The Mother Of All Brawls; When Age And Fight Don’t Mix

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on November 15, 2015 by doingtimeabroad

“A bad jail wastes a body, and quickly. When I entered cell 6 at Gwanda police station, I was fit. But after five days in a concrete and iron-bar tank, with no food and only a few sips of water, my skin was flaking, my clothes were slipping off, my legs were shiny with mosquito bites and I had a constant migraine. The blanket I was given to lie on the concrete floor had given me lice. The water I’d palmed from the rusty tap in the shower block had given me diarrhoea………. And I stank. So many men had passed through cell 6 they had left their smell on the walls, and while I was making my own, the walls had also passed theirs on to me.” – Alex Perry in #FallingOffTheEdge – Globalisation, World Peace And Other Lies.

Apparently, and ironically my first cell in pavilion 6 of La Joya prison in Panama was Cell B6! Fate and destiny and some wrong turns in life brought me there to begin a journey that could be very uncertain for some; but optimism kept me going and going…… Six years on!

21:08:19 Thursday,  22 Oct. 2015

The mother of all bombs #MOAB? Heard of that when The US was working on all ends to get to Osama in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Six years behind bars, I’ve seen inmates get slashed, open up like animals been slaughtered in abattoirs, have seen inmates running with hands holding unto their entrails, trying to keep them back in their right places before they spill out; some survived, but most don’t as police and wardens never come to the scene when it’s still hot, they always wait till proper damages had been done. I have heard barrages of gunshots and seen inmates enacting scene in movies; taking cover as bullets flies through the air like swallow. But, all the fight and gangs things are always between young and middle-aged prisoners as they never lived to old age to continue their wars. The lucky ones who made it to their old age are either handicapped and too maimed from knives or gunshots to continue with gang-banging.

The unlucky ones; upon release, who still can’t let go of the old ways  comes back to prison at old age and pretends to be wise, giving endless and senseless narratives of their lives and how the young should live; but then, the game must have changed as new blood are running #PrisonGangs and it becomes lawless with no codes to guide and keep the gangs in check. It then becomes a free for all fight, where everyone hustle each other for survival!

The old ones are powerless compared to the strength of the youths, but always instigating brawls and hid under the umbrella of old age; knowing very well, no-one will touch them!

The above is a tip of the iceberg of our lives in one of Panama’s notorious prison; La Joya (The Jewel Of The Jungle).

Today we witnessed the ‘Mother Of All Brawls’ #MOAB: A physical brawl between two pensioners, men above their sixties throwing punches at each other ;)

Everything was in slowmotion, despite all the efforts they put to make it faster, they just couldn’t get it together. Got the lads laughing, even the cop on duty couldn’t help but laugh at what he was seeing.

It all started outside and spilled into the gym hall. I for one saw this coming, as I knew from the beginning that this day will come. It all began when our Polish-Canadian was hauled in and added to our ever-increasing numbers. Born into the catholic faith and claimed to have been a catholic priest (hope someone investigate him for abuses, who knows) and now a Sikh, but one with blonde hair, and blue eyes, though all turned white – thus, his nickname; Santa Claus (A Jamaican rasta stamped the name on him and it fits him well)!

Since his day one here, he never stopped talking of his exploits. He actually took everyone for a fool – literally! Which earned him his first enemy; another old lying Canadian who’s almost clocking seven years here and still doesn’t know where he stands (apparently, he can’t stand as his two legs wouldn’t support him).

From day one, he never liked Santa Claus, hated everything about him, both of them pick on each other trying to build camps amongst us, but prisoners are too smart to take up sides with ailing old men who can’t keep quiet; hope it’s not what comes with old age ;) , both old farts loathes each other, they can’t stand the sight of each other.

Santa Claus, being a Sikh and vegetarian, took to gardening and he’s been doing very well; provides us with all sorts of herbal tea and vegetables. According to him, he’s herbs cures anything and  everything. I do pick some, but only what I’ve research and know their health’s benefits. Many diabetic inmates go to him for herbs which they boil and drink as the prison isn’t taking care of them. And his clientele is growing, which makes his archenemy more jealous of him; he wants some of his herbs, but santa is not willing and ready to give him even a weed. He’s been a very naughty old fart, thus, no green gifts from santa ;-)

No matter what Santa Claus do, doesn’t go well with his fellow country man; who has his own closest full of white and black lies. Prisoners, they friggin love lying ;) – I have learned not to believe anything here, I always take anything and everything said by a prisoner with a pinch of salt. Like horse and carriage which goes hand in hand, lies and prisoners are interwoven ;)

No day goes by without both men getting verbal with each other; always entertaining, the lads just like anything that will take the boredom away, no matter how bloody it could become and where it’s coming from; even from old men!

The old crooked-crook with his crooked legs was outside, beside Santa’s garden, something he does every day; yoga and stretching of his old limps. But, decided to pick on santa today more than on other days. They both exchanged heated old mens’ words. Since the cop was around, the crooked old fart, got inside with his group; I normally keep weights for him and his lads, I do it out of sheer ‘being good’.

Inside, he was moody and restless, his training mates (his students; as he claimed to have trained with all bodybuilding icons), set up the weights. But he sneaked to where our non-working public telephones are as he saw Santa there.

I was under the barbell on my last set, working my triceps (close grip bench press), when I heard cheering noises on the far corner of the hall. I knew something was going down; since it wasn’t the sound of gunshots or inmates scrambling for shelter, I knew whatever it was, was entertaining ;-)

Mano-a-Mano, he called up Santa to vent out his anger that’s  been boiling inside of him all day. Santa, who was also expecting this to come, took his stance; apparently, he took few boxing lessons from our former world boxing champion when the lad newly arrived until he fell out with him. He does fall out with everyone.  I guess I’m one of the few who still talk to him; he likes talking, and I’m never tired of listening to whatever anyone says ;) , even when all that comes out of their mouths are stupidity.

Then, came the mother of all brawls; hands were folded, stances taken, eyes fixed on the opponent; it was beautiful watching two old lads in their sixties acting as teenagers. They moved in circle, watching and aiming to where their punches will make the most impact. The crooked old Canadian threw his first punch, Santa retaliated with two and got him pretty good. When the old crooked lad recovered and threw his second, which floored Santa, he himself couldn’t get his feet to keep him up (that’s when the laugh took a different turn), he literally crumbled on the floor as his crooked legs couldn’t hold him. Both got engaged and entangled on the floor; a bit more like gay porn than prison fight ;-), but gay porn with granddads. Meanwhile, their movements and punches were all in slowmotion mode; the lads wanted something fast and in real-live ;). But age and aching muscles wouldn’t let them move their limbs faster!

While this was going on, the door was closed and noise kept low so the cop outside won’t hear or know what was going on ;-).  But, he eventually came, watched and just laughed seeing two old farts entangled on the floor, probably acting out their aged fantasies, trust the lads, they let them be.

Finally, we got in and pull them apart, enough of old men acting out their teenage fantasies; probably they never fought when they were teenagers, so they were looking forward to it this day.

For Santa Claus, it’s not his first fight and the old crooked guy has had several encounters but his crooked legs has always saved him from being lynched. Santa has been on the receiving side of serious punches; something we suspected was ordered and paid for by Gringo Loco who finally left after 9 years+ in Panama’s Prisons for violating minors; friggin toothless paedophile. Till date Santa can’t move his jaws probably, good a thing he’s a vegetarian as he wouldn’t think of chewing meats ;)

I had to get Santa away; who couldn’t help chanting; “he attacked me first” ….like a million times. I was scared that one of them might have a cardiac attack! Glad it didn’t happen.

The Crooked old lad went back to his training, but he wasn’t there as his mind wandered back to what had happened; how he underestimated Santa Claus, a Sikh and vegetarian, who does not lift weight like him, but took him on physical brawl. We watched the old fart sit out his entire gym time without lifting any weight, and shame couldn’t let him walk in to his cell. Probably, he’s now realised how stupid he was and has always been by getting into arguments with younger prisoners.

After all said and done and life return to what we know as normal in prison! My young Canadian mate (one of the few close to me) came over to my cell, and I told him what happened as he wasn’t in the gym. He couldn’t help laughing; both old men are always telling him tales of their lives, but like others here, he’s come to know, both old men are jokes! They can’t see anyone stand around them without sharing words of wisdom or rather foolishness ;-)

We talked and joke about the fight, and talked of   walking into an old people home, and then stumbled  upon two old men encircling each other with fist folded and ready to throw punches on each other, but then, both forgot what they were about to do and ended up embracing each other, in toothless smiles! Got the joke?

And their fight wasn’t the only brawl today!

Well, I had to get myself through my postworkout routine; meals, shower and washed my gym clothes. While I was busy in the cell, another fight was going on, on the B part of the pavilion; two lads were fighting over a laundry line.

That’s the most outrageous thing that could happen to any sane human; well most people here aren’t sane! Their mates made room for both to fight Mano-a-Mano, no weapon drawn or about to! With enough space, many took out their phones to capture the fight live; reminds me, have to ask if anybody recorded the two grandads fighting today ;)

A training mate who witness both fights today, captured the second and has sent to them to me; but they are of poor quality. Will look around for better quality.

One of the lads was battered, saw him with plaster on one eye like a Pirate; how he got that on his face, friggin don’t know, but he look pretty bad.

With a growing and overcrowding population, serious tension is building up amongst us. And more younger criminals are hauled in; these ones acts and reacts without giving any second thought as to what the consequences of their actions will be.

The first thing I see all the new lads does is fashion metals into knives or anything that would be used to harm or defend themselves when the time comes. What they actually fail to see is the many weapons lying around us; literally, one doesn’t need a knife to have a good fight ;)

Saturday, 31 October 2015

All week, have kept up with my daily routines of exercises, mixing #yoga and other forms of workouts; #Crossfit #HIIT #Complexes. And I’m seeing the results of my dedication and determination.

My consul showed up with two visitors from back home #NL (representatives of #ReclassieringNL) and two volunteers who are willing to make out time to visit us; nice of them. The visit was brief as there was nothing new for me, got some novels to keep me busy.

Weekends always come with the lads doing something interesting with their boredom; most hits the bottles, others stick to their gambling, while the blowers keep up with puffing; some stay 24hrs stoned and high, got me always wondering if they ever want to get low for an hour. Can’t friggin imagine staying high all day; being controlled by controlled substances all day. Might be fun or sheer pathetic.

We didn’t have our general cleaning today as water is bit shaky lately, so I made it to the gym for a saturday workout, more of a top up to round up my week. Went for legs and #HIIT bodyweight routines, finished good and surge of endorphins kicked in – it’s gonna be a #GoodWeekend.

Hell! No! My vegetable-monger cellmate who doesn’t go well with alcohol took to drinking since Friday’s night and continued today. When the old dude who sleeps in the gym hall’s floor came in like always; my cellmate decided to pick on him, something he does always.

The old lad lives alone on his little island with his fellow accused; that prompted my drunk cellmate into asking him if he shags his goats and ass (Buro) since there’s no woman on his little island. The old lad got mad, picked up my training wood, got him to drop it, he took his stance as my cellmate came back at him. Within seconds, the old lad has thrown his folded fist slamming everything on my mate’s face (which later gave him an horn on his forehead) ;)

It took my mate about 30 seconds to recover from whatever hit him. Like our old crooked Canadian who underestimated Santa Claus, my cellmate thought same about the old lad. But the man surprised him and others (yeah! Others loved it, they wanted more fight). I stopped them and closed the door, locking my cellmate inside and the old lad to the gym where I know he wouldn’t find peace as the young lads always pick on him; teasing him and calling him pistolero as he was arrested with a revolver!

The fight didn’t end as my cellmate went after the old due with broomstick, none made any move or attempt to stop him. Got to the old lad who was sitting quietly thinking about what misery he’s gotten himself into; just like everyone here. My cellmate hit him, but the old lad overpowered him and pinned him to the concrete floor, launched some power punches on him ;) hahaha!

Seems our old lads are trying to send a message to the young bloods, that they still have their mojos, they shouldn’t mistake old age for their will to survive in the midst of young hot bloods who are eager to fight. My cellmate returned to the cell and armed himself with an icebreaker he made from a sharp metal; the news got to the old lad and soemone told me also. I knew he won’t use that on me. But being warned is as good as being safe!

The old lad had him reported to the cop on duty who must have seen or heard about the brawl; but didn’t react as there was no blood spilled and moreover it was an old fart beating up a younger lad who has given his strength to liquor and thinking about his wife whom he believed is being shagged by another. No day goes by without him being at odds with his missus; she is thousands of miles away in Colombia, while he’s slammed up abroad in Panama and worries himself to death on what she is doing and with whom she is doing it with! What a twat!

On Sunday, a meeting was held and my cellmate was summoned to the meeting; it was all about kicking him out of the pavilion as many knew he armed himself to hurt the old man. He broke one of our vital unwritten rule; never pick up a weapon against another inmate, always go Mano-a-Mano if you want to fight!

He came to me to plead with the pavilion’s executive and talk to the cop to let him stay; denying he wasn’t armed. Hope he’s pardoned. Despite everything, he’s still drinking, all sunday!

He joined a new group up the passage and been on it, but always crying in bed when alcohol kicks into his system.

Monday, 2nd Nov. 2015

Hit the gym after cooking our lunch for another bouts of #LegsDay; had a wonderful workout, mixing abs and rope jump. Went heavy on squat, hitting 275lbs with 7 reps, could have gone on more weights but had other routines; did deadlifts, RMD, lunges and finished outside with slow jogging and few sprints. Enough for a Monday!

Inside, found out that my cellmate still drnking, but with another group, hope they keep an eye on him as he explodes after a few cups of our potent liquor.

Did my laundry, showered, tried napping, but can’t – noisy! It’s always noisy here!

November is here, and the month when the lads take to drinking till the end of the year. It’s also the hottest period in the pavilion as we anticipate and expect searches by cops as they come looking for #moonshine and whatever they can nicked from prisoners. They actually nick from us; money, food, and any tiny stuffs that can be stuffed into their police kits and pockets.

From now till the end of the year, we are always on full alert waiting for them; the cops!

Our much-awaited consular visit happened last month, she finally came, along with end-of-year visitors from home; Nederland and two volunteers who will be making out time to visit us here ;).

The visit was like others, #NoNews; sometimes the consular visit always raise our levels of anxieties, but I’ve learned to expect nothing, not even what I requested to be bought for me, but on this visit, she did surprised me by buying thing I suggested that I need; cleaning materials – bleach, clothes conditioner, brush and other things. It was one of those #PrisonersMoment; something you wished for, but knowing that it’s a wish, but then you get it.

Those things saved me tons of #PrisonCash as I would have paid 3x the prices she bought them here.

My compatriots got what they ordered, like always, they resell them at #PrisonPrice to make more. But, one in particular sold his toilet papers and came down to the grocer in my cell to buy the same toilet paper at a higher price. He probably sold it for 75ct and ended up buying one for $1.50ct – Penny wise, pounds foolish!

The visit was really needed as I was stint on #PrisonEssentials; toiletries and BP medications, I’ve given up hope of going to the clinic. Self-medication might not be advisable, but when you are in prison, you definitely want to survive and you want to do by any means, which always lead to Self-medication. I don’t just pop in anything, I do my research with govt sites and other reputable medical organisations before; NHS, CDC, Mayo Clinic, Web MD, and ApotheekNL! ;-)

November! For many of the lads it’s been fiesta to fiesta – non-stop rumba in the jungle!

Sun, 8. Nov. 2015

December and Christmas are around the corner, the lads are in festive mode and mood. Moreover, Panama is celebrating independence from Colombia. The lads aren’t left out in the celebration, it’s been distilling and straight from the bootleg factories to cups of ravers. Anyone new to the pavilion will think of the place as a strip with watering holes lining all sides.

Some started early on Thursday, the hardcore ones picked up on Friday and continued till today; once they hit the bottle is hard to get them to stop. Some will do with the noise and booze, while others end up in brawl.

Talking of brawl, majority of the lads, once drunk, can’t keep their mouth shut. And once mouths are opened and certain words uttered, it always end in physical brawls. Most men can’t keep their thoughts to themselves, they sometimes think very loud ;-), and whatever you are thinking loud might not go well with your drinking mates, which eventually leads to counter loud-thinking and sometimes to a different level.

I have seen drinking parties turned messy after a lad allowed his tongue to slipped; spilling out ann open-secret about his drinking mate’s missus being shagged by another who was released. It wasn’t something to tell a drunken prisoner. And it didn’t end well with the lad who couldn’t keep his thought from being too loud to everyone’s hearing ;-)

From Friday, there has been pockets of brawls involving those drinking and non-drinkers. One lad in particular is always unlucky with alcohol, each time he drinks, he ends up  with one black eye. There’s never been a time he drinks without getting punch or had his head shaved or eye brows cleaned off ;-), sometimes his mates add lipstick and complete make-up to make him look a bit beautiful. Thanks to our shemale who is always ready to lend a helping hand when the lads need her makeup case. I think most lads picked him for lousy arguments, and end up punching him; he’s also a violent guy, as they know when he’s drunk, he’s spills rubbish.

I won’t heap the blame on others for his own doing. If you can’t control yourself after some cups of chicha, then abstain from indulgence; that’s my manera! Period!

Others brawls over the weekend has been with smokers over nicked weed or missing white lines. My sexually-confused cellmate was involved in one, but was exonerated as they found out, he didn’t snort the white lines. But he was wasted over the weekend from drinking and he does a lot of talking and shaming; he did say, that he’s man enough to have come out, but others aren’t man enough to come out of their closets. I know many who are still floating around their sexuality ;-).

The weekend really ended with a bang!

As for sleep, I doubt if many did get good sleep. The noise began on Friday and went on through Sunday, I try to do interval naps when I can. My cell also was a host to a party which almost drove everyone berserk, nobody slept everyone was feeling sick after the party; only two from the cell were in the party. It almost got my pharmacist-cellmate his first proper fight; after he approached the young lad who was wested from days of drinking to take his noise elsewhere. I went in to calm the situation and saved the day.

Despite my poor sleep over the weekend, I still made it out on Monday for my daily workout. The best part of my prison life is having  something I’m always looking forward to. I go to sleep each night looking forward to a new day and doing what I have to do to get me going and occupied. It’s something to do with postive attitude and mentally towards life irrespective of the conditions one finds himself.

Prisoners and Lies; can’t separate one from the other. Intel and rumours about our seized dvd’s and other things during the last search had it that ‘it’s likely the pavilion’s president and his band of followers must have wheeled and dealt with all the stuffs as cops were meant to return them, but till date no signs of them.

Such are what goes on amongst crooked crooks and it’s always the reasons they die like roaches; no honour amongst crooks. They played, double-crossed each others in businesses, and the only way to get back even is to hurt the most crooked.

I now know why scores are settled by the ultimate price; death! To most latino gangs, it does not matter how little the amount stolen or swindled by a mate, what matter is the honour and trust lost. I have seen local prison gangs killed another for a stick of cigarette – must have been an expensive smoke ;-)

Thus, cops has seized our electronics, but planned to return them. But, the team in charge of getting them back has gone over and sold them amongst the locals or even to the foreigners in pavilion eight. Such is life in prison; trust no-one, nobody; sometimes the lads don’t trust themselves. Tell an inmate to keep watch over your stuffs while you’re busy, he tells you he can’t, because he doesn’t even trust himself.  I’ve learned to live not trusting anyone here; I take them superficially for what they are, crooked crooks ;)


Thursday 12 Nov. 2015

#Weekend is around the corner! I’m up for another day and ready to take the day, prepared for whatever I can control and accept what is beyond me control; such is our lives in Prison. There are quiet a lot beyond the prisoner’s control, those thing they call unforeseen circumstances! But, if one pays attention to every details within and about, nothing will be unforseen as something always lead to another and sometimes bloody and fatal.

Ready for today’s routine in our improvised gym, I’m always looking forward to it alone as my training partners aren’t dependable, I really can’t build our exercise routines around them. Even, if I told them what we will do the next day, they will be sitting around waiting for me to come out and bring out the materials for the day’s workout.

Some days, I choose to do all-bodyweight routine just to keep a little distance from them, and whenever I do that, I always throw them off course ;-). They become confused, not knowing what to do.

Rushed through breakfast of coffee, bread and two fried eggs before hitting the gym. The gym was busy despite the door being left open for those willing to take a walk outside. The cop on duty knows it’s grilling hot inside, so he allows us ample of time outside in turns. Most inmates once outside wouldn’t want to get back inside; well nobody wants to be locked up in this oven-like building where we are been baked by heat emitted from our own bodies.

After my workout today, and my postworkout rituals; postworkout meal, shower, wash gym clothes and pop online for anything new. Decided to take a power nap as I had woken up early today. While I nap, a @Reuters photojournalist was in the pavilion and was given permission to come, something panama refused other journalists. I heard he did interviews with few inmates, but had to leave as he was running out of time. And, promised to come back on Friday. Hope to speak with him.

Another round of distilling in the cell as the lads working against time to get some booze ready for weekend as many will be hitting the benders to celebrate time in prison ;-)

Lately, I’ve been feasting on lentils and whatever bushes I could pick from Santa Claus’ organic garden. I’m doing less meats; actually those without money are doing no meats as the prison food rarely come with meat. Anything meaty are sold off and we get bare watery soup with half-cooked rice. Majority of the lads has got no idea what a healthy food should be; fried chicharrón with rice cooked in half litre of rice or fried arepa (maize massa deep fried) are all healthy choices the lads will murder for. And many aren’t keen about exercising – Naaaaaah! Not their thing ;-)

I’m one of the few still hanging on routers and modem for internet connection. Many are opting for Samsung and LG phones that pick up signals at different parts of the pavilion. These phones are easy to stash and not bulky like routers. Seem I will join them, that will be when I have the money as what I need is the HTC ONE M8; pick up signal very well and also good for my online activities ;)

Stayed up a bit for signal which sometimes can be pretty hard to come by.

Finally gave up and retired to my quiet cell as the lads were all snoozing; that’s the only time the cell is quiet… Oh! Mi Dios ;)

Did some reading and tweeting before nature took hold of me….Zzzzzzzzzz ;)

Friday, 13 Nov. 2015

6:58:20 PM

Another #DarkDay in the history of #France after terrorists attacked #Paris!

We are actually watching it live on television as Panama media hooks up with other international media. I’m also live-tweeting as everything about the attacks unfolds!

What’s happening in Paris tonight will definitely raise the bar on the war on terror; this will be the game-changer, the moment of decisions for all the heads of European nations.

I believe the attackers must have slipped into Europe disguised as refugees . How will Europe know who is who? I hope France and Europe will come out stronger and more united against the extremism of all kinds.

For the first time, my cellmates were attentive to the news on television; everyone sat down with faces centered on their television sets. Many aren’t worried as Europe and the Middle East are far away from Latin America.

“In a connected world, it is no longer enough to hit your immediate enemy. You also have to strike at what you perceive as its underlying origins, even if that’s half a world away.” – Alex Perry

Six years behind bars and witness to many life’s devastating events around the world and all of them has taken lives of innocent people. When will all these carnage and chaos end? Like Plato rightly put it, “Only the dead has seen the end of war.”!

“Better to die with dignity than live with humiliation.” – Hussein (Mohammed’s grandson as he lay dying in Karbala, the birth place of the #Shia faith and faction of #Islam – with a sword in one hand and a #Koran in the other) – Seems that’s the underlying and founding stone for all terrorism and those perverting islam!

Would we say, only those who had paid with their lives for the ‘unholy’ religious was has seen the end of this mindless war? Likely!

#ParisUnderAttack #FreedomUnderAttack #EuropeUnderAttack #BordersClosed #EUClosedBorders

Back to my day; had woken up early to use the loo, tried getting online as it would have been the best time to surf, but my friend’s router was down. Had to get back to sleep. Didn’t sleep for long as the lads were up with a bang; once the first wakes and another joins him, two are enough for lousy morning conversation over flimsy things. Sometimes, talks could be about soup, fish, or just about anything that will make any sane human wonder what prisoners actually do with so much time ;)

Finally, got up and set about today’s routine, could be repetitive, but I always try to make it different from the previous day’s and interesting. In the gym, I always add something to my main workout routine to keep the body guessing and to avoid plateaus. While with my reading, I browse through saved articles or pick up an old magazine for a timeout from whatever book I’m reading at hand. And I try to avoid unnecessary talks or discussion that won’t benefit me. I always refer to use their phones and do some basic research or search Google; which has become their instant judge to settle all arguments ;-)

Saturday, 14 Nov. 2015

Woke up early to set up my downloads and run through news and development on #ParisAttack, the toll of the attack were climbing; praying it stops!

Back to sleep for a two-hour sleep before 8am when our cleaning starts; today, my old grocer-mate is washing and cleaning the cell, something he hates doing, then don’t return to prison. Apparently, this is his second time in the Joint.

Woke up exactly 07:45 and went about picking up stuffs to make room for him, he had to wait as everyone woke up at the same time. One brushes his teeth, another in the loo and I set water for #greentea on the stove ;)

With my tea and #Yoga mat, headed out to the gym, the cop wasn’t here yet, so the door remained locked and many stood waiting for the cop who later came late! And breakfast also came very late, by that time, I was already into sets/reps on back squats and front squats ;), made today’s workout very enjoyable as I trained alone: hitting the legs hard and then into an all-body #HIIT #Hardcore workout ;)

Most who went outside after the cop opened the door were sent inside after the police commissioner was heard to be coming this way. Rounded up my workout with hanging leg raise for the abs ;)

Back inside, my old grocer bought fatty pork chops with massive skin on each, my boxer mate refused cooking, had to cook it for them (grilled) while I made eggs and ate with leftover lentils from last night dinner.

This week has seen new faces hauled into our already choked and overcrowded population; we are overflowing and still counting in a building built for 216 #Prisonners, we are clocking almost 650 prisoners now and more are coming. They can’t and won’t stop coming and Panama won’t stop churning them into their overcrowded prison factories, which in return churns out graduated and seasoned baddies to the streets of Panama; #ViciousCircle

Amongst the sixteen newbies hauled in this week, five happened to be old faces returning to pick up where they left ;-), one is a fourth-timer. There’s a joke making rounds about the lad; it’s better he buys a bunk and keep it for himself, whenever he goes out and return, he won’t be worried about starting afresh or from the bottom. Our new President who returned for the second time, returned to his former cell and bed, where he was haertly welcomed. He now have a personal chef who grills and fry anything edible for him, both are severly obese and being obese in a place like this where mobility is restricted is the worse thing to happen to anyone.  Well, most think eating whatever their money can buy is living large, sometimes money are being spend on unhealthy foods and that’s what many here are doing.

Another development this evening, our PA system went up for a meeting to reshuffle the pavilion’s leadership and vote in a new president and new members of the executive board that will work with the new president. The present one and his team are said to be chronically corrupt, so much dark-prison businesses going on which we only hear through whispers. The locals has turned our pavilion into their recreation centre, heard a local came partying here and slept over; something no foreigner will ever try. The more easy for the locals to move in and amongst us, the easier it is for them to carry out any job on any one of us. In the past, the most they can come is outside the wire fence, but now, they walk in freely, and some even steal from us with the help of their friends amongst us.

There are rumours making rounds that our seized dvd players and other items had probably been flogged in the market by the president and his team. The cops were willing to return the items after picking out what they liked and wanted. But what was left to be returned took a different turn and till date, no news of it. Such is life in prison, none is straight, everyone looks out for himself and his own.

Tonight’s meeting was a briefing, it’s likely an election will be held tomorrow for a new leadership to run the prison affairs. It’s ironic how one could run, lead and control men that society couldn’t control and tamed ;). I believe it takes a criminal to understand another criminal, thus, it only takes prisoners to be able to run other prisoners; that probably the reason cops and wardens has no presence amongst the population. Everything inside the pavilion are left in the hands of inmates to take care, and it could be a very dicey situation as we have seen in different pavilions. Brawls leading to deadly fatalities has been witnessed in several pavilions over leadership and control of businesses which are mostly drugs deals in the pavilions.

Hope we will be able to choose someone who wouldn’t be preoccupied with his own personal affair, but one that will work, having the pavilion’s interest in mind.

11:58:10 PM one of my cellmate is distilling, the cell is like an oven prepared for baking, not even our old fans helping with the heat. I’m outside the cell waiting for him to finish before I take another shower and tuck into my bunk for the night.

The more turbulence, the more intense the struggle, the greater evidence of can-do hustle and ambition. #survivingprison #Darwin

Your ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not is the key to success.

#SurvivingPrison #StayingFitInPrison

When Things Fall Apart – Chaos Is Born

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on September 21, 2015 by doingtimeabroad

Would we say that Prisoners are no better than wild beasts – hard to tamed and easily enticed by what they love most; Crime. ……. but then, not all are guilty of crimes charged; miscarriage of justice!

Meanwhile in the wildest of jungle deep in excruciating heat of the tropical sun of Panama. Prisoners, young and old, presumably innocents and pronounced guilty are slammed together in overcrowded buildings (pavilions) built and modelled after the Nazi’s concentration camps, scattered around a massive terrain of jungle grounds. This is the human jungle where lives are reborn or perished. Prisons of humanity!

So far, it’s been relatively quiet as nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary has happened amongst me and my fellow time-travellers.  There’s been the occasional outburst of angers with words, sometimes ended in physical brawls. Couple of them unsheathed their knives, but never get to use them as the spectators intervened; we all know what will happen if anyone is stabbed, cops will come ransacking searching for the weapon used.

Thus, to safe us from scrambling to our stashes, we try not to spill blood like the locals do; they just love it, no day pass by without bloodletting amongst the local inmates in their various pavilion. Most fights amongst prisoners are always results of bad debts, bad words, prison and street gangs wars, and lately over #PrisonLove; the locals don’t mess with their love lives. Their girls are always watched and beaten when misbehaved, they really do take care of their own ;) – taming the bitch!

Some of the latest fights in our pavilion has been over unpaid winnings from lottery most of the lads hawk around. One the lottery vendor was beaten into unconsciousness by a trainee-boxer; kicked him on his head after he floored him. Lad went ‘blackout’ ;-) had to be helped on his feet by his thieving mate, who nicked my friend’s modem.

Another brutal fight was with our vampire, who survived bouts of tuberculosis, gaining weight now after a month or two in the infirmary, really hope he’s fully cured of it. Would be disastrous if we have. Tuberculosis outbreak here in a pavilion build for 216 prisoners but has over 600 now!

He was hit on his forehead by his snorting partner of a missing pouch of coke ;), lad went about with an enormous swell, made him look more like a rhino with the hump on the centre of his forehead ;-)

He laid out his plans (which is what every prisoner learn when hauled in – patience), waited patiently until a visit day, as the young lad came back smiling with his newly stock of provisions brought in by his mum; mothers, they’ll do anything and everything even the blackest of her sheep.

Our vampire came from nowhere; was actually waiting but merge into the crowded population (every damn place in the pavilion is crowded, even our toilets), and my bunk is damn crowded with books ;-) – he threw just one power-punch which caught the lad on his mouth, sending out two teeth ;-), the young lad who was had barely any was left with toothless mouth, will be hard to get a willingly girlfriend with that, well, gangsters always get what girl they want. The fight didn’t last 3 seconds as our vampire did what vampires do; spill blood! The young lad was thrown into confusion as he was expecting it. Well, that ended their brawl and a line was drawn between both of them, they became sworn enemies – but have to live side by side in the same open-plan pavilion – always on the lookout!

The same young; apparently, he’s got affinity to trouble, got involved with some gambling lads while I was in the gym, don’t mess with a gambler as you don’t know how much of his life he’s losing on the green table ;-). One went after him, and the young lad pulled out his knife – he’s been walking with it since the fight with our vampire! ‘Be Prepared’ and ‘Be armed’.

That was the last straw, he was thrown outside, I actually got in and saved him from being lynched by the mob of inmates, escorted him to the cop outside, who arranged for him taken upstairs where he was locked up with some locals under punishment in a tiny cell under the administration building. They do all their things in empty cans of milk or chocolate and in the morning wash themselves – this is hell, but up there is Dante’s worst part of hell; #Inferno! I’m very much ok with the Hell I can manipulate and adapt to ;)

Another joined him, he nicked a cellmate’s phone, lad was actually sent back upon release as he has an extradition request  from his country Colombia pending, but will take ages for Colombia to come for him. I wonder what those who threw him out told the cops; nobody will tell them, he nicked a phone ;-), anyway they got him out – one thief less!

Another who pulled a machete after a boxer floored him on top of the cells, was also thrown out; he was sent to pavilion five, hope the 24 hours church service will change him. Yet to see the locals there change, maybe it will work for him as a foreigner ;)

While we struggle with our daily bursts of angers over little issues, the locals take theirs to the extreme; falling back on their weapons for proper support. Through prison intel networks, we get daily updates of what’s happening around the two prisons in the expansive complex; La Joyita and La Joya.

Meanwhile, a few has had their #LongWalkToFreedom in the past months, but they are rapidly filled up with newbies who are hauled in twice a week; Tuesdays and Fridays! We have our queen to always welcome them with blow-kisses and warmth embrace – our reigning #Shemale!

Life goes on as always, nothing of importance or out of the ordinary has happened so far.

But this week has gotten us shaken to our core, more or less woken us to the true reality of where we are; #Prison and a very notorious one!

On Thursday, the 17th of September, we heard barrages of gunshots, from the sounds, we knew it’s from the other prison; La Joyita, thus we weren’t shaken or worried! Someone will always want to another over some flimsy grievances. #PrisonViolence

Later that day, intel started coming in along with a video of the Wild Wild West action – live in prison, of inmates running around with guns, shooting and being shot at; some of the lads just love it, proper action flick! Later in the evening, we heard on the news of the fallen and wounded that were taken to hospital. But, what people outside wouldn’t know, it took police 30 mins to get to the shooting scene, they waited until the gangs had done their cleansing, then they went in, and as always, no gun was found! Hahaha ;) what a joke! They are all clowns!

Since it’s always been calm here, we enjoyed the privilege of going outside for fresh air if we have a good cop on the door, little did we Know that will be ending soon along with so many benefits and will throw our lives into one one waiting, anticipation and watching.

Thursday night; few lads were drinking and doing what they do when weekend is approaching. Meanwhile some young new lads were busy planning their #PrisonBreak #EscapeToTheWild; few amongst them had been taking serious boxing lessons from a former world champion who’s here with us. One did trained with me couple of times in the gym, another bought my old trainers; for this purpose, something to give him a good flight.

Thursday night came with a thick fog, that one can barely see his nose if he was walking around the fields outside. And the generator operated floodlights were out of service; perfect combo for #PrisonBreak8 – when the lads, a group of eight young lads were busy working on the lock, many in the gym hall saw them, but as part of #Prisoners’ Omerta; no-one uttered a word! And I was still up and online, sitted in the front of my cell. Though we are locked and separated from them after 10pm every day. When I finally called a night around 4am, a lad came by telling us, it’s hot as there’s been some escape; that cops were outside the perimeters. Had thought it was probably amongst the locals, but on walking out and asking others, then it downed on me, that today’s episode of #PrisonBreak was actually shot and acted out right under my nose; quite a lot can happen without one’s knowledge, well, I only know what I want to know.

My old Canadian friend who has spent more than 6 years left on Wednesday’s afternoon, escaping whatever will come from this escape!

Within minutes of knowing that the break was in our pavilion, we were done with stashing and hiding what ought to be taken care of. Then we sat waiting for cops! Had to forced myself to catch a few minutes of nap before they came; they actually acted calmly.

We were called out for headcount, as they wanted to know the numbers of escapees; took out my push-ups woods and a gallon of water as none knew how long we would be left outside under the blazing sun.

Counted, I went about my daily exercises, tried to get my mind off the consequences of today’s prison break. Had a fierce and badass workout and #yoga stretches. Also did some short distance sprint as we weren’t allowed to venture behind the pavilion, not even allowed to use the monkey bars behind the building. They didn’t stop me and a mate as we went about our workout.

Another round of headcount, but this time by last names, had to wait till I was called in. Finally in, showered, ate and decided to sleep over the problem. Sleep does cure a lot, even prisoners’ worries ;)

Everything was stopped from coming into the Pavilion, not even the workers who had visit were allowed out, we finally got our lunch and dinner around 5am; glad the grocers in the pavilion had stocks to meet our hungry needs ;-).

It started to downed on us who and who made the prison break; 6 Colombians, mostly related and drug mules who were arrested in the jungle and two Panamanians that shouldn’t have been brought in here; and both were on high profile murder case. One killed a family of three and the other also killed someone, both were native Indians – bloody aggressive fellas; seen the first few times always staring blankly into the unknown. They were supposed to be sent to their fellow locals, but fear that they will be lynched made the cops sent them to us; we friggin take all their scumbags!

Glad he escaped! Now shit has hit fan as the news of him escaping has hit the airwaves, families of his victims won’t take it lightly with the government for now sending him to an isolation maximum security facility.

The lads cut through the lock, the wire fences and escape into the wild; prisoners always love the wild as they are wild themselves.

When our phones were finally switched on and signal started coming in, intel were coming that they are safe in the jungle waiting for nightfall before continuing with their journey towards the border with Colombia.

Unknowingly to us, the main financer and venture capital behind the #PrisonBreak8 went over to get laid by his girlfriend who has been here to see him during several visits; forgetting that panama is a police state, like the old East German State, cops keep data’s of everyone. By Friday afternoon, he was recaptured in his girlfriend’s bunk, where he was cooling down. And the rest of his group were lost in the jungle.

The lad was all over the news, even the president was forced to say something about the violence and incapacity of his police force on running his prison system; corruption has eaten through the core of the system. Will be hard to clean it thoroughly!

As of today Sunday, 20 sep. 2015 – they media has finally gotten clips of the native Indian #Cholo who murdered the family of three in Darien on air, he’s probably the most wanted man right now in Panama. From what I learnt from few native Indians here, he won’t be allowed back into the Indian country or reservation as he’s committed a serious crime. My best guess, he will be heading towards Colombia and probably will join the rebels. That’s what most lads are saying here!

The minister in charge of security in the country is also confused as he spoken of corruption in the police force and how the prison system is engulfed in corruption. Like always, they are planning hitting us big; but a one-time hit and then leave without getting prisoners into the proper part of rehabilitation won’t bring about any changes in the system from what it used to be. The old way has always been the way the lads know and when there is nothing new to replace what they want to change, everyone will fall back to the old way; corruption and crime!

This is an article on the state of affairs in panama and her prison system and the inability of the forces to handle and control things.

Henríquez pierde el control del sistema penitenciario | By Erika Edith Quiñones ( | @ErikaZayuky

Via  @PanamaAmerica –

22:05:08 Sunday  20 sep. 2015:

Intel coming in, there are five busloads of cops in the premises; definitely means we are being stormed as early as the first sighting of daylight tomorrow morning. Gotta rush and publish this and get my stuff stashed. What has kept me through, pray I scale through this one also, as they are coming to thrash us.

It’s war and they say; “Only the deaths has seen the end of war” – I want to live through this and tell the tale of this war; the art of prison warfare!

The lads are planning to go on mutiny if they come for our fans and electricals.

This will only be the beginning of several beginnings!

No law should be more harmful than the behaviour it is trying to regulate (some laws are so draconian in nature that it outweighs the crime or behaviour it is trying to punish; such law comes from politician who believes it will work, but at the end; creating monsters out of petty criminals).

“Wat is tijd? Meestal merken we iets van de tijd, als er iets verandert of veranderd is. Daarom is tijd vaak zo moeilijk bij te houden als je vastzit en elke dag hetzelfde is als gisteren en vermoedelijk hetzelfde als morgen. “Doing Time” heet vast zitten op zijn Amerikaans. “Tijd (Ver-) doen” Weining verandering meemaken” – Redactioneel van Gezant uit Nederland.

Prisoners And Religion: A Fatal Combo

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on September 21, 2015 by doingtimeabroad

“The purpose of religion is to control yourself, not to criticise other.” – Dalai Lama

The variability of perceptual experience from one occasion to the next, and from person to person, raised the worry that the eyes are an unfaithful witness to the world around us. This is because such variability suggests that perceptual experience is as much determined by our own minds as it is by the things we view. #Religion #ReligiousDiversity

It been a long while I publish one of my prison blog. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t news or vibes around and amongst these men sequestered away from civilisation and left to fate and elements to transform or destroy them – The Prison Experience.

The prison system is like a kaleidoscope but changes constantly with the players therein, whom,  despite living like hamsters running around its friggin wheel, prisoners are constantly  changing to adapt and adopt to the intense prison life.  I’ve coined out a saying from my experience here and it’s been what has kept me going “Do the time and don’t let the time do you” – if prison times does one, he’s bound to walk out (if he survives) more fucked up than when he was hauled in; something I’ve seen happened to many prisoners.

Expressions on our faces might look similar; sometimes, one barely understand himself and his own feelings. But, deep down inside our hearts, full of bitterness which are coated and coded in our expressions, each man try to man up and pull a brave face, but deep inside many feels the impact of failure or failures for those that won’t stop coming back – they just friggin love it here – aren’t they? #Pheeeeew! Not easy to break off from the chains of the vicious circle.

Like a kaleidoscope so are our faces; keep changing and can be very deceptive! One can’t tell the heart of a prisoner, not until he spills out its contents, which can be heartening.

The prison system is a world on wheels, moving at a snail’s speed, but moves with life, one that can also tak one’s life along into oblivion. Faces – to a prisoner means so much, it tells tales that are unwritten and some unspoken, silence tales of servitude and hard-knock life. The old faces gradually fades away from our population as new ones are hauled in to take their places. But, some old face like mine lingers on, waiting for it’s day to come. One will hope for a dwindling population, but with every newbie hauled in, our numbers kept rising, more or less a replica of the world’s own problem; overpopulation which almost every part of the world is facing now. Illegal immigrants perishing in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach ‘paradise’, those who succeed and made it through Italy are camped in Calais, North of France with hope of crossing into the UK.

Meanwhile, we have learnt to manage our population problem, no matter how many are hauled in, there will always be a place for them, both in our hearts and on the floor, even in thin air (hammock can float like flying carpets here). Hope the world learn from us, how we managed to fit in over six hundred prisoners in a tiny space built for 216 prisoners.

So much has happened and more are expected to happen since my last blog post. Target killings, prison gangs war (mostly amongst the locals), prison love, treachery amongst leaders and finally the exodus that got us shaken to our cores ;-)

Deals gone wrong could get one snuffed out and pretty cheap to do it from the inside – prison all over the world see this happening daily. But the brutality of the Panamanian gangs knows no bounds, a proper liquidation is always administered to enemies, sometimes with several collateral damages.

One incident that happened right under the ‘supposedly’ watchful eyes of armed cops in front of our pavilion; a foreign prisoner from pavilion eight was stabbed several times by locals right outside our pavilion. Police couldn’t and didn’t intervened – Prison gangs policy – cops comes in after the action and not before or during the action. There were rumours the lad died, but we later heard he survived and is hospitalised and finally, we heard it was a case of mistaken identity (even prisoners high in joint sent on mission do make grave error). The target was an inmate who was released that same day, he had walked past the would-be assassins, and they high on joint didn’t recognised the picture they had received, but ended doing another fella who bear resemblance with the freed lad – Así es la vida! And also another reason, I prefer sticking to my pavilion where I can walk around with my eyes closed; friggin joking ;-) wouldn’t even dream of that, if it’s possible to sleep with my eyes wide open, will friggin do it ;-)

Amongst us foreign inmates, fights rarely happens, as our unwritten rules are here to guide us, but when it does happen, it can be very fatal and a free-for-all fight. There was one between two Mexicans whom their compatriots allowed them the rare pleasure to vent out their anger on each other and that was what they did; fought mano-a-mano until they got tired ;-) and then rest their cases, after the fight, they became once again true compatriots ;-)

There’s been several fights, most lasting few seconds due to interventions of others (the locals won’t interven, they’d rather see blood drawn). Most of the fights are over debts, or thefts. This is prison where criminals, and innocents are slammed in together irrespective of one’s case; both the sentenced and those on remand are hauled in together without segregation. And, in the  case of Panama as I’ve come to understand, many individuals locked up, are in for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

When there’s any fight in the pavilion, many will have idea what the brawl is all about; Phones, flipflops, money, phone chargers and even earphones are some of the things the lads steal to resell for quick bucks in order to fund whatever keeps them going. As lousy and stupid as they are, they always steal from their mates; those they are closed to ;-) . Few incidents in the past, group of inmates drinking together, and one has his phone pinched by his drinking mates, before he realised what has happened, the phone is in the underground market or sent out to the locals (who pay less for anything from here) or for a better deal to pavilion eight where the foreign inmates there are like us or even richer than us ;-), as all the shemales are sent there; they pay to get them sent to them. Heard from a mate there, the lads are fighting each other over ass possession ;-)

A young lad who was released and later came back and whom another inmate tried ‘shoving’ from behind after a night of seriously binge drinking nicked his mate’s phone. He was caught when he tried sending it outside to the locals; another pal of his ratted him out – don’t trust fellow criminals – ‘No Honour Amonsgt Crooks’ ;)

The lad was kicked out of the pavilion, now locked up with the locals in a sort of cubicle under the administration building. I saw him on my way to school, he asked me to tell his mate to send down his phone. On getting in and delivered his message, I was told that his stuffs have been sent through one of the gay lad working upstairs. Eventually, we found out the lass sold the phone for $130 and has used up the money. Another round of punches, but the lass ran into his cell, with promises of paying back; he friggin blew $100 bucks within 24hours! Probably he paid the young lads to love him or? Wouldn’t want to go further – whatever he does is his ‘Sh!t’. But spending 100 bucks a day here, what the heck was he thinking or what was he on?. Anyway, he got enough punches and I heard the lad promised sending the locals to come for his money, the lad won’t like it when they come.

Other fights in the pavilion have always been with the same group of people; smoking, drinking and gambling partners or the big lads – those like Lord Sewel, the top British politician who was filmed snorting and smooching putas ;-), he’s got some peers here who does just ‘white lines’ – big boys powder! And screws our cheap nightly cheerleader (that’s how our only shemale dresses) .

Meanwhile prison politics is in full swing for those interested and making profits by involvement.

The lives of many prisoners revolves around whatever that keeps them functional and also helps with survival of what lurks around the building and inside our hearts.

Many tend to clinched to religion, despite their allegiance to prison gangs; God will understand ;-)

The two faiths that are prominent amongst us; Catholic (also in Latin America) and Evangelical, imported from America and also exported failed drug war policies to same latin America; operation Fast and Furious in Mexico ;) and has also taught Panama to love and practice mass incarceration – Prison industrial complex – bound to fail like it’s failing in America. #POTUS himself confirmed that, the American Prison system is a total failure, too late for any change.

The two churches are vying for presence and impact amongst prisoners and officials. Too bad no prisoner can become a priest as there are so many hurdles involved, but many and everyone can become a pastor or ‘Servio’ as they are called here – and win the hearts of everyone, especially the officials and cops. That their statuses are now enhance and elevated; they can move around and make decisions, that override those of the director. The prison gangs will only communicate and listen to thsee prisoner-pastors – funny heh!

The group of pastors from all the pavilions makes up the pastor council or whatever they call themselves, maybe council of churches will make a good name for them. They sit and decide what goes on around and within the pavilions. And sometimes and most times their decisions are final. There was a time a prisoner-pastor was caught smuggling knives from pavilion to pavilion, well, wouldn’t say that’s part of the missionary work he’s supposed to be doing or?

Others are also involve in ‘wheeling and dealing’, since they are always upstairs, they get the fattest worms, whatever comes in, they hustle their way through, buying and selling to us that are not opportune to be out there – for many of us, our daily lives will begin and end right in the confinement of our cells, others will make out to the gambling table or to back of the cells to blow joints or snort some white lines, for me and other die-hard gym addict; two or three hours away does and bring about a great deal of relief the torturing life and experience faced each day.

The pastor in my pavilion unlike the locals whom most are ex gang members is a subtle, gentle old lad, soft spoken and a man who pride himself as a man of the cloak – apparently, he became a pastor after he was hauled in, took over the previous one upon his release, but eventually is back, but can’t take over as pastor, he will probably wait till his successor leaves. But the old one is still active and also does his things; pastor business ;-)

The prisoner-pastors might not drive flashy cars or live in glass mansions, but they do have their way of living larger than most of us – have seen our pastor with several apple products and his latest is a iPad air, arranges merchandise for my old grocer-cellmate, it’s always favours which seems to come from every corner; the cops wants something from you before letting you out for exercise outside, the old haggard ladies and the younger ones who seems to paint their faces like Japanese geishas in the offices wants money before they look into your file, and the wardens aren’t left out, they want money before they take you upstairs for an appointment. The worse, to get access to medicine, one has to pay through his teeth or buy from the locals who are constantly nicking from the unstaffed clinic. At the end of it, it’s business as usual, someone lose is another’s profit. You are either an active placyer or a dormant spectator.

The pastor association is so strong within the prison system as they have now become the mouthpiece of prisoners. Majority, if not all of them are in the church business as they would be in gangs, it’s an horizontal move from one that look unconvincing to one that easily fools anyone and everyone ;-) #TheChurch!

As news of transfer to the new and unfinished prison looms on, everyone was thrown into uncertainty, well, life behind bars has always been swimming in uncertainties. But this one took us by our balls, as one after another were plucked out from amongst and sent to the new prison. Meanwhile, the new prison has no ventilation system, no electric outlets in the cells to plug in fans or reading lamps and also charge phones ;-), well the last is the most important as it’s one reason we could live through this hell.

While my thought about the transfer wasn’t different from those of other prisoners, I cried my heart out as I will be missing my books; I’ve gradually built a library of ‘very good’ books, mostly reference books which I always refer to when the need arises. With novels, once I’m done, I pass them on to others who will read, sometimes I end up seeing some lying in the passage with pages torn, either to be use as butt for joints or someone who want to scribble telephone numbers. Well, what can I do, I guess nada!

As the news of the transfer heat on, so also was the tension amongst us, many were on the brink of sending their phones outside, and for those of us without families here, I guess we might as well shove our phones behind and take them along ;-), well, it hasn’t come to that, as I heard, some locals in La Joyita that were surprised and taken out chose to destroy all their properties before leving, smart criminals ;-) , and that’s they only time they acted smart, as cops went back to pavilion scavenging and looting whatever they could find; hungry Panamanian cops, the country is in a sorry state.

While most of us were bracing for the transfer, the two most importan prisoners in our pavilion were making their #BailOut plans; pathetic that the two men many looked up to were bailing out secretly. It simple tells what prison, prison politics, prison religion and also justified the saying “there’s no honour amongst thieves” or amongst #prisoners.

The two prisoners who planning bailing out to pavilion eight, as we heard inmates in pavilion eight won’t be transferred; were no other, but our President; done several stint here, always coming back to his former bed and cell; he built it, guess that’s why he always choose to come back to the comfy of his bunk. And the second person who was secretly negotiating with his counterpart in pavilion eight to look for a place for him when that time comes is our resident pastor; the small soft-spoken fella, he and the president had laid down their plans to move. But has things will be, the moved is delayed as the new prison itself is not ready to receive huge numbers of prisoners; there’s no air conditioning, public telephones, groceries, and the cells are not well segregated as the government lied; gangs are mixed, meaning foreigners will be mixed with the locals; not a good idea.

A local news media just published the first shocking tale of what’s happening inside the new mega prison in Panama.

Reports of stabbing, rape and #PrisonGangs fights breaking out in the new prison; which Martinelli’s and now Varela’s flaunt as the most secured prison ever – what a clown they are ;) . Isn’t it pathetic, they couldn’t control the gangs here, and in the new prison, they still can’t keep them under control; thier idea of control is simply keeping #prisoners under #Lockup #Lockdown!

It simply tells how corrupt the system is; yet, donors from The West are still pumping in money into panama to help fight crime, but indirectly ended up fattening politicians bank accounts and their waistlines  ;-) .

How did knives, guns, drugs, grenades and other weapons get into the new fortified prison? If not for corrupt police officers who are also the ones smuggling them into the old prison, prisoners won’t get them. A leopard can’t wash off its spots; corruption runs and flows through the veins of everyone here in panama – from the top right to the bottom feeders ;-)

Meanwhile, tension brewed seriously high amongst my fellow inmates, my only fear and angst was what I will do with my books and some of my training gears; those that were picked out to the new prison, were only allowed 2 pairs of short, a pair of long trousers, 2 flip-flops, a pair of sneakers/trainers and 2 underwear. Not that the system has special uniforms or clothes waiting for them, not even bedsheets or pillows. They weren’t to take their fans, water heater, spoons (plastic or metals), toothbrushes we buy right inside were broken into two parts, so they couldn’t be fashioned into weapons #Shanks! , well, the lads wouldn’t need weapons made from toothbrushes when there are proper arsenals of proper firepower and armoury in the new prison ;-) friggin logical!

While everyone prepared and waited for whatever is coming, our two leaders were seriously planning of going AWOL; the president of the pavilion and the Pastor of the pavilion, were both busy making arrangements with their buddies in pavilion eight, so if the inevitable happen they will move over to that pavilion. Had always thought that the captain will be the last man standing, the last man to evacuate his sinking ship – Naaaaaah! Not with prisoners, all are traitors, cowards and true to the saying “There’s no honour amonsgt thieves” (Prisoners) – everyman is on his own, and that’s has been my modo operandi – my surviving tactics, have friends but don’t keep them, play at distance and play safe. Have seen several cat plays in the gym turned into proper fights that has to be stopped before bloodletting – #PrisonViolence

Eventually, deals were reached after the government realised that the new prison isn’t ready to receive and accommodate the thousands of inmates they had planned. Former president, Martinelli rushed through the construction as a political strategy to win the election and claimed the construction cost US$125M, but ended up leaving an uncompleted project for Varela whom his prodigy lost bitterly to ;-) #DirtPolitics.

Deals reached, we were eventually given permit to repair our pavilion, which will cost us inmates, thousands of dollars. Isn’t it crazy that prisoners have to build and renovate their own prison at their cost and we aren’t working or being paid. We’ve been levied to pay for the total cost of the repairs, welding work, painting, and washing, even the plumbing jobs – and all materials are bought and paid for by inmates. The government don’t just give a damn – once that door is locked, they are as good as gold!

Now that we’ve been allowed some time, our president decided to get back into their respective offices. For the president, there wasn’t much hassles as his men are the ones in the executive committee – smart lad ;-), he just continued as if nothing had happened.

It wasn’t that easy with the pastor, as he was called into the inner caucus of Prisoner-pastors; meeting upon meeting were held, and at every meetings, drinks and light refreshments were consumed, money from the church purse ;-)

He was eventually punished, asked to step down as pastor of the pavilion, while the former pastor who returned after a break on the outside took over his job. Part of his punishment was daily fasting from 6am to 6pm each day, and he’s barred from going upstairs to the administration block; as that’s where the real deal is – businesses are forged in those tiny airconditioned offices with those lazy-lousy women who are always shaky when too much men surrounds them ;-)

It shows are deceptive everything can be once they are practised within the wall of prisons.

Many prisoners have asked me why I don’t practice organised religion inside prison, my response to them has always been the same; I’ve been here long enough to see what goes on inside here, I’m better off with my personal relationship with God! Period!

The same so-called ‘servio’ or men of god as they call themselves or “Hermano” are constantly in fights over flimsiest issues that one can easily brush off – but not these lads. They believe everything should be solve through violence. Since most if not all don’t read, their vocabulary bank are very limited, they are short of words for any given situation to us; thus, words we frequently hear are words of insults and provocations. And for the churchgoers, it’s only “Dios Bendica” “Hermano” “Baron” “Biblia Dice” :-)

I guess this is were prison education should come, books for prisoners, reading clubs amongst inmates should be introduced. Proper rehabilitation should be enforced just as archaic punishment has been enforced on prisoners.

But the authorities and power that be, ones who runs the system won’t benefit from empty prison cells, thus, they won’t be doing anything to stop reoffending, and recidivism to cut the numbers of mass incarceration.

At the end, one comes to a conclusion; like every multinationals and internationally affiliated corporation, prison is just another industrial complex for profit making. Someone or group of persons are definitely benefiting from mass incarceration as locking people doesn’t reduce crime rate; instead the bad guys are just taken away from the scene and kept for a while, waiting to return and pick up from where they were stopped.

Meanwhile, it’s been fiesta upon fiesta as many went about with their life and do what they have been doing since they were hauled in to keep them smiling while doing tiem. Talking of hauling – more and more are thrown into the pavilion, well, there’s always a space for one more on the floor; on Friday, 7th Aug, Nine were hauled in and seven sent to pavilion eight, those thrown in here were mostly Brazilians. I hope they will enjoy their journey here and maybe teach us how to samba ;) . There’s a compatriot of theirs that will show them around. It’s always nice when one has a friend in prison to help him upon the hauling in ;-), another spaniard was also thrown in, saw the old lad moving amonsgt the numbers. Hope he blends in soon. There’re quite a handful of Spaniards here waiting to be repatriated; one has a hernia the size of apple hanging on his waistline, friggin look like a talisman :( .

Just found out the young Brazilian is gone; there’s so much faces here, that I’m losing count and faces. At least I still know the old ones and those who turns up in the gym every now and then.

More on our pastor who was about to jumped ship; he’s been demoted or dethroned, and now becomes a bit of backbencher in the church he once wailed absolute power. In prison, the church, especially the evangelical church commands such power that the authorities hear them first before critical decisions about the lives of prisoners are taken; can’t they friggin see these men were once crooked and crooks who are trying to buy time off their sentences and bailout. Well, they can fool the authorities not me as 6 years behind bars has taught me quite a lot.

Now, the old pastor has lost all privileges and the new one who was caught while attempting to jump bail and sneaked into Colombia, hauled back to continue with his case; more than eleven years without trials, all in his case are all gone, principal suspect Rayo Montaña apparently has Brazilian citizenship, thus, Brazil won’t extradite him to panama. That case should have collapsed since 2005/6 but they kept it open and banged up people without trials. Finally, released after 7- 8 years! #WastedYears!

The catholic really has no power as they scream and use instruments; everything they do is done in silence. Not the evangelicals who are up all night praying down heaven, but with knives in their pants like the lads in Pavilion 5; one will confused that pavilion for a church, services are held daily there, but hasn’t changed who and what they are or were meant to be, or what they set out to become.

It will take real pragmatic rehabilitation and tangible programme to get those lads out of crime; they gotta learn how to read and work. Seen many in my pavilion, the only book they read is the Bible ;), I do read the Bible, but gotta get me ready for the outside world – reality! I read anything that I know I will make use of once I’m back home.

Meanwhile, another incident in the evangelical church got me laughing. ;-) – one of the old leaders broke away and started his own church based on his school of thought or ideology; he’s got a cellmate of his who claimed he was a pastor in Venezuela before getting into moving tons of Angel Dust (maybe the angels told him to move some holy dust).

Anyway, they worked on our little pond which always served as our water reservoir when it rains and there’s no water in the pavilion; many depend on it for water to flush toilets. They cemented the pond and cleaned it up, made it look like a jacuzzi ;-), though without the bubbles ;).

When I asked a mate who’s the only christian here as he practice what he reads; he told me the stories of the lads, they have their own sets of beliefs, which is different from the mother church. Since they can’t get to agree, they broke up and started their fellowship, and they are gaining membership amongst the inmates population. Prisoners need religion, but they also need to be rehabilitated.

They have now made the pond their baptismal pool ;-), I’m waiting to see who will be their first convert to be baptised in the pond.

Well, we all have a way of doing time; to them, they choose that, I hope it helps them. But from experience, and what I have seen with the locals, they all end up returning upon release and once back, they pick up their old Bible and continue from where they stopped. Got my wondering if they were arrested like Paul and Silas for preaching the word of God on the streets and hauled back to prison ;-) Naaaaaaaah! They went back to their old vices, dust and oiled their guns, and went about gangs-banging! That’s what happens if the authorities won’t break the vicious circle which these lads are entangled in! #Crime #Prison #Freedom and back to the beginning #Crime!

From my perspective, religion is good, if we take it as moral guide to guide us as we walk the earth and live with each other. One man’s religion should never be used to enforced rules on another; which becomes fanatical and leads to rebellion. I have seen many of my evangelical inmates buddies argue with the catholic lads; it’s always war without an end ;-)

For now, we continue with our time as each new day filled with mysteries unfold itself to us; but then, nothing that happens in prison is new or has never happened before. It’s always history repeating itself – Dè Javu!

Making The Best Of A Bad Situation :

You’re standing at a crossroads and you don’t know which way to go. Do you wait for the direction to become apparent, or do you make a choice and go one way, knowing that every step could be taking you further and further away from where you want to go?

I have learned that no matter what kind of distraction came up. I had to refocus immediately on what I was doing.

Thriving under pressure is all about locking into an incredible, intense focus. You have to be in control all the time, even when everything around you is chaotic.

When things take a turn for the worse, it can be hard to fight off the wave of frustration that washes over you.

The best way to pull through such moment is hyperfocused and concentrate what is coming on next on my agenda.

No matter how bad the day before was, learn to accept failures, mistakes and learn from them and move on.

It’s all about what happens today than what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow!

Wie geen fouten maakt, maakt meestal niets – #ervaring #Gevangenis #mindsetofaprisoner

No law should be more harmful than the behaviour it is trying to regulate; either in term of punishment or correction. #PrisonExperience #SurvivingPrison #prisonersdillema #massincarceration.

The Prison Experience – The Never-Ending Uncertainties.  

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on June 25, 2015 by doingtimeabroad

Man without freedom and dignity is nothing. Freedom to be occurs when man is free to express himself, openly and completely on the polarities of anger-love and strength-weakness. It is a process of dynamic being in the here-and-now in which realities and goals are constantly changing. Only a person who is tuned to constant change and growth is actualising or is free. Otherwise, he is tied to the rigid patterns of the past or to the inflexible goals of the future.

Life is a vast, uncharted territory through which we must break trail, backing and detouring at times, moving forward purposefully when we find a clear passage.

Hardship, pain and frustration are essential qualities of human life. In our search for personal maturation, pain is the very condition of growth. We must learn to enjoy the discomfort of striving.

We can grow from each valley of worry, inability, fear, hurt, pain, or frustration — provided that we are willing ‘to go through them’. #PrisonExperience #SurvivingPrison #mindsetofaprisoner.

The above excerpts from “Beyond Man, the Manipulator Toward – #FreedomToBe” by Everett Shostrom, Ph.D.

It’s fine to celebrate success but it’s more important to heed the lessons of failure.

Je kunt het verleden niet veranderen, maar je kunt het vandaag wel beter doen. #GevangenisErvaring

It’s been a very long time I publish a blog, since my signal dropped and have to depend on others to use their modems, I’m more into twitter ;-)

Doesn’t stop me from keeping track of our lives as we journey through time and overcrowded space within the high concrete walls of this building.

The process is a long and cruelly one, each day comes with its own surprises. One must be fully prepared for whatever is thrown at him. The ability to adapt and adopt to the prison life is one quality or criteria for survival.

Monday,  22 Jun. 2015


Latest Developments on news of prisoners transfer to the new prison; mega joya! #Panama

Earlier today, Mexicans inmates who had consular visit, were upstairs and had a face to face meeting with the director of La Joya prison on the impending transfer to the new prison.

According to the director, the pavilion will be emptied by august. Thus, the move will affect everyone of us.

When asked if the prison system will be providing the basic toiletries; toiltet papers, bathing and washing soaps, toothpaste, toothbrushes, as we the foreign inmates do not get visit like the locals do and happened to have their families bring them all those things.  The. Director responded with a capital ‘NO’, such question should be directed to the director of prisons and corrections in Panama, Mr. Pinzon.

When told that, many of the elderly prisoners are diabetics and need special diets and medications, and if the prison will provide them with their diets, the director also responded with another ‘NO’ – according to him, the embassies should take care of their citizens as they “Panama” take care of theirs “Prison logic” from a supposedly director of prison. Where do they pick these men to run prisons?

When the lads asked him about education and work for foreign inmates as the locals also gets the benefits of both for time reduction; our supposedly ‘hardcore’ director replied – the prison has no facilities to rehabilitated foreign prisoners, well, wouldn’t blame him on that, as they can’t even rehabilitate their own citizens and even the cops are yet to be rehabilitated and be true cops ;-) ‘something never gonna change’ – if there’s rehabilitation, then no crime and nobody profit, meaning somebody wants this vicious circle to continue. #PrisonBiz #PrisonIndustrialComplex #RepeatedOffenders #MassIncarceration

Moreover, the director added that there would be mix up with the locals, not like we are, separated from the locals. I don’t think, that’s a good idea, but then, that’s when the real #prisonexperience begins, as we (foreigners) will literally be walking, sleeping with knives, it’s a call to arm oneself and #BePrepared for the expected and unexpected #PrisonViolence.

The lousy goon added, there won’t be patio or yard, no gym. Facility (there wasn’t any here, but we improvised and built one ourselves).  There is no electricity in the cells, just a light bulb that is centrally controlled; not outlet to plug reading lamp, fan, radio or whatsoever. No electric appliances allowed, well, if there’s no outlet to plug them, of what use having them. That got me wondering what’s the purpose of spending so much money to build such a massive city that’s bound to fail; thinking of the massive endemic corruption ;-)

He also said, books won’t be allowed, and there won’t be school for foreigners, that we are meant to do our time and go home; won’t be surprise about that, as it’s what is done to the locals, do time and go home, then come back to do more time, go home and then back, just like that….it continues till that one is taken out through violence which is also a thriving business in panama.

21:10:03 Tues 23 jun. 2015

It seems the government are working round the clock to make sure La Joya and La Joyita will be empty before August. Two lads with residency in panama and with short time left on their sentences were moved to the new prison on Sunday; both are working, one was the pavilion’s technician and the other works in the kitchen. Both are due to be release within few months from now.

According to the lad who works in the kitchen, he was slammed in a cell with eleven other inmates, no fan, little window with little or no ventilation, it’s like inferno in there; and that’s supposed to be the most outspoken project of the former self-exiled president, Mr. Ricardo Martinelli (a white elephant project)! He and his goons profited from building of the penal city. Now, the new president, JC Varela, wants to make his own bucks by building an island prison; everyone comes with his own solution to the cancerous problems in panama. Instead of a simple solution of maintenance and making good use of the what they already have; end mass incarceration, proper rehabilitation process, reduce remand time in custody, as most accused end up waiting 2-3 years for lousy investigation and before they are arraigned before a judge. If they could work on this, it would make a change.

The two lads who were moved on sunday weren’t allowed to take anything electrical with them, not even their fans, well, even if they took them, how would they get them to work as there aren’t any socket to plug them in. All the cells are plain, unpainted with central lighting system; well, that’s the first thing that will be broken.

The tension doesn’t stop me from doing what I have to do to keep my day busy; my daily workouts, reading and surfing, though signal is poor and weak, seems to be stronger at night, likely, I might stay up tonight to publish this long-due blog.

The heatwave still grilling and baking us, and at the same time, new inmates are hauled in to meet their fate and worst nightmares; loads were dumped here on Friday and few were hauled in today, tired of keeping track of numbers, but just saw three new faces walked by with bin bags in their hands. I wish them luck as they begin the adaptation process; for the ‘Real Newbies’, and the old schools or repeated offenders, pick up from where they stopped and also learn our unwritten laws and adapt to them.

The grocery stores in the pavilion aren’t stocking up as they used to, others businesses aren’t booming as they use, well, joints and coke still selling, so also booze and #Moonshine; despite the fear of uncertainties, many are still feasting when they have to ;-)

Many inmates would love to sell their televisions, fans or whatever they can, but nobody is willing to buy anything now. My only fear, my books, don’t know what I will do with them as I heard, we won’t be allowed to take anything with us. I hope there will be a way.

Earlier today, our ex presidente was released, lad voluntarily stepped down months ago, thinking he was going home then, only to found out, there were errors in his documents; clumsy human errors, had to do extra months. Glad he’s finally gone after years behind bars ;-)

The gym was scanty today, it’s either they had too much of visit foods yesterday and couldn’t get up for the day’s workout or the heat is driving them off. Few went outside to walk or jogged, glad the cops are a bit cooperative; leaving the door half opened for us, so anyone can go outside for fresh air, that’s something we won’t be getting at the new prison.

Had a good chest workout, took it to #HIIT #Hardcore ;-), few lads joined me, didn’t allowed them to spoil my program. Rounded up with cardio routines.

Back in, the lads cooked chicken, had to guide my pharmacist-cellmate through the cooking process as the lad doesn’t know how to cook ;-), he’s amongst many who buys cooked food from different kitchens in the pavilion ;-). I rather cook my food, as I know what I’m cooking and what I want to eat; healthier and cleaner ;-)

From my old Canadian mate, who has been incarcerated almost same years as I, seems good news is coming his way. I have written a lengthy letter/email to the vice minister of government in panama; as a law student in Harvard, she did an extensive study of abuses of human rights during Martinelli’s administration, and now she is government, there hasn’t been any changes from all she wrote about.

In my email/letter, which the Canadian embassy presented to her, I made mention of all her works; glad, I was able to find them online, copied and saved the articles and also copied her the links. I hope she will use her office and start working on finding a solution to our problems. #prisonersdillema

Despite the tension of the impending move, it’s relatively quiet, but something sinister is about to happen if these move happen and thousands of inmates are dumped in cells hot as oven, then Panama should be expecting one massive #PrisonRiot #PrisonViolence. It will be one of a kind; a local pal of mine says, they are planning a massive protest if they are moved there without fans.

I hope signal will be strong enough to get this publish. Staying up tonight!

#FathersDay2015 was wonderful as my kids sent powerful and uplifting  messages cheering and lifting up my spirit. It was all I needed to keep me going. Schat, has been all and all, staying stronger and doing the right thing for herself and the kids. She taken into fitness, as I’m guiding her through her daily exercises, and she is loving it.

Others in the pavilion, enjoyed themselves in their own ways; all through the #FathersDay weekend was puro fiestas in the pavilions. Loads of #Moonshine, our prison distilled liquor, proper liquor from the streets and enough joints and whites to keep the lads functioning. Everything went on pretty well, more of an organised chaos, without any incident.

And it all ended on Monday, which was family visit; kids are allowed on such visit. Those that went out, were able to spend short, but quality time with their children, and other family members. In my cell, only my pharmacist-cellmate went out, the grocer and the boxer didn’t. Guess, reasons best known to them; one thing I’ve learnt here, don’t ask or want to know what ain’t your friggin business. You live longer if you adhere to that basic rule ;-) ‘Mind your own business, and mind your language’ ;)

Also, heard that the snake-of-a-compatriot who was repatriated to Nederland is now freed, lad is a pure wanker of the lowest order; we all fought for changes to the treaty, it worked and his application was approved, he kept it to himself, even on the day he was living, he lied through his rotten teeth, that he’s going to clinic; lucky, clould have gotten one of the locals to mark him for a fiver ;-) #JustSaying! But was bad of him to have kept us in the dark. Well, such is life and he’s a repeated offender. I’d placed a wager with a mate that, he won’t last long on the street before returning to the joint, it’s friggin in his blood. we always have our news source; the Google of the underworld, someone knows someone ;-)

Talking of knowing someone ;-), Prison happens to be a place were some men will reinvent themselves; build a new profile for themselves, until someone who knows them or knows someone who knows them walks in and then begins the discomfort as their house of cards would come stumbling down in a thousand pieces ;-)

An old Canadian inmate (not my intelligent old pal), but one who professes to be ‘Jack of all trades’, well, of all crimes met his karma when a proper Canadian who knew and still knows people that matters in the underworld of Canada was hauled in. In desperation, the old guy planned to have the new lad kicked out, but it failed as nobody is interested in his stories. The lad told it all out about the old geezer, he had truly reinvented himself here; ‘In the kingdom of the blinds, the one-eye man is the king’, in his case, the one-legged man is the king!

After the lad gave him bits of his hidden history, he now keeps himself under control in the gym, he’s friggin humbled ;-), well, he has never stood up to me, as I have kept my distance and always placed him were he belonged. Such is the #PrisonLife, lies after lies to survive ;-)

We now know why the old lad been fighting against repatriation to Canada; he was under parole, absconded and came to panama to do business and ended up slammed in a kingdom of the blind, where he became the king ;-), but his date and day with fate coming soon.

The simple life is the best life; treat everything, everyone the way you want to be treated. Period!

Old blog:

April, and May came and gone, not so much happening within and amongst us; quite a lot of old faces are gone, some are back to continue where they threw their towels. Some are lucky to get back to their old cells where they once lived. Others made do with floor space in the gym hall.

The reoffending rate is growing like a wildfire; the locals are seeing their peers leave and return before the doors they walked out are closed ;-)

Seems some preferred the life in prison than the. Brutality of the outside world; in prison, they can sleep all day, free food, if they can bare to eat it, got constant security to watch their backs; either their fellow prison gangs members or the trigger-happy  cops mounted on towers with rifles ready to shoot at any moving object.

Despite the high security, there’s been series of #PrisonBreak and attempted escape; mostly amongst the locals and the recent one in pavilion eight , a foreign inmate has dressed up like a warden, walked out, went through first and second security, but someone gave him up (snitch, rat, sapo) – his failed #PrisonBreak caused a total #lockdown and searches were carried out, curfew of zero-movement was in place. At the end, those warden uniform wasn’t made inside the prison, the families didn’t bring them in during visits, it was same corrupt cops and wardens who planned it and had it executed. #corruptsystem

Cops don’t worry much when a local escape as they know where they will find them; mum’s house, girlfriend’s or their fellow gang members will give up their hideout ;-), escaped foreign inmates are haunted down with all available materials as they know, those are heading out of the country.

A Colombian who was waiting an extradition to US, escaped from hospital where he was admitted for treatment (part of the game), lad must have paid heavily to have sneaked through tight security. But he made it to Colombia where he called his mates in the pavilion. When there’s corruption, money speaks loudest ;-)

Meanwhile, the new government is hunting down corrupt officials from the previous administration; but the leader of the pack, ex-president Ricardo Martinelli is still at large, he’s been out of the country since January this year and yet to return. He’s probably on self exile ;-),   friggin scare of prison ;-)

Parts of his crews are slammed up in various prisons, some are singing, so they can get a deal for a minimum prison term. Weaklings!

Development; Colombia which has the most foreign prisoners in panama prisons has embarked on repatriating their citizens home en masse!

The first batch were picked up by a military jet, and the process to get many home is in place now; fingerprints were taken from many of the old inmates here, I guess same was done in other pavilions housing foreign inmates. It’s a step Colombia is taking to help panama decongest their prisons. Panama has about 16,000 inmates in total with more than a thousand foreigners slammed in deplorable and overcrowded concentration-camps-like pavilions.

Sunday,  7 Jun. 2015

Our overcrowded conditions has caused the infrastructures to break down; nothing seems to be working. There’s no access to medical, school or work projects, not even the food are enough, almost everyone cooks for themselves. The buildings themselves are collapsing on us, those sleeping up on top of the cells and others hanging on hammocks high up in the pavilion are of higher risk than those of us inside the cell. But, if there’s a fire outbreak, we are all fucked!

There’s been no water for three days now, everyone has fallen back to their reserves, who knows how long we are going without water. Earlier today, we were thrown into darkness, as I’m writing, there’s no electricity -Sun, 7 Jun. 2015, 13:15:53 – no-one knows how long we will remain in this state. It can go on for days, especially witht the water.

Meanwhile, diverse smuggling rings has been disrupted by cops; searches were carried out amongst the locals, where bottles of whiskeys, new knives, guns, drugs and many prohibited items were found, seized and display before the media. I have got some pictures on my twitter timelines; @Doingtimeabroad @PoeticPrisoner

Decided to make contact with the new minister of justice back home in The Netherlands, with request that my case be reviewed as his predecessor turned down my request for transfer to a dutch prison, which will bring me closer to my family and also give me the chance to round up my studies. Hope my email and letter gets to his office.

Friday, 1 May, 2015

It’s been a very hectic and a hell-of-a-week; sometimes it’s so quiet and tranquil, but then, our little peace is shattered by foolishness of some prisoners.

Well, today went fine for me as I had a good workout, more or less alone; I’m beginning to learn to train alone without thinking of any partners, though there are some nice lads that still want to stick with me as they all look up on me for guidance and help.

Being the only one here who will buy fitness and men’s health magazines, many always come for advices or ask for new routines as they get bored doing same thing over and over again ;-)

Decided to hit shoulders today as I haven’t been putting emphasis on them; well, tend to work it in many upper body routines and during Olympic lifts which has become part of me training routines.

Went through my routines with my American partner joining after he finished with another group earlier on, didn’t last long as he left. Others came late but got around doing their own thing.

A mate came out to use the pulley system as he was training back today; but the lad was so stupid as he sat down waiting for the groups using the pulley system to round up before he starts.

I advised him to get started with other back routines; using dumbbells, Olympic bar and even get going with pull-ups (which I prefer to pull-down ), he wouldn’t budge, and he waited for an hour plus before he began, well we have got so much time here, nothing to do and nowhere to go to ;-)

While in the gym, electricity went off and lasted till around 2pm; ate cold cereal as my postworkout meal and also my lunch.

No water all day; went on through the night, but thank God it rained after my workout, so we had our blue tank filled and the second one half full. They will be enough to take us through the day.

If there won’t be water tomorrow, then we are all falling back on our reserves, which will be very hard on us.

Now to the week!

The gym in prison like gyms outside has become a joint for socialising with people. Majority of my fellow inmates spend more time chatting about irrelevant things than working out. I’ve tried to refrain from such behaviour; nothing important, we talk after my workout. And glad I have an earphone which shuts me away from their lousy talks.


My cellmate who was involved in a fight with another lad, finally retaliated by hitting the lad with a metal bar. He hit the lad so hard on his back, the lad was rushed to the hospital; he took the lad unaware. I was speechless as to what he did; he’s a grown up man of 53, but probably with the mind of a kid. He had insisted he will hit the lad, but he forgot that, in hitting the lad, it will bring about chains of reactions which might be very bloody and bitter.

As of today; my cellmate literally locks himself up in his little shack built on top of our cell. He kind of barricades himself in every night, now closes the windows, lock and tie them together, does same to the door and keeps a urine bottle under his bed where he takes a leak at night as he’s scare of venturing outside during the wee hours.

Well, when you decide to live violently, then you should expect something violent and unpleasant in return.

He told me that they are having meetings to throw him out of the pavilion, well, if such meeting is called for, many will vote for him to be thrown out; as this is not his first fight. And all stems up from flimsy arguments over sports; something I’ve tried to refrain from. I watch and read all I want for me and myself, not ready to discuss anything with inmates who can’t and won’t want to understand that arguments shouldn’t end in physical brawl. Thus, I stick to myself.

The only friend I have, left on Thursday after his lawyer or liar had played him around for a very long time. But finally got to work on his case after the lad asked for refund. I’m happy that he left, as he spent so much. His leaving has literally made me closed myself to everyone and everything around as I don’t have any dealings or businesses with anyone here.

There’s tension in the pavilion, as so much has been going on; the government are planning moving inmates to the new prison; which we heard is more of an inferno than where we are now. There’s no electric outlet or sockets for fan or television; meaning we’ll be grilled in the heat and no means to charge phones if at all we can get them to work as the signal jammers are more stronger there.


Just around 8pm, our alarm system went off as inmates catcalled and whistles; we thought, we are been stormed upon. But it was cops moving around in search of an escaped local inmate from one the locals pavilions; got me wondering why they bother to search when they know the lad hasn’t got too many a option after escaping from prison. He will likely be at his mum’s or girlfriend’s or hang out with one of his gang bangers ;-)

Within days, he will be caught and hauled back to continue with his time ;-)

The panic really got us shaken as we didn’t know what was coming; if it’s the dreaded transfer, meaning we are definitely losing our phones and a lot of things. First thing first, we were at our stash points, then we heard why the cops were around; I guess from local inmates who have contacts here, that it’s a #PrisonBreak case. Got us relaxed, well for the moment.

When the commotion went on, many thought it was the big fight which we all know will come; the fight that my cellmate has started. And it will be Dominicans vs. Colombians (the majorities here).

The fight has also caused my friend to stay away from the gym, even if he goes to the gym now, he won’t be able to concentrate on his workout; he was and had never concentrated on his workout. If he had in the past, he wouldn’t have gotten into fights. Moreover, he forgot that he is diabetic, one who spent almost a month in the hospital for treatment.

The only peaceful way the Colombians want to resolve this case, is by having him thrown out of the pavilion and from all indications, they are bent on doing just that. He has talked to his fellow compatriots and others who cares to listen; that the lad hit him with a dumbbell, that’s why he retaliated. But many are saying the lad is a quiet guy and my mate must have provoked him first.

For now, we wait and see what comes next!!!

While we wait, we remain watchful and alert and with our backs to the wall!

Few are blaming me; saying I knew about it and didn’t do anything to stop it as I did during the first fight. Well, my mate took me unaware and since he refused listening to me, then he acted on his own and as an adult, thus, he should be man enough to face whatever consequences comes from his childishness ;-)

I doubt if many of his compatriots will join him as the core ones are waiting for their freedom; they won’t be stupid to get into fights that will jeopardise their walk to freedom. Thus, he’s definitely on his own!

Month of May:

Literally hot as it hasn’t rain for days, we had hoped that rain will begin this month, but it seems we were wrong as it has rained since the last drops on the first week of the month. Since then, it’s been heatwaves after heatwaves, grilling us as we waddled through the sweat of one another. The pavilion like others in the system is overcrowded, we barely have breathing space to move around. Once I’m done with my workout, I’m confined to my cell, even in my cell, sitting up on my bunk is the only way I can avoid humany bodily contact. That is the only way I can escape the furnace.

But, one has to do other things, I can’t lock myself away all day, have to move around and do little chores. Most importantly, I have to buy ice, which is the only source of comfort here; at least I can afford to drink chilled or iced water ;-)

Sometimes, it’s hard to understand how some inmates can go on drinking spree for days under such heat. The heat alone can drive a sane person insanely stupid as one tends to lose composition and sense of reality.

Despite our deplorable conditions which Panama’s media are now taking serious, the government is not ready to do anything to change it. Instead, more and more inmates are hauled in on daily basis.

Wo 8 Apr. 2015

The holy week came with everything sealed up for the holidays. Every holiday brings its ordeals on us; shortage of water, no groceries, no ice ;-) and even the gym is closed, which annoys me most.

Luckily, this week we had a very good cop, who will be going home with more than his salary in freewill money gifts from inmates from being a good cop; that’s if there’s any good cop!

He opened the door and allowed us outside to workout, which I helped myself to couple of days during the holy week; did mostly cardio and used my new 40lbs toy #kettlebell ;-)

I have been reading a lot about kettlebell, after training with it, found out, it’s a very pragmatic and functional equipment; getting every part of the body into work ;-) loving it <3

Had always believed that the holy week should be a moment for reflection and getting aright with one’s creator, at. Least understand the relevance and true meaning of Easter; well, to many of us, it’s moment to get pissed on the benders ;)

The catholic faithfuls had their priest come around and performed easter service, while the evangelicals has theirs; apparently, they have updated their sound systems, better drum sets, keyboard, but they won’t beat the warring local inmates in pavilion five. Those lads are probably operating the best church in the centre alongside herd of gangs; I believe they are always armed while in church, as the church seems to be operating round the clock. Actually saw that firsthand in Renacer; right from church into the fields, knives drawn and blood spilled. I believe Jesus blood was enough to wash us clean, but these lads just love shedding more blood, wondering what more they want to cleanse ;-)

Well, as for me and other fitness enthusiasts, we didn’t allow the easter break to stop us from doing what we love doing; having a cop who seem to know quite a handful of the lads here back then (tells, the kind of cop he is), he allowed us outside but very cautious as he wouldn’t want the captain to know we are outside.

Took off on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but did what I have to do all throughout the holidays; helps with my day and also my mind. Taking my #Yoga seriously and also doing more stretches (dynamic) and isometric routines, ain’t gonna be all lifting, pushing and pulling ;) . During my consul last visit she was able to bring in my XL #YogaMat and even brought in my 40lbs #Kettlebell, and friggin cops won’t let in vital vitamins and supplements and not even my weightlifting belt; friggin wankers.

I pray she is able to bring them in on the next visit, which will be in June :(

The week after easter:

Panama was thrown into another #Lockdown after easter as it’s hosting the #SummitOfTheAmericas #CumbrePanama and having the three heads of the countries making headlines now in the America continent; #USA #Cuba #Venezuela. All eyes and ears will be on the #US and #Cuba as both are on pathways to normalised broken relationship after years of isolation has left the latter battered. #Maduro of Venezuela, doesn’t look happy as he won’t be getting anything nice from uncle sam ;-), lad has been a badass naughty boy!

As for us #Lockup and left to rot away; security seemed to have heightened in the wake of this meeting. Wondering, if they feel someone will break out to do some dirty job on one of the heads of states ;-), the lads are definitely busy think of where their next roll of joint or line of cokes will come from and busy arranging for credit for our potent liquor to help them through boring weekend ;-)

Well, from all I have been reading and what I have heard from all the leaders; it’s time the #USA #US stop meddling with other countries domestic affairs, friggin let and leave them to kill themselves, concentrate on guarding your borders and stop evil coming in. Leave every man to his fate, if they want to ruin their countries, leave them alone, when their citizens are tired of their leaders oppressions they will revolt and fight ;-)

The summit is not helping us at all, as all our loopholes are sealed, nothing is coming in, exception of few bottles of whiskey and the usuals; coke, weed and knives ;-), proper food aren’t allowed or smuggled in, well, few chickens been nicked and sold her by the locals collaborating with their buddies in here. And those amongst us working in the kitchen are nicking and pilfering the kitchen stock to sell to their buddies. Have tried to break into their ring, but it’s a tight syndicate; only inmates from same country are members ;-) will keep trying as I can get vegetables (something I need badly).

My workout this week has been very intensive, doing more of all-body routines, perfecting my Olympic lifts. My group is growing with each day, and what I hate most, some comes and then disappeared for days, and then reappear; friggin playing Houdini with my mind :-)

I have found a way to work #HIIT in a group of 6/7 members; get about with other activities while waiting to take my turn in the normal routine, but for them, they will rather sit out and cold ;-). I incorporate bodyweight routines while waiting for my regular routines; abs, lunges, planks, burpees and anything that would keep me pumping and not idling around ;-)

Our shemale looking robust; seems Turkish doing her well, but from what I tend to see every night, she is dating two lads in the same cell. Either she is with Turkish or a Dominican lad whose eyes always green when he sees her playing around with others; love at first lockup ;-)

Za 11 Apr. 2015

It’s weekend; made it to the gym today, which is usually my free day. Decided to hit legs and took it seriously, we had high volumes of squats, lunges and rounded up with abs and cable routines. Enjoyed today’s workout; probably one of my best this week. Had started with 30mins of #yoga poses and stretches #HinduPushups, warmed up with body-weight squats and lunges and then went to the day’s business; #Squat and seriously heavy ;-)

Felt very good after the workout Endorphins and Dopamine surging and keeping me smiling; even the few who braced it were thankful for the push I gave them and bringing them out as not many fancied leg days ;-). My American training mate was totalled after the workout, he will feel it tomorrow, as he won’t be able to get down from his top bunk bed ;-)

No proper food today; helped myself to mixed cereals with nuts and after workout and later for lunch/dinner had full plate of mixed salads with chunk of beef-like meat from the dinner cart. Will do another bowl of cereal later in the evening. Need my protein, hope to get someone to pick them up from my embassy.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

We strives to avoid certain things, inevitably they seems to be right before us and about to take us unaware; that was what happened today at the gym!

My day has began as it does with any other day, well except when we are awoken by an early morning search. Went through mmy morning rituals and out to the gym for the day’s routine; taking a break from Olympic lifting and Crossfit routines. Decided for conventional body parts routines; back and shoulders. Bit rowdy in the gym, but got my way through, gathered enough weights for my workout; none of my training mates showed up, not bad as I’m not working what I would be in need of a spotter.

Had a good workout before others joined me, my diabetic cellmate also came; bit late, he’s not specific with his routines, does whatever he sees other doing. Lad spends most of his gym time talking than working; guess, it what’s keep him going.

Today’s talk actually went eerie as they launched into football, with a Colombian (apparently, a quiet lad) jokingly telling my cellmate that his country, Dominican Republic is not a football nation. My cellmate, who is hot tampered didn’t take it lightly with the lad; launched into serious brawl with the lad. The lad havind two 20lbs dumbbells in his hands, ‘must have’ hit him with the dumbbells and that took everything to a different level as another Dominican young lad came to the rescue of his compatriot (my cellmate), I had to jumped in to save the day; while most inmates around wanted the fight, which would have been very bloody or deadly as metals laying around would have been used.

I literally held my cellmate in a wrestling lock for more than 30mins, trying to restrain him as he wanted to go back to the lad. Others stood idly waiting for more action, some were calling out to me to let go of him. And I didn’t let go of him until peace was restored, we had to round up with our workout for the day; asked the lads to put the weights in, glad my kettlebell wasn’t there as it would been the weapon of choice.

It’s a pity gone are the days men will go on one another with bare hands, most prisoners are busy each day fashioning weapons of warfare as there’s not strength or no mojo as men for physical brawl. After all said and done; second fight that my cellmate is involved so far since he came back for a second stint in the slammer. I guess, he’s partly resented and angry but just don’t know how to channel those angst into something positive; anny little upset easily set him off, like a sleeping volcano waiting to erupt. But his eruption is always at the wrong time and against the wrong people as the two people he’s been in brawls with are also latinos and fully armed if the needs arises.

Well, as always, the talk of the day is focused on him; with nothing of importance to discuss, the pavilion is divided into to two camps. A faction heard his side of the story and others heard the other’s, and the conclusion I tend to get from everyone; that my cellmate should let it slide. But he’s been very defiant; insisting he will attack the lad with dumbbells as the lad did, but looking at everything, the lad didn’t mean to hit him as there’s no physical injuries, and from what I heard, he threw the first punch. Thus, he should accept it as bygone and let life go on!

I hope that will be the case; bygone be bygone and life goes on!

Do 23 Apr. 2015

Rain has finally come, but then, it’s messing with our electricity, and it does it mostly at night; which sends mosquitoes everywhere. Our in-house technicians are working round the clock to keep us alight ;-)

As I didn’t train yesterday; went to school! Woke up early with plans to hit outside for a quick cardio session. The new cop who took over yesterday wouldn’t allow anyone outside, so, decided to do my thing in the gym hall; which was a bit full.

After good stretches and bodyweight routines, went on for a good full arm blast; #Biceps #Triceps and rounded up with sessions of Olympic lifts and abs. Tried to use my time,n refraining from chitchat :-)

While in the gym, Dr. Porter was called out; well dressed as he left with his medical appliances. Upon asking him, if he’s leaving, he answered; that he’s on his way to the hospital for scan and check up. Lately, he’s been very ill, barely talk and as words are going around; they say the cancer is spreading through his body. Whatever the outcome of his hospital visit will be, I pray it goes easy with him as he beat the odds of surviving cancer when he was hauled in here. He was given just six months to live, despite the inhumane and deplorable condition here; he made it through two years. I believe it’s the will and inner strength to survive which many off us possess that kept him through the harsh conditions here.

Several talks in the gym about him as he walked out, it actually killed my mood; had to round up my workout and called it a day :(

Doc, has been of great help here; few lads would have kicked the bucket, but his swift response and assistance saved their lives.

Prison being a sort of crossroads brings all sorts of people together, irrespective of their class, race, wealth or position in the society. And it’s in prison that men become equal, though some still craves for and create the hierarchical world they had known (#PrisonGangs)! Others, through their wealth buy position and place themselves higher than others who are willing to seek favours #Patrons #Boss #KingPin. But at the end, we are hauled in and lockup together and probably forgotten as the case is in panama. Thus, it’s in prison that all men are truly equal in the eyes of the law; we are all friggin scumbags of the society. Period!

One thing I pray, I hope it goes well with Doc; cancer as we’ve come to understand comes with so many tricks and can be very evasive. How long he has to live, we don’t know, but some lads saying, he hasn’t gotten much time left! Will be following whatever I can get online from different media in Canada as they tend to be very obsessed with his news.

Such is life in prison; one moment, you think someone cares about you, and the next second, you become one of the forgotten. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure it out that everyman is on his own when it comes to survival. And that struggle to survive is more seen within the high concrete walls of prisons where men are left in the wild to fight and survive whatever comes their way.

Repetition and predictability, they say are the roots of boredom and prisoners locked up for years, who go through the same monotonous tasks every day-to-day are at the mercy of total breakdown; mentally and physically!

I have learned to break out of the vicious circle of monotony, by waking up to each day with a different mindset; made my workout unpredictable, unlike most lads doing same thing every day. Also make sure my diet isn’t build around what the prison offers, but on healthy stuffs I can put together. Keep myself busy with books, music and internet. It’s survival mode always.

The prison experience is one that comes with changes on the inside and outside of all who survives it. The change process can be bitter, but at the end it has its benefits if one is willing to learn through the process.

Don’t fear change. You may lose something good, but you may also gain something great.

Construir castillos caros no es la respuesta: James Cavallaro, María Luisa Romero y Clara Long

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on May 24, 2015 by doingtimeabroad

Construir castillos caros no es la respuesta: James Cavallaro, María Luisa Romero y Clara Long.

The Revolving Lives Of Prisoners; What we do with TIME which we barely have. 

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on April 5, 2015 by doingtimeabroad

There comes a moment in history when ignorance is no longer a forgivable offence…… A moment when only wisdom has the power to absolve.

TIME: the one commodity that controls every others, to a prisoner time is of utmost importance; it determines everything around him, his life is lived in a time capsule, he waits on time for freedom, for his survival, even for his ultimate demise if he’s unlucky. Time, we wished and hoped we can control it, twist and turn it around as we want, but time past can’t be undone. We live to look forward to time in the future and how our use of time will determine our time tomorrow.

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls, stick to the rivers and the lakes that you used to. I know you gonna have it your way or nothing at all. But I think you are moving too fast.” – TLC (lyrics #Waterfalls)

But then, if we don’t go chasing waterfalls, how do we grow and do we live all our lives dreaming. But some waterfalls are like ‘building castle in the air’ and daydreaming.

Sat, 21 March 2015

Woke up exactly at 8am, being my day to clean and wash the cell, I might be doing it alone as the young lad hasn’t been dependable lately; one can’t rely on him. Moreover, it’s better for me as I won’t be working out today; this would be my Saturday’s workout ;-)

Started with a cup of strong black coffee with cinnamon, fuelled and fired me through as swept, wash and scrubbed the floor and walls of the cell. Emptied one of the large blue tank, washed it inside-out ;-), did something the lads rarely do; it will take time to round up, but I want to be satisfied with my work ;-) and they don’t like the waiting.

Took down my fan, also to be cleaned and washed, washed the walls of our shower room, which was yellowish-black; the lads rarely do it, they are always in a hurry to finish and get on with gossiping ;-)

Finished and had a proper shower, then came the little lad with his mouth that doesn’t shut up for a second; he tried saying something sarcastically to me, but launched at him before he could utter any words. That sent him flipping ;-), told him not to be a pu**y as they ‘all’ love talking behind another’s back, not man enough to talk to their faces. That sent him out! And better for my peace as it’s been me and my music all morning and with a little help from the old lad who is still living in dreamland; still doesn’t believe his being here is real. He’s always asking me, how I managed to get on all this years; and I always told him ‘trust your mojo’ ;-), accept what you can’t change, change what you can or change your attitude to adapt and adopt to your new world, then will you survived the odds of survival in #Prison. The old lad loves helping out, but the lads doesn’t like him helping, he’s a nice catholic faithful and the only one who truly washes the toilet and bathroom properly.

For the first time my pharmacist-cellmate cooked something else other than rice. Knackered from the cleaning, couldn’t and didn’t want to do anything else; my grocer-mate bought a pound of beef. My pharmacist-cellmate had to cook both rice and the beef; but I guided him through the beef process ;-) using my prized frying pan, which I don’t want them to use as they kept using metals on it destroying the teflon coating ;-)

Added my broccoli to the meat; black pepper and salt and beef season and that was it. A pal upstairs sent me chicken soup; pipping hot, something I needed, ate the soup and afterwards had my rice and beef. Wasn’t bad, the first time my pharmacist-cellmate cooked; he usually buy food from the different chefs cooking and selling in different cells in the pavilion. He also get fortnightly visit from his missus and also enjoys conjugal visit from her, the latter which causes many to envy him ;-), hard for prisoners to have a life of theirs, want to live others when theirs is yet to be lived ;-)

Bloody hot today, well, enough ice in yesterday, should be enough to take us through the day, and there won’t be any tomorrow (Sunday), too bad!

My young cellmate took to the top of the cell, drinking with music blasting from our makeshift sound system, at least it does amplifiers the music from our phones ;-), problem within him and some of his folks; bound to repeat one song over and over again and it’s always Leonel Sawasky (a black Colombian vallenatoe singer); vallenatoe, apparently is Colombian folk music and goes well with aguardiente (liquor flavour with aniseed; and I have tried few here, taste like the french Pernod).

Their choices of music aren’t wide like those of most people; vallenatoe, vallenatoe and more of it and some salsa….then added flavour Mexico with música norteñas ;-). Have learned so much about music of Latino America and I do like quite a lot; I even have a large collections of quality music more than them ;-) thanks to torrents sites.

It’s gonna be a very long noisy night today, only hope he get drunk quickly and fall asleep as that what he does when he’s drunk ;-)

Decided to catch an hour of power nap, ended up with more than hour; woke up rejuvenated.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

My real day of rest, behind bars, one can never have be at rest; but you could be at peace of mind despite the turmoil around you.

Our lives is lived on the edge with anticipation of something that will, could or might happen at any moment; raised voices in arguments of card or board games could turn into something nasty and bloody. A gay and jolly drinking sessions with ‘supposedly mates’ could turn into a free fight for all after alcohol has done its magic; bringing out old wounds. Thus, if these doesn’t happen within 24hrs, then it could be the cops paying us an impromptu visit; Search!, then our hearts are hanging in our throats as none knows what he will lose.

No matter the situation, I try to give myself the calmness I desire; taking my mind out of the situation around me and live my life the way I want to, not the way prison will conditioned me to live.

Like all Sundays, it’s off from the weights and anything exercise, well the only exercise today might be talking, eating, sleeping and my hands working my phone’s keypad ;-)

Spent the day virtually in and around my cell, my close pals are my training mates and we are all connected on social media, thus, we stay in touch there; personally, I hate going to other people’s cells, as not everyone in the cell might be ok with such visit. I’ve made my bunk very comfortable for me and I’m ok with it, thus, I spend my lazy time sitting or lying on it or standing around the cell.

Mon 23, March 2015

Having gone to bed early last night, woke up around 2am, got online briefly, tried sleeping, couldn’t, but finally slept around 4ish and up around 8ish. Around 9am, the whistle went off as the door was thrown opened for an hour or two of patio outside in the yard; the dry season has brought serious drought to panama and has also affected our patch of green field. The grasses are all dried up exposing stones which can be very dangerous, but doesn’t deterred the lads from playing football.

Made a cup of coffee and took a bar of mix trail (honey ‘n oats), and a pack of raisins; enough to fuel my exercise today. Went outside, went through some stretching and yoga routines, been working on Hindu push-ups; gives me a good stretch ;-)

Worked with the monkey bars; hitting inverted rows, dips and also pull-ups. Did some brisk walking, can’t run long lapses as my back hurts on each impact my feet makes with the ground. But, doing enough #HIIT to work my cardio as well, kept me pumping and shredded ;-)

Within two hours, it was all over, the whistle went off, everyone was hauled back inside to our battery cage like caged chickens in an industrial poultry complex; back to our monotonous and sedentary life, the prisoner life.

Straight into the weight room which is also a multipurpose hall; serves as everything for anything or any group activities in the pavilion and also a grand cell for those without spaces in the overcrowded cells in the main building.

Being Monday, the lads knows nothing other than #Chest; hard to change routines, many are working out for the first time in their life here and most are doing it because their friends are doing it.

The gym was packed to the brim, but we waited until we got our turns and started intensively. Added triceps and core routines to fill up the wait time as the group is growing seriously large; we were about seven and I can’t send anyone away.

Finished exhausted just on the nick of time before lunch was wheeled in; half-cooked rice, lentils (will go for it) and greasy pig parts; ain’t going for this!

Inside, enough water came today, all the tanks were filled up; yesterday, sunday, there wasn’t any water in the pavilion, and it got many dipped into their reserves. My cell managed to scaled through the day without anyone dipping into their reserves, but at the end of the day, all tanks were empty except those used in the kitchen. Glad our water problem is gradually taking a place behind us, but doesn’t restore my fait in the prison system yet. It could happen any day ;-) water crisis!

The lads cooked rice and sardine sauce, but went for lentils and the last of my expensive pumpkin I cooked earlier in the morning.  Ate some raisins, and downed an ample amount of cold gatorade ;-)

For dinner my grocer-mate bought half grilled chicken, they had theirs with rice and mine with my pumpkin ;-)

Had a brief late afternoon nap, needed and refreshed. Another shower as it’s grilling hot, it’s almost drought in Panama as there hasn’t been rainfall in a very long while. Hope it rains now! We need it badly, friggin hot, sitting on the passage, I could feel the heat of people as they walk by, and also the stench of their bodies; some aren’t bothered buying deodorants, as the money is better off buying rolls of joint or a line of dope! It’s all about priorities, and prisoners do have theirs ;-)

Decided to hit my bunk early, say around midnight ;-), but ended up reading till nature called to ZzzzzzzLAND!

Tues 24, March 2015

Woke up early, but waited for the lads to round up with their morning rituals, which took a while as those upstairs came down early to use the loo; what on God’s own earth are these lads eating? Probably their system is adjusting to the prison system; store nothing inside, whatever one’s eat, goes out asap ;-)

Finally got my turn and did what I have to do, a cup of green tea and cinnamon got me ready, watery oatmeal came on the breakfast cart; took a cup and mixed it with my dry oats, added a tablespoon of peanut butter and a pack of raisins. That’s enough to fuel my workout of the day today. Brewed strong coffee, added a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon, my preworkout drink, I feel the surge of energy and strength each time I sip some of this, and the lads also noticed the changes in my workouts; like duracell, when others are dropping, it’s then I’m getting recharged, some think I’m juicing, but they know better ;-) it’s all natural!

The gym was packed, but we waited and got all we need for a proper back and biceps routines. Since, my gym group is growing with each day, decided to use the wait-time for other routines, and crossfit routines or #HIIT is the best to keep up with the tempo. With two other lads we got drilled with Olympic lifts and body-weight routines.

Finished and went outside for minutes of brisk-walking and body-weight routines on the monkey bars behind the pavilion. Enjoyed the sun and cool afternoon breeze, much better than our recycled air, which breathe and wallow inside the pavilion.

Finally done and in, the lads cooked their usual food; rice cooked in oil, which I always pass, if I want rice, I’d rather go for the prison rice as it’s cooked without oil. Had cold cereal for my postworkout meal and afterwards beans and boiled eggs from today’s breakfast for lunch. Dinner was salad (mix ‘n match), late in the evening a bowl of oats was enough to send me to bed.

Signal has been terrible lately, but still manage to keep my online presence active with the social media ;-)

Lately, haven’t been doing much of late night browsing as I rarely get my afternoon nap, need the night rest to recuperate for the next day’s workout.

Seen lot of new faces around in the pavilion, and they aren’t from other pavilions, but here; thus, our population is growing on every Tuesday and Friday as those are the days we receive newbies. Though, most will come in looking timid and haggard after spending rough days at the transitional jail; every prisoner’s nightmares. Soon, they will be all refreshed, adapted and adopt to our lifestyles or to their new life behind bars. For some, it’s not the first time, but still, finding their feet on the ground will take a while, but always with help of their compatriots who are always willing to help.  And also ‘help’ by using them as foot-soldiers to hawk their wares for certain percentage ;-), have seen some new inmates who bare spend a day or two in the pavilion hawking all sorts of things around; flipflops, meats, nicked powder milk from the kitchen, foods (mostly fried ones), mobile phones accessories, weeds, clothes and anything else that a prisoner believes he needs to make his life a little comfortable on the inside. The most gets on the lottery wagon; numbers are sold from 0-100, where a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place wins a certain amount of money or whatever they have on for the winning prize; which could range from money to a box of groceries (the latter which some of my compatriots does with their toiletries), it could also be a bottle of whiskey or aguardiente or any other liquor. The lottery system works along with panama national lottery; the last two numbers are picked as the winning numbers; thus, whatever last two numbers comes up on the national lottery, whoever picked that number wins. Smart idea to make money and also to lose; but hardly does anyone loses as you can cancel it if you haven’t made enough money ;-), there’s also betting with football and boxing matches, that really sends the thrills amongst the lads ;-) . Well, despite being slammed away and hoped to be turned in hermits, we are still men, and men will always do what men does; wager, drink, brawls, try to get laid after some lines of white and too-much liquor and also gossip ;-) ‘walls have ears’

Retired to my small-big world; my bunk which some inmates think is rich compared to their austere and dirty bunks; they are just dirty lads who believes having a beautiful haircut and dressing is all.

Wed, 25 March 2015

School has resumed this week, and it’s likely I will be called up today, unless something happens that will cause zero-movement; anything can happen in prison at any time and to anybody.

Got up with two things in mind; school and workout, the first comes up, then the second will be call off, as I won’t be able to make it to the gym after school as school closes by noon and gym by 1pm.

Rushed through my morning rituals and made a cup of tea, while I downed bowl of cold oats with peanut butter. Then the names were called, about twelve of us; dressed up, took my books and my cup of tea outside, but have to wait for another 30 minutes for some dope heads who wouldn’t come out on time; wondering what they are doing.

The 2 minutes to 5 minutes walk upstairs could take a lifetime if the locals are up to their nastiness or the lazy-ass cop mounting the extra security door is busy snorting or running his personal business outside prison business ;-). But we made today’s walk around 10 minutes after waiting for the cop to open his door; who knows where he went to and what he was doing away from his assigned post ;-)

At school, new class and new level; higher than last year’s, but with same dope head locals, always edgy and on the verge of doing something out of the ordinary, but always trying to contain themselves as they need time reduction from going to school or working. Lucky to be in school, they won’t want to mess that chance up ;-)

School was brief, and also bored; guess they curriculum was meant for the locals as the teachers thinks panama is all that. Everything is about how good panama, but they won’t teach or talk about the corruption that is tearing the country apart and the thirteen women murdered so far this year and all the unsolved murders happening every weekend; beautiful, isn’t!

Back in, showered and ate the lentils soup that came on the lunch cart, wasn’t bad after I added some spice to mine. One of the pastors approached me, asking if I will buy cabbages (probably nicked from the kitchen), supposed to be in our salad, which we only get sliced uncured onions, which bring tears to one’s eyes when chewing ;-)

Took a power nap, and woke up waiting for our weekly headcount….. 16:35:30

What a hectic day, despite not working out today. The cops did worked us all up today, the came around 5pm for our weekly headcount, which will last into the night as they made error during the first count. Everyone was counted and sent in, quickly ate my dinner; last of my boiled yam with tuna sauce (of course, nicked pack of tuna from the kitchen sold to me by the locals). Then the call for another round of count and this time, it will be cell by cell. Friggin beggars belief that the prison system can’t just get the numbers of prisoners it’s holding right :(

The cops always come up with outdated list, missing some names, my sixth year here and there’s been a list without my name ;-), why don’t they make such error and send me home ;-)

Well, decided to leave my chair as I want to use the opportunity to do some some yoga stretches; and I did it under the cool evening breeze ;-)

The count went on till around 8pm when they satisfied that none has gone awol or there’s been a #PrisonBreak ;-), well, if there’s any missing, it’s always the cops who does the job, as no inmate can leave without settling with them; #PrisonBiz ;-)

The pavilion is still hot as it’s been all the previous days and still no sign of rainfall; hope it rain soon. Anyway, with enough water and water crisis behind us, one can afford to shower as many times as he wants; some of the lads won’t take that lightly ;-)

Taking my second shower now, but first thing first, gotta drink my green tea ;-), will be tucking in early tonight, if I can though!

Thurs, 26 March 2015

Woke up early as I slept early last night. ;-), went for a cup of strong black coffee as I need a preworkout surge before an early workout today. A bowl of cold oats + peanut butter + raisins served as power breakfast. Left with the cup of coffee with a pinch of cinnamon to the gym and to the surprise of the early birds ;-)

Set up what I could find and get started with shoulders and full arms routines; missed yesterday’s workout as I went to school. Thirty minutes into my workout, my team mates came in, one after the other and we’re surprised to see me sweating ;-)

We went on to have a heart-pumping workout, I introduced them to Olympic lifting which I have been practising for a while now; we went into #crossfit workout of the day, three routines which got them torn in pieces and shattered, but also rewarding as they felt good ;-)

The cop on duty wouldn’t let us out, thus, the gym was full, but we managed to squeezed ourselves into tiny spots as we hit our routines. Prison has taught us how to value and use tiny spaces, no matter how large you are, you are forced to occupy whatever spot you find yourself in.

Back in, had my postworkout meal and lunch of rice and tuna (both from yesterday),  trying not to waste food as most does here; especially when they food are what I need. Showered and took a nap which my body really need.

When I woke up it was around 6pm, didn’t hear or read from schat after our early morning chat, pray she is fine. She later messaged that she fell asleep; got me worried, the world is becoming mucho locos :(

My grocer-mate cellmate who is so lazy about running his business has gotten an apprentice who sits around all day helping, so he can have time to nap or play dominoes or other games ;-). I thought he would have used the time to go out like other old inmates and have some early morning walk and stretch his old joints; but he’s too lazy and has grown real fat since he came here. We always tease him about his porn-addiction and sedentary lifestyle, but I guess, that’s what keeps him happy, thus, he aren’t ready to give them up.

Couple of days ago he ordered smoked pork, what the lad brought him and another inmate today was way expensive; tagged price was $8, thus, he will be paying $16, with that amount we can buy three pounds of proper beef (well, prison-proper —– I meant) .

Cooking, lately is done by me or the boxer-cellmate, while the pharmacist-cellmate does rice as he can’t cook sauce or stew ;-), well, I try not to eat what others cooked as I don’t know how thy go about their cooking.

Decided to make patacones (one of the good things after bachata and merengue from Domincan Republic) with stew using part of the smoked pork; wasn’t bad for dinner ;-)

Went early to bed and was still worried over not hearing from schat; until I got her message late, then I slept peacefully but never deep; but then,n this is prison where anything and something can happen and at anytime and to anybody as we are already in the wrong place and at the wrong time! Never a right time to be in prison; well, maybe there’s, stopping a bad person before he does something hurtful and terrible!

Fri, 27 March 2015

Woke up very early, thanks to my noisy cellmates :(

#TGIF and it’s #Weekend, love weekend as it’s time to rest and recuperate, but also loathes it as I miss workout ;-). It’s Friday and just occurred to me, the catholic priest will be coming for Friday’s mass with the faithfuls ;-)

Hurried through a cold cereal breakfast, armed with a cup of strong black coffee (has become my preworkout fuel), took my push-ups woods, a towel for the floor and a napkin (apparently, cut a towel into four pieces to use as handkerchiefs, bloody hot here). Met some lads working chest; joined them after a brief warm ups and stretching. Started light with high reps and then went heavy till 255lbs for a 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Then came the faithfuls with their chairs. Used another 15 minutes to pull through some intensive routines before I called it off. Went outside to finished my workout under the sun; something I needed, cool breeze despite the blazing sun. The priest later came, but late, meaning, there won’t be workout after the service. Glad I went out early and also continued outside, where we pulled through some cruelly routines #Crossfit ;-)

Having cooked our lunch earlier before I left for my early workout; last of our smoked pork, or whatever they smoked and packed ;-). Had that for lunch and as my postworkout meal ;-)

Showered and did my little laundry; have to wash my gym clothes every day after workout, some lads just keep on using theirs until someone tells them, they need to get them washed ;-)

Unlike Fridays here; a bit quiet all evening; the main tavern is closed; seems the lads been doing business on credit, no capital to get started again. Hope they learn the naked true about prison business; don’t deal on credit. But they are easily fooled; pay once, twice and then you are cedit worthy ;-)

My compatriots aren’t happy with our consul as we had expected her this week, but she didn’t show up; well, I’m used to waiting and hoping, and I also know what to do with those waiting-time – make good use and make myself useful. And I have learned never to hope on ‘men’ and even ‘women’; there can be disappointment and it can hurt real bad. But, my compatriots are yet to learn, even after all these years behind bars :(

Went for an early night as signal is not helping tonight; made the night boring!

Some reading before nature took hold of me ;-)

Sat, 28 March 2015

Another early day; weekly cleaning and washing of the cell. The little lousy-loud young lad will be cleaning. Was up before 7am, finished before he got up, got my stuffs out and brewed me a strong black coffee for the day; dressed up for an early workout as hanging around can and will definitely breed contempt, better I’m far from sight – ‘out of sight, is out of mind’…. well, not all the time with prisoners, as out of sight could be time to gossip about you ;-) ‘what prison does to men’ – very, very sad situation :(

The gym hall which serves as everything was been washed; also the weights storage room was washed. I doubt if the lads will want us to train today as they would want to get back to sleep.

The cop wouldn’t allow us out either as today is our patio which they promised will be soon; which wasn’t. Was able to get about my workout in a spot; burpees, push-ups, rope-jump, pull-ups on our welded bar, triceps and biceps, even added shoulders, lunges and just about everything to make me feel very very good ;-)

Had one of my best workout without weights, and that was enough for the day and week. Called it off; and got in.

My pharmacist-cellmate has cooked a pot of rice, earlier I had ordred 2lbs of lean steak ;-), rushed through the cooking, ate and served others. Then, showered. Then, the door was open for an hour or two outside; many went out, but decided to stay back as I’m done for the day and week.

Later took a nap; one of the best as my pharmacist-cellmate switched off the cell’s main light; which helped me with my sleep. Woke up strong and also starving ;-) had some rice and bled of green tea and fresh mint leaves tea. Not bad!

My cellmate who doesn’t mix well with alcohol decided to drink tonight; it’s gonna be a long night for us. Several cells are also in the mood tonight; probably they are celebrating Monday’s visit which will be family visit, when kids are allowed in. They are probably drinking in celebration as they will be spending some moments with their children. Beautiful, something I long for :(

22:39:41 the drinking party has moved to the front of the cell; but my mate keep coming to engaged me in lazy-lousy talks. But, another cellmate has just sent us out of the cell; lad is having a shyte, and when he does, nobody stays in the cell, he always blame it on his diabetes. Lad is lucky, as he works out; but actually spend most of his time in the gym talking, and that’s they think that keeps him going. He’s always talking, sometimes tells me stuffs he has repeated over and over to me, nice though, when I need someone to talk to ;-)

Saturday night, few are drinking around different cells, but most are tired of all week-long partying. But, my drunk cellmate is so wasted that he fell asleep with a cup half-full of #Moonshine; it actually taste like proper beer, how the lads does it, got no idea; but I still prefer my wine, which I haven’t made in a very long while now. Some of my core ingredients hasn’t been in for a long while; ginger and grapes ;-)

It’s gonna be a long night as my drunk cellmate will be up and about vomiting all he’s been drinking all day; problem with the lad, doesn’t eat well, but loves drinking.

Sun, 29 March 2015

#Sunday, it’s palm sunday today and easter is around the corner ;-), always wanted to sleep longer on Sundays, but once the lot of the lads are up, sleeping longer is out of the question; then the noises awakes also :(

Began the day easy with a cup of green tea and cinnamon tea; cinnamon has become my new sugar, use it for my tea, coffee and cereals and even in my protein shake – when I have one ;-)

The lads are always hungry and wanting to eat something in the morning; but rarely go for something healthy. That has turned me to the dietician and nutritionist in the cell, as I lecture my cellmates on food and what is best for them, especially the aging ones, whose waistlines has been growing since the dropped in and out of sedentary lifestyle :-)

With trying to eat healthy which is very hard here, I’m always telling them to take some time out for walks and stretching of their aged muscles and joints. Hope they do!

The day started well, but everything turned sour and sore as it turns out there is and won’t be water today; we are likely going to dip into our reserves. And to add salt into injury; there’s no ice either in the pavilion and it’s grilling hot inside, not even my massive fan is useful at this moment :(

Left with me alone; everything could be taken (well, everything has been taken, as nothing is left after a man’s freedom has been taken away from him), but leave me with a bag of ice cubes each day, will friggin calm my nerves ;-)

There’s nothing like room temperature here, water in gallons are all below boiling point temperature. Drinking them without ice is like drinking lukewarm water ;-)

I managed to organised what water we have left; filled up the kitchen tanks, and empty whatever tanks we have left into the big blue tanks and sent out instructions that we are on half-tanks today, meaning, anyone taking shower will be using half tank of water instead of a full tank. I believed I was understood, as it was well implemented, most showered twice and I did twice also.

One way to keep oneself cool under the heat is avoiding unnecessary contacts; the pavilion is overcrowded, that one can’t avoid constant contact with others. They are either talking or breathing into your face; imagine the amount of stench one lives with here. But staying in my cell keeps me at arm’s length and far from unnecessary contacts. At some moment, the cell is empty, even my grocer-mate, who now has an apprentice now goes out to place dominoes or whatever board games he chooses; apparently, that’s his form of exercise ;-)

Lately, the lads from pavilion eight has been trooping in here to visit their “Paisanos” and “Primos”, all it cost them is a bottle of soft drinks to the cops on duty. But our lads going to their pavilion, aren’t going there to talk or chat with them; but for another bodily servive or bodily modifications ;-)

The trend has been on since  a lad who did time in US prison was hauled into pavilion eight for whatever crime he committed in panama. While in the US prison, the lad learned something that will become a constant source of income while in prison here; the art and act of body modifications.

He is a tattoo artist and also does some other body enhancement, the latter which has drawn nearly everyone to him ;-)

From words around in my pavilion, quite a lot of inmates are so proud of his handiwork, and few, as I heard have tried it here with our one and willing subject; our reina de la noche (the queen of the night)! Left me wondering who enjoyed the game as she has no clit ;-)

The lad’s service is explicit and pragmatic; works on the mojo of his clients (hummmmm! How many mojos has he been handling since his incarceration and since he started this crude ingenious business)

Business idea; insert pearl into the skin of the penis of his clients, since there’s no pearl here, he does it with dominoes that has been cut, shaped and moulded round as a pearl.

According to testimonials from many of his clients who are now free; the stuff seems to be working wonders in their quest of getting laid. As every good testimonial does, brings prospective clients to the yard; loads are trooping to him to get pearled ;-)

Was surprised when I learnt that my porn-addicted old cellmate has gotten three inserted in his old mojo; lad doesn’t want to retire his machine ;-)

My drunk cellmate also has one done, the young lad who will be released in couple of months from now, has also gotten himself fixed. The first to get his done was my boxer-cellmate along with others. Pearl-in-the-dick has become the trend in the pavilions and amongst inmates now; a returning lad, who’s also my namesake was taken over there by the young lad and also got fixed. The problem is, he doesn’t know when he will be walking out of here; the first time, his lawyers did some magic and he walked away, hope the lawyer will repeat that same magic now as he is in dire need of it; so he can get to try his now sex toy ;-)

We are doing whatever makes us happy and while away our time here; so everyone will always have something to do.

And for the rest of sunday, nothing special happening, apart for what is normal to us; gaming, gambling, rolling and puffing, lining and snorting, drinking and roaring like lions or cubs that most are ;-)

Had a late shower before retiring to my bunk with a cup of water beside me as I tend to drink at night ;-)

Mon, 30 March 2015

Up to use the loo and that was it; water on stove for coffee, will need that today as I will be hitting the gym early. Want to train early today as I and my compatriots are expecting our consul today; the consul visit is supposed to be once in every three months, well, if she shows up today, she kept to her words, if not, there’s still Tuesday ;-)

The visit used to be once every month, but due to the austerity measures implemented back home in The Netherlands, everything has been streamlined, we don’t get as much as we used to, several embassies were closed and workforce streamed; but more jobs.

Had leftover rice and tuna for breakfast, will need enough strength today in the gym. Coffee was black and thick with cinnamon, later took some to the gym.

Visit list was called out and the lads filed out for an hour or more today as it’s family visit; two kids are allowed in with an adult. It’s one moment most of us misses, no families or loved ones around, but thank God for smartphones and internet connection; has kept and brought our relationships very close. We can have real time communication with our loved ones. In the past we were blessed to be able to use video chats, but since the mobile signal jammers were set up after the bloody North Korean sailors were hauled in here; video chats has become history.

With instant messaging, I’m constantly in contact with my family and friends , communication is made very easy and time also passes by rapidly. And with internet; my education continued, all I always want is a good phone with supersonic processing power, and what I have now does the job I need now. I have downloaded ebooks, magazines, articles, audiobooks, magazines (don’t miss out on my favourites), and every newly released songs too ;-). All these has helped me make good use of my time and also help me become very useful with myself. And it clearly shows that with access to books, internet and proper resources in prisons, prisoners can continue with their lives and not live in a time-capsule or vacuum, that, after incarceration, they don’t even know what year it is; thanks to American prison systems ;-)

Meanwhile, while the lads were out for today’s visit, the gym was virtually empty; the few of us there, made good use of the space and all we can put together for our workouts. I did basically Olympic lifts today, rounded up with biceps, abs and loads of bodyweight cardio routines; was well worth my time ;-)

The lads came back with tons of foods, enough food to feed an army ;-), seems what really keeps us going is “Food”, the lads don’t play with their foods.

Back in the cell, water finally came today; enough to fill everything, got me filling up empty bowls and pots ;-)

The lads cooked shrimps and boiled cassava brought in from today’s visit. Decided to go for the last of my rice and tuna and bit of the shrimps, passed the cassava. Black eye peas came for lunch, got a bowlful which will serve as my dinner with hard boiled eggs from today’s breakfast.

And my consul didn’t show up today, she has left the lads in limbo as they are broke and some are in debts; they are likely going to flog all she will be bringing in order to pay up their debts. Hope she comes tomorrow, and if she doesn’t show up, then, it will be next week, after the #EasterBreak :( then the visit is no longer every three months??

Took a long nap after lunch, drank gallons of water today; still hot and sticky! One thing I found out; since I stopped drinking the prison water, my cough has also stopped. Reminds me of an article I read online; about former inmates who sued the prison authorities because of infections they had from drinking from the prison water system. It was stated that the water supplied to the prison is processed from a water plant in Chepo (a little town right outside the prison entrance gate), and the water gets very poor treatment, remnants of faeces and harmful bacteria were found in the prison water system. Mineral water are sold here, but how many of us can afford them on a regular basis? I have just two options; buy mineral water when I have money or boil the prison water before drinking. Whatever is preventable is worth preventing ;-)

After my short nap late this afternoon, up and brewed a cup of green tea, infused with aniseed tea; refreshing ;-)

22:11:00  – my cellmate who’s been drinking all weekend is now going through his demons of hangover; vomiting, hope he cleans the toilet when done. Lad can’t handle the bottle, and can’t figgin resist the damn thing either. Little does he and others know; the greatest battle for a man is the battle against “self”…. if you can fight and overcome those little urges, build up a strong resilience and willpower, you can learn to say “NO” and “YES” at the appropriate time!

Finally, pray signal will be on my side as I want to get his publish tonight ;-)

“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis” – “In dangerous times, there is no greater than inaction”

Don’t get stuck with the thing that ruins your day. Smile and be happy. Life is too short to be wasted on negative thinking. #prisonexperience #survivingprison

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan

The ambiguities of prison incarceration; double lives of prisoners.

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on March 21, 2015 by doingtimeabroad

The ambiguities of prison incarceration; double lives of prisoners.

If we do good because we hope for reward and fear of punishment. Then, we are a sorry bunch of people indeed…… An intelligent person doesn’t need the promise of heaven to do good! #PrisonExperience

Saturday, 7 March 2015 18:34:46

The ambiguities of incarceration:

Anything can land a man into prison to spend time with shoal of humans of all sorts. In this part of the world, you don’t necessarily have to be a criminal to find yourself in prison; being at the wrong/right place at the wrong time can land one automatically into prison. And on the inside, one’s ordeals has just began, a lengthy process that can become indefinite has been set in motion. If you are unlucky, you could be thrown in and forgotten by the authorities who threw you in.

To the normal thinking humans, prisons are supposed to be a place to punished and correct wrongdoings. But, to the authorities, it’s simply a place to punish wrongdoings and let the prisoners rehabilitate themselves if they want. While to some of the incarcerated, it’s a place where life goes on, but in a different sphere.

Being locked up in #Panama has thought me the ambiguities of life behind bars; I have learned to see, feel and experience incarceration in two different views. You are severely punished for whatever crime you committed or suspected to have committed. But then, you can turn it around to you benefit or lose it entirely and allow the prison experience destroy you.

Interpretation of laws in some countries can be archaic and outrageous; people are hauled into prisons without evidence and trials. But then, once you are on the side of the bars, your voice is silenced forever. And forever could literally become forever as inmates were left here without interrogations, trials for years as they had no money to hire lawyers. Panama’s legal aid lawyers are a miss for any prisoner who doesn’t have money to fuel their cars or charged their telephone; they always demand something.

Hauled in, one is left to his own fate and destiny; and the final destination can be inside the walls of that prison as it has been for many who never walked out of here alive but wheeled out either in our wheelbarrows or carried out in black bodybags.

Thus, once inside, your survival, your fate and destiny lies in your hands; how soon you can adapt and adopt to live on the inside, and one which many have failed to realised!

Once inside, and from my experience here; prepare for the unknown, failure to prepare will likely caused some ills; breakdown, physical and emotional scars and can even caused death!

In prison your life can be falling apart around you and everything’s still fine with you….strange things #Hun! (hyperbolical). When everything around you, what you have to do and life becomes monotonous, you begin to feel the monotony and start losing control of the circumstances. It’s then you know you are F**KED!

Managed to publish a blog that took a while to complete, I’m probably becoming lazy;-) tweeting more, but still writing as it keeps me busy and also allows me play with words as they play with our fates.

Saturdays are my dreaded days as I’m always thinking of sleeping a bit longer, but have to wake up before 8am for the general cleaning and washing of the cell. Some cells actually do theirs daily; so much time in their hands, nothing to gossip about ;-). Reminds me of a lad next door; sweeps the passage in front of his cell and mine every afternoon, despite the fact that it’s been swept by the workers (prisoners doing community services for time reduction). I opted for school, at least get to brush up my español ;-) ….lately, there are two teams sweeping the passages and changing the bin bags; first team works around 4/5am and the second team around 2pm. The problem is, there is no specific work programme from the government for inmates to do for rehabilitation or time reduction, thus we have to come up with something… ingeniously prisoners ;-)

Ours, we stick to daily washing of the toilet and shower corners in the cell. While the general cleaning and washing of the cell is done on saturday morning, and that is, when there there’s water or if the person is not sleeping out his hangover ;-) , it involves taking out everything on the floor outside and it’s  done every saturday by 8am upwards.

Some Saturdays, instead of sitting and wait for them to finish, I might decide to hit the gym or outside, if the cop will let me for a dose of cardio or an all-body workouts.

Today decided to wait, as I planned taking an early shower and back to sleep. Didn’t worked as planned, when they finished. Had two cups of coffee with cinnamon; cinnamon had now become my sugar ;-).

Back in, things in their places, had to cook our lunch; beef stew, while another boiled rice. Our electric cooker has finally packed up after five years in service; we really used our money’s worth ;-), most who bought theirs same time with us, have gone on to buy two or three more. I’ve always tried to be strict with its usage, even the glass cover is still intact. Like everything in prison, after losing its primary purposes and functions, it’s still valuable and useful for other purposes; there are two holes in the pan and the heating element is broken. But we can fiix it and turn it into an oven ;-). Buy new element, make a stove and place the pan on it to back bread, cakes or any type of dry pastries; necessity, they say is the mother of all invention!

My mate who just returned from hospital after two months in admission (lucky chap, though money talked and lawyer worked), for type 2 diabetes and other ills that comes with age and unhealthy lifestyle. He’s back with his workout routines, that’s one thing that really helped him, back in his active years, he was very sportive, and has been keeping that up. Others with his type of his are having serious complications as they are too lazy to move around. A Chinese inmate who was here, spent months in admission for diabetes also, finally released, died from complications from the diabetes upon release. One can live with any ills if you only know how to live around it and keep it under control.

Spent most part of the day in the cell, very hot, and the place is congested; that we are breathing each other exhaled air! Pathetic!

Another lad is back for the third time, each time he leaves, he goes home toned and muscular, but when he comes back; added extra ton of fat. He now look three times what he was when he left here. He promised to join my training group ;-), he’s welcome, apparently, he’s my namesake, but spelt in the spanish way ;-)

One of the lasses from pavilion two has been coming around; well not for fleshy community services, but to fix some of the lads hair. Once she walks in, the atmosphere in the pavilion becomes charged with some new energy, catcalling, with the lads popping in to see where she is going to; if the cell has curtains or not ;-). I guess, most are tired with our only shemale who has been getting all the attention here. The ladee from pavilion two just love the atmosphere and the way she is been treated by some of her secret or rather openly admirers ;-)

Some do go as far as offering her sodas and I believe in return gets her phone number for nightly chats and trading of photos; one’s life can be falling apart, but everything around you seems perfectly ok #PrisonExperience

Another young lad, who’s stumbled into the world of cyber sex and internet porns, barely understand what he’s up to, brought his phone to show me his new-found online love. Well, upon going through and what was before me on the display picture was a naked lady with part of her face cut off; all the messages that he has received from her were in either Indonesian or Thai languages, but the lad believes all the messages were for him. He actually sent her or him (whoever was behind the number on whatsapp) pictures of his little wiener (being a little fella) ;-)

Couldn’t help but laugh myself to tears, he’s not alone in such folly, most lads here are sending pictures of their whatever to ‘supposedly to be women’ they meet online. Quite a lot could be done with our smartphones, but we rather indulge with what will keep us happy and satisfied with them ;-)

Well, it’s all about doing and passing time! Whatever that will keep you going and take you through each day, so long it doesn’t hurt the next man. Just do it ;-)

Being saturday, had expected another round of weekend fiestas, but it was quiet until later in the evening when some lads just couldn’t hold their peace any longer, music and bottles or cups of liquor and cervezas were let loose. The lads had their full, but kept it low and quiet, had to hit my bed early as I was knackered, didn’t get to nap during the day.

Was in bed around 11pm or a bit later.

Sunday 8 March 2015

Got up several times to use the loo, drank too much of liquids yesterday; water, tea, fruit juice, and coffee. Lately, it’s been pretty hard on me; chest pain and irregular heart beat at night. Spoke with my consul about it and I need to see a doctor urgently to know the state of me health. After doing several research online, doesn’t look like something I should be smiling about. But then, what can I do; self-medicating is all I’m on now. The locals are selling all sorts of medicines nicked or what they were given at the clinin here; went through them and found some useful ones, spoke with Doc about them, advised me on usage, been taking them and seems to be helping. Some of lads buy whatever is sold without prior knowledge of what they are buying or finding out what they are buying and about taking!

Surviving prison in panama entails so much, not just being free from violence, one’s health is very vital and that’s the more reason I stick to my daily workout routines, and also trying to lead a ‘healthy lifestyle’.

Started the day with healthy breakfast; pancakes with hard boiled eggs from yesterday’s breakfast; the eggs were from next cell, the lads there barely eat eggs, sometimes my cellmates eat theirs, sometimes they just leave it. Made enough pancakes for all eccept the two who are eating on their own; they prefer buying cooked food from the many food vendors in the pavilion. Food; that’s one thing prisoners don’t joke with, you can take their freedom away, but don’t take away their food ;-).

Cooked our lunch also, sometimes I prefer cooking than have my gay cellmate cook, well, I don’t eat whatever he cooks; lad is very dirty. Saw him once wiped his nose with bare hand and cleaned it on his shirt, and went on cooking. I rather eat the prison food, which I don’t know how they’re prepared than eat the rubbish that I’m seeing right in front of me.

When he cooks, he dumps everything into the pot at the same time, and at the end, vegetables are all black and uses lot of salt, well, they all eat lots of salt and sugar.

Cooked beef stew; with just enough beef for four people, added the last of my chicken thigh from yesterday. Whoever wants to eat will have to fry eggs and have it with the sauce and rice!

Meanwhile and elsewhere in the pavilion, serious party has been going on since morning. A lad marking his birthday had his friends by and they turned the whole place white with baking flour (latin American tradition of bathing the celebrant with flour or talcum powder). Litres after litres of our locally brews; beer and liquor consumed. The lads seems to be extremely well-to-do; tomorrow will come with its hangover ;-)

My gay cellmate’s dealer/pharmacist isn’t hiding his business with my cellmate; he flaunts his business like others selling phone recharge cards, marihuana, clothes, shoes, food and whatsoever is sold here. But, the funny thing about him, he doesn’t shout or scream out until he’s in front of my cell. Then we hear him scream out “Si Hay Perico” (Yes, there’s crack).

It was the same crack that landed my gay cellmate in the slammer, and the same crack is ruining him gradually. He prefers that to eating healthy; and the drugs seems to make him a sort of kind gentle fella. Doesn’t trouble nobody, he sort of make the lads happy when he’s drunk, thus, he’s much needed wherever there’s moonshine.

We also have our unwritten rules in the cell; he must not do drugs in the cell and if during our impromptu search, cops happened to find wraps of coke, he should own up and tell them, they are his! Period and case close!

I have seen lads do extra time for flimsy ounces of weed and coke! With our liquor, they are taken away and thrown out, no punishment or extra time!

Elsewhere in the pavilion, a Turkish inmate, guess the only supposedly Muslim in the pavilion, though doesn’t seems to be practising his faith like many so-called Christians here. Well, there’s a Jordanian who is back for the second time after six to seven months in the immigration waiting for Ecuador to pick him on extradition, and panamá won’t release him as Ecuador didn’t come for him.

This Turkish once timid when he newly came, is now becoming extremely weird; lad is dealing dope, and also snorting it. Too bad, that think will f**k him up. Prison can make and unmake some people, depends on how you see it. It can really f**k people up!

Lad was kicked out of his cell by his cellmates, after repeatedly seen snorting and walking around the cell looking friggin f**ked up; lad got his mates up most nights as they are too scare to sleep with him under the influence of his products. On different occasions, he’s also been caught shagging our shemale in his bunk; but that is something I won’t believe, as our pavilion is an open-plan pavilion with cells that no secret is a secret.

There’s no hidden place to do anything without being seen, well, some still managed to steal modem from routers without being seen; well, that was a group coordinated job. Like our shemale nightly job; well coordinated with our vampire whom I haven’t seen in days, down with food poisoning, and having serious bouts of diarrhoea, lads needs medication ASAP!

He arranges clients for our shemale and also the spot; dark corners (alleyways) in the passage is always their shagging or business spot. While she is at work, busy satisfying her client, our vampire does the watching for any incoming intruders, sometimes, inmates have walked into them, but as with everything here; friggin mind your business—– they just walk past —- see but don’t tell. And that’s every prisoners problem; they see and can’t friggin keep their mouths shut, they love to gossip as there aren’t much to do or talk about positively ;-)

Back to Turkish, his mates decided to kicked him out of the cell. Thus, he’s now floating around, but end up sleeping on top of the cell every night. His mates are too scared to have him inside the cell. Such is our lives here; abide with our simple uncomplicated unwritten rules and you can spend years here without problems.

People are doing dopes daily, but also contained themselves and their cellmates get along with them without problems. Like in my cell, we all know that our little gay-cellmate has graduated from snorting to puffing cracks, and it’s wounding him seriously; losing weights, gambling excessively, and I have never seen him sleep around midnight; always around 2am to 4am every night. Despite his lifestyle; though we’ve tried talking him out and doesn’t work, we’ve learned to live with him the way he is.

It’s the prison responsibility to punished, correct and rehabilitate prisoners. But in panama and even in most developed or first world countries, prisoners are left to correct their wrongdoings and rehabilitate themselves; addicts are left to their own vice, continue or kick it. At the end it’s all about self-control, self-discipline, self-raising, self-rehabilitation and self-redemption.

Most that I have seen here, tried the church, which didn’t help, as they still kept up and on with the hidden lifestyles they are trying to drop. Others tried withdrawal methods, but sooner than they thought they will endure, they were back in the game. There’s just gotta be a way out and that way is #Willpower and #SelfDiscipline, and those are two lacking virtues here! As for patience, we’ve all learned to cultivate it, even those who never believe in it before are now champion of it; lawyers and the system has thought everyone of us how to be patient ;-). Everything in prison revolves around it and money of course; patience is what prison gangs thrives on, patience is the lawyer delay tactics after collecting large sum of money from inmates. Patience is everything! And then hope crowns them all!

Monday 9 March 2015

Monday; woke up to a new day and brand new week with so much to face, overcome and to do, most importantly with uncertainties and circumstances that could be beyond my control. But then, like every other circumstances that has come and gone, I will alway find my way around them.

As others went through their morning rituals, I waited in my bed, finally got up to get about wiith mine. My boxer-cellmate has set up the beans I left in water overnight on the stove. Quickly boil water for my morning tea; green tea and cinnamon ;-)

Had cold oats with peanut butter and raisins, enough to fuel me through my excruciating chest workout today.

Late to the gym as I have to round up with the beans, can’t leave it for the lads as they always tend to forget and allow things to get burnt.

The gym was semi-packed, few were outside walking and talking. My training mates were already on Inclined and declined chest routines. Had to set up a set of dumbbells before I got into my warm up routines. The group was way too large, thought I won’t have a good workout, but quickly set up other things to do while they take turns; inclined push-ups, triceps with dumbbells, planks and hanging leg raise. Well, just did about anything to keep me up as we were 8 working out together. Managed to pull through the workout and finish with flatbench and pullover.

Went outside, the sun was blazingly hot, bit windy, though our patches of grass have all turned brown due to drought that has hit panama or probably due to the dry season. Enjoyed the weather as I went about body-weight routines, yoga stretches, worked on the monkey bars behind the building; dips and inverted rows. Finally called it day and in to my postworkout meal of beans; filling and nutritious, added two fried eggs to it, not bad after a cruelly workout. Others had beans and rice which they cooked while I was outside.

After shower and washing my clothes; something I do after each workout, and there are inmates using same clothes everyday to the gym unwashed. Can’t stand such, but then, it’s their lives and this is prison; all man to himself!

We had an impromptu meeting in the cell; and it came up all because of Turkish, the new lad hanging out with our shemale and who’s now kicked out of his cell by his cellmates.

One of the old lads in my cell; also new! Wanted to switch bed/cell with Turkish, as his cellmates gave him the option of either selling his bed or switching it with someone else. And the old lad in my cell, having a friend in that cell, wanted to switch. Me, being the oldest or longstanding inmate in my cell objected to that idea; telling him, I can’t afford to live with a dope dealer, who, not only sells but also uses his products. The using part, was what got Turkish mates scared and threw him out. Told them, the little gay, who lives with us; as we all know uses, but doesn’t do anything in the cell, and I have learned to live around him; doesn’t cook for me, when I cook, I offer him if I want to as I’m not obligated to serve anyone here.

As we all talked, he gave his reasons; being that the gay lad is very dirty, and uses his ladder (he sleeps in a makeshift bed, which is accessed by a ladder, welded to the bed frame), and the gay lad sleeps in a hammock, hanging up high in the middle of the cell. The old lad talked of many instances the young lad has hidden toilet papers filled with phlegm in the corners of the ladder and also wipes his nose with hands and climbs his ladder; several times he has woken up to touching phlegm on the ladder..yuuuuuks! ;-)

We ended the meeting, agreed that Turkish ain’t moving in here; the devil you know, is better than the angel you don’t know! And we reminded our gay cellmate, whatever he does outside the cell, stays outside, we want him to be clean and kept to personal hygiene; no more stocking of food for days until they got rotten, and he has to wash his hand after using the loo; can’t believe there are still adults who don’t know they have to wash their hands after taking a shyte. Pathetic!

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Day 2 into our silent hunger strike protest and I believe it might be the last as we are running out of what keeps us going; FOOD!

The convenience stores dotting several cells and corners of the pavilion are running out of essential commodities; rice, beans, lentils, canned sardines, sugar and most importantly ICE! Without ice, sodas and all sort of drinks can’t be sold and for me, without ice it’s gonna be like a second hell here, need ice to drink my water and need it more after workout.

I’m up for the day as the lads are busy with whatever keeps them busy. There’s always something to gossip about; on the table now is the political scandals rocking #Panama and ex president Martinelli’s cronies or crooks. Some of them are already on the inside, ex supreme court #MoncadaLuna has been sentenced to five years imprisonment and as fate would have it, he’s doing his time beside Panama’s former strongman General Noriega. Apparently, under Panama’s constitution, Noriega would have been free after the French sent him to Panama because of his age (prisoners above 65 could be allowed to do time at home instead of being locked in prison).

It was the same now-jailed ex supreme Court judge #MoncadaLuna who signed that Noriega be locked up. And now, who laughs last ;-) ;-) ;-)…… guess, the old General will be laughing like Kojack ;-)

Went outside as the door was still open today; had an excruciating all-body workout, and enjoyed the warmth of the sun, which many were running from. We don’t get much of it as we spend most of our days locked in.

Back inside, heard there won’t be ice today; and it’s bloody hot inside. Drank enough water to cool my organs ;-) and spent about an hour in the shower. Would have murdered a cool bath or a swim in the pool now. But then, I’m thankful that we have enough water; made use of two tanks.

Had a quick lunch and tucked in for a much quicker nap; friggin knackered like a tired and worn-out horse. Needed the sleep as it’s too hot in the pavilion, and the pavilion itself is alive with sea of humans; each a walking dynamite with whatever they are breathing out.

Like always, my days are spent in the comfort of my cell and later at night in front of the cell, sitting right under my router for better signal reception.

Thursday 12 March 2015

Up and rushed through my rituals; since I always sleep late, I always wake up around 6am to use the loo and then back for an hour or two of sleep; well, doesn’t work all the time, noise! Sometimes, just lying back, meditating and pondering the affairs of the day helps me prepare mentally for the day and what will come; though some could be beyond my control, but I do give in my best to get it under control.

Pot of water for tea; discarding the one my mate boiled earlier, always use fresh water for my tea! Had a oats-honey bars with peanut butter with my tea; green and cinnamon tea! And then coffee for my preworkout ;-)

Hit the gym; bit scanty, my group hitting back today, but decided to join a lad on the squat rack; got my knee bandages, went hard with the lad. Thanks to recent articles I read online, I think I can handle squat despite my backache. But always careful!

Was almost done when my training mates came out; got them into their routines while I rounded up with squats. Joined them and we went through out routines. Then introduced them into a new type of workout I have been reading and studying for weeks now; #BarbellComplexes! After studying and secretly practising, I believe it’s what the lads need to get them off their plateaus ;-)

Took them through five routines, excruciating and got them panting; but only 4 reps of each each routine. They liked it and looking forward to starting the routine on Monday; Oh! Monday happens to be our visit day, hope not of all them going out! Then I might have to workout alone!

Rounded up with abs and back in; peanut butter and cereals as my postworkout meal. In the cell, our stove is giving us issues, being the oldest in the cell, the lads expect me to do everything. But decided to turn a deaf ear to them as they discussed and kept each other silence on the stove issue.

A nap was all I needed to refreshed my knackered body; took an hour nap, woke up when the lads serving dinner couldn’t help screaming “Comida”! Nothing on the cart looked edible to me, to others, they will make a feast of all that came on the cart. My mate got me slices of onions and tomatoes and they called it “Salad”, the onions was not cured; very raw! Hard it with eggs from breakfast, after I worked on it! And that was my dinner!

Stayed up a bit late, until someone kept sneezing and coughing and sending spittle over my body, had to get and clean myself; too bad as someone have to teach them how to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze! :(

Cell next door; an ex boxer, a former world champion is drinking with his buddies; music is vallenatoe and anything latino; well not spanish as I didn’t hear any spanish music from Spain ;-)

Panama being home to one or two of the world’s boxing federation does have a handful of world champions and few have earned some prison time added to their titles. One was with us in Renacer and had #DonKing paid him a visit; that visit spurred the lad’s released, after the visit, he was reformed and rehabilitated ;-) released and sent back to his gangs who came to welcome him in their thousands.

Others weren’t fortunate to be sent to renacer; the Five stars of panama prison according to ex presidente Martinelli, who will be cooling his ass there soon; some of mates are there and others in the new prison “They” inaugurated!

We happened to have one here and lad drinks like a fish, but doesn’t miss his training; his got couple of lads he trains with and he’s really doing a good job with the lads. He once knockout another inmate who was too full of himself ;-), the video has gone viral amongst inmates, and I believe it’s spread throughout the prison system ;-).

I left them to their music as they drank all night, but finally cut it off before I slept!

Friday 13 March 2015

#TGIF and also #Weekend, woke up early, but got loads to do in the way of preparing my meals ;-), can’t rely on the prison food to supply the needed nutrients ;-).

Waited as the lads went through their morning rituals, dressed up for the day; for the gym ;-)

Breakfast came; bread buns and a cloudy water, they say is coffee and milk but taste like roasted brown beans. This is prison, anything can pass as food, so long you stay alive after nibbling on that anything ;-).

Had planned of having boiled broccoli and fried eggs, but thought of my postworkout meal; prepared the broccoli and green pepper and left them for later. Had two round bread with peanut butter and a cup of the coffee thing; added cinnamon to mine. The lads can’t friggin understand why I always add cinnamon to my coffee ;-)

Also set a pot of brown beans on the stove; soaked it since 8pm last night. Taking easy with beans now, since I read an article about beans, but won’t stop me from eating them; but have to cook them probably.

Too late for the gym as our time slot is taken by the catholic church; having a Friday mass. The priest, as I heard is on his way to the pavilion. And the catholics here are the most faithful crooks around; pretty fatal lad, vicious with mouths like Lions ;-). I love prisoners who are religious; they tend to make you want to believe, but at the end, fooling themselves. I have learn to keep my faith to me and in my heart and practice the golden rule “Love thy neighbour as thyself”…. faithful in that, you won’t nick your neighbour modem, money, weed, coke, onions, and you won’t snitched (well, they snitch part needs a second thougt)! :-). The lads, got bible in their hands and blades in their pants; the locals can play football with long blades in their pants. That got me wondering how they run, tackles and dribbles with that sharp object in their pants and closed to their weiners? ;-) ….. practice makes perfect…. professionals!

Hustle my way outside, only for the cops to ordered everyone back in as the Ladees in Pavilion 2 were having patio; ladies recreation ;-), loads of them, maybe a trailer load of them were dumped there; natives Indians, gigantic ones, and very fat ones and a skinny who’s proobably snort-sleeping; lad friggin look like he’s been vacuumed dry ;-)

We talked the cop into letting us for another 10mins, for the next 15/20mins before he came back, I had one of my best workout, ignoring santa claus “the only sikh in the village”; dude kept bugging me with how good his sikh brothers are; best soldiers in the world, best scientists and blablablabla… I got him mad… when I told him, ” doubt if they are the best in bed” ;-). Just wanted him to leave me alone to my time-crunched workout. Fact is, like many people, he needs someone to talk to; but, as I have come to understand, he’s mental; talks absolute rubbish or basura as the latinos will say. As I good prisoner that I want to be; I always lend him my ears, but he always pushes me to the edge when he gets into his religio and how they are the best; forgettin how Sikhs were slicing each other in India and inside one of their temples couple of months ago, when religion became politicalised! I actually read that news! He doesn’t like my wits; too cheeky for him to fool. He tells the lads he’s a programmer ;-), did asked him if he programs coke? ;-)

Good workout, but still feeling the surge of energy as I want more; inside, beans still cooking and the lads engaged with the news; helping the newscasters finished their stories; something gotta keep everyone busy!

Finally, the priest rounded up around 11:40am, rushed in, setting up flatbench, and the incline bench; got my mates to set up and get started. We went on to have one of our best chest workout in less than one hour. During my pause, hit my abs and triceps. We were done before 1pm for next group; handballers!

Panting and inside, ice finally came in, got a cup and down a cup of gatorade; bought a pot of 2kg for $25 :( bloody expensive!

Three light fried eggs and broccoli and a handful of rice from the prison lunch cart was my postworkout meal; broccoli is bloody expensive, the sellers won’t even eat it. I’d asked him if he doesn’t eat it, lad said, it’s too expensive for him. But, he’s friggin selling it ;-)

Lots of water, showered and washed my gym clothing. All our tanks filled, thus, there will be general cleaning and washing of the cell tomorrow.

Decided to take a nap; slept well, about 2 hours! Got me refreshed and rejuvenated. But woke up starving and also missed the prison dinner; I’m always on the lookout for healthy options on the cart; well, that’s, if there’s any!

When I came in from the gym; my grocer-mate has bought 2lbs of beef (very old beef), marinated them before napping; one to be cooked today and the other tomorrow. My boxer-cellmate doesn’t eat with us anymore, just the two of us; saves money!

Decided to make patacones and prepared the meat like a cowboy; onions, buffalo sauce, black pepper and garlic. Wasn’t bad with the dip I made. Dinner served and eaten; downed mine with a cocktail of grape juice and a shot of my liquor ;-). Good food deserves a good drink ;-)

Cell next door; the lads are going back in time with their choice of music, probably to when one of them got slammed. He probably will call them #OldSchool, but I will call him “Stock-in-time”, he’s friggin living in a time capsule or vacuum. There are better music and good music for people like us and in our situation now; if only they know they power of Torrents ;-)

And Gringo #ElLoco who’s in for supposedly molesting under age girls has suddenly become very very religious; not missing out in any of the two churches, well, santa claus does same; but only when there’s food and drinks ;-) #ReligiousPrisoners

Gringo, is definitely loco; he barely sleeps, sees visions and talks of heaven; old soldier, Vietnam veteran, one, I believe America has forgotten because of the nature of his crime in panama; crime that was never proven that he committed. Too bad! But at this stage of his life after surviving a bout of tuberculosis, he’s become very religious and also very frail! But doesn’t stop him from puffing joints with his Jamaican pals who are siphoning him off his little pension or whatever money he gets from uncle sam as a disabled veteran.

00:20:07 on Saturday 14 March 2015

Not noisy as it used to be on a typical Friday; probably the lads are on reflection mood tonight; reflecting and lamenting silently about life and what it has thrown at them.

Reminds of the lad that hung himself in pavilion8; he literally made our silent and nonviolent hunger strike a bit meaningful as it came on the news. Lad called home, a man picked up, knew his missus his caning another; he freaked out and hung himself, which wouldn’t stop his missus from canning the other man. Wrong move!

We develop strength from adversities and trials, prisontime should toughen one resolve about life; but some men will always remain ‘weaklings’ no matter how long they spend behind bars.

The water hole on our side of the pavilion seems to be opened, but a bit too late, wondering how many people will be binging tonight. Both sides of the pavilion has gotten a watering hole and both serves inmates from either sides; as many seems to patronised their compatriots. One is a mexicano and the other a Colombiano; both has got their faithful clients; mostly on credits. I prefer the mexicano, lad was first in the business and does pretty well; but can’t tell of the water he uses! Don’t indulge like most; occasionally to celebrate with schat when it calls for ;-)

00:29:07 The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony playing in my earphones; one song that has kept me going!

“But I’m here in my mold, I am here in my mold. But I’m a million different people from one day to the next….I can’t change my mold, no no…. Well I’ve never prayed but tonight I’m on my knees, I need to hear some sounds that recognise the pain in me…..

Better than what my mate next door are listening to; ice ice baby! ;-) they are stuck in time — when they got nicked, little do they know, music has evolved and changed; well more of copycats now, hardly any originals.

Just read of a judge awarding Marvin Gaye estate millions from William Pharell and Robin Thicke after they nicked Gaye’s music into their Bluured Lines hit! Good music, but loads of plagiarism these days!

Well, it seems the lads at the watering hole are up and about, and in for business tonight; I was wrong, as there won’t be any drinking tonight. Hope they keep it low and quiet.. a bit!

And I decided to leave whoever is up and about at this time to my bunk; run through another shower before hitting my bunk. Thanking God for a great day and more great days to come.

Saturday 14 March 2015

Wanted to sleep without being disturbed, but got up around 7:30am to use the loo and decided to get ready for today’s cleaning. Needed a cold drink today as I was sweating; the cough is not doing me good. Painful at night and thick dark phlegm in the morning, and always leaving me dehydrated at night. Need to check what is going on inside of me. Our lives is all based on faith, so if anything happens, it’s faith and fate at work; we blame God.

The cleaning was swift, all things back to their spots. Run through a cold shower, what will be the first of fours showers today; still sweating, constantly have to sit under the fan or I’m drenched in sweat.

The lads sleeping in the gym hall are making working out for the early trainers difficult; they slept till 9am today. Bloody lazy prisoners; wouldn’t blame them, but the system which made everyone lazy. There’s no organised routines for the lads, thus, everyone lives and does as he pleases, it’s a jungle for all.

Had a cold cereal breakfast and back to bed, day off from workout. Heard the whistle went off as the door was thrown open for an hour outside. Gave me the opportunity to sleep longer as many went out and less noisy inside the pavilion. Slept through until they all came back with their noises. From bed to another shower, second today.

Cooked the last of the meat we bought yesterday with broccoli and boiled ripe plantain, wasn’t bad for lunch/dinner! Whatever we cook for lunch, sometimes end up as our dinner.

After cooking and eating, went around to see my compatriot who had a message from our consul. Spent time in the gym hall, which was fully packed with inmates playing board games; apparently, there’s a tournament going on and the lads are dead serious about it. I heard the winners will go to their cells with $400, 2nd place $200 and 3rd takes $100! And the lads aren’t joking about the paquete tournament. Sometimes it does get very hot with heated argument and once or twice, punches were thrown, but others intervened and saved the day.

Back in the cell, quickly rushed in for another shower, my 3rd today and the final one will come late in the evening before bedtime ;-)

It’s weekend, not even prisoners are left out on what happens in weekend; the lads are busy keeping themselves very busy with whatever keeps a prisoner busy. The Mexicans up on the passage are drinking with their Ranchera and Corridor narco music, others are flicking their lighters as they puff on their joints. The Chinese seems to be big dealers in marihuana in the pavilion, not only do they sell, they smoke more than anybody else in the pavilion, they always in a state of high and stoned ;-) . Beautiful thing about them, their packaging is the best, plastic bags are used and the weed are vacuum-paced like sachets of drugs, well, it’s also drugs but a different one.

Sunday 15 March 2015

Woke up feeling much better, an early shower and a large cup of coffee with cinnamon got me on a the right standing and mood. Did my laundries today; washing my bedsheets, clothes, which got my sweating. That’s one thing many of my fellow lazy prisoners here don’t know; doing daily chores adds up to one’s general wellbeing. They don’t workout daily as most of us do, they pay others to even do their laundries, buy cooked food and grow their waistlines; I know many lads who were hauled in here, looking like death, but today, the clothes they wore when they got in won’t fit them as they are all obese and rounded ;-) ,even in prison, there are many who are leading a sedentary lifestyle, aren’t bothered to move around, well, someday, they will be moved probably in our improvised ambulance; wheelbarrows ;-)

After my laundries and shower; I definitely know, I have just had a mini workout. Which got me ;-), drenched in sweat and my heart racing, now time to munch something.

Had yesterday’s leftover rice with poached eggs, thank God, eggs are back; my major source of protein. Made it a bit spicy and hot!

Being sunday, the churches; catholic and evangelical are having services today. It baffled me when I find out that both churches are warring each other, just like everything about prisons; prison gangs, dealers, grocers, distillers, and just about everything here is at war with each others. Some silently, like the churches and others to be heard, like the gangs who are popping each others when they have or need to or when they are bored from not popping ;-)

The two denominations in the pavilion don’t share anything in common; the catholic has got their PA system, chairs and even a pulpit of theirs and wouldn’t share it with the evangelicals, who also have theirs with complete sets of musical instruments; drum sets, guitars, conga drums, and massive amplifiers and speakers; bad blood!

The churches outside are ready and willing to invest money in buying the state-of-art equipment for the prisoners to run churches inside, but nobody is thinking about rehabilitating these bunch of wastelands! Everyone becomes born-again on the inside, get time reduction and have an early release, but not prepared for what awaits him outside. In no time are they back inside, and back to the bible hours! It’s lovely, but ironically a vicious circle that I doubt will ever be broken.

Personally, a prisoner is sent in to be punished and rehabilitated; punishment part is well done, though not many feel that they are being punished as some are leaving far better than they used to live on the outside; No bills!

And the rehabilitated part is throwing religion at the lads; once the authorities sees them with bijles , they also believe like the inmates themselves believes, “they are transformed”. Once outside, the bible won’t feed them, they are back to their routines and then nicked again and back in….and there goes the weasel again ;-) and the never-ending vicious circle – the snake trying eat up its tail!

Wanted to nap and sleep but couldn’t as one of the young lads (apparently, a member the largest family here) brought his uncle and paisanos into the cell for what will become an all-day and all-night drinking session with loud music.

They drank till very late at night, until my not-so-good-with-alcohol cellmate joined them, they drank and chattered till around 2am. Then, my cellmate had a little too much and began babbling of how much money he has, telling another; that people from his village are poor, the lads didn’t like it (well, that’s what happen when alcohol takes control of a man and he loses his damn mojo and when one lives in a close-knit village or community where everyone is hitting on each other’s wives ;-)

The other lad told him, he doesn’t have no money, he buys food on credit; it was about getting hot. Had to call for peace and thank God for the fracas as it led to the end of the drinking party ;-)

Finally slumped into my bunk, but the young lad who hosted his uncle and others kept up with loud music, but nature called him in his drunken state; slept with his bunk light on. I wanted to climbed up and switch his light off as it disturbed me, but was damn too knackered.

I finally turned off my music to get a much-needed sleep at around 3am! Not a good one!

Monday 16 March 2015

Most morning I try to sleep longer, but can’t as the noise becomes unbearable when most of the pavilion are up.

Up for the day and set up a pot of water for green tea. Went through my morning rituals and breakfast of cold cereal with peanut butter and raisins. It’s visit day today, many will be going out to restocked their groceries and whatever could be smuggled in by spouses or family members. Many inmates, mostly amongst the local, run businesses on the inside to sustain their families; legal or illegal; according to a mate, nothing is legal once done inside a prison ;-)

While others went out, I hit the gym; knowing I might be working out alone today as some of my training mates will be out on visit.

The gym was scanty, enough materials to be used and not much hassles with those around.

Started the week with proper squat; having read a lot on form and techniques, I was ready to work around my sore lower back. And, that’s exactly what I did, had a very good workout and alone. Rounded up with Romanian deadlift and lunges. Then added pull-ups to my Monday’s routine which got me pumping.

The lads were back, with so much food to feed the overpopulated, overcrowded pavilion, but as we are humans and humans are greedy; most won’t be sharing nada.

Three of my mates went up and back with enough food to take us through days; wouldn’t stop me from scavenging on the prison food whenever it comes for healthy options (well, not much to choose from, not like it’s a figgin buffet. Sometimes I do feast on beans and lentils).

Inside, the cell was bubbling with life; stories from the visit, who had a new female visitor, whose lady is fat, tall or short and how some were kissing; f**k! Men does gossip, if given time and nothing to do ;-). It all helps with time!

The news was on as #Panama still battles the corruption scandals from the previous government of Ricardo Martinelli who’s presumably on self-exile, as his team of corrupt officials are all nicked and one supreme Court judge #MoncadaLuna is roasting his sorry ass next to #TheGeneral, Noriega himself ;-) #ElMachete

The prison lunch came; took enough black eye beans and salad which I have to wash before eating with the hard boiled eggs from today’s breakfast; drizzle olive oil, ground chilies, oregano and basil on it and that was a good postworkout meal. My boxer-cellmate prepared white rice and shrimps in coconut sauce; took the sauce which I will later eat with my beans.

Had a good shower and did my laundry, needed lot of ice for something cold; welch’s grape juice was ok to quench the fire and heat in me.

My porn-addicted cellmate (seems every prisoner is addicted to porn), had deleted all his prized and precious photos of his many women from huis phone. Called me to help recover them; helped, as he hasn’t refresh or cleaned his system. And he offered me a can of alcohol-free malt drink ;-) for a job well done and he will be having enough naked women to wank in his dark bunk ;-)

A lot and enough being hawked around; slippers, clothes (mostly boxers, Colombia football jerseys) cornflakes, even chicken nicked from the kitchen was on sale at a very cheap price ;-), the lad selling the chickens probably has a bad day as there is a lot food today, but there are people that will buy the chickens; food probably keeps prisoners locked up and shut up ;-), at least we’ve been deprived of sex and beer ;-), and we are still functioning, but if our food stops coming; then there will be war!

On television; female prisoners at the female prisoner in the city are protesting over an outbreak of #Tuberculosis. Lately, having read of drug-resistance strain of the disease, it scares the heck out of me and it did freak the city as many commented about it; the government should move quickly and contain the outbreak before it becomes a national crisis.

From the news, few inmates were infected and they didn’t get proper medical attention, and it has spread to a few others. This is what scares me most here; when we had our outbreak, it was within a cell, and then #ElGringo Loco (an American Vietnam veteran) who is next cell to mine also got infected; was hospitalised for few months and later brought back. He looked haggard and still look that way. Now puffs weed to help with pains that comes with age, lad is 60+ but look 80+; prison is doing him real hard and bad.

Need some magazines, glad signal is a bit better; set up few downloads; #TheEconomist #TIME #PlayboyNL #MensFitness #MensHealth #Nuts #Psychology and other current mags, enough to keep me busy apart from novels. At least, reading something current and educative keeps one abreast with world’s current affairs. Thank God that even corruption in prison affords us privileges of owning smartphones. Would’ve been something else without phones here; war!

Back home, schat and the kids are doing great; pretty busy as she juggles daily activities alone. She is a strong lady, my superwoman. Rarely talk with my kids, but we chat, voice calls is not something I want to (occasionally, well), but on daily basics, I can’t stand their questions; ‘when are you coming home’ and hearing that from them always set me back into thinking mode. Glad I can manage through my difficulties! Most do go through breakdowns and some never recover from it.

Strength always come from deep within oneself and never from what we see around; though what we see around spurs the inside to build that needed strength in order to overcome those external vices!

Tues 17 March 2015

Having slept early, woke up around 2am and stayed up till 4am; gave me the chance for a lengthy chat with schat and the kids as they prepared for school.

Finally got up around 8am, as others were up and noisily about their morning rituals. A cup of green tea and cinnamon got me fired up for the day. Breakfast was boiled eggs and beans from yesterday’s dinner ;-), enough energy for the day’s workout.

Set my body ready with a cup of strong coffee as I made my way to the gym. My team were all there, as usual, waiting for me to hustle for weights and that’s what I did. I’ve found out, the problem with most prisoners is communication; whatever they are on have destroyed their ability to hold normal conversation or sense of empathy with others. There’s no time to negotiate; well, criminals don’t negotiate, they just steal ;-)

Talked my way through and gathered enough weights to get us started, also trained with another group as they had good weights on their dumbbells; something the lads here are not used to. Some will rather wait for hours until that group finishes and they begin training.

We went through our routines swiftly and everyone enjoyed the workout. Though I stayed back to add some finishing touches to my abs ;-)

Back in the cell, meats from Monday’s visit were used to prepared our lunch. It’s likely going to last us through Thursday, then we are back to buying whatever is nicked from the kitchen.

The news was on and the major headlines was the corruption scandal rocking panama at the moment, one that has gotten the ex president to impose self exile on himself; he left trotting around the globe, and finally got stock in florida; at least there’s Panama City in Florida, so if he goes there and rent or buy a condo, he will feel at home ;-)

The other news which wouldn’t be long on air, is the #Tuberculosis outbreak in the female prison; and that has come on air because the female prison is in the city. If the prison was bungled up in the jungle like ours, nobody will hear of their tuberculosis plaque.

As of today, there’s been three infections amongst the female prisoners. Trust women, pretty scared to death, they took to a very loud protest, phone calls were made from inside to media houses and relayed live on air. Television crews were on the streets getting public opinions from scared population who believes tuberculosis is the worst of all diseases.

Meanwhile, there’s been several outbreaks in our pavilion and a lot more amongst the local male population and I doubt if anybody other than families and fellow inmates knew about it. The authorities do their best to brush everything about prisoners under the carpet, so that the public would never know how inefficient they are at running an overcrowded  prison system with over fifteen thousands inmates in a country with population less than four million inhabitants. While neighbouring Costa Rica which has a population of…… has about three millions incarcerated #FoodForThought. Panama, America partner and also partner is locking up!

For the rest of the day; spent time reading saved articles on sport science and browse through news from around the world. And also kept my alertness high as we heard of movements upstairs. Hope nothing happened.

For dinner, made tortilla, filled it with onions, green peppers and fresh parsley and ate it with massive turkey wing my American training partner gave me yesterday after his visit. Shared it with my mates and also the lad who gave it to me. For my mates that was not food, but for me, more than enough.

Since I didn’t nap today, had to hit my bed around midnight; but ended reading till nature called ;-)

Wed 18 March 2015

Being my day to clean, got up early; well at my time around 7:30am. Water on the stove for coffee; every little helps ;-)

Done with cleaning, had breakfast of Fish and a bread bun (fish my mates ate around 11pm, saved mine for today), that was enough for today’s workout! Down it with a cup of coffee + cinnamon and a pack of raisins. With that, I’m ready for today’s back/bicep/legs routine ;-). Hope my team mates are ready also! Most don’t do breakfast before hitting weights, tired of telling them the importance of breakfast and especially if you working out like we do; #HIIT #Hardcore ;-)

The gym was packed, but we got enough to start straight into our routines. Had a brief verbal row with a lad who does million crunches every day, juices at night, eats chicharrones and all sort exotic fatty meals believing he will grow six pack. He was on his sit-ups crunches, but used weights to keep the chair stabled that he had his feet under. Told him, we needed the weights for our dumbbells, and he responded that he’s using them. Told him, you aren’t using them, and you can always get someone to sit on the chair while you do your friggin sit-ups; I guess that was his enlightenment-moment ;-), suddenly, he saw the light, and I was probably his yogi at that moment, friggin dullards.

Sometimes it baffles me, how ingenious prisoners can be; seen some coming up exercises routines that doesn’t do anything but punishing whoever is stupid enough to do them. I’m always happy when I don’t seen them next day in the gym as they are out with pains ;-)

Well, explained to the lad ‘why we need to share’, from his behaviour, I know he’s the type of crook who double-crosses his #CrimeMates ;-)

Glad we didn’t need to go physical over friggin weights, and that’s one more reason I’m trying to get my own weights; mostly kettlebells!

Haven’t been outside this week; the cop on duty is a bit weird and acting a bit strict. But, if I really want to go out, then, I have to be up and out by 7:30am…. meaning I have to sleep very early 10pm ;-) imposibilidad!

Back in the cell, rice was cooked and stew made with meats from monday’s visit; from what is left, we will be having the last on Thursday. Had a cupful of rice and a drumstick, picked up some salads from the lunch cart and my lunch and postworkout meal was ok!

Water came, had to fill up the tanks, enough water for the day; tomorrow will take care of itself! Our water crisis is temporarily behind us, but doesn’t mean I will do away with my reserves; they are there as anything can happen at any time.

It’s our weekly headcount today, wanted to nap, but can’t as I wouldn’t want to be woken with a bang if anything happens; impromptu search!

The cops came very late today, maybe they were also watching #ChampionsLeague match, how Manchester City f**ked up big time and gave Barça the win ;-), had wanted Manchester City to win and shut the bunch of Barça fans here for good; apparently, they are the most!

And the cops decided to do the counts by calling names; back to school! Took ages as they called through the almost 600 inmates packed in a pavilion that was built for 216 inmates; good economics — the economics of prison and how to run it efficiently ;-) and they are doing it by keeping us calmed with corruption, getting us all we want, but for a fee!

Having fried ripe plantains with omelette for dinner ;-)

News is on, so far so bad…. 13 women have been murdered so far this year and it’s just the third month of the year. It beggars belief that a country with such a strong tie to the US; uses America’s own currency #Dollar as its national currency is tearing apart, and America is turning her eyes away ;-) good governance or politics of business ;-)

The above is just the numbers of women murdered in Panama within the first three months of 2015, who knows where the figure stand when those of men and children are added? And Obama will be here in April ;-)

Ex President Martinelli is still whiling away in Florida while his ministers are been grilled over corruption during their tenures as government ministers, some are already inside while investigation goes on ;-) Enemigos Politico!

Seems, I will try and get an early sleep tonight and I mean early like 10/11pm, not bad if I can do that! After working my ass off, tried and eat ‘good’, I need some proper sleep! And the night sleep is the only time one can sleep without fear of search as no stupid cops will come storming prisoners in the wee hours of the night; they wouldn’t want the real episode of #PrisonBreak #Panama ;-)

Thurs 19 March 2015

Went to bed last night with strong migraines, took aspirin, but it continued when I woke up; woke up around 2am and was up till 5am, back to sleep till 9am! Actually, it’s my gay cellmate who got me up with his stong cough; the cough that almost everyone in the pavilion now have. At night, it’s like a sea with toads croaking all night, but his is terrible, he’s losing weight rapidly and barely sleeps as he spend all night playing paquet with his mates and does whatever he does in the dead of the night. Don’t like it when things are like this.

Decided to take today off from workout and have a quick recovery.

A cup of green tea and cinnamon got me set up for the day as others went about their morning rituals. Decided to cook the last of our meats from Monday’s visit, it sure did last us. Made curry with pumpkin, my pharmacist-cellmate mate boiled the rice, wasn’t bad as we all ate exception of two who buys food from outside.

Intel and facts coming from pavilion eight where a Costa Rican was said to have committed suicide “Hung himself”. Facts are coming out that the lad was murdered with the silent killer “Poison”; and that was what we heard on news, I guess after autopsy was done. But the lads in the pavilion insisted he hung himself; but then, if he hung himself, then someone helped into his bed, as he was found in a sleeping position in his bed.

Pieces of the jigsaws are coming together, but doubt if they will get his killer. From intel, the lad was probably in business with fellow #Prisoners and something must have gone wrong on his part. Like most businesses on the inside, if hard to control things outside whenn you can’t even control things happening within and around you on the inside. And that’s the problem with most prisoners; they barely understand what it meant to be locked up. Upon #Lockup #incarceration you are indefinitely deprived of every rights and you ceased to function like a normal human, well, if you were one before lockup ;-)

But many get caught up with the promises of money and invisibility as businesses are done behind bars; but tend to forget that whoever they are dealing with has got hands like octopus and the underground network is highly connected. People can be bought over with money and help carry out acts ;-)

That may have been the case of the lad; his cellmates who were living from hands to mouth and probably on the prison food are now cooking and living larger than life on the inside!

One way to learn and acquire knowledge behind bars is to learn from what goes around within and without; don’t wait till it happen to you. Tapped from others experiences, evaluate and apply them to how I live.

Whatever killed the lad; hope in the next life, he will know that, so many things we believe are within our control are actually beyond and outside our control, when you thought you had them, then its vanishes like vapour!

Meanwhile, a local inmate whom I learnt is doing a 27 years sentence; lives and dines with the cops went berserk, destroying all the video conferencing equipment. The lad had had many attempts on his life; from #PrisonGangs and also from self inflicted wounds which he still bears the scars; physically and emotionally. He was once poured with hot oil, survived, stabbed several times and survived; his arms look alien compared to normal arms. And he was seriously depressed, moreover he was a loner, always alone flipping through pages of bible which reads every now and then, but doubt if he understands what he’s reading.

The prison system is failing mentally sick inmates; there’s no proper care, counselling or whatsoever available to anyone. You survived your demons or you allow them to take you away; peacefully or violently.

With that, I should get this blog update online!

Hope the rest of the day continues peacefully as it’s almost weekend ;-)

“If you wait until all the lights are green, you will never get started on your trip.” ~ Zig Zigler

“A power over a man’s subsistence amounts to a power of his will,” – Alexander Hamilton (Federalist Papers)


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