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)