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on April 14, 2014 by doingtimeabroad

“Most people fancy themselves innocent of those crimes of which they cannot be convicted.” -Seneca

‘Failure to prepare is preparation for failure. Prepare for the worst while expecting the best’

 

Wednesday, 2 Apr. 2014 00:24:59

Life on the inside is one full of expectations, sometimes and most of the time, these expectations which one has hung unto with all his life, love, hatred and guts could come crashing like a house build from  haystack; crashing and burning along with all hopes and dreams……then you know something definitely going to happen when nothing happens; other plans come into play. 

 

Tuesday, 1st of April 2014 

Schat’s birthday today, so much birthdays had come and gone, marked and celebrated just like the many Christmases and all without me. Always praying to be there for the next one. Someday, those prayers will come true. 

 

Celebrated her day with special tributes on #Socialmedia, the kids were not left out as they made special handmade card for her with the note: #OneInAmillionMummy, how sweet and lovely. 

Her friends from the church took her and the kids out for a birthday dinner, my daughter confessed that she was a bit naughty, told her she is forgiven; how happy she was. She is growing and learning new things with each new day. 

 

Back home, her friends had arranged flowers to be delivered, while they were out dining; what a way to end a wonderful day #ThePerfectDay. I may not be there physically, but my presence is always around them, in their hearts, thoughts and my massive wall-frame photos commends some good presence; one that gets my little girl to eat her vegetables when told daddy won’t get her something she so desires….lol! Away from home but ever present. 

 

Back in our jungle, the belly of the beast; the day started like every other day, up to use the loo around 4ish, ended going upstairs with a steaming cup of green tea/ginger. Signal wasn’t at its best, but enough to chat with schat. Then it all went off by 7am, nobody had any idea why it went off. Later we knew as it was the inauguration of the new prison, christened #MegaJoya, the largest prison complex in Latin America. A project the opposition party called the #WhiteElephant of Martinelli; apparently on the run to the presidential election is busy commissioning new projects to woe the hearts of voters, politics like warfare is full of deceptions.  

 

Helicopter hovered the centre like a giant buzzing bee, we followed the inauguration like most Panamanians on the local television channels. The president promised sending the more than a thousand Colombia prisoners back to their country at his own cost. Well, fingers crossed, hope he is a man of his words. 

 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014! 

Signal seems to have been restored, meaning it was switched of yesterday due to the inauguration of the new prison. Whoever controls the signal jammers knew what they are doing, let some signal in to keep the prisoners at peace.  Anyway, it’s still difficult getting online, have to wake up very early to sit and stare into the endless horizon behind our wire fence as I wait for the ping sound of incoming messages. 

 

Workout was excruciating, planned hitting shoulders, but upon walking into the gym, someone has set up the squat poles, did few stretches and good light warm up and then hit 10 sets of increasingly weights. Friggin got my legs fried. Went straight into shoulders, starting with military press, shrugs, lateral raise, upfront row. Rounded up with abs. Less than an hour despite a group of six men. Was satisfying! 

 

Had proper meal after my workout; rice and chicken, down it with a glass of chocolate + milk! Showered and hit my bed, tried napping, but the intense heat wouldn’t let me and one of the lads was busy distilling which got the cell fried. 

 

Upstairs was busy with lads overcrowded at our signal spot, but a bit cooler as cool evening wind was blowing in. 

 

Spent some hours with schat, who was busy tucking the kids into bed. Finally left for my comfort zone; my bunk! 

 

Thursday, April 3, 2014.

Weekly headcount, with no plan to wake early as I slept pretty late. But a cellmate got up and wants me to join him. Finally, got myself together and met him, but signal wasn’t at its best, though spent some moments on chat with Schat. Then came the catcalls, wasn’t one that sound like we were about to be invaded for another round of brutal search. Looking outside, the locals in pavilion 5 were outside, thus, if they want us outside at the same time; it won’t be a search, as they won’t risk having more than a thousand inmates outside at the same time with a handful of cops. 

 

Left my phone in a mate’s bunk upstairs, got down and dressed up for a quickie outside; fresh morning breeze as I warmed up, did some sprints, reverse row on the monkey bars behind the pavilion (a gift from #ElAbuelo that was extradited to the #US; of all inmates here, he was the only one with passion for fitness, had all the weights, bars, DB, gym hall painted, those are his legacy, and will live after him). 

 

Inside the gym was scanty as many had gone back to sleep; got me wondering, how many hours do these lazy-asses sleep every night? The most I catch a night is 5hrs! But some are really here to do time; day and night, some of my mates hits their sleep sack as early as 9pm and by 8am are still snoring. Guess, prison here in Panama is doing the opposite of what it was meant to accomplished in inmates; making them lazier! 

 

A good all-body workout got me pumping, rounded my workout up with triceps and biceps and abdominal. All were enough to kickstart my day. Just outside the training area, on the other half of the gym hall (as from 6pm every day, the gym hall becomes one big cell, with cartons spread out and mattresses laid down for inmates who have spots there). They have been fighting to have us stop working out, told them, they are sick! Those who were fortunate to have positions on the first half floor of the gym, tends to leave their belongings permanently on the floor; the only time they are moved is when they are washing the floor, which is every fortnight.  

 

On that part of the gym hall, I heard Doc telling an English mate of an elderly inmate that was bleeding from his mojo on Wednesday’s night; Doc was called up to attend to the old lad. But on getting there like every doctor would, he was confronted by what is becoming a new trend among many of the young lads here; insertion of stones (pearl should’ve been used) under their foreskin so they can ehance their sex drive. 

 

I know couple of lads who had done  just that, but this very man ain’t no young man; he should be doctor’s age mate or bit older than Doc, and adding insult to injury, he is #Diabetic, Guess Doc did what he had to do, but also asked that the man be sent to  the clinic, as of my time of writing, heard his bleeding has stopped. But the one million dollar question still remains, ‘what would have driven a supposedly intelligent man into that’….. the answer lies in man’s need and desires for the ultimate satisfaction; our insatiable needs. He has heard like I have heard what the stone does; the woman is taken into the other side through ecstacy from the sensation of having the stone rubbed against her clitoris #Clitorisstimulator. The craziest thing here; none of them are having conjugal visit, the ones having ain’t interested in enhancing their sex life, they are pretty ok with getting laid every fortnight.  I asked my pharmacist-cellmate; If he will like to have the cut-out dominoe piece inserted in his mojo, he replied ‘I barely have enough, why would I cut off a piece of my small man’, got me #LMAO 

 

@Behindbars everyone is searching for things to do to help with the boring time; glad I have found enough things to keep me busy, such that, getting an afternoon nap is so difficult as others are always coming around with phone problems, some can keep good numbers in their stuffed head, but not their passwords; thus, I started using five sets of passwords whenever I opened any online account for them; dating site (Tagged.com very popular) , emails, facebook, twitter, instagram and the mother of all social media; Skype, it’s the best as the lads gets to see flesh in real-time and live ;-)

 

Skype is also the favourite as many can’t cope with the stress of typing on tiny virtual keypads, personally I loathe touchscreen keyboard, give me BlackBerry anytime ;-), the next good thing from Canada that is useful to us behindbars after Dr. Porter ;-)

 

Had an early night as I was way knackered from my workout and from not napping during the day. 

 

Friday,  4 Apr. 2014 

 

Slept deep as I have never done for a long time, but woke up at the sound of the binman changing our bin bag and his mate washing the passage; the bin in front of each cell is changed every morning, while the passage and the gym hall (doubles up as a cell for those without cells) are washed every fortnight. Qucikly made me a cuppa of my green brew, which I took along as I climbed up to my signal spot. Few inmates were hanging around as they hustled for signal. Got online with chat, she sent a video of my little girl who was at home with her today. She was over the moon to be home; a free day from nursery. 

 

Left the spot around 7:30am to prepare for my daily workout. Made enough oatmeal + muelsi for the cell, added almond butter + Cinnamon, the lads devoured all of it, had few spoonful before heading out to the packed gym. Lucky enough to find some weights for a proper #HIIT #Chest workout. Focused more on intensity, going light but more repetition, added hanging leg raise during my pauses. And finally rounded up with #Hardcore #FullDeepSquat; some of the lads tried correcting me; that deep squat is bad for the knees, well, haven’t seen any of them search, read or buy magazines or books on exercises, training, fitness or anything to do with #MensHealth. No wonder majority get burnout and wornout from repetitions; doing the same exercises day in and day out. There are few I shared #FitnessTips with, just downloaded an hour-long kettlebell workout video; shared it with an Irish-mate namesake; funny enough, we have the same first name, small world.  The lad is bent on leaving here with an excellent bill of health, super fit; he’s working out seriously, but it’s always the diet that’s our setbacks. I try getting the best from what we have here and what I can afford. 

 

Had a good workout, but Friggin knackered, that after shower and feasting on my morning oatmeal, I couldn’t sleep; due to today’s heat. Friggin hot, got me sweating all over, had to shower for the second time, thank goodness water is no problem now, we do get enough for each day’s use. 

 

The evening is a bit cooler, hope rain will come soon. 

 

Earlier today, around 4am, a Canadian was extradited to The US, don’t know what case he’s got with uncle Sam, but the yanks wants him badly, hope he sorts himself out there. 

 

Another Canadian (the polish-canadian) and the only Sikh in the village who was battered by a local inmate before been sent off; has been having problems after problems with his cellmates. The old man has no bunk in the cell, he perches on a spot on the top of the cell, but the lads don’t seem to like or get along with him. They finally got him packing, throwing his things out, not even his buddy wants to help him. My mate has allowed him to keep his stuffs in a space around his corner,, but he will be sleeping in the gym hall. I adviced him to get the Canadian embassy to call and have him transferred to pavilion 16, which is old people friendly. Hope he does that. 

 

Just spoke with our only Sikh in the village about his problems with his cellmates who had successfully conspired and kicked him. He’s been busy all evening moving his things from one corner of the passage to another; forced to emptied all his tanks of water, so he can get them downstairs to the gym hall where he will be sleeping. From what he’s saying, the lads had made life very miserable for him; one threatening raping him when he sleeps, guess that alone will keep the old man awake all night watching his ass ;-), couldn’t help the laughter. Did reassured him, nobody will rape him here if he doesn’t willingly and on his own accord submit. Another told him, he’s more holy than him, that he see god and talk to him; I definitely know who that is. Another told him, his god doesn’t exist; if he does, why is he here? A million dollar question, that has only one answer; our sikh fella or santa claus as he nicknamed by rasta was nicked at panama’s international airport with luggage lined with angel dust! Enough reason to send him here! 

 

Complained how the lads nicked five of his tanks and some gallons of water, which made me brought his attention and senses to where he is, told him ‘You’re in a prison and not a monastery’ does expect nicking and also start watching your back, as we’ve had meteorite fell on an inmate’s head while walking around the passage after a brawl with a gang of lads. Thus, he should be watchful and be his own keeper. 

 

Well, he has finally packed all his meagre stuffs, hope he’s welcome back to the gym hall, which was his first place of abode when he first got in here, but got thrown out after he got into a fight with one of the lads there for sleep space. 

 

From all that has happened to our ‘Only Sikh in the village’ and if he’s a smart man like he says, he should examine himself, why is he in trouble with everyone, many of us been here for years, and the most we have gotten into are verbal brawls and we are ok with that. Hope the Canadian embassy calls and get him transferred to pavilion 16 for his safety, wellbeing and most importantly, for his sanity; they wouldn’t want him repatriated back to Canadian impaired, battered, loco, and a nightmare to the Canadian society;-)

 

Sooner or later he will realise that he’s on his own and that nobody is anybody’s keeper; moreover he can’t fit into any of the prison’s gangs. Thus, he’s definitely on his own. 

 

Fast forward! Wednesday 9 Apr. 2014 

 

So much has happened within my last punch of the buttons of my phone’s keypad.  Prison world is where nothing is certain, not even one’s life. One lives for the moment, sleep, wake up alive, then another chance. But then, each day is battle to survive the odds of living. 

 

On Sunday, 6th April, when we least expected them, we were stormed by about 30 cops, many had no time to stash their phones. We couldn’t get to our normal stash, but it went well, few had their phones taken, ours survive on this day. After the search, life went on as it’s always been, living by chance. 

 

Monday, the 7th! Up from my sleep and climbed up to our signal spot, had the chance to chat with schat and my daughter who went swimming, but wanted more time in the pool. Headed back to prepare for my daily workout, gym was packed, but had a wonderful back and biceps workout, added some abs and cardio routines for the extra burn. 

 

Later on Monday evening had a verbal row with a lazy-ass old cow who sits everyday in my cell gossiping about who’s shagging whose wife on the street. The old man leaves his cell every morning to ours, just to sit and talk absolute rubbish, but on this Monday,  he made a big mistake to take on me. He said something stupid  about fitness and my working out. Well, I gave him a food for thought words; that he is a waste of space! Finally walked him out of my cell. Hope he doesn’t come back, though he co-accussed is my cellmate. Just hope he wouldn’t cross the door when he comes to see him. Same man has had brawl with almost all of my cellmates, and he lives off people, uses every of my utensils and eats from us, but can’t friggin live his age. Glad he didn’t push me over the edge, and I was able to control myself.  

 

Read online of two dutch students missing in Panama, hope it ain’t true, but reading it on a dutch media and also heard it on the local news on Panamá television, I knew it’s true; pray they are found on time. 

 

Tuesday came, less tension, got a bit late to the gym, which was a bit scanty, seems the lads are losing their mojos; one moment they are hot and the next they are cold as dead. 

 

Just into my chest and biceps workout, our president came in to inform an English bloke that we might be storm again. Dropped my weights and ran in, just before my cell, I heard our alarm system raised and cat calls as the approaching cops were already in the building; they were cadets from police academy, lots of girls, the girls were more than the lads and they were all natives, got me wondering if the way out of the jungle for the natives is joining police or becoming wardens. Within seconds all our stuffs were stashed, one stayed behind as the rest left. We were search as we walked outside into the blazing sun; and no water today. 

 

They did a thorough search, roughed up and left no stones unturned, usually my books are always scary when cops sees them, not these tiny Indians (indígenas, as they call them here), they threw all my books on the floor, ripping whatever look suspicious. Some voluminous books were ripped open…….fcuking! painful! 

 

And finally, they hit on our stashes, taking about eight phones; one of my old banger; a broken BlackBerry 9900, a mate was lucky, when his stash was opened, they didn’t realised the double layer bottom; saved three new phones, they would’ve killed him, as he has saved money from selling liquor to buy the newest piece in that very stash; a samsung Duos! 

 

We weren’t alone in counting loses, other cells felt the impact of the search as many had phones, tablets, routers, knives, and lots of stuffs taken. 

 

The hardest blow that really hit me hard was my almost-ready wine; made from welch’s grape juice, just two days left to be drunk, and had clients waiting. And another two tanks of mashes to be distilled into gin; and I had prepared these two tanks on Monday night with no inkling of what will happen on Tuesday. All together, four tanks were taken. Glad the tanks were returned, but empty and without my drinks ;-) , Friggin painful, lots of money gone in the drain just like that. Well, such is our life and it’s prison, where upon incarceration one loses everything that means something to humans; except one thing….. #Hope! this one thing they can’t take from us. 

 

I had to work all day yesterday like others, cleaning and changing my bedsheets, arranging my books and checking what else they must have taken during the search, after all done, had to cook for our lunch/dinner; all left me knackered and worn-out. And no water all day, the lads are yet to realised that the period of abundant water is over. They are still using water as if we live right beside a river. 

 

Was so knackered that by 8pm I was feeling sleepy. Had to call of my night and headed downstairs, did some dishes, and took a shower before hitting my bunk; though with aching back, popped 200mg of diclofenac and B Complex, had a long sleep. 

 

Wednesday  9 Apr. 2014 

Lately, tend to wake up around the same time every day; between 4am and 6am, after then, can’t friggin close my eyes as my mind goes walkabouts into lala-lands of memories past. So to safe myself from the self-torture I rather stay awake than get back to pretending to sleep, which will never come. 

 

I tend to hit the hay between 11pm and 2am, yet I still wake up with 4 – 5hrs later. Some days, I tried getting some hours of power nap during the day, which helps with the body aches after my excruciating workouts. 

 

Left my signal spot to dress up for my daily workout, then came the roll-call for school, it was my group, but didn’t hear my name. Had to change and head outside, rushed my breakfast of leftover beans and ripe plantain from Tuesday night. Down a cup of water, then out and my name was on the list, the lad omitted it, just he can’t friggin pronounce such an easy name #Spaniard 

 

We were hauled out in a single file, approaching the first security, we were stopped as there was a row up at the second and final control before entering the admin block which house the classrooms. About 10 cops were able to contained the situation, cuffing the lads and hauled them away after spraying gas on them; wouldn’t want to know who they wanted to stab or kill. Sometimes I loathes leaving my pavilion to anywhere outside, as they say “far from home is near to harm”…… that’s exactly my story, had gone way too far from home and family and ended up here. Within my pavilion, I know my way and I know the people, though everything changes, but I try to keep up with the changes, watching closely and observing every intentions and reading between the lines of every words uttered.  

 

Finally got to school, I wasn’t prepared for, but had to go as it helps with time reduction, felt sleepy all through, but managed to pull myself through all the classes. Back in, was starving, made myself a quick bowl of muesli with extra nuts, was filling and delicious. It’s day two without water, my cell has ran out of water and I’m left with a tank from my reserves, the lads had forgotten and underestimated where we are and what could happen. For months now, water has been flowing like life, and none care to stop and think that this is a prison where in the past we have been left without water weeks after weeks. Everyone in my cells used to keep reserves, but they all lose their guards and threw all those vital gallons away. I kept seven gallons with four tanks; eventually used the tanks to prepare my wine and mashes which were taken and thrown away during the search; a friend gave me a tank, which will take me through today and Thursday. 

 

Upstairs, there’s tension still building up as many believes the cops are coming back. My friend, an old timer, who has done time in America and loves #PrisonTalk more than anything, confirmed the rumour, but I ignored him. Don’t want anything to get me panicked and shaken more than I am, my heart is Friggin fragile ;-) 

 

The signal spot was full and busy as inmates were out hustling for a sign to get online. On Tuesday and Wednesday morning, I actually had signal on my bed, which is very rare since the signal jammers were installed. But not enough strength to have my lying down and get online; sometimes I wake up to find messages and emails had come through. Lucky me ;) 

 

Around 9ish I was feeling sleepy, had to pack up and left for my cell which hot as hell; that’s if there’s another hell (can this friggin phone stop correcting my spelling; I want HELL and not he’ll) after here ;) 

 

Had to do my dishes with a gallon of water; water becomes very useful and important when one is in this sort of situation; Drought! 

 

Even the heavens has withheld rain from us, there’s been sign of rain lately, but it all amounts to nada! Showered with about 3 litres of water; soak a hand towel and clean myself, Doc calls that Mexican shower ;) 

 

The news of the missing Dutch students is gaining grounds has it has brought the government to its knees; #Holland #TheNetherlands  #Nederland being a big player in panamá, the third country after USA and Canada trading with Panama and also Dutch businesses are growing in panamá won’t be happy with her host if these girls aren’t found (hopefully and prayerfully, found alive). My Colombians mates are joking that they had probably gone to join the other Dutch lady who has been with the #Farc rebels for years now. Many of then wouldn’t had known there was a Dutch lady with #Farc if not for the Colombian series #ComandoElite which shows how the government’s elite police captured or killed all the top players in the country’s america-funded #Drugwar and #LaViolencia. Doubt if this war will be won as it has spread to america’s backyard; Mexico, and it’s all america’s guns these cartels are using, brings in mind operation #FastAndFurious which went totally wrong, got many fingers pointed at different directions; an operation that was meant to track guns as they move within cartels went wrong when the same American guns were used in killing of innocent people. That operation got Nieto (Mexico president) to rethink their part of the war on drug, they are at the losing side. A new approach need to be taken, old draconian laws like ones in place in panamá had to be changed, view on drugs like marijuana have to be changed also. Instead of slamming someone in for years for possession of a joint, he could be offered treatment and a job, as most I have seen here were jobless and will forever remain jobless!  And that’s the case of…… 

So What Happens When….. Nothing Happens!

 

In their cases and with many of us here, nothing happens, except one comes out of his own cocoon and fights himself into the life he had dream and always wanted to live. 

 

Finally hit my concrete bed which I have improved with a wooded bed made by a Chinese who spent thirteen odd years for murder; murder was his case and he did the time. He was the best cook in the pavilion. The wooden structure on top of the concrete slab has really helped with my backache.  

 

Thursday, 10 Apr. 2014  

 

Weekly headcount today, woke up around 5ish, set the pot to boil for a cuppa green  and ginger/lemon tea, would have love a cup of old Joe this morning, but the old guy brewing at the beginning of the passage is not one that should be trusted, friggin look like he recycles his coffee; one can see the bottom of his cup after a filling of his coffee, it’s meant to be black and thick, he uses sugar to deceive the lads; they friggin love sugar, once it’s sweet, they just like it. The only thing he can’t cheat on is his tea; you get a fresh bag from the pack and fill your cup with boiling water and make yourself a cuppa ;) 

 

Upstairs look deserted, seems the lads are yet to wake up from the toll of Tuesday’s search, in the four years plus I have been here, we’ve never been hit so hard like this search; every cell took a bit of the storm, they were young tiny Indian girls (indígenas), all in training to become wardens; funny thing, those girls weren’t allowed into the local’s pavilions, they were only sent to the foreigners; they know, their people will abuse them in one way or the other. As tiny as they were, they were able to get into every crook in the pavilion. One thing they didn’t know; they couldn’t figure out what bluetooth earphones were and USB chargers, they found mine and my mate convinced them, they are for my blood pressure and cholesterol machines; they friggin believed him and left them behind. Good they don’t have these technologies in their reservations #JustSaying, for years now the natives has been protesting against the government plan to build hydroelectric station around their territory; friggin hate development and growth. Good for them! But lately, they are getting obese, seems they sneak out into the city in their wooden and binged on BigMac and Triple Whopper, hope the government finds solutions for them! 

 

As the sun begins to rise, the pavilion gets its life and inmates rose to stash their phones and other things that shouldn’t be found if we are stormed again. Got mine stashed and got dressed to use the open patio for a quick cardio circuit. Was out with the first batch; did some good stretches, haven’t been outside for a very long while, did some good sprints and use the monkey bars for reverse rows and dips. More spins around the field, push ups, stretches and more sprints before the count was over. Back in, the gym was empty, used the opportunity to have one of my best workouts since my incarceration; #HIIT #Hardcore #UpperBodyWorkout and #DumbbellLunges, did some #Landmines circuit and burned it out with countless reps of abs circuits. Felt satisfied and good on my inside; but not having water to wash my gym clothing will spoil my day. 

 

Back in, made a smoothie of banana + almond butter + cinnamon + milk, glad there was ice as it would’ve been a warm smoothie. My mates wanted some, shared with them, I’m out of drinking water, have to find a way as I need water and more of it daily. Shower and soaked my clothes with a bit of bleach to kill the odour, hope there will be water tomorrow so I can wash them. If there’s no water, then I’m definitely not working out. Right now, our major concerns is water for the toilet, if one wants to use the toilet, we are as fucked as the word #FUCK! Literally fucked! There’s not even a drop of water around in the cell. Which means I can’t afford to break any sweat. 

 

The pavilion seems to be calm, the police on duty has confided in a member of the pavilion’s ruling council that there won’t be anymore search; don’t fucking trust no cops, ‘cos they don’t trust us either! #WeAreAtWar! My war ends when I’m out and free ;) 

 

17:18:47 

Had wanted to cook pastas with tuna I bought from one of the lads working in the kitchen, but can’t afford to that now as there’s no water. I rather bought a gigantic fried chicken leg (thigh and drumstick together) and a piece of #Arepa (latin america’s favorite food; made from maize and grilled) and it sets me back $4.50ct, too expensive for a friggin chicken leg, but I need my protein, would’ve cooked kidney beans or lentils, but such food are not what someone should eat when there’s no water in sight, wouldn’t want to be seen with bags full of shit. Better keep them at bay till we have enough water. 

 

Ate the chicken with guacamole pikante which I made with avocado bought here and dried chillis that schat sent. 

 

Stayed up till late, waiting for the lads to sleep and the cell to cool a bit before hitting downstairs.  

 

Friday, 11 Apr. 2014 

 

Day 5 of our water crisis, woke at my normal time around 5am, but lay back as I can’t afford sweating much today, there’s no sign of water. Slept through the night with stench of urine and faeces, heard some inmates are bagging SHIT, hope someone will throw it at the cops, so they know what we are going through.  

 

Made coffee for breakfast with two slices of whole grain bread topped with almond butter spread. Not training today, thus, careful with whatever I’m eating. An early row with the little twat in the cell, he threw away all the gallons when they all assumed water will be flowing forever; now they used mine in my absence without my permission. Made them understand how they got relaxed that all our reserve tanks got nicked upstairs; at one point we had about twenty reserve tanks of water upstairs, but today, we have less than six tanks and all are empty. They wait and wants me to do all their shits, ain’t gonna happen. 

 

Gone upstairs to get online, we our alarm system went off and sent us scrambling to our stash spots as everyone got panicked. We’ve still not recovered from tuesday’s brutal search that saw many lose things for the first time in their four or more years incarceration. Many have sunken low mentally after the search and will be hustling for money to buy a new one soon. Heard an inmate gave someone a thousand dollars during the search and during the ramblings, and he forgot whom he gave the money to; and the friggin crook won’t return the money to him. The owner of the money is a fool forever. He would’ve gone out with his money as the cops won’t take it, but because of his stupidity and greed, he lost such amount of money. 

 

The search scare today happened when three cops were seen walking towards the pavilion, tuesday’s memories are still fresh in our mind and that’s the driving force behind our alertness.  And many are yet to recover from the loss of that day. 

 

Many with contacts among the locals are hustling water from them, our PA systems went up with announcement of water from the authorities later today; hope they will do as promised. 

 

Well at time of writing this, nothing had happened concerning us getting water; and this has resulted in the locals selling water to us. It’s amazing how the human body is; a psychological machine, without water, everything seems to have short down. My cellmate whom I believe has irritable bowel syndrome #IBS and start using the loo as early as 3am and does that every 2hrs in the course of the day, has stopped visiting the shit room, barely see him walk in there. Myself, despite feasting on chillis, beans and lentils, my system also knows what is happening; use the loo once most days. 

 

Forced to buy a gallon of water at $3.50ct, that’s the amount for a plate of meal in the pavilion. But weighing both, water is more important than solid food at this critical time. 

 

The water crisis couldn’t stop the lads from living what they know to be normal; still drinking, smoking, gambling, wrangling, heated verbal brawls and endless arguments that will eventually build up walls of aggression between factions of people you can’t avoid as we’re all within arm’s length of each other, like in my case with the old cow who thinks fitness and exercises are waste of time when he’s a waste of useful space ;) 

 

Late in the evening around 8pm, intel came in that an inmate has escaped; an Israeli inmate, friggin didn’t know we’ve truly become the #UNO of prisoners from all nations of the world; a brotherhood united in crime ;-) 

 

Heard the lad who’s always smoking and punching buttons on his blackberry has been making plans of his own version of #PrisonBreak, but someone gave him up as I heard, and all fingers pointed to a portugués inmate who works with the cop outside. Nobody will know, but in prison, when one’s plan fails, he’ll definitely look for someone to caste the blame on, as it is in this case. 

 

With this information at hand and knowing where we are, and the tsunami effect of the last search still lingering on our memories; many had their phones stashed as cops came around for a round of headcount. Sending inmates outside at such time is also a risky business as there could be mass escapes; but as we have come to know the cops more better, they are trained to shoot any moving object, thus, nobody made any attempt. The count went well; before the cops came, a cellmate of the Israeli inmate had threw a hot punched battering porto (as the portugués inmate is called) face, heard that the lad is also sick and on special treatment……wouldn’t want to know. 

 

Nothing was done to the boxer, but loads of tongues were wagging and whispering of what will happen next. From more intel, the israelí lad was caught in the kitchen, probably hiding there till late when he can sneak out of the complex. 

 

In the midst of the commotion and chaos, my mate said, the only time an inmate escapes is when he jumps over the fence, other than that the cops are involved in such plan. And the other types of escape plans is one involving the locals who use escape scams on the foreigners; they tell a foreign inmate, they have way to get them out, collect money and take the foreign inmate into their pavilion for a day or two, and later tell him to go back to his pavilion that the route has been blocked; and the foreign inmate goes back empty-handed, smartly robbed of his hard-prison money ;-) lol! 

 

Thus, any escape is one that an inmate or with a group plots and executes their plan on their own with knowledge of others. That’s is a true #PrisonBreak 

 

Back in, finally took my shower with a gallon of water, and that happens to be my last except for the mineral water I bought from a miser inmate who runs a grocery business that’s ripping us of every cents we thought we had. 

 

The cell was blazing hot as mates of my cellmates gathered for their daily talkative sessions. Upstairs was cool with cool wind blowing in from the mountains, but all gets spoilt with the stench of urine and bags of shits which the lads has resorted to, gallons of urine lined the walls of the passages and upstairs on the passage, the water crisis coupled with tuesday’s search has gotten us broken and mashed up mentally; we seems to be in total confusion and disorientated. Hope water comes and the lads are able to restock what was taken during the search; not until then shall there be rest ;-) 

 

Two new inmates were hauled in today, one a young lad whose dad, our in-house electrician has been doing time for years on now, can’t friggin believe my eyes, as he went out to receive his young son; reminds me of what a retiring judge in Sheffield, England once said “he has sat trials of generations of criminals; grandfathers, fathers, sons, and grandsons”……..sort of make sense, when they say, ‘it runs in the family’. The poor man was short of words, but warmly received his son, his own blood; make him comfortable. Wouldn’t want to know what he’s thinking in his congested mind, guess lotd

 

A Dominican lad whom I believe is in confusion or denial of his sexuality lost phones totally about a thousand dollars; BlackBerry 9900, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3. It was so painful that he had to change pavilion ;-). The lad upon arrival some years ago, couldn’t keep his mojo in his pants, he started shagging the Jamaican lad (lass I meant to say), he used to train with me, but the moment he found prison love in the Jamaican with silicone-ass he stopped training and concentrated on getting laid. Gringo loco who was his cellmate then, said of them, that both were truly in love as they tend to do everything together. But then, after the Jamaican who was in for fraud was release; though, visited the lad in couple of occasions and also bought him stuffs and the iphone, the lad started a relation with his compatriot’s lawyer and eventually got married to the lawyer. From all I have seen, he seems to be confused, he’s got five kids scattered around the Caribbean with three different women. Well, he needs the lawyer to get him out on time and also need proper conjugal, which I believe he’s already doing with his lawyer-wife. Desperation can drive some people into desperate decision making; he wants a quick way out and getting married to the lawyer is what he thought will be his qucik way out; wish him luck. 

 

Spent hours upstairs as signal was a bit better, but nature’s call wouldn’t allow me more hours, had to leave for my sleepy-hollow cell which was cooling down as the lads were all asleep. Spent an hour or more reading before I gave in to nature. 

 

Saturday, 12 Apr. 2014 

 

A full bladder got me up from sleep, but couldn’t get to the loo as the lads were hovering in and out of the toilet, had to wait until the last man finished. Then went in to do my thing, swiftly as I can. 

 

The pavilion is hot, planned cooking spaghetti with vegetables as we seem to have loads of them now and the heat is destroying them, also to use some of my now-ripe avocados. Doubt if I will do it. 

 

Water later came briefly, enough for today’s use, but we are still on our water crisis ration; bathing with half tank, that will be the new norm till we have enough to get back to using a full tank. I managed to hustled water from other cells and got my gym clothing washed, which has been in soaked in water since our water crisis began. 

 

My last workout was on Thursday after our headcount, we were just a handful, as many weren’t having water to braced breaking a sweat. Can’t wait to hit the gym on Monday when the lads are out for their family visit; my pharmacist-cellmate is taking one of my spanish – English books for his daughter, he really wants the daughter to learn English, nice of him; he also watches Dora the explorer all day with hope of learning English, but many end up learning Jamaican patois as it’s the loudest and widely used language closed to English ;-) 

 

His boxer-friend who just got in after nicked for trying to rob a taxi from its owner is busy getting himself adapted to his new life on the inside; he was supposed to take a spot upstairs, but my mate who lives in fear of reprisals and sleeps with a baseball bat doesn’t want anybody upstairs. #Fear can cause a man to go to the extreme. 

 

Another newly arrival; a lad whose dad is here, his dad happen to be our technician, fixes all our electrical problems, from chargers to breakers, blenders, ovens, and just about anything that allows the flows of electricity. He was seated upstairs with his son, having a father and son moments, got me wondering what the heck he will tell the baby-face looking lad. When I asked how old he was, was told he’s 19yrs and also a father, got a few months old baby, then my mate is an abuelo (grandad), the lad friggin look 15, wondering if he can clean his friggin ass before making a baby. #PatheticWorld! 

 

Intel came in later in the day that our #Israeli would-be escapee had forked out 10grand for the fail #PrisonBreak expedition, guess he’s been scammed by the locals who set up the deal. Someone gotta profit from another’s stupidity. Anything other than jumping or cutting through the wire fence, raising the alarm and being shot at is not escape or #PrisonBreak ;-) 

 

The lad just fell victim to one of many scams that runs in our world; sometimes the locals steals stuffs within their mates and sells them to us. But if any stupid foreign inmate steals from amongst us and ask a local to sell the loot, the local ends up ripping or stealing the item from him; and the foreigner can’t say a word as the local will threatened telling us what he had been given to sell. They use every method in and outside the book to rip the greedy ones. My business with the locals starts and ends with buying water when we don’t have. Can deal with anyone within my pavilion but outside the gate is near to harm’s way! 

 

With the little water, life is brewing up in the pavilion, music, drinks and whatever keeps us kicking is on. The only lads whose habit were not disturbed during the water crisis were the smokers, smoking joints doesn’t require water, thus, they were upstairs and below at the back of the cells, puffing and coughing on the mixed rolls. 

Hope on Sunday, we will have enough to get the cell washed and do proper cleaning of the dishes. 

Meanwhile, the Panamanian authority has mobilised massive troops, using helicopters, dogs in the search of the two Dutch students who went missing since 1st of April. Their families are here in panamá. And the president is putting pressure on his search parties to search every nook and cranny of his country for the two girls. He wouldn’t want to upset ties with #Nederland which recently has become a big economical player in panamá; upgraded her consulate to an embassy, closed all embassies in central America to centralised in Panamá. A Dutch company is contracted to widen the #PanamaCanal, #Philips the Dutch super electrical industry based in eindhoven is opening it’s first factory in panamá after martinelli visited holland to sign a bilateral trade deal between the two countries. Which makes The Netherlands the 3rd trading partner with panamá after The US and Canada.  

With all these on ground, martinelli will send all his sentinels to find these girls, who unknowingly came to a country whitewashed to foreigners as tourist haven, but behind the façades of the city high rise skylines are poverty, rising crime rate, rising numbers of homicides and assassinations and gang-style killings, which the main opposition party is using against the government’s running candidate. The opposition has proposed lengthy prison time for murderers and using iron hand on minors who are readily used in liquidation and eliminating of unwanted foes; and being minors, they end up doing no time for taking another’s life. Nice law! 

Such law has seen a Dominican lad who was kicked out of our pavilion escaped prison despite killing five people when he was a minor. My mate told me, most homicide cases are thrown out for lack of evidences or witnesses who are too scared to take the witness stand. From what my mate told me about the lad; he was used by business associates to do their partners who had gone awol on business deals. #ThePrisonExperience 

Sunday, 13 Apr. 2014 Woke up around 5:30am this morning, haven’t been going up to the signal post for two mornings now, but decided to get up today and get my tweets up and update some of my news apps. 

Scanty upstairs as most inmates are sleeping out their time, none is hurry to do anything. #PrisonLife will bring a great awakenings to some, but to some it’s a just a laid-back to life and live each day as it comes. 

Few came up as the day brightens more are joining me, and downstairs, our smoking team are busy passing rolls of joints amongst themselves.  

Others will soon get up to start their day, the only thing that can get them up fast is either our alarm being raised or the sound of rushing water; then everyone is up on their heels ;) 

Family visit is on Monday, those with families or friends around will be getting ready; grooming themselves for their D-Day with their loved ones. While the rest of us waits for whatever they will bring in for us. 

Since the search, few phones has been coming in through the locals; doubt if they are phones that were taken in the Tuesday search, some could be phones taken from other pavilions; it’s business as usual. Someone gotta eat! 

Signal is a bit ok today, should be able to get this published asap! If I can’t, then will try tomorrow morning before our airwaves is congested and jammed with phones, tablets and routers seeking signals. 

Should be heading downstairs for a bowl of muesli, my mates will be cooking beef sauce with beef bought from a lad who works in the kitchen; borrowed pounds of beef to sell and keep himself going ;) 

We hustle, bustle and ripped each other to survive; such is the mentality behind bars. Nothing is for free, not even a good morning; one greets you, he’s definitely expecting a favour from you. #LifeBehindBars #PrisonLife. 

‘Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.’ #MindsetOfAPrisoner

Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future. – Warren Buffet

So What Happens When…… Nothing Happens?

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on April 13, 2014 by doingtimeabroad

So What Happens When….. Nothing Happens? 

‘Failure to prepare is preparation for failure. Prepare for the worst while expecting the best’

Wednesday, 2 Apr. 2014 00:24:59
Life on the inside is one full of expectations, sometimes and most of the time, these expectations which one has hung unto with all his life, love, hatred and guts could come crashing like a house build from  haystack; crashing and burning along with all hopes and dreams……then you know something definitely going to happen when nothing happens; other plans come into play. 

Tuesday, 1st of April 2014 
Schat’s birthday today, so much birthdays had come and gone, marked and celebrated just like the many Christmases and all without me. Always praying to be there for the next one. Someday, those prayers will come true. 

Celebrated her day with special tributes on #Socialmedia, the kids were not left out as they made special handmade card for her with the note: #OneInAmillionMummy, how sweet and lovely. 
Her friends from the church took her and the kids out for a birthday dinner, my daughter confessed that she was a bit naughty, told her she is forgiven; how happy she was. She is growing and learning new things with each new day. 

Back home, her friends had arranged flowers to be delivered, while they were out dining; what a way to end a wonderful day #ThePerfectDay. I may not be there physically, but my presence is always around them, in their hearts, thoughts and my massive wall-frame photos commends some good presence; one that gets my little girl to eat her vegetables when told daddy won’t get her something she so desires….lol! Away from home but ever present. 

Back in our jungle, the belly of the beast; the day started like every other day, up to use the loo around 4ish, ended going upstairs with a steaming cup of green tea/ginger. Signal wasn’t at its best, but enough to chat with schat. Then it all went off by 7am, nobody had any idea why it went off. Later we knew as it was the inauguration of the new prison, christened #MegaJoya, the largest prison complex in Latin America. A project the opposition party called the #WhiteElephant of Martinelli; apparently on the run to the presidential election is busy commissioning new projects to woe the hearts of voters, politics like warfare is full of deceptions.  

Helicopter hovered the centre like a giant buzzing bee, we followed the inauguration like most Panamanians on the local television channels. The president promised sending the more than a thousand Colombia prisoners back to their country at his own cost. Well, fingers crossed, hope he is a man of his words. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014! 
Signal seems to have been restored, meaning it was switched of yesterday due to the inauguration of the new prison. Whoever controls the signal jammers knew what they are doing, let some signal in to keep the prisoners at peace.  Anyway, it’s still difficult getting online, have to wake up very early to sit and stare into the endless horizon behind our wire fence as I wait for the ping sound of incoming messages. 

Workout was excruciating, planned hitting shoulders, but upon walking into the gym, someone has set up the squat poles, did few stretches and good light warm up and then hit 10 sets of increasingly weights. Friggin got my legs fried. Went straight into shoulders, starting with military press, shrugs, lateral raise, upfront row. Rounded up with abs. Less than an hour despite a group of six men. Was satisfying! 

Had proper meal after my workout; rice and chicken, down it with a glass of chocolate + milk! Showered and hit my bed, tried napping, but the intense heat wouldn’t let me and one of the lads was busy distilling which got the cell fried. 

Upstairs was busy with lads overcrowded at our signal spot, but a bit cooler as cool evening wind was blowing in. 

Spent some hours with schat, who was busy tucking the kids into bed. Finally left for my comfort zone; my bunk! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014.
Weekly headcount, with no plan to wake early as I slept pretty late. But a cellmate got up and wants me to join him. Finally, got myself together and met him, but signal wasn’t at its best, though spent some moments on chat with Schat. Then came the catcalls, wasn’t one that sound like we were about to be invaded for another round of brutal search. Looking outside, the locals in pavilion 5 were outside, thus, if they want us outside at the same time; it won’t be a search, as they won’t risk having more than a thousand inmates outside at the same time with a handful of cops. 

Left my phone in a mate’s bunk upstairs, got down and dressed up for a quickie outside; fresh morning breeze as I warmed up, did some sprints, reverse row on the monkey bars behind the pavilion (a gift from #ElAbuelo that was extradited to the #US; of all inmates here, he was the only one with passion for fitness, had all the weights, bars, DB, gym hall painted, those are his legacy, and will live after him). 

Inside the gym was scanty as many had gone back to sleep; got me wondering, how many hours do these lazy-asses sleep every night? The most I catch a night is 5hrs! But some are really here to do time; day and night, some of my mates hits their sleep sack as early as 9pm and by 8am are still snoring. Guess, prison here in Panama is doing the opposite of what it was meant to accomplished in inmates; making them lazier! 

A good all-body workout got me pumping, rounded my workout up with triceps and biceps and abdominal. All were enough to kickstart my day. Just outside the training area, on the other half of the gym hall (as from 6pm every day, the gym hall becomes one big cell, with cartons spread out and mattresses laid down for inmates who have spots there). They have been fighting to have us stop working out, told them, they are sick! Those who were fortunate to have positions on the first half floor of the gym, tends to leave their belongings permanently on the floor; the only time they are moved is when they are washing the floor, which is every fortnight.  

On that part of the gym hall, I heard Doc telling an English mate of an elderly inmate that was bleeding from his mojo on Wednesday’s night; Doc was called up to attend to the old lad. But on getting there like every doctor would, he was confronted by what is becoming a new trend among many of the young lads here; insertion of stones (pearl should’ve been used) under their foreskin so they can ehance their sex drive. 

I know couple of lads who had done  just that, but this very man ain’t no young man; he should be doctor’s age mate or bit older than Doc, and adding insult to injury, he is #Diabetic, Guess Doc did what he had to do, but also asked that the man be sent to  the clinic, as of my time of writing, heard his bleeding has stopped. But the one million dollar question still remains, ‘what would have driven a supposedly intelligent man into that’….. the answer lies in man’s need and desires for the ultimate satisfaction; our insatiable needs. He has heard like I have heard what the stone does; the woman is taken into the other side through ecstacy from the sensation of having the stone rubbed against her clitoris #Clitorisstimulator. The craziest thing here; none of them are having conjugal visit, the ones having ain’t interested in enhancing their sex life, they are pretty ok with getting laid every fortnight.  I asked my pharmacist-cellmate; If he will like to have the cut-out dominoe piece inserted in his mojo, he replied ‘I barely have enough, why would I cut off a piece of my small man’, got me #LMAO 

@Behindbars everyone is searching for things to do to help with the boring time; glad I have found enough things to keep me busy, such that, getting an afternoon nap is so difficult as others are always coming around with phone problems, some can keep good numbers in their stuffed head, but not their passwords; thus, I started using five sets of passwords whenever I opened any online account for them; dating site (Tagged.com very popular) , emails, facebook, twitter, instagram and the mother of all social media; Skype, it’s the best as the lads gets to see flesh in real-time and live ;-)

Skype is also the favourite as many can’t cope with the stress of typing on tiny virtual keypads, personally I loathe touchscreen keyboard, give me BlackBerry anytime ;-), the next good thing from Canada that is useful to us behindbars after Dr. Porter ;-)

Had an early night as I was way knackered from my workout and from not napping during the day. 

Friday,  4 Apr. 2014 

Slept deep as I have never done for a long time, but woke up at the sound of the binman changing our bin bag and his mate washing the passage; the bin in front of each cell is changed every morning, while the passage and the gym hall (doubles up as a cell for those without cells) are washed every fortnight. Qucikly made me a cuppa of my green brew, which I took along as I climbed up to my signal spot. Few inmates were hanging around as they hustled for signal. Got online with chat, she sent a video of my little girl who was at home with her today. She was over the moon to be home; a free day from nursery. 

Left the spot around 7:30am to prepare for my daily workout. Made enough oatmeal + muelsi for the cell, added almond butter + Cinnamon, the lads devoured all of it, had few spoonful before heading out to the packed gym. Lucky enough to find some weights for a proper #HIIT #Chest workout. Focused more on intensity, going light but more repetition, added hanging leg raise during my pauses. And finally rounded up with #Hardcore #FullDeepSquat; some of the lads tried correcting me; that deep squat is bad for the knees, well, haven’t seen any of them search, read or buy magazines or books on exercises, training, fitness or anything to do with #MensHealth. No wonder majority get burnout and wornout from repetitions; doing the same exercises day in and day out. There are few I shared #FitnessTips with, just downloaded an hour-long kettlebell workout video; shared it with an Irish-mate namesake; funny enough, we have the same first name, small world.  The lad is bent on leaving here with an excellent bill of health, super fit; he’s working out seriously, but it’s always the diet that’s our setbacks. I try getting the best from what we have here and what I can afford. 

Had a good workout, but Friggin knackered, that after shower and feasting on my morning oatmeal, I couldn’t sleep; due to today’s heat. Friggin hot, got me sweating all over, had to shower for the second time, thank goodness water is no problem now, we do get enough for each day’s use. 

The evening is a bit cooler, hope rain will come soon. 

Earlier today, around 4am, a Canadian was extradited to The US, don’t know what case he’s got with uncle Sam, but the yanks wants him badly, hope he sorts himself out there. 

Another Canadian (the polish-canadian) and the only Sikh in the village who was battered by a local inmate before been sent off; has been having problems after problems with his cellmates. The old man has no bunk in the cell, he perches on a spot on the top of the cell, but the lads don’t seem to like or get along with him. They finally got him packing, throwing his things out, not even his buddy wants to help him. My mate has allowed him to keep his stuffs in a space around his corner,, but he will be sleeping in the gym hall. I adviced him to get the Canadian embassy to call and have him transferred to pavilion 16, which is old people friendly. Hope he does that. 

Just spoke with our only Sikh in the village about his problems with his cellmates who had successfully conspired and kicked him. He’s been busy all evening moving his things from one corner of the passage to another; forced to emptied all his tanks of water, so he can get them downstairs to the gym hall where he will be sleeping. From what he’s saying, the lads had made life very miserable for him; one threatening raping him when he sleeps, guess that alone will keep the old man awake all night watching his ass ;-), couldn’t help the laughter. Did reassured him, nobody will rape him here if he doesn’t willingly and on his own accord submit. Another told him, he’s more holy than him, that he see god and talk to him; I definitely know who that is. Another told him, his god doesn’t exist; if he does, why is he here? A million dollar question, that has only one answer; our sikh fella or santa claus as he nicknamed by rasta was nicked at panama’s international airport with luggage lined with angel dust! Enough reason to send him here! 

Complained how the lads nicked five of his tanks and some gallons of water, which made me brought his attention and senses to where he is, told him ‘You’re in a prison and not a monastery’ does expect nicking and also start watching your back, as we’ve had meteorite fell on an inmate’s head while walking around the passage after a brawl with a gang of lads. Thus, he should be watchful and be his own keeper. 

Well, he has finally packed all his meagre stuffs, hope he’s welcome back to the gym hall, which was his first place of abode when he first got in here, but got thrown out after he got into a fight with one of the lads there for sleep space. 

From all that has happened to our ‘Only Sikh in the village’ and if he’s a smart man like he says, he should examine himself, why is he in trouble with everyone, many of us been here for years, and the most we have gotten into are verbal brawls and we are ok with that. Hope the Canadian embassy calls and get him transferred to pavilion 16 for his safety, wellbeing and most importantly, for his sanity; they wouldn’t want him repatriated back to Canadian impaired, battered, loco, and a nightmare to the Canadian society;-)

Sooner or later he will realise that he’s on his own and that nobody is anybody’s keeper; moreover he can’t fit into any of the prison’s gangs. Thus, he’s definitely on his own. 

Fast forward! Wednesday 9 Apr. 2014 

So much has happened within my last punch of the buttons of my phone’s keypad.  Prison world is where nothing is certain, not even one’s life. One lives for the moment, sleep, wake up alive, then another chance. But then, each day is battle to survive the odds of living. 

On Sunday, 6th April, when we least expected them, we were stormed by about 30 cops, many had no time to stash their phones. We couldn’t get to our normal stash, but it went well, few had their phones taken, ours survive on this day. After the search, life went on as it’s always been, living by chance. 

Monday, the 7th! Up from my sleep and climbed up to our signal spot, had the chance to chat with schat and my daughter who went swimming, but wanted more time in the pool. Headed back to prepare for my daily workout, gym was packed, but had a wonderful back and biceps workout, added some abs and cardio routines for the extra burn. 

Later on Monday evening had a verbal row with a lazy-ass old cow who sits everyday in my cell gossiping about who’s shagging whose wife on the street. The old man leaves his cell every morning to ours, just to sit and talk absolute rubbish, but on this Monday,  he made a big mistake to take on me. He said something stupid  about fitness and my working out. Well, I gave him a food for thought words; that he is a waste of space! Finally walked him out of my cell. Hope he doesn’t come back, though he co-accussed is my cellmate. Just hope he wouldn’t cross the door when he comes to see him. Same man has had brawl with almost all of my cellmates, and he lives off people, uses every of my utensils and eats from us, but can’t friggin live his age. Glad he didn’t push me over the edge, and I was able to control myself.  

Read online of two dutch students missing in Panama, hope it ain’t true, but reading it on a dutch media and also heard it on the local news on Panamá television, I knew it’s true; pray they are found on time. 

Tuesday came, less tension, got a bit late to the gym, which was a bit scanty, seems the lads are losing their mojos; one moment they are hot and the next they are cold as dead. 

Just into my chest and biceps workout, our president came in to inform an English bloke that we might be storm again. Dropped my weights and ran in, just before my cell, I heard our alarm system raised and cat calls as the approaching cops were already in the building; they were cadets from police academy, lots of girls, the girls were more than the lads and they were all natives, got me wondering if the way out of the jungle for the natives is joining police or becoming wardens. Within seconds all our stuffs were stashed, one stayed behind as the rest left. We were search as we walked outside into the blazing sun; and no water today. 

They did a thorough search, roughed up and left no stones unturned, usually my books are always scary when cops sees them, not these tiny Indians (indígenas, as they call them here), they threw all my books on the floor, ripping whatever look suspicious. Some voluminous books were ripped open…….fcuking! painful! 

And finally, they hit on our stashes, taking about eight phones; one of my old banger; a broken BlackBerry 9900, a mate was lucky, when his stash was opened, they didn’t realised the double layer bottom; saved three new phones, they would’ve killed him, as he has saved money from selling liquor to buy the newest piece in that very stash; a samsung Duos! 

We weren’t alone in counting loses, other cells felt the impact of the search as many had phones, tablets, routers, knives, and lots of stuffs taken. 

The hardest blow that really hit me hard was my almost-ready wine; made from welch’s grape juice, just two days left to be drunk, and had clients waiting. And another two tanks of mashes to be distilled into gin; and I had prepared these two tanks on Monday night with no inkling of what will happen on Tuesday. All together, four tanks were taken. Glad the tanks were returned, but empty and without my drinks ;-) , Friggin painful, lots of money gone in the drain just like that. Well, such is our life and it’s prison, where upon incarceration one loses everything that means something to humans; except one thing….. #Hope! this one thing they can’t take from us. 

I had to work all day yesterday like others, cleaning and changing my bedsheets, arranging my books and checking what else they must have taken during the search, after all done, had to cook for our lunch/dinner; all left me knackered and worn-out. And no water all day, the lads are yet to realised that the period of abundant water is over. They are still using water as if we live right beside a river. 

Was so knackered that by 8pm I was feeling sleepy. Had to call of my night and headed downstairs, did some dishes, and took a shower before hitting my bunk; though with aching back, popped 200mg of diclofenac and B Complex, had a long sleep. 

Wednesday  9 Apr. 2014 
Lately, tend to wake up around the same time every day; between 4am and 6am, after then, can’t friggin close my eyes as my mind goes walkabouts into lala-lands of memories past. So to safe myself from the self-torture I rather stay awake than get back to pretending to sleep, which will never come. 

I tend to hit the hay between 11pm and 2am, yet I still wake up with 4 – 5hrs later. Some days, I tried getting some hours of power nap during the day, which helps with the body aches after my excruciating workouts. 

Left my signal spot to dress up for my daily workout, then came the roll-call for school, it was my group, but didn’t hear my name. Had to change and head outside, rushed my breakfast of leftover beans and ripe plantain from Tuesday night. Down a cup of water, then out and my name was on the list, the lad omitted it, just he can’t friggin pronounce such an easy name #Spaniard 

We were hauled out in a single file, approaching the first security, we were stopped as there was a row up at the second and final control before entering the admin block which house the classrooms. About 10 cops were able to contained the situation, cuffing the lads and hauled them away after spraying gas on them; wouldn’t want to know who they wanted to stab or kill. Sometimes I loathes leaving my pavilion to anywhere outside, as they say “far from home is near to harm”…… that’s exactly my story, had gone way too far from home and family and ended up here. Within my pavilion, I know my way and I know the people, though everything changes, but I try to keep up with the changes, watching closely and observing every intentions and reading between the lines of every words uttered.  

Finally got to school, I wasn’t prepared for, but had to go as it helps with time reduction, felt sleepy all through, but managed to pull myself through all the classes. Back in, was starving, made myself a quick bowl of muesli with extra nuts, was filling and delicious. It’s day two without water, my cell has ran out of water and I’m left with a tank from my reserves, the lads had forgotten and underestimated where we are and what could happen. For months now, water has been flowing like life, and none care to stop and think that this is a prison where in the past we have been left without water weeks after weeks. Everyone in my cells used to keep reserves, but they all lose their guards and threw all those vital gallons away. I kept seven gallons with four tanks; eventually used the tanks to prepare my wine and mashes which were taken and thrown away during the search; a friend gave me a tank, which will take me through today and Thursday. 

Upstairs, there’s tension still building up as many believes the cops are coming back. My friend, an old timer, who has done time in America and loves #PrisonTalk more than anything, confirmed the rumour, but I ignored him. Don’t want anything to get me panicked and shaken more than I am, my heart is Friggin fragile ;-) 

The signal spot was full and busy as inmates were out hustling for a sign to get online. On Tuesday and Wednesday morning, I actually had signal on my bed, which is very rare since the signal jammers were installed. But not enough strength to have my lying down and get online; sometimes I wake up to find messages and emails had come through. Lucky me ;) 

Around 9ish I was feeling sleepy, had to pack up and left for my cell which hot as hell; that’s if there’s another hell (can this friggin phone stop correcting my spelling; I want HELL and not he’ll) after here ;) 

Had to do my dishes with a gallon of water; water becomes very useful and important when one is in this sort of situation; Drought! 

Even the heavens has withheld rain from us, there’s been sign of rain lately, but it all amounts to nada! Showered with about 3 litres of water; soak a hand towel and clean myself, Doc calls that Mexican shower ;) 

The news of the missing Dutch students is gaining grounds has it has brought the government to its knees; #Holland #TheNetherlands  #Nederland being a big player in panamá, the third country after USA and Canada trading with Panama and also Dutch businesses are growing in panamá won’t be happy with her host if these girls aren’t found (hopefully and prayerfully, found alive). My Colombians mates are joking that they had probably gone to join the other Dutch lady who has been with the #Farc rebels for years now. Many of then wouldn’t had known there was a Dutch lady with #Farc if not for the Colombian series #ComandoElite which shows how the government’s elite police captured or killed all the top players in the country’s america-funded #Drugwar and #LaViolencia. Doubt if this war will be won as it has spread to america’s backyard; Mexico, and it’s all america’s guns these cartels are using, brings in mind operation #FastAndFurious which went totally wrong, got many fingers pointed at different directions; an operation that was meant to track guns as they move within cartels went wrong when the same American guns were used in killing of innocent people. That operation got Nieto (Mexico president) to rethink their part of the war on drug, they are at the losing side. A new approach need to be taken, old draconian laws like ones in place in panamá had to be changed, view on drugs like marijuana have to be changed also. Instead of slamming someone in for years for possession of a joint, he could be offered treatment and a job, as most I have seen here were jobless and will forever remain jobless!  And that’s the case of…… 
So What Happens When….. Nothing Happens!

In their cases and with many of us here, nothing happens, except one comes out of his own cocoon and fights himself into the life he had dream and always wanted to live. 

Finally hit my concrete bed which I have improved with a wooded bed made by a Chinese who spent thirteen odd years for murder; murder was his case and he did the time. He was the best cook in the pavilion. The wooden structure on top of the concrete slab has really helped with my backache.  

Thursday, 10 Apr. 2014  

Weekly headcount today, woke up around 5ish, set the pot to boil for a cuppa green  and ginger/lemon tea, would have love a cup of old Joe this morning, but the old guy brewing at the beginning of the passage is not one that should be trusted, friggin look like he recycles his coffee; one can see the bottom of his cup after a filling of his coffee, it’s meant to be black and thick, he uses sugar to deceive the lads; they friggin love sugar, once it’s sweet, they just like it. The only thing he can’t cheat on is his tea; you get a fresh bag from the pack and fill your cup with boiling water and make yourself a cuppa ;) 

Upstairs look deserted, seems the lads are yet to wake up from the toll of Tuesday’s search, in the four years plus I have been here, we’ve never been hit so hard like this search; every cell took a bit of the storm, they were young tiny Indian girls (indígenas), all in training to become wardens; funny thing, those girls weren’t allowed into the local’s pavilions, they were only sent to the foreigners; they know, their people will abuse them in one way or the other. As tiny as they were, they were able to get into every crook in the pavilion. One thing they didn’t know; they couldn’t figure out what bluetooth earphones were and USB chargers, they found mine and my mate convinced them, they are for my blood pressure and cholesterol machines; they friggin believed him and left them behind. Good they don’t have these technologies in their reservations #JustSaying, for years now the natives has been protesting against the government plan to build hydroelectric station around their territory; friggin hate development and growth. Good for them! But lately, they are getting obese, seems they sneak out into the city in their wooden and binged on BigMac and Triple Whopper, hope the government finds solutions for them! 

As the sun begins to rise, the pavilion gets its life and inmates rose to stash their phones and other things that shouldn’t be found if we are stormed again. Got mine stashed and got dressed to use the open patio for a quick cardio circuit. Was out with the first batch; did some good stretches, haven’t been outside for a very long while, did some good sprints and use the monkey bars for reverse rows and dips. More spins around the field, push ups, stretches and more sprints before the count was over. Back in, the gym was empty, used the opportunity to have one of my best workouts since my incarceration; #HIIT #Hardcore #UpperBodyWorkout and #DumbbellLunges, did some #Landmines circuit and burned it out with countless reps of abs circuits. Felt satisfied and good on my inside; but not having water to wash my gym clothing will spoil my day. 

Back in, made a smoothie of banana + almond butter + cinnamon + milk, glad there was ice as it would’ve been a warm smoothie. My mates wanted some, shared with them, I’m out of drinking water, have to find a way as I need water and more of it daily. Shower and soaked my clothes with a bit of bleach to kill the odour, hope there will be water tomorrow so I can wash them. If there’s no water, then I’m definitely not working out. Right now, our major concerns is water for the toilet, if one wants to use the toilet, we are as fucked as the word #FUCK! Literally fucked! There’s not even a drop of water around in the cell. Which means I can’t afford to break any sweat. 

The pavilion seems to be calm, the police on duty has confided in a member of the pavilion’s ruling council that there won’t be anymore search; don’t fucking trust no cops, ‘cos they don’t trust us either! #WeAreAtWar! My war ends when I’m out and free ;) 

17:18:47 
Had wanted to cook pastas with tuna I bought from one of the lads working in the kitchen, but can’t afford to that now as there’s no water. I rather bought a gigantic fried chicken leg (thigh and drumstick together) and a piece of #Arepa (latin america’s favorite food; made from maize and grilled) and it sets me back $4.50ct, too expensive for a friggin chicken leg, but I need my protein, would’ve cooked kidney beans or lentils, but such food are not what someone should eat when there’s no water in sight, wouldn’t want to be seen with bags full of shit. Better keep them at bay till we have enough water. 

Ate the chicken with guacamole pikante which I made with avocado bought here and dried chillis that schat sent. 

Stayed up till late, waiting for the lads to sleep and the cell to cool a bit before hitting downstairs.  

Friday, 11 Apr. 2014 

Day 5 of our water crisis, woke at my normal time around 5am, but lay back as I can’t afford sweating much today, there’s no sign of water. Slept through the night with stench of urine and faeces, heard some inmates are bagging SHIT, hope someone will throw it at the cops, so they know what we are going through.  

Made coffee for breakfast with two slices of whole grain bread topped with almond butter spread. Not training today, thus, careful with whatever I’m eating. An early row with the little twat in the cell, he threw away all the gallons when they all assumed water will be flowing forever; now they used mine in my absence without my permission. Made them understand how they got relaxed that all our reserve tanks got nicked upstairs; at one point we had about twenty reserve tanks of water upstairs, but today, we have less than six tanks and all are empty. They wait and wants me to do all their shits, ain’t gonna happen. 

Gone upstairs to get online, we our alarm system went off and sent us scrambling to our stash spots as everyone got panicked. We’ve still not recovered from tuesday’s brutal search that saw many lose things for the first time in their four or more years incarceration. Many have sunken low mentally after the search and will be hustling for money to buy a new one soon. Heard an inmate gave someone a thousand dollars during the search and during the ramblings, and he forgot whom he gave the money to; and the friggin crook won’t return the money to him. The owner of the money is a fool forever. He would’ve gone out with his money as the cops won’t take it, but because of his stupidity and greed, he lost such amount of money. 

The search scare today happened when three cops were seen walking towards the pavilion, tuesday’s memories are still fresh in our mind and that’s the driving force behind our alertness.  And many are yet to recover from the loss of that day. 

Many with contacts among the locals are hustling water from them, our PA systems went up with announcement of water from the authorities later today; hope they will do as promised. 

Well at time of writing this, nothing had happened concerning us getting water; and this has resulted in the locals selling water to us. It’s amazing how the human body is; a psychological machine, without water, everything seems to have short down. My cellmate whom I believe has irritable bowel syndrome #IBS and start using the loo as early as 3am and does that every 2hrs in the course of the day, has stopped visiting the shit room, barely see him walk in there. Myself, despite feasting on chillis, beans and lentils, my system also knows what is happening; use the loo once most days. 

Forced to buy a gallon of water at $3.50ct, that’s the amount for a plate of meal in the pavilion. But weighing both, water is more important than solid food at this critical time. 

The water crisis couldn’t stop the lads from living what they know to be normal; still drinking, smoking, gambling, wrangling, heated verbal brawls and endless arguments that will eventually build up walls of aggression between factions of people you can’t avoid as we’re all within arm’s length of each other, like in my case with the old cow who thinks fitness and exercises are waste of time when he’s a waste of useful space ;) 

Late in the evening around 8pm, intel came in that an inmate has escaped; an Israeli inmate, friggin didn’t know we’ve truly become the #UNO of prisoners from all nations of the world; a brotherhood united in crime ;-) 

Heard the lad who’s always smoking and punching buttons on his blackberry has been making plans of his own version of #PrisonBreak, but someone gave him up as I heard, and all fingers pointed to a portugués inmate who works with the cop outside. Nobody will know, but in prison, when one’s plan fails, he’ll definitely look for someone to caste the blame on, as it is in this case. 

With this information at hand and knowing where we are, and the tsunami effect of the last search still lingering on our memories; many had their phones stashed as cops came around for a round of headcount. Sending inmates outside at such time is also a risky business as there could be mass escapes; but as we have come to know the cops more better, they are trained to shoot any moving object, thus, nobody made any attempt. The count went well; before the cops came, a cellmate of the Israeli inmate had threw a hot punched battering porto (as the portugués inmate is called) face, heard that the lad is also sick and on special treatment……wouldn’t want to know. 

Nothing was done to the boxer, but loads of tongues were wagging and whispering of what will happen next. From more intel, the israelí lad was caught in the kitchen, probably hiding there till late when he can sneak out of the complex. 

In the midst of the commotion and chaos, my mate said, the only time an inmate escapes is when he jumps over the fence, other than that the cops are involved in such plan. And the other types of escape plans is one involving the locals who use escape scams on the foreigners; they tell a foreign inmate, they have way to get them out, collect money and take the foreign inmate into their pavilion for a day or two, and later tell him to go back to his pavilion that the route has been blocked; and the foreign inmate goes back empty-handed, smartly robbed of his hard-prison money ;-) lol! 

Thus, any escape is one that an inmate or with a group plots and executes their plan on their own with knowledge of others. That’s is a true #PrisonBreak 

Back in, finally took my shower with a gallon of water, and that happens to be my last except for the mineral water I bought from a miser inmate who runs a grocery business that’s ripping us of every cents we thought we had. 

The cell was blazing hot as mates of my cellmates gathered for their daily talkative sessions. Upstairs was cool with cool wind blowing in from the mountains, but all gets spoilt with the stench of urine and bags of shits which the lads has resorted to, gallons of urine lined the walls of the passages and upstairs on the passage, the water crisis coupled with tuesday’s search has gotten us broken and mashed up mentally; we seems to be in total confusion and disorientated. Hope water comes and the lads are able to restock what was taken during the search; not until then shall there be rest ;-) 

Two new inmates were hauled in today, one a young lad whose dad, our in-house electrician has been doing time for years on now, can’t friggin believe my eyes, as he went out to receive his young son; reminds me of what a retiring judge in Sheffield, England once said “he has sat trials of generations of criminals; grandfathers, fathers, sons, and grandsons”……..sort of make sense, when they say, ‘it runs in the family’. The poor man was short of words, but warmly received his son, his own blood; make him comfortable. Wouldn’t want to know what he’s thinking in his congested mind, guess lotd

A Dominican lad whom I believe is in confusion or denial of his sexuality lost phones totally about a thousand dollars; BlackBerry 9900, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3. It was so painful that he had to change pavilion ;-). The lad upon arrival some years ago, couldn’t keep his mojo in his pants, he started shagging the Jamaican lad (lass I meant to say), he used to train with me, but the moment he found prison love in the Jamaican with silicone-ass he stopped training and concentrated on getting laid. Gringo loco who was his cellmate then, said of them, that both were truly in love as they tend to do everything together. But then, after the Jamaican who was in for fraud was release; though, visited the lad in couple of occasions and also bought him stuffs and the iphone, the lad started a relation with his compatriot’s lawyer and eventually got married to the lawyer. From all I have seen, he seems to be confused, he’s got five kids scattered around the Caribbean with three different women. Well, he needs the lawyer to get him out on time and also need proper conjugal, which I believe he’s already doing with his lawyer-wife. Desperation can drive some people into desperate decision making; he wants a quick way out and getting married to the lawyer is what he thought will be his qucik way out; wish him luck. 

Spent hours upstairs as signal was a bit better, but nature’s call wouldn’t allow me more hours, had to leave for my sleepy-hollow cell which was cooling down as the lads were all asleep. Spent an hour or more reading before I gave in to nature. 

Saturday, 12 Apr. 2014 

A full bladder got me up from sleep, but couldn’t get to the loo as the lads were hovering in and out of the toilet, had to wait until the last man finished. Then went in to do my thing, swiftly as I can. 

The pavilion is hot, planned cooking spaghetti with vegetables as we seem to have loads of them now and the heat is destroying them, also to use some of my now-ripe avocados. Doubt if I will do it. 

Water later came briefly, enough for today’s use, but we are still on our water crisis ration; bathing with half tank, that will be the new norm till we have enough to get back to using a full tank. I managed to hustled water from other cells and got my gym clothing washed, which has been in soaked in water since our water crisis began. 

My last workout was on Thursday after our headcount, we were just a handful, as many weren’t having water to braced breaking a sweat. Can’t wait to hit the gym on Monday when the lads are out for their family visit; my pharmacist-cellmate is taking one of my spanish – English books for his daughter, he really wants the daughter to learn English, nice of him; he also watches Dora the explorer all day with hope of learning English, but many end up learning Jamaican patois as it’s the loudest and widely used language closed to English ;-) 

His boxer-friend who just got in after nicked for trying to rob a taxi from its owner is busy getting himself adapted to his new life on the inside; he was supposed to take a spot upstairs, but my mate who lives in fear of reprisals and sleeps with a baseball bat doesn’t want anybody upstairs. #Fear can cause a man to go to the extreme. 

Another newly arrival; a lad whose dad is here, his dad happen to be our technician, fixes all our electrical problems, from chargers to breakers, blenders, ovens, and just about anything that allows the flows of electricity. He was seated upstairs with his son, having a father and son moments, got me wondering what the heck he will tell the baby-face looking lad. When I asked how old he was, was told he’s 19yrs and also a father, got a few months old baby, then my mate is an abuelo (grandad), the lad friggin look 15, wondering if he can clean his friggin ass before making a baby. #PatheticWorld! 

Intel came in later in the day that our #Israeli would-be escapee had forked out 10grand for the fail #PrisonBreak expedition, guess he’s been scammed by the locals who set up the deal. Someone gotta profit from another’s stupidity. Anything other than jumping or cutting through the wire fence, raising the alarm and being shot at is not escape or #PrisonBreak ;-) 

The lad just fell victim to one of many scams that runs in our world; sometimes the locals steals stuffs within their mates and sells them to us. But if any stupid foreign inmate steals from amongst us and ask a local to sell the loot, the local ends up ripping or stealing the item from him; and the foreigner can’t say a word as the local will threatened telling us what he had been given to sell. They use every method in and outside the book to rip the greedy ones. My business with the locals starts and ends with buying water when we don’t have. Can deal with anyone within my pavilion but outside the gate is near to harm’s way! 

With the little water, life is brewing up in the pavilion, music, drinks and whatever keeps us kicking is on. The only lads whose habit were not disturbed during the water crisis were the smokers, smoking joints doesn’t require water, thus, they were upstairs and below at the back of the cells, puffing and coughing on the mixed rolls. 
Hope on Sunday, we will have enough to get the cell washed and do proper cleaning of the dishes. 

Meanwhile, the Panamanian authority has mobilised massive troops, using helicopters, dogs in the search of the two Dutch students who went missing since 1st of April. Their families are here in panamá. And the president is putting pressure on his search parties to search every nook and cranny of his country for the two girls. He wouldn’t want to upset ties with #Nederland which recently has become a big economical player in panamá; upgraded her consulate to an embassy, closed all embassies in central America to centralised in Panamá. A Dutch company is contracted to widen the #PanamaCanal, #Philips the Dutch super electrical industry based in eindhoven is opening it’s first factory in panamá after martinelli visited holland to sign a bilateral trade deal between the two countries. Which makes The Netherlands the 3rd trading partner with panamá after The US and Canada.  

With all these on ground, martinelli will send all his sentinels to find these girls, who unknowingly came to a country whitewashed to foreigners as tourist haven, but behind the façades of the city high rise skylines are poverty, rising crime rate, rising numbers of homicides and assassinations and gang-style killings, which the main opposition party is using against the government’s running candidate. The opposition has proposed lengthy prison time for murderers and using iron hand on minors who are readily used in liquidation and eliminating of unwanted foes; and being minors, they end up doing no time for taking another’s life. Nice law! 

Such law has seen a Dominican lad who was kicked out of our pavilion escaped prison despite killing five people when he was a minor. My mate told me, most homicide cases are thrown out for lack of evidences or witnesses who are too scared to take the witness stand. From what my mate told me about the lad; he was used by business associates to do their partners who had gone awol on business deals. #ThePrisonExperience 

Sunday, 13 Apr. 2014 
Woke up around 5:30am this morning, haven’t been going up to the signal post for two mornings now, but decided to get up today and get my tweets up and update some of my news apps. 
Scanty upstairs as most inmates are sleeping out their time, none is hurry to do anything. #PrisonLife will bring a great awakenings to some, but to some it’s a just a laid-back to life and live each day as it comes. 

Few came up as the day brightens more are joining me, and downstairs, our smoking team are busy passing rolls of joints amongst themselves.  
Others will soon get up to start their day, the only thing that can get them up fast is either our alarm being raised or the sound of rushing water; then everyone is up on their heels ;) 

Family visit is on Monday, those with families or friends around will be getting ready; grooming themselves for their D-Day with their loved ones. While the rest of us waits for whatever they will bring in for us. 

Since the search, few phones has been coming in through the locals; doubt if they are phones that were taken in the Tuesday search, some could be phones taken from other pavilions; it’s business as usual. Someone gotta eat! 

Signal is a bit ok today, should be able to get this published asap! If I can’t, then will try tomorrow morning before our airwaves is congested and jammed with phones, tablets and routers seeking signals. 

Should be heading downstairs for a bowl of muesli, my mates will be cooking beef sauce with beef bought from a lad who works in the kitchen; borrowed pounds of beef to sell and keep himself going ;) 

We hustle, bustle and ripped each other to survive; such is the mentality behind bars. Nothing is for free, not even a good morning; one greets you, he’s definitely expecting a favour from you. #LifeBehindBars #PrisonLife. 

‘Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.’ #MindsetOfAPrisoner

“When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you or you can let it strengthen you.”

The Long Wait.

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on March 31, 2014 by doingtimeabroad

The Long Wait.

image

Don’t wait for something big to occur. Start where you are with what you have and that will lead you into something greater. – Mary Manin Morrissey

The feel of proper keypad, wouldn’t mind comparing it to the feel of a lady, the speed of punching the pads could be liken to the speed of peeling off her clothes before the main event. That’s one point blackberry have over its competition with virtual keypads.

Touchscreen display and the virtual keypad has got their advantages but not when it comes to  speed-typing and when you are slammed up in a prison where nothing is certain, where surprises abounds us, and when you have to rush up your writing and publish it before they come storming. 
Despite not having a keypad phone, I have been tweeting with what I have and when I can. 

Life in #TheJoint has been one of uncertainty, the only thing that has change is the ever growing inmate population and our ever-rising temper and anger; many are losing the grip of life. Every little altercations sparks reprisals in words or actions, which could be fatal as most cases has been. 

The strength for surviving the pressure of life on the inside has always come from my ability to adapt, blend and improvised, and most importantly from my beloved family; not around for such a long time, couldn’t stop the kids and schat from having my presence around them. Our smartphones has been more of a blessing to us whose families are living thousands of miles away from us. #CommunicationMadeEasy! 

Few had done their time and gone to face whatever the world will unfold before them, some will er again and be hauled back in. Even, as they left, more are hauled in to filled up their places, sometimes five newbies for every one that’s released, doesn’t add up, but someone gotta be blamed for the incompetency and bureaucracy of the police, who are fun of throwing people into jails without due process. 

Anyway, I’m in and the only thing on my mind is a way out; which can come in different ways; legally, there are two ways; time done and released or in a bodybag, dead as a doorknob. Illegally, there are many options and alternatives open; #PrisonBreak, which comes in many forms, and the most used option; #Benjamins; money talks bullsh!t walks, with corruption deep into the core of the system, anybody can be bought to serve one’s purpose, and what oher purpose does a locked man have, if not to buy his freedom at all cost, even at the cost of his own life; seen many, tried that, knowing fully well the cops will shoot at at moving object, but they dare the cops and make the attempt and the cops did shot at them for sure. Using one’s life to save the same life; what a high sacrifice. 

The Long Wait:
Talking of freedom, finally some breathe of fresh air of relief. The Justice minister back in Den Haag finally agreed to a process that will see us repatriated back to Holland. In his response to the ombudsman questions regarding his refusals to have us repatriated back to Holland, he agreed to have Dutch detainees in Panama and Venezuela returned back to Holland but carrying over their sentences as issued in those countries. While inmates in the #USA will have their charges/sentences commuted to Dutch law upon their return to The Netherlands, as America is known to issue very high sentences; lucky them! 

Since the consul last visit in December ’13, we,ve been following news and events in Den Haag to know when they will finally and officially sign the new #WOTS into law, not until that is done can we begin a new process. One which could take ages, and will still go through the same processess, a gamble with one’s fate; could be rejected! Despite the odds of refusal, I’m optimistic that something positive is at the end of the tunnel, but then, prison has taught me to always expect the unexpected. 

In the meantime, we have been hustling and bustling our a**sess to survive the odds on the inside.  People might think of prisoners as hermits, but some lads are surely living the time of their lives on the inside, they won’t want to be repatriated back to their home-country jails as the condition there is worse than what we have here; the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know! They’d rather finish their time here than be sent back to prisons where they won’t last the first 24hrs, and majority has no families to return to; the war out there has gotten to many of them, and left them nothing to return to. Such is life, the life of a prisoner. 

Verbal and physical brawls has been on the rise, #PrisonViolence! Every little thing upsets the seemingly calm mood, we tend to be like a sleeping volcano waiting to erupt at any slight change in the situation; with us it could be words, tempers, outside stimuli, fear, complex problems, peer pressure and every other thing could cause anyone to erupt; even hunger has led to many verbal and physical brawls as the lads hustled each others for our meagre food portions. 

Outsiders will think of prisons as where men go to horned six-packs and washboard belly, little do they know, some men will walk in skinny and near-death after bitter experiences with rival gangs and cops before their arrests, but will end up eating their way into obesity. It takes a strong resolve to wake up every morning and decide to give life another shot, knowing at anytime it could all fall down. But many of us are doing that, everyday we wake up with our heart still in place and beating; seen videos of inmates chopping of heads and ripping our organs of fellow inmates out of gangs rivalries.  

Having Doc. in our midst has been of great benefits, inmates who had taken ill at odd hours, even during daytime were attended to by Doc, the last was an inmate who was on a drinking spree, but decided to take his stupidity to the edge; sat above his cell, drinking and chatting on his blackberry; fell and hit his head on the concrete floor, split his head, Doc had to use his towel and wrapped the lad’s head and more towels were used as cushion to protect his fragile head as he was wheeled out. The cops rushed him to the city where I heard he was taken right away into the intensive unit. He will pull through, but hope he comes back the way he was before the fall; he’s a nice lad, makes #Subway burgers with about anything edible. 

Our consul finally came  on Thursday, after three months of waiting, was relieving as we were at the state of drought, we were literally living on day to day by whatever comes away. Now we have enough toiletries to take us through till her next visit; sometimes they barely last two months. @Behindbars one learns to manage whatever he has, everything is rationed like we are in a state of war, hypothetically, we are at war with ourselves and the corrupt system. 

War with ourselves and war within; there is but one #OriginalSin that prisoners, criminals and even the cops hates… #Snitching! Nobody like a #Turncoat or #Snitch, especially if he’s one within. A longstanding inmate, who was probably one of the pioneers of the pavilion was thrown out of the pavilion, was involved in a physical brawl in the gym, stopped him from using our weights as weapon. His opponent was also an oldtimer who has done time over time, and keeps coming back; who knows if his life will be done here. He was lucky on the day of their brawl that we were there to save his head. Both were thrown out of the pavilion, the former, despite having his compatriots as the president and vice president of the pavilion was thrown out and other pavilions rejected him as many knew he’s a snitch; even the cops who were his partners gave him up; brings us back to our first rule in our unwritten rules; #TrustNoOne! As I’m writing and since the day he was thrown out, he has been living, chained to the public toilet in the admin block as nobody wants him, not even the locals which is always one’s last resort, but the locals are looking out to do him; reason he stopped working in the kitchen. Prison world is just like the underworld, a price on your head, you are a goner. Hope he survives this phase of his life. The other fella has gone back to pav8 where he was before his previous release, then same reason took him there, involved in a brutal fight. Some people are born troublemakers.

For a while now, we at peace with ourselves, exceptions of individuals battling their personal demons. Santa Claus, our Polish Sikh fella had his ten days old tablet taken during our last impromptu search, he almost flipped, many had their phones taken, a compatriot lost his iphone5. With time, all will get to purchase new ones. Friggin in need of a tablet or ebook reader; will help with reading of books, magazines and articles I have on my memory chips. 

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Enough books to keep me busy.

Finally got hold of the packet schat sent last year to me, arrived in November 2013, but my consul couldn’t pick it up, had to wait till this visit. Got enough books to fuel my grey matter, while the weight rooms keeps my body in shape. It takes a great resolve to wake up everyday, knowing that you are following the same monotonous routines, well, once in a while we do things to spice up our lives; like a drink once a while doesn’t kill nobody. Internet has been a greater source of information as I find more things to do in the gym, which takes me from doing same thing everyday. There are some inmates who will walk in and do the same thing every Friggin day; wondering if they don’t get tired and barely see results! Incorporating yoga, HIIT, crossfit, GVT, and finally kettlebell (but we use dumbbells), the last has gotten many lads joined my group and they seems to love it. Got schat to get herself one and she seems to also like it; works out at home and her form is getting better. 

The new set of cops are sometimes nice as we are allowed outside for a 30mins of workout; individually or group of three’s. They do get tipped for their collaboration at the end of their 7-day shift. 

Religion and prisoners:
The first sight upon entry into the pavilion apart from our feral cats is a massive concrete shrine or altar with the statue of the virgin Mary and lots of rosaries hanging around her neck; I believe some are supplications left by the lads. And there’s always a faithful washing and polishing the tiles to keep it speckles and sparkling. Sometimes, the lad is seen napping on the cold tiles; probably pouring his heart out to his God. 

On the other hand, the evangelicals seems to have the most members; mostly among the locals, who are fun of walking around with their bible in their hands and knives tucked in their pants , in place of ‘good morning’ ‘good afternoon’ one hears #DiosBendiga (#GodBlessYou) ….. have heard it so much time that the words lost its meanings. Don’t see any blessing in someone getting plunged with a zigzag edge crude blade. 

Despite the violence, uncertainties and fear of the unknown, religion has given many hope for tomorrow and for the after-life, as many knows in the back of their minds, that the inevitable could happen. Thus, they believe the closer walk with God, a promised of a better life in the after-life is guaranteed. Others takes comfort in religion as a form of restitution for crimes they had committed, crimes which many don’t know. While the majority just want to belong and fit in with the norm. 

The prison walk is a long one, can be fast-tracked, but at a cost, a walk where one learns and relearn things in every little details, because one’s life depends on those details for survival.

It’s 07:13:25 on Mon 31 March. 2014 
Started this last night, slept off without saving the last entry, touched a button and everything went off, had to wake up by 5am to round up. 

It’s our fortnightly visit today, many are up, getting ready for the hour-long visit with their loved ones. There will be lot of food and lots of goodies hawked around as most of the things that will come in will be sold to meet urgent bodily or prison needs. 

Politics is raging in the country as parties gear up for the May presidential election, one presidential candidate did mentioned introducing life penal to help curb the rising crime rate in Panama; who knows what the Panamanians will think of him, as no country in Latin America has life-penal! 

Another candidate in his portfolio said, he won’t be building prisons like the current president, but will focus on rehabilitation and providing a way out of crime for the youths. That sound good, but he’s not winning, as he’s not one of the three major parties #Decisiòn2014 #Panamà

Should be getting ready to hit the gym, an early workout will give me enough time to do other things. 

As our journey continues, so is our wait; for us the Dutch detainees, the great and long wait for the politicians in Den Haag to finally sign into law what will become our fate and those of others that will come falling after our time is done! 

Our time will done and we will be gone, but our footprints will leave stories to be told… #ThePrisonExperience!

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A bird caught by our lazy cats, but rescued by the lads before they devour it. Hope the lads won’t be grilling it. The cats are becoming too lazy for the job of rat-hunting; who knows maybe they have truce. Cheeky feline things;-)

“When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you or you can let it strengthen you.”

Too Distracted to Have a Purpose.

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama with tags , , , , , on March 8, 2014 by doingtimeabroad

Too Distracted to Have a Purpose.

After reading this article from #IronManMagazine, I felt the need to share it with my readers, before posting it on my blog, I have copied, pasted and sent via email and other social media outlets to my contacts; of whom the most are my fellow inmates and ex-inmates. Hopefully, the ones that sneak and read my blog will be greatly relieved as I’m not writing about our miserable lives, how we are getting mashed up from Marathon binge-drinking sessions on our Prison brew or distill, helping ourselves to lines after lines of angel dust, blowing our time away from puffing rolls after rolls of El joint or crispy, and trying to do out do the next man standing. At behind bars, it’s always hustling or being out-hustled.

I’m forced to use touch screen phone as my BlackBerry with keypad has finally packed up, and I’m thinking of what options is available, either buy a new one or send it out to be fixed and pay to get it in. Buying a new one should be much bettee
… Mind made up ;-)

To send a phone outside, one have to pay just as having it brought inside, the runners profit from both sides of the operation, no gestures for a good old client.

The carnival came and gone, life goes on, but with many hitches, we fight, brawl and still try to get along, while tolerating each other’s nuisance. In an overcrowded place like our pavilion, we learn to live taking whatever is thrown at one’s face with a pinch of salt; one thing I have come to understand about Prison and prisoners; don’t take anything personal, allow and use sarcasm as a booster and stepping stones to move higher. You will surprise the critics and haters alike;-)

We ate bracing up for another round of serious hunger strike, since the director of Corrections and Prisons in Panama made a statement that, it’s all heaven on earth in their Prisons. The Colombians with the help of other inmates are embarking on another round of hunger strike; food, groceries, lawyers and not even consul or embassy visit will be allowed. Their demand: that the Colombian government change the terms of their repatriation. When they are sent back home, they are locked up again in prisons far worse than where we are, those gone before, had to pay for sleep spaces on the floor, constantly harassed by gangs. And time spent are worthless and useless as they are not rehabilitated or resocialised to get back into the society.

I hope this protest will send a message back home to the Colombia government.

When it was ours: The Dutch inmates, we rallied lawyers, statemen, MP’s, journalists, Clergymen and even fellow inmates to our cause and at the end, the minister listened. And now? We are back to the waiting game, to see if for sure we will be going home and how soon?

Life in the pavilion seems to in a deplorable state, as more and more inmates are dumped in. The elderly and aging inmates are the worse affected under this pressurised conditions, sicknesses of all sorts and no immediate medical attention. It is still the old system; pay and you get your name on the list to the poorly staffed clinic. I have been on the waiting list for as long as I can remember. Like others, there’s still a speck of hope.

Tensions has been building up, and many led to fights, where knives were drawn but no bloodshed. Inmates thrown out for breaking rules which others violates but are still here; #AnimalFarm….. All animals are not equal, some are more connected. Well, so they think, forgetting we are all in the same gutter.

Health, well-being, survival are some of my driven forces that keeps me going. Fitness regimen is keeping me focused and eyes and heart on my family is one reason and purpose that keeps me going despite the Negativity and swing moods that comes with incarceration.

One will think of Prison as a place where there’s no distractions, maybe in some countries, but not in a country like Panama, where the jails are overcrowded that one lives and breaths the stinks of the next man standing. You yearn for a quiet moment for yourself, and it’s a luxury that’s is unattainable. To breakthrough these obstacles, one has to be focused and purposed in his heart to survive.

An article worth sharing, given me something to brainstormed on and work my life to a Purpose; right from the bottom of the pit.

TOO DISTRACTED TO HAVE A PURPOSE.

By Dave Draper.

Going through life without a particular purpose is okay. You get by. You don’t go anywhere, but the days pass. There’s television—with the Super Bowl, pro wrestling, reality shows, infomercials, dramas, sitcoms, news and video games. We have food and drink, real and man-made, fast and home-delivered. There are drugs and alcohol. Our wandering attention is captured by the endless dilemmas presented by the news media, the hopes offered by advertisers and the general threat of daily living in a post-9/11 world.

Purpose? Who needs, considers or has time for purpose?

Purpose, I might point out, is often interchangeable with goals and motivations and is cousin to reason and incentive.

We are choked with entertainment and distractions and goofiness. I’ll just slap on my earphones and listen to some sounds on my satellite radio while I check out my iPhone. Yo. “Terminator IX” is playing at the Coliseum of Theaters, and I can purchase tickets with my credit card over my cell phone.

Several dynamics are at work obstructing purpose, the main driving force in a productive and aspiring individual, community and society.

• In today’s delirious world a person can be too distracted to have a purpose.

• He is rendered shallow by the senseless frivolity surrounding him and fails to consider the need for purpose.

• He recognizes the value of purpose, realizes the commitment, dedication and hard work it necessitates, but chooses ample distractions to avoid its responsibilities.

• The importance of purpose is clear; it is hastily installed, yet as hard as he tries, he can’t sustain its requirements. The lure and clutter of amusements are too demanding and overpowering.

Purpose never had a chance.

Life without a purpose is like a hand without a thumb; you can scratch, point, tap, count up to four, but you can’t get a grip on anything. You can grasp, but you can’t hold on.

Folks without purpose fall asleep at the wheel, get off at the wrong station and put their pants on backward. They get by, they make it through the day, they may even have family and friends and a good-paying job, but beneath the first layer of skin there’s Styrofoam.

Styrofoam is a modern invention that efficiently replaces real substance. Cheap, lightweight, a great filler, it insulates and withstands hot and cold—the perfect substitute for purpose where purpose does not exist. Styrofoam is everywhere today. I suspect I myself have pockets of Styrofoam.

Occasionally I notice that I’m zipping along yet neither moving forward nor back. I look down, and lo and behold, my pants are on backward. I hate that. Not the Captain of the Bomb Squad—without a compass, adrift in thin air, altitude unknown, zipper to the rear and targetless.

Mayday. Mayday.

No panic; been there. It’s just a warning, like the blink on the dashboard that indicates our seat belts are a nuisance; a painfully welcome and familiar signal to arouse and remind us to watch where we’re going and what we’re doing and why —huge and ripped or lean and mean—if we want to get there.

When purpose wanes, when motivation recedes, when a goal is not in sight, I become restless, sluggish and stale. I, as you, am unlike my video-game, fast-food counterpart, and the condition soon becomes evident and quickly unacceptable. Steps must be taken to overcome the stall in my forward movement, my flight, and I look toward my training to amend the minor disaster. I have observed that my personal life and my training are inextricably entwined, and fixing one gives health to the other. And the closer I look, the more I’m convinced it’s my training that determines the desirable flow of my life—events, moods, energy and spirits.

Training without purpose is like shopping at the supermarket without a shopping list, an appetite or any memory of what’s in the refrigerator or on the shelves at home. You wander the aisles and finally come home with a 25-pound bag of Doggie Chow.

So what if you don’t have a dog? It was on sale.

You know why you go to the gym and eat right. The list’s as long as your arm, yet you sometimes forget. Life’s like that. It rolls along with ups and downs, through hot and cold, and moves in mysterious cycles. We’re eager and joyful and hitting the mark day after day, and then the mark eludes us—we become irritable, withdrawn and careless.

Speak for yourself, Draper.

We wonder why we bother. We punch at the air and kick inanimate objects and hiss. Swell. Now we’re soft and puffy, and the weights feel like they’re bolted to the floor. No more veins, pumps gone. Good-bye, cruel world.

But wait: Don’t flush away months of training and sacrifice in one pull of the handle. We gotta continually feed the fire within. The flickering embers grow cold if we don’t review the reasons for our efforts, relive our successes, revive our goals and remember we’re special, sort of.

• Review regularly takes place in the subconscious—preparation.

• Reliving our achievements is occasionally done when we feel generous and slightly numb—encouragement.

• Revival of goals must be done at appropriate intervals with intention, humility and high hopes, as often as it takes for them to become certain and real —reinforcement.

• Remember, we know people who don’t have goals, never heard of them or made them and forgot them—dead men walking.

Your goals, your level of motivation, concentration of incentives, clarity and depth of reasons—your decided purpose—determines your training efficiency and effectiveness and joy. Think “why” before you lift, and lift hard.

Time to rest the wings, bombers. Last one to leave the hangar, douse the lights, would ya?

Tomorrow we fly like eagles.…

— Dave Draper
For more from Dave Draper, visit http://www.DaveDraper.com
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“When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you or you can let it strengthen you.”

The Ray Of Light At The End Of The Tunnel.

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on February 24, 2014 by doingtimeabroad

“A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” – John C. Maxwell

 

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” – Steve Jobs

 

[Two Years BehindBars; Looking for that ray of light at the end of the tunnel]…… Two years ago, I wrote that as a title to a blog entry, had my hopes and faith that someday, keeping a positive mind along the way, there’ll definitely be that ray of light and of hope at the end of this tunnel of uncertainty.

“We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once” – Calvin Coolidge.

Our journey through and within the walls of panama’s notorious prisons; #LaJoya and #LaJoyita is truly like one through a darkened tunnel full of uncertainties, not knowing what awaits one in the tunnel as it goes deeper and darker; such is life in prison, many walked in naïve, while others came back to continue from where they stopped upon released. How each will be upon released is based on how they had lived when doing time.

 

Over fifty two months ago, I began my journey, others tagged along as they met the same fate that brought me here. Some were before me, who has got stories to tell, together we are the stories of men locked up, isolated from the supposed real world. But on the inside, it’s a world beyond walls of concrete, lived on the edge with one’s back always against the wall, a world where one constantly watches over his shoulder, and a world where words are supposed to be thought over before utterances are made; but in many cases, some tend to forget these basic rules that has hold true to prisons worldwide.

 

They say, there is only one force that hold true to the underworld; the law of gravity…. “what goes up, must come down”. History has taught us in the likes of Alcapone, Pablo Escobar, The Gray Brothers of East London, the cowardly Dudus (the yardie rain maker of Kingston who handed himself to the Americans and was handed down a 23 years sentence), Zwarte Cobra of The Netherlands, and many king pins who had risen to the apex of their careers but that force of gravity seemed to have brought them grumbling down.

 

Emails, phone calls, letters and publications in the Dutch media caused some storms and got the attention of the Dutch public to our plights; the government refusal to have us repatriated back to The Netherlands.

 

After so many bureaucratic wrangling, involving lawyers, NGO’s and other organisations that cared to listen to our side of the story and finally, the country’s former ombudsman who got involved after we had emailed him, telling our stories as it’s been repeated over and over to all those who matters. He finally, wrote and asked the minister of justice, the reason for his refusal to have us back home. In his letter to the minister, he had asked for a response by 1st of February 2014.

 

Finally on the 5th of February, the minister responded with an overhaul of the #WOTS process (the process that sees all Dutch detainees outside The Netherlands been returned back home to either continue their time or set free). It’s a pity, the ombudsman who fiercely fought our case resigned and left for another job in Brussels (EU).

 

Whatever will become of this new change of law, that will see Dutch detainees in Latin American prison have their fair share of been repatriated as other EU nationals, he will be credited for his role in bringing about this change. We had exhausted all the legal means to get the minister, and none worked,  until the former ombudsman stepped in and then came the change.

 

Though, it is yet to be signed in law (which takes a long while), but we know from the minister’s response that Dutch detainees in Panama, Venezuela and other Latin American countries won’t be left to rot and withered away. They like other Europeans who aren’t left behind by their governments  would enjoy the benefits of serving out their sentence under humane conditions, access to medicare and proper rehabilitation process. And most importantly, close to our families and loved ones and also enjoy the benefits of visits, which we don’t get here.

 

At the end, we might not be beneficiaries to this good news, as most of us have almost serve out our sentences here. Moreover, a new repatriation process has to be initiated, which can take forever to get processed. In the future anyone that will be dumb enough to get locked up here might enjoy a faster process and get to go home and continue with their sentences.

 

Thus, the good news that we can now be repatriated to continue out time back home is the bacon of hope, the ray of light in this never-ending tunnel of uncertainty.

 

“People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” – Tony Robbins

 

MON, FEB 17, 2014

Lately, I tend to wake up at the same time every day to use the loo and end up going upstairs to get online. Some days I sleep early to wake and get upstairs. So far, so good, but competing with many routers hanging on the ceiling of the pavilion like little spaceships is something my phone can’t keep up. But the good thing with our sleep-loving-prisoners, while they are snoring away their time, the air is free for those of us who will braced the cold and sit out with phones in hands as we search for signal.

 

Had an earlier day in the gym which was scanty as most lads were out for our fortnightly visit. Like other visit days, there will be lots to eat, sell and drink (if proper liquor was smuggled in). A cell mate went out, though a foreigner, he’s married to a local lady and has lived all his life here in Panama. Whatever edible he has today will be shared, though I do pass some of the things they bring in.

 

Had an intensive #Back and #Biceps workout, trained with some mates who are full of zeal and energy on one day and gone with the wind of joints on other days. They are needed for some exercises that need a partner; bench press and squats.

 

The cop on duty allowed me out for a brief spin on the open, with the sun at its zenith, it was refreshing. Did some stretches and savoured the moment.

 

Back in and in need of fuel for my knackered muscles, the lads had rice and fried chicken sauce, made from what a mate got from visit. Wasn’t bad for a much-needed refuel. Still waiting for what I asked a released mate to get for me, hope he doesn’t play me a fast one, as many are known for such games.

 

Today, a special day for me, as my daughter turns 9 years old today. How many birthdays have I missed, so many to recall. Each year, I pray to be at the next one, but never made it to as they mark their earth day. I’m glad Schat is able to keep it together and keep the kids going and their performance at school and with their vocational studies. On her birthday, Schat became the devil advocate as she made my little girl sign a contract on her birthday that she will keep to her routines; piano practice, homework, help her siblings, help mummy with chores in the house, her swimming lessons and always be of good behaviour. Well, for a girl of nine years, she is getting to know that nothing good come easy. She will be getting a used blackberry as her birthday gift from Schat. At least I will get to chat with her once in a while. Won’t say I hope to be home by her next birthday, but if I’m home, then it’s good! Wishes ain’t horses, but not a crime to make one! #Hope! 

 

TUE, FEB 18, 2014

Another early day upstairs to get online, met an inmate who had an all-night vigil to update his Samsung Galaxy S3 OS, lad stayed up and downloaded over 500MB of data with our poor signal.

 

Spent few hours before heading downstairs, tried sleeping but couldn’t as some Ass turned on the water pump around 5:30am and got my mate cleaning to switched on the light. Decided to take the day off from training so I can get some good sleep.

 

As it would be, the gym was closed for the day as the Colombians were having a sit-in hunger strike protest aimed at their government back in Colombia. When Colombians (apparently, they make about 90% of foreign prisoners in Panama) are repatriated back home, they are locked up for another lengthy period of time, despite Colombia having an overcrowded prison system. From those who had gone, messages getting us, is that they had to pay for a sleeping spot on the floor and gangs controls the prison system. Everyone want to do his time at home, but when where you is better than home, then you rather stay put. The Guatemalans prefer finishing their time here as their prison system is one of the worst in Latin America.

 

Thus, as a sign of protest, food were not allowed in for the Colombians. Others that wanted to eat could get their food, cells without Colombians got enough food. Though majority of them definitely dined well, despite the strike. In my cell, they all opted for the no-food, exception of three Colombians who can’t be without food. When food came on the cart, three portions are served to my cell.

 

After the strike, the lad took to their dice, cards, and other forms of game to keep them busy.

 

It’s relatively quiet in the pavilion, it seems we are at peace with each other, but despite the tranquillity and deep down in our hearts, there are sworn enemies who won’t cross paths, always on the look-out for each other’s next move; such is the life in prisons.

Just heard from one of my cellmates who would’ve been better off working in the media as he’s very good in relaying gossips and intels going around the pavilion. Through the lad, I’ve come to know the little skeletons in everyone’s closets ;-) young lad whose childhood has been robbed from him through violence, growing up in a place the rich kids wear bullet proof vest to school; #GangsWar #DrugWar.

 

He asked me, if I know that a former tattoo artist from Puerto Rico who was sent packing from our pavilion to pavilion 8 is dead….. He was involved in a fight with another inmate, pulled jagged edge knife and threatened the lad. After much meetings, his pals wanted him to stay, but the majorities vetoed he should be sent out. And he was a heavy dope-head; snorts anything white and always rolling joints. The lad died of Heart attack. If he was still here, probably Doc would’ve saved him. Too bad! that’s one problem solved for the authorities, one less worries…. May his soul #RIP!

 

WED, FEB 19, 2014

Another early day, upstairs at our signal spot, which was astounding as signal was at its best. Refreshed my news apps, got enough news to keep me busy when doing nothing.

 

A mate who had twenty cops sent after him, was picked up for his interview with the fiscal; spent almost a year waiting for this day and yet to have a court date. Left me wondering if a year was spent on investigation by the fiscal! Shows how efficient they are, I hope he slips through as he did before. The lad got banged up after his old pals ratted him out.

 

When he came back later at night, starving after spending all day without food; only the bread he ate before leaving. He was grilled and bombarded for three odd hours with gruelling questions which he believes came from the Fiscalia-drogas office. Whatever the outcome of his case, hope he learn from this experience.

 

Hit the gym for a quick #HIIT Chest and #Abs workout, was gruelling but love it, though in sciatica pain, I made a good workout. Later went out to stretch under the warming sun. Needed it!

 

Back in, had a bowl of oats + banana with peanut butter which I got from the Shylock grocer who’s probably going to build a glass house with the money is ripping off from us with his over-the-top prices. Charged me twice the price for a pot of 400g peanut butter.

 

While in the gym, the president of the pavilion wheeled in a wheelbarrow filled with bags of chicken parts; wings, drumsticks and whole chickens. Wasn’t meant for us, well, could be for us, if we are willing to pay. Those chicken definitely came from the kitchen

 

We did get chicken soup later in the day, but there was not a piece of chicken, instead we had shredded chicken parts and more chicken skin. Some do feast on the skin, while others just go for the soup.

 

Spend the rest of the day upstairs by the signal spot, stayed till 2am before descending down to my bunk for the much-needed sleep.

 

THU, FEB 20, 2014.

Early headcount; barely had enough sleep when I heard my mates scrambling off from their bunks. Then the PA system went off as well with a wake up call for our weekly headcount. Quickly changed into my gym clothing, rushed me a cup of tea, brush up and wash off he sleep from my face before heading out. The tap was running, so the mate cleaning had to stay back and be the last to leave the cell, after filling up few tanks.

 

Outside, cold and windy, the rays of the sun was breaking through the early morning clouds as inmates gathered in groups, some with cups of coffee in hands, chattering whatever they felt need to trash out. Others were busy engaging in one or another forms of exercises; walking, jogging, stretching, push-ups, pull-ups on the welded bar behind the pavilion. Started with a few brisk-walking and took some spins on the field, did some good stretches to ease my sciatica pains, and few abs on the grass. The count was successful as everyone was accounted for.

 

Back in, decided to go for an early workout as I was already sweating from the warm-up. The early gym-rats were already on our free weights, got a few and prepared a dumbbell for a kettlebell-like workout. After a #HIIT warm up, decided to hit #Shoulders. Three lads joined me, and we had a superb shoulders workout, which I mixed with abs and rope-jumps.

 

Hit the fields after doing weights as the new cops seems to be a nice fella. Outside, continued from where I stopped during the headcount; jogging and some stretches.

 

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

 

Called it a day as I headed back in, the gym was very bare as most inmates went back to sleep just after the headcount; prisoners don’t play with their sleep, they friggin take it serious. And that something which the system here has caused and made, turning most into couch potatoes. Despite the need to be active under the limitation and restrictions of mobility, many are leading a full sedentary lifestyle. Someday in the future they will realised the need to have exercised and moved while here.

 

Made me a bowl of oatmeal + peanut butter + banana; becoming my postworkout meal. Not bad as it’s filling and nutritious also.

 

Took a short nap during the day, seems the hunger strike or food-rejection is still going on and I heard it will be on for another two weeks. My cell only gets three-portions, despite the so-called hunger strike, some are growing fatter and fatter as they tend to grab anything that look and taste like food. Food is all that matters here, that some inmates live to eat and not eat to live; amongst them is one of my cellmate who is always munching on whatever available. He’s growing larger with each new day, he won’t be the first nor the last to serve out their sentence on bowls of food.

 

Upstairs by the signal spot is jammed packed with inmates holding and pointing phones, tablets in search of signal. Some are busy adjusting ropes that routers are hung upon high up on our ceiling. Those with routers and external modem seems to be getting the best reception. The last time I checked, there were more than 20 routers, soon the cops will storm us to get the routers. Whenever they choose to come, we’re prepared.

 

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” – Abraham Lincoln

 

FRI, FEB 21, 2014

Another early day, water on the stove for a cup of coffee which I took upstairs with me. Signal during the early hours of the day is very strong, but as others switch on their phones and began browsing, everything goes down again.

 

Few hours and back to my cell, where I got ready for another early morning workout. Still scanty in the gym as I made my way outside. Warm and a bit windy, had a blast on the field, almost forgotten, today is the catholic mass which begins at 11am.

 

When I got in, it was too late, but managed to pull some arms workouts, got 3 sets of each. Packed up, but continued in the storage room. Couldn’t keep up as I felt light-headed, had to call it off.

 

Back in, showered, ate and tucked myself into bed. Checked my #BP before sleeping; 156/79! After the few hours nap, woke up feeling much better.

 

Went upstairs to get online, signal was better tonight, was able to download few MP3′s but friggin slow. Stayed up till late, which I will pay when the lads will wake me up for the general cleaning to move my reserve water tanks; though we have been having enough water lately, but can’t afford to take any chance by using them. Still gotta keep them, one never know when things will turn around for the worst……drought!

 

Finally left for my cell around 2am, not a good time. Walking through the dark passage with phone in my hand to light up my path (though, not everyone here will dare walk in the passage at such odd hour; many has gotten sworn enemies and even invisible ones). The passage was fill with aroma of sweet fragrance, a lady-like essence, didn’t take further steps from where I first perceived the sweet fragrance, then she emerged from darkness, her mini tight-fitting dress merging with the blackness of the night as she slide past me, bathed herself with her flowery fragrance and ready to ride the night; she is our night nurse, our lady of the night……the standing shemale! Got her buddy, probably a look-out positioned in a corner in the passage, while she goes about her tour of nightly duty. Know few patrons who probably makes use of her nightly service and I think many knows but we rather keep it our little open secret. Well, she did say hello….. Not the sort of feminine voice I’d expect from the wearer of such tight-fitting dress, but what came out was a hollow-deep voice which we are all used to now. Glad she wasn’t the thing I saw before hitting my bunk, later found our cheeky kittens that aren’t allowed in during the day, but they all sneaks in at night to rule, plunder and play while the lads are sleeping. They were two little kittens, their mum seemed to have abandoned them, picked them up, played with them, stroking their furs. When I dropped them, they actually followed me to my cell, funny furry things; at least better than some wankers here.

 

SAT, FEB 22, 2014

Slept around 3am, didn’t know when the lads got up and went about the general cleaning. The little lad didn’t wake me up, he removed all my stuffs and did the cleaning without me knowing. Glad he didn’t wake me, did thank him afterwards.

 

Was starving, had a cup of cinnamon tea that came on the breakfast cart and ate up the last of my lentils from last night; filling and nutritious. My mates went for cornflakes and chocolate. Someone dropped a box of whole wheat pasta on my bed, should be cooking it on Sunday with vegetables….. Just pasta and vegetables.

 

A mate came calling me out for workout, told him, not today, as I’m taking two days off to recuperate.

 

For lunch, cooked Ox-foot soup (bought by a mate) and lately, its the only thing coming in that is affordable (street price; $4, we pay $12 here), cooked it the Colombian way; #Sancocho, with green plantain, spices and seasoning and fresh vegetables and herbs (cilantron, parsley, spring onions). Wasn’t bad as we had it with white rice. Through my time here with some many cultures from different parts of the world, I have come to learn different and assorted types of cuisines. Have even learned from the Chinese here; but these ones here love frying and white rice.

 

Also in the course of my doing time here, I have also introduced some clean and healthy habits. When I first got here, the lads only drank cinnamon tea, I introduced some to green tea and other herbal tea. Then came muesli, which I asked Schat to buy for me, many jumped on the bandwagon, though few see it as strange food; a mate was said, it looks like horse feeds and tasteless. So far so good, it’s been a wonderful experience in the joint.

 

Took a power nap after my lunch and woke up when dinner was been served. Lunch came and gone; chicken nuggets and white rice. While dinner was pigtails in black eye brown beans. Let them passed, but my mates went for the pigtails, scooped some beans which I later ate in the evening.

 

Spent couple of hours upstairs, but couldn’t keep up as nature took toll of me. Got downstairs which was steaming hot from the heat of the distillation, the lads distilled two tanks of mash. Their clients need something to top up.

 

Surprisingly, the last of my Christmas wine is sold out. A lad who doesn’t mix well with alcohol, once drank and got so pissed, he had to be restrained as he was becoming aggressive; he was tied and left upstairs, where he had been drinking all day. Since that incident, he seems to have sober down, stick to his joints. Apparently, he is the cellmate of our shemale who had a physical brawl with her over some unpaid debts. In prison, debts are eventually collected through physical brawls if verbal confrontation fails.

 

Same lad, bought all of my leftover Christmas wine, and being aged, sold it as an aged wine should be sold; a price of a gallon for 1litre…..good bargain on my side.

 

Had another shower before hitting my concrete bed for the much-needed night rest.

 

“If you want to make a permanent change, stop focusing on the size of your problems and start focusing on the size of you!” – T. Harv Eker

 

SUN, FEB 23, 2014

Weekend is almost over, a new week around the corner. Much or nothing in stock for the lot of us.

 

Up from sleep to the wrangling of my cellmates and others who came to fetch water as it was running early today.

 

Sat up on my bed till the coast was clear, went through my morning rituals. A cup of cinnamon tea got my day started. Made vegetables salad of green pepper, cucumber, onions, dried parsley and oregano, added vinegar and that was my breakfast.

 

Another round of Ox-foot soup today, the only thing close to meat on sale in the pavilion. Cooked today’s with curry and a bit spicy. My mate boiled white rice.

 

After I woke up from my afternoon siesta, we had the soup which is by far better than our prison food. On the food cart for lunch was half-cooked white rice, and greasy mincemeat and for dinner fish cakes, lentils and rice, took some lentils for dinner; hope it ain’t salty.

 

My vegetable-grocer cellmate had all his fresh parsley bought by an old inmate who hawks and sells whatever is given to him; nicked, brought in or smuggled in. He’s the man to meet and he’s a chain-smoker. Asked him what he needs the parsley for; told me he makes tea with it and it helps calms him as he’s nervous. We’re all working on our second opinion to treat whatever ailments since we can’t get to the clinic for treatment.

 

Signal is very bad today, many are complaining of poor connection, yesterday whatsapp was down, I guess it was probably server problem, later worked at night, but fell today. 8:46:43 PM….. Upstairs by our signal post and it seems it’s going to be a very long night of waiting and searching for signal connection.

 

Hope it gets better later tonight, or else, I’ll have to wake up very early to try again.

 

The air is full of assortment of music; salsa, vallenato, ranchera and bolero (depending on the nationalities of the revellers), smokes from fags and joints and noises of inmates doing time the only way they know.

 

Lately my compatriot who seemed to have fallen apart is getting skinny and skinny with each new day. There’s rumours that dude is doping, well, each man has his cross to bear, but do hope he’s repatriated ASAP to Holland, there his problems will be taken care of.

 

Earlier today on the news, another Panamanian lawyer was sent to the other side by a lone assassin. He is not the first and won’t be the last to leave that way; lawyers in Panama are crafty white-collar criminals who sweet-talks helpless inmates into handing over large sums of money with promises of buying their way out or getting a low or minimal sentences for them. But their promises are empty, they so believe that being locked up, inmates can’t do a thing. But in most cases they are always wrong. Some inmates do pursue them for their money. And in most cases, ends with the lawyer being gun down. 

 

For the rest of us, it’s a waiting game, one played with the utmost care; living each day at a time while watching our backs.

 

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Valentine’s Day In Prison.

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on February 17, 2014 by doingtimeabroad

Valentine’s week is here, not much as in preparation for the day in the pavilion; maybe our surviving shemale will have some surprises for the lads, you never know! But doubt if our trans neighbours across the wire fences in pavilion two won’t be preparing for lovers day in prison, they are know to take life damn too serious; carnivals, Christmas, and even their petty prison love which can become bloody and fatal. 

 

 

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

 

 

MON, FEB 10, 2014

Woke up to another week in the slammer, lots to do. After four years in the slammer, I have learn to take each day, each moment at a time; work myself through whatever hurdles or obstacles presenting itself at any given moment.

 

Woke up early to make use of the uncongested internet around 5am before others will rise; funny thing about prisoners in Panama, many are doing their time on their bunks; sleeping away their lives. Have always read of prisons being a place where inmates are under strict conditions. But over here, everyone does as it pleases, despite our unwritten rules, which are supposed to be a guide to our lives within the wall of these building.

 

Signal is always at its best on the early hours of the day, but as soon as all the phones, routers are set firing in search of signal, the competition to get online becomes tensed.

 

Breakfast is whatever comes on the cart or sometimes a cup of tea before hitting the gym. Today was packed with inmates feeling charged after a long weekend. A mate is dressed waiting to picked up for his release, doubt if they will come for him today. We went on #Back and #Biceps today, #HIIT and full #Hardcore, the cop was friendly, allowing inmates outside to run and workout in the field; but in batches, co-ordinated by our vice president.

 

Lately, water hasn’t been a problem as it used to be, we’ve been able to strike a deal with pavilion 8; a tube links us to their water system, whenever theirs is turned on, we get a bit for ourselves; at least, enough for each day, but our reserves are always filled and stored away for that moment of drought!

 

Not much for the day, couldn’t nap, despite being knackered and not getting enough sleep at night, due to my late nights and early rising. Hopefully, I’ll have an early night tonight.  

 

Food is the same sh!t on the cart, salty, half-cooked rice, salad with maggots, salty nuggets or fat-laden minced meat; a lad once feasted on the minced meat, and had to be wheeled out to the clinic as he developed food poisoning. I always let that pass; not for anything else, but the fat in it, it comes warm, but once left to cool down, everything becomes hardened from the greasy fat. 

 

Signal is a bit slow, but allowed me to do some reading; news, sports and lots more. Finally left upstairs to have a good night rest as I was tired.

 

TUE, FEB 11, 2014

Woke up late today, slept late last night, despite wanting to sleep early. Couldn’t get online as it was jammed, but was able to chat with Schat briefly before heading to the gym; bit late today, but got enough for a full metal cardio workout; Chest, triceps, woodchopper, power and clean, and hanging leg raise and rounded it up with hanging leg raise for the abs.

 

My English mate placed a bet on a french Canadian, that he can’t benchpressed 200lbs, well, the Canadian hasn’t done anything in the gym before; but he tried 155lbs….. Seeing his lift, I told them, he could do it if he trains daily for days….. They had a set date for Monday. The lad wants to train with me before that day.

 

Back in, rushed my brunch of cereal and peanut butter and a cup of chilled gatorade.

 

Showered and wash up before hitting my bunk for a quick power nap; struggled to get some sleep, but couldn’t as the lads were in their talking mood.

 

Left for upstairs, signal is still slow; the pavilion became quiet as many were glued to their TV sets; watching one novela (soap) after the other #ComandoElite, and #LosTresCaines; one common theme with all the novelas or soaps on TV in Latin America, is the amount of gun violence, their lives is all about gun, guns and more firepower. Men don’t fight mano-a-mano! #Weaklings!

 

Spent few hours upstairs, but nature wouldn’t allow me. Had to call it a day and down to my cell for the much-needed sleep. Late though, but early for me. Finally crashed around 1am.

 

WED, FEB 12, 2014

Woke up around 5am, even before the bin man got up to emptying the buckets hanging on each cell door’s. Signal was superb at that time of the morning, downloaded videos Schat sent me via whatsapp; not the types to wank on though…. But videos of my kids skating on ice; shared them with my mates.

 

Working online and tweeting my saved tweets, set a pot of water on the stove for an early cup of coffee; while in the cell, had one eye on my phone as there are some lurking shadows that are swift in their movement, that was the case of my neighbour who left his cell by 3am for his group’s daily prayers; someone nicked his Samsung note… Lad just fixed the broken screen and wanted to fling it to me for 400 quid, no money, but told him to keep it as I was interested; fingers are pointing to some lads around his mates. Whichever, the phone is gone, hope his God visits the one that nicked His faithful’s phone while he was praying.

 

As darkness make way for the light of the day, many were rising from their slumbers, which they wished they could get more hours of sleep, to face whatever the day has for them. Not going back to bed, whatever hours I had was enough, dressed up to hit the gym, also praying the cop on duty will let me out. He did let me out on the fields; many were out jogging, walking and others were chatting as they drank their early coffee. Life for today just began, the day is pregnant with loads for us. Should be waking early if I’m to make it outside for an early jog and yoga on the grasses outside, thus, early to bed! Gonna be friggin difficult!

 

Did some good rounds of #HIIT on the field; mixing short burst of fast sprints with normal jogging, ended with stretches and yoga to ease with sciatica pain.

 

Hit the gym as it was still scanty, many were still snoring. Shoulders and arms, had a good workout… The English mate who placed a bet on the french Canadian to benchpress 200lbs on Monday, challenged me to benchpress 135lb x 35reps…. Accepted the challenge, did it and he owes me $20…. Good amount to get me some needed groceries; some people are just born gamblers.

 

Took the french Canadian through some training session; on lifting techniques, placed $10 on him to benchpress 200lbs x 5reps on Monday, hope my training helps him, as many are in doubt that he can do it.

 

Rounded up my workout with abs…. Hanging leg raise and crunches.

 

While in the gym, the lady (Govt official) in charge of all repatriation came around to speak with us, panama’s government is busy with repatriating as many foreigners as they can. After we spoke to her, she insisted that Panama is through with the Dutch detainees, but our problem hangs on the Den Haag’s refusal to accept our repatriation???? That’s the big unanswerable question, why the minister of justice wouldn’t want us back home!

 

But, later found out that, there’s been a respond from the minister of justice back home regarding our repatriation case. But we can’t download the pdf file as there’s no signal to connect online. Hope it’s something positive, should be time we get out of this jungle.

 

Whatever will be the outcome of this new development, it won’t take away our hope ‘the only constant in the midst of our uncertainties’

 

Becoming very hot in the pavilion; loads of cooking, and overcrowding as more and more are hauled in, while none is leaving. Tried catching some sleep time, couldn’t with the noise in the cell and the heat. Did some reading as I lay on my bed, better than lying there thinking or getting engaged in idle arguments with the lads who are always looking for whose balls they will break; sometimes, when there’s nothing to talk about, sarcasm comes into play, and loads of idle talks which sometimes goes over the top and flares up anger; thus, to avoid such messy situation, simply keep out of sight. Glad I can find solace in my books.

 

Couldn’t go upstairs as I was knackered and in need of my sleep, did some reading before nature called.

 

THU, FEB 13, 2014

Woke up around 4am, went out and got online, the line was free as I was the only one up and out at that time. Stayed up for an hour, before returning to me bed and get another hour and half of sleep. Got up around 6.30am to do my cleaning, being my turn for our daily wash of the toilet and shower room; pot of water for coffee and the cops showed up for our once-in-a-week headcount.

 

Outside, many took to the field; jogging, walking, while others continued from where they stopped yesterday in their chatting and lousy men talk; whatever each choose to do, helps with doing time.

 

Had a good quick cardio workout outside, though brief, but was fantastic. Back in, set up the bench for chest, but had to attend to water in the cell, as water was running and being my cleaning day, but not enough water for today. It only came in the morning, and we are down to one tank left; that will end up in the toilet. Glad I have some reserves (there’s always a back-up plan).

 

Back to the gym, before leaving, set a pot of ox-tail for what will be our soup; jointly bought ox-tail with two other cellmates. Street prices was $9, but in here, we paid $18, always twice the value #PrisonBusiness

The gym was almost empty as the lads had all gone back to their sleep; lazy asses! Prisoners here, hate been woken up from their sleep; we so cherish our sleep; who’s to blame? Guess the authorities; locked grown-ass men up with nothing to do, other than sleep, eat, drink, smoke, frolicking, fight and stab each other and start all over again with same routines till they either withered away or released to come back and continue from where they stopped ;-) 

 

Had enough for my chest workout, was a swift one and was good enough for today. Definitely do need my supplements, hope for some soon. The thieving pot-bellied warden who was paid to bring in amino and protein, cut our stuffs and brought half of what was given to him. That’s what one should expect in prison business, always double-crossing. We haven’t seen him for about two months now. The rest of the supplements are history!

 

Very hot today, the cell is grilling, but upstairs is windy, it’s 10:54:41 PM…. Been upstairs watching highlights of the winter Olympic; at least something other than novela and Panama news which is always filled with violence, and if something better comes up like the Olympics; there’ll be a steady marched of adverts on the screen margin disturbing one’s view; bombarding viewers with ads.

 

Should be heading downstairs as signal is very low tonight. Need a good sleep as I will be up early tomorrow.

 

FRI, FEB 14, 2014

St. Valentine’s day; decided to take the day off from workout, woken early to get online, but no signal access. Back to sleep, which didn’t come by easily, did some reading; #CocaineTrain by Stephen Smith; a journey in search of one’s man grandfather, and also a brief history of #LaViolencia in #Colombia; covered some pages before nature finally took hold of me.

 

Being lover’s day or friendship day, prisoners ain’t left out in the love business; our surviving shemale, was dressed up as a true queen of the hive, in pink outfit, displaying out melon-size DD cups for those that will savour the beauty of it. Got me wondering what our newbies will be thinking, as many are from interior parts of Colombia and I doubt if they have come across men with such amount of boobs ;-) soon they will get use to it and some will crave for the comfort of it. 

 

Outside in the patio; few were outside working out, the gym was busy, but many decided to take a longer weekend. Outside, across our yard in pavilion 2; where all the shemales and Panama homosexuals are housed, the lads and lasses were all out in their full glory; many adorned in glittering latex bikinis, pink shorts, flowers adorned their well-done hair; these are the real Valentine’s people; with drinks, joints and el polvo; their night today will be a memorable one.

 

Inmates from the local pavilions were sending their courier services to buy distil and moonshine from our pavilion; they seems to have confidence in us, and no trust amongst themselves.

 

The ladees in pavilion 2 will definitely be having fun-filled night; there was rumour making rounds in the pavilion, that a lad who went missing for days, actual went #AWOL into Pav2 to have some good time. He must have sure had his kind of good time, hope he got himself protected!

 

For some of us, it’s fiesta as usual, music and whatever will help with the mood is on and it’s going to be an all-night affairs.

 

My #whatsapp  just stopped working, and a friggin message from the developer says it’s obsolete, I have to update the app; since signal went bad, I’m not bothered about updating my apps; almost all of my apps are due for updates. With out poor signal, that won’t be possible, gotta use them the way they are until things improves, if they will ever be!

 

With the state of things now, I will need a wifi connection to update my whatsapp, but who connect me to his?

 

Chat with Schat via other instant messenger; it’s always good to have an alternative; how I miss her and my musketeers. They can’t wait to have me back home, we don’t talk much about it, but we know we want it soon; my fate, like those of many Dutch detainees outside the #EU, hangs on the Dutch Justice Minister. 

 

Decided to hit bed early as I might need to wake up early on Saturday morning to try my luck on downloading whatsapp. And was also knackered, really needed the early night rest.

 

SAT, FEB 15, 2014.

Woke up exactly 3:30am to use the loo, done and kit up. Left for upstairs to try my luck at the signal spot, was surprise to hear music and inmates chattering as they kept on with cups from hands to mouth; passing one cup around. Later found out, there were two groups of revellers; one group on top of A16 and the other on top of cell A17, but how do they enjoy their music as they were in close proximity of each other; listening to different music on high volume, despite the odd hour of the day. Hope the leadership will get to see them, doubt that happening.

 

Upstairs, the signal was at its best, allowed me to download and update whatsapp, as for the more than 56 apps that need update, ain’t bothered so long they are working; whatever patches to fix bugs will wait for now.

 

Left for my cell after the update and few tweets, the lads were still snoring and farting; the latter which had become part of us, gases build up from the food we eat, and the lads always cook their rice half-cook. Well, my many cups of tea each day helps with flatulence.

 

Was able to get an hour of sleep before water started running, the lad doing the weekly general cleaning was called from his bunk upstairs on top of our cell. Got up, made a cup of tea and dressed up for workout; Saturday is supposed to be a free day, but since I took yesterday off, and felt rejuvenated, decided to hit outside for a quick spin on the tracks. Had a good run, but in pains from my sciatica nerves, need some strong painkillers.

 

Spent an hour on the grass stretching and manoeuvring my joints and lower back, the cop finally called in the set that were out for another batch to come out. Was worth it!

 

Decided to hit the gym for an all-rounder workout; touched every fibre of muscles on my body, started with power-clean and military shoulder press, rows, pull-ups, bench press, biceps curls and cable pull-down and kickback to hit the triceps. Rounded up with hanging leg/knee raise and rope jump to sweat it all out. The gym was scanty as many decided to have a longer weekend and in preparation for Monday’s fortnightly visit.

 

Lately, there’s been stories and rumours of juicing and increase uses of steroids in the population. A cubano who was once here briefly, left and is back again; apparently, trains very good. Think he did juiced on the street, told me, our little Chinese lads are all juicing, but don’t know how to train. He was pretty fast in taking note of the lads. Many are actually juicing, but lacks knowledge of training techniques. Got me wondering, of what use the roids when they can’t train. Some come into the gym doing the same exercises each day. I’ve decided to let them be, without correcting anyone; everyone has got reasons why he left his bed to the gym.

 

Back in and starving, made me a pot of oatmeal with peanut butter + cinnamon. Was filling and a much-needed nutrients after an intensive workout session. Topped it up with banana! Our milkman has got us waiting, well, those of us that depend on his milk, which are usually nicked from the kitchen; it seems that portal has been closed or extra secured. He’s owing me two bags of milk which had been paid for. For those having visit, they don’t have to worry as they get milk on every visit.

 

It’s Saturday and weekend; fiestas as usual in the pavilion, many are drinking, feasting and having some gay time with their mates. What more should one expect in such a place like this; slammed men, in their prime together, give them freedom of movement, knowledge to brew and distil alcohol, opened portals to smuggled in what can’t be made within their domain; guess one should expect total madness, but we are able to contain it and turn it into fun. Which at the moment seems to drown our sorrows and brings about such an euphoria which helps with the anxiety, fears and uncertainties of being locked up.

 

Looking around the pavilion, one will see lots of new faces, just this week, we had about 10 new inmates hauled in to begin their part of our uncertain journey. Many are trying to adapt and adjust into their new world and what will become their new home for the time being. Some with contacts to send money are buying sleep-spaces, bunks or building their little shacks on top of the overcrowded cells. Above all, they are trying to fit in comfortably into our world as they wait for their fate! 

 

SUN, FEB 16, 2014

Got up early, but ain’t bothered to check out for signal, felt so knackered; went back to sleep. Finally got up when water and the noise both began at once. Laid on my bed listening to some gospel collections as the lads hustled themselves through their morning rituals. Finally got about my day, had the rest of my yesterday’s oatmeal for breakfast after my morning rituals. Took a quick cold shower and back to bed, guess my yesterday’s workout is telling on my body and not having the proper supplements to support my intense workouts ain’t helping either.

 

Got two coconuts for my mate who cooked coconut rice, but the sauce made with canned sardine was not the right complement for the rice, but without money, we can’t afford chicken that came in and going for $15 a piece. Had mine with peanut butter, wasn’t bad at all.

 

3:34:03 PM, SUN, FEB 16, 2014!

Upstairs for about 3hrs and no sign of signal, likely I might stay up late tonight or wake up very early to get online and get my stuffs done.

 

Some lads are still busy with their fiestas, and with the music and drinks comes their drunken catcalls, if only they can keep it a bit quiet, which they can’t, as it won’t be fun without them hearing themselves howl like wolves. So long it keeps the peace, and not physical brawl, it’s all good.

 

One of my cellmates wants to visit a friend of his in pavilion 8 (the second pavilion housing foreign inmates), after asking permission from the cop on duty, the cop directed him to our second in command who in turn demanded $20, just to see his mates. Well, I told him to get his mates on instant messengers and get on with their gossips. It’s all business, someone gotta hustle another to feed his demons; we trample on each other to get to the top, not different from the outside world.

 

Once read that the only force that works well and accurate in the underworld is the force of gravity; no matter who high one has risen, it brings you back to the ground. And prison is where you find many whom gravitational force has taken down, well with help of cops duh!

 

 

‘Life as a whole doles out the good and the bad at us; sometimes, individually we are not strong enough to come back after a setback, but with help from others we can brave the storms of life and have our comeback’ 

 

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” ~ Maya Angelou

 

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ~ Maya Angelou

Prison Life: A Week, Through The Eyes Of An Inmate.

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on February 11, 2014 by doingtimeabroad

 

I think setbacks and obstacles are what make our lives more meaningful. Every minute is a chance to surprise ourselves and evolve as stronger people physically, mentally, and emotionally. To quit or go through the motions is a waste of precious time and the chance to be something great. #PrisonExperience #PrisonCurious!

 

5:31:15 PM, SUN, FEB 9, 2014!

 

It’s been a busy week in the pavilion; but not different from past ones. Our lives are regulated by the same routines on daily basis, with nothing to do, many stick to what they know best; gambling, drinking, rolling and puffing on their joints, while the rest are busy with whatever helps them with doing their time.

 

My week started like others; daily morning rituals and hitting the gym, lately I have been waking up early as I have to make use of internet low traffic and get online to do what I need do, sometimes tried getting back for an hour nap which is never possible. But most days, ended hitting the gym for an early burst of #HIIT workout; thus, leaving my training partners who are late risers.

 

My mate who was due for released wasn’t picked up, likely he will leave by next week. Another stupid error from the direction upstairs, a lad in pavilion 8 was due to be released, a warden armed with his release papers came to our pavilion and picked up the wrong inmate; just because, they both bear same name! The wrong lad was picked sent for medical examination, which is the only time one get to visit the unstaffed clinic, on normal occasion when one is sick, there won’t be appointment made and pick-up. After the lad’s medical, he waited for car all day to take him out, no car came, he was brought back into the population. And same dumbo warden came for him the next day; but luck ran out of the lad as another warden knew the soon-to-be released inmate from pavilion 8, it was then they realised their stupid error, which would be a lucky moment for the lad who hasn’t had his hearing yet.

 

More and more inmates are hauled in, but no space to house them, the gym hall stinks of human odour grilled from the heat of the congested pavilion. And, they seems to be encroaching into our training space, which they have to move into after our workouts and the afternoon handball or basketball. No more four-a-side football games in the hall, as the lads had to be forced to move their stuffs outside. Thus, any activities that must be done in the hall, must be done in the second half of the hall; the catholic and evangelical churches holds their services in the same patch where we use as our gym; thus, the half part of the hall is our multi-purpose functional hall!

 

On Thursday, our headcount, came up very early and got the lads up with many struggling to get up. I have been up very early to get online, it went fast as there was none missing and the cops were good with their mathematics ;-)

 

On my last blog, I did mentioned about our desires for the ultimate pleasure; a massive dildo was found during the search, and everyone denied ownership, the lads inserting pearls on their foreskin to take their partners to a place of no return in the final frontier of ecstasy. Well, it was supposed to be pearl from the beds of the sea, but I later saw one of the old lads who paid a younger lad to do him a pleasurable favour by inserting his young joystick into his rear….. Well, the old lad seems to be the one making the pearl; but from the look of it, it’s no pearl at all, but grinding dominoes piece until they achieved the desired shape and size; I saw one made into a heart shape and the other like a sphere, which will later be inserted under the foreskin of their little men;-)

 

And many are doing it, got me wondering when do they intend to test it? As not many are having conjugal visit, who knows, maybe it does work for those frolicking together under the cover of darkness.

 

Whatever goes on here, are what keeps the pavilion ticking and the lads going. Taken from us the little luxury, means dead sentence. Talking of luxury, can’t remember when I last had a sandwich with cheese spread, but stumbled on two cups of phildelphia cheese spread in my friend’s bunk, he actually gave me one. Who knows which truck they felt from, on checking the expiry date, which has become an obsession for me to check on expiry date before using anything; once got some expired medication for my high blood pressure and it was a six months supply. My little luxury and indulgence was supposed to be used before NOV 2013; got me wondering which store was selling out of date dairy product or had it in stock for that long. Anyway, my mates weren’t bothered as we had our bread spread and enjoyed the salmon-flavoured cheese spread. Though, kept me watching out for any signs of stomach upset, well, so far, so good, there aren’t any. Thus, we are safe, might ask him to send in the second one ;-)

 

We had our voluntary compatriot who represents an organisation back home in #Holland that visit and assist Dutch detainees overseas. When the man came, I was about rounding my workout, had to leave unwashed, wasn’t stinking bad; maybe the stank of testosterone as I had a bad-ass deadlift and chest workout!

 

Upstairs, my pot-bellied compatriots with his two island mates out-hustled us for the meagre stuffs the man brought for us, I talked one into giving me a box of cornflakes. But our two older compatriots (the white ones) were left with nada….. The older lad on clutches had to leave as the lads wouldn’t give him none of their loots. The annoying thing here, these compatriots of mine ain’t using any of what they hustled; they are selling them among the population to use the money for whatever their addiction is.

 

#Weekend came and almost gone, for a moment, there was no moonshine or liquor in the pavilion; but one of my mate got two tanks distilled on Saturday morning to the demand of some partying animals, whose love for our prison brew is likely what is keeping them happy and going. Finally some brew in the slammer.

 

Saturday; being one of my free days to recuperate, woke up early to use the loo and ended up staying up to get online and sent all my saved tweets. Stayed up till the rest got up to joined me. And the lads went about their general cleaning. After the cleaning and washing of the cell, took a shower and went back to sleep. A mate offered me coloured rice, wasn’t bad as I woke up starving. Within the week, there’s been entry of luxury foods; beef, chicken, peanut butter, whole wheat bread….but not having dough meant one have to let them pass! Those with money could do their time in luxury like mob bosses in movies which is one pastime here.

 

Spend most of the day in my bunk, in-between sleep and reading. Having enough stuffs to keep them going, the pavilion was awake and alive with music and shouts of men doing time with all pleasures.

 

#Sunday; like most days of the week, got up to use the loo around 5ish, but ended up on my signal spot by the wall ( someone once asked me, if I’m praying by the wall; well, searching for signal on that wall is more like praying, hoping to get one message across the digital matrix and the power military signal jammers set-up because of the North Koreans)

 

Stayed up till the rest of the pavilion got up to their daily lives. When I finally called it off to get some sleep, heard footsteps running on the passage, thought of what we dreaded most; Search! But it wasn’t search…. It was some young lads high on testosterone and joints running with woods, and metals bars in what would have been a bloody Sunday morning. The fight got the sleepy heads from their beds.

 

Back to my bed to catch some sleep time, then came the catcalling; cops coming in, someone must have called them. They came in to picked up the lads that were involved in the early morning brawl. One as we got to know, look pretty quiet and skinny with his lenses; like a little professor, but he’s a walking killing machine, they say, he’s a sicario, an assassin! He was with the locals, but had him sent here as his life was on the line; which makes me wonder, why do killers get scare when their life is at stake? Well, he and his brawling; a Colombia, but born and breed in Panama, have been shipped to dine with the locals where they truly belong. Hope they survive the heat amongst the locals.

 

8:15:57 PM, SUN, FEB 9, 2014!

 

The rest of the day has been very quiet, and I’m friggin starving, gotta make me something to eat. Signal is very poor tonight, hope it will be better tomorrow. Who knows maybe the tech guys had fine-tuned the jammers, hope not!

 

A sad news earlier this week got me into one of those swing moods; a good pal outside lost his young wife to cancer; such things make one on the inside to think about life in a different perspective. We strive to stay alive at all cost and by all means! But then, our loved ones, we only pray to meet them healthy and alive, even as they worry about us! Well such is life!

 

Still waiting for the response from the justice minister concerning our repatriation back to Holland; the former ombudsman has made series of investigation on the situation of Dutch detainees outside the EU and the government refusal to have them repatriated; the minister promised an answer before the 1st of February, but being a politician, one have to wait till when he’s ready! Politics like war is full of deception and so is life!

 

Life goes on, as we bust and hustle to live through the ordeals of each day. Above all, we have hope (despite also being our torment) that it will be well; someday!

 

 

Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of man. – Friedrich Nietzsche

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