Archive for January, 2010

MY BATTLE WITH ILLNESS AND HOW I CAME THROUGH IT……

Posted in 1 on January 30, 2010 by doingtimeabroad

Friday, 29 January 2010. I`m so strong and healthy now, as my weight has dropped, so also my backache. Ssometimes I think the body adjust to the condition around. It must have come to know that over here, medical attention won`t be coming that easy, so it has to adjust and stay healthy. I will be resuming my training soon as I get my training Gloves and Belt, hope to stay fit till the day I will leave here. Woke up as usual to pick up BF and back to sleep, text from my Schat, it`s always sweet reading from her in the morning, went back to sleep and up around 9am, hurried up as I have a 10am appt with the dentist for my teeth.

Had my breakfast and the herbal drink I made from the leaves given to me by the Spaniard who said it will help reduce my Blood Pressure. I was about leaving when I mistakenly ran the table that has been waiting for someone to knock it down. It all went down. My mate got up and we tried tying it up, can`t send it out for repairs as it is our hiding place for our phones. We called on one of the Spaniard who is handy and he took it to get it done. It was fixed and he charged us 4 bucks, my mate paid 2 while I will pay the balance.

Up to the gate and for my appointment, my doc was in his office as I got in, gotta wait a while as he was busy. When he finally called me in, I can see the expression on his face that he was happy with my recovery; guess he will attribute that to his effectiveness. Took the last injection and sat out with my novel as I watch the ships sail by the Canal, wondered how many ship sail through that Canal everyday, guess many. Some beautiful ones and massive ones, and more cruise ships sailed by with their passengers waving at us, my kids will love the view of the ships just as my son had developed interest and love for Planes, Choppers and Rockets.

Got me a cola and on with my novel until the Dentist sent for me, went in and there was this dude who had an appointment also, because I pay, mine was more important and he was told to come back on Saturday morning.  I doubt the Dentist would be in on Saturday. The guy protested that he needs a written note so that the Custodio will let him in. But the Dentist was smarter than this jail rat. He convinced him to hang around the gate as early as 8am, when he comes he will see him and he will talk to the Custodio to let him in. The guy agreed and left.

Took my place on the Dentist chair, kinda panic as I know anything to do with Dentist is with pain. He looked through the broken teeth and others. The rest were perfect, most will need cleaning, started working on the broken two and when we were done, checked on the mirror it wasn`t bad at all. Told me they could last for a decade, which will be fine for 50 Bucks. Paid him and with my last dough. All this while there was this young lady sitting and chatting with him and Marco, thought she was his assistant or one of the girls from admin, she asked Marco loads of questions about Germany and other Country in Europe, The Dentist has a big poster of a Swiss Village on the wall, could hear her say she likes to live in a place like that. Then she asked where I came from, Marco told her. She asked me about my place. Said it`s cold and nice, she talked about what she has heard about certain things that are legalize. Well I said, they make life worth the living.

Went out and sat with my book reading and sipping from my cola, one of the custodio came and sat by me and we had some chat, men talk, he asked about women in my country. Said they are beautiful and tall, he will like to travel to Europe someday. Hope he saves loads of money and mostly from the ones he gets from us the foreigners.
When Marco came out, was able to ask who the lady was, he told me she was the Dentist Daughter, hope Marco wasn`t having a go, I assume she is married as she had her rings on. The guy who called Mateo for me the other day brought some peas and gave it to Ariel, heard him say a dollar, when Ariel finally got down asked him what he got and how much he said 2 Bucks, told him to sell them to me, he said he was sending it to his mum. Did he say, he was sending it to his mum outside, now I know why most Panamanians act up the way they do. I remember one the smallie called BamBam, once asked me for money when he was going out, asked then why he need money, he said he has to give it to his mum, guess his mum doesn`t think that he has a paid job in Renacer. How he got his name, as I heard he like to Bambam…. sound of gunshot. He should be 21 years of age and very small with knife scars all over his body, wonder what he will be like when he is 44 years of age like my Gold teeth prospective business partner. Got tired of sitting up there and went in, at the gate, nobody was there to open up; maybe I should go back to my sit. The door was eventually open and went in. Someone saw the cola and called me, I knew it was for the Cola, told him will see him later. Wanted to drop it first in my cell, and then come out to play or talk…

As soon as dropped in the cell, it was like someone was waiting for me to come in. I  went out to make a call, got back, the cola was gone to the bottom. Well, that`s what one sees in a place like this. You have to share everything.

Most evening our Mossad agent guy has been entertaining us with his tales of what he used to be, I hope it wasn`t the yanks that did this to him, as that is very bad. He does not even wash his clothes, every Sunday during his visit; he wraps them and give them to his family to do the washing. One can tell just from that he is mashed up in his brains, if he can`t perform basic functions and enjoys kids TV…  but he is okay.
And Pepe, our 61 year old bank Robber – he loves a particular advert, not for the message but for the pretty girls and their sexy clothing’s. What a old perv, he is one nice old man, been picking up my diet meal which I rarely eat and I`m the only one he always ask for things in the cell, even money which I don`t lend him, but give. Asked him once if his son that was released on New Year`s day does call him, he said no. Well, I think no son in their right sense would want to have a dad who is spending time at the same time with you in Jail. I hope when I`m done here, I will be able to use my knowledge for something positive and lay good example for my son. Will smack his arse if I see him tread this part, I know he won`t.

Well, Friday is almost done, text between my Schat and we talk briefly, had the kids on phone also. They were happy to have me on phone as my daughter asked after me and that she will like to talk to me. Guess the talking is helping me loads and drawing us very close. How I miss them like the desert miss the rain…….

We had a nice diner with Fish, the beans were bit salty, had my vegetable from my diet meal with the rice. It was ok but not one of our perfect meal. Hope we get loads of vegetable here; I should buy that during my next shopping.

The water stopped, thank God we are well prepared like Boys Scout are… Earlier on Thursday morning, made my mate change the water as they had been there for days. He did it, sometimes he acts a bit lazy, told him he has to be tough while here.
Earlier today while I was upstairs, they had auditioning for a film, hope the director will put more zeal to get the film shot as soon as possible. Read through the English script, told my mate that certain slangs he used are only used in The UK and not here not even in the states. Hope he correct them.
To my bed with my book…..

Thursday, 28 January 2010. Woke up from a dream, was in an office and got my Passport stamped and I told them, I will travel to my home Country and not London. I hope one day soon I get to go. It was 5.11am and my Schat had text me, she knew I will be awake by then, how surprising and how my body clock works these days always on time. I used the Loo and later picked up the BF, made myself my leaves brewed, it reminded me of the Moonshine made in the centre by the Panamanians, they could be very strong, wonder how their liver handles such strong and potent stuffs. I tried it once and made up my mind never to try drinking things like that again.

Back to sleep and up exactly 8am and went to the library, the guys in charge were not there, met our Paedo friend waiting, who is seeking redemption like everyone here by carrying and walking around with his Bible and bag full of books. I didn`t know the content of his bag until this morning. When we got into the library, while he was fumbling with the computer, his bag drops and spilled its content on the floor, all that came out didn`t make sense, pieces of papers and a plastic spoon and dirt’s, wonder why he walk around with his spoon. Someone walked in that almost made me laugh, thought of him some seconds ago and here he comes in with his Chair, not in the Library, we have loads of chairs here, but he came in with his chair, his Bible and his notebook. He had our Paedo friend help write some things in Spanish. He left and didn`t take his chair with him, guess he will be back, as he can`t be parted from his chair.
Wondered, who planned these building allocating the music studio next door to the library and on the library walls one can see notice demanding silence inside the Library. What an irony, the guys in the studio don`t give a damn as they blast their music so high, well, I have gotten use to reading under this condition as in my cell, it`s the same except late at night or early in the morning.

Thursday has just begun, got my injection to take and the real appointment with the Dentist. Back to my cell, had my shower and breakfast, while eating my mate woke up to the music of Chilli Pepper which the other English mate left playing on the dvd, all I heard was who`s got this white boy music running here. Guess he knows who did, I think by now my mate should realise that for now such music ain`t welcome here in the cell. I love diverse genres of music as I listen to each on different mood. But one has to adapt to a new environment for one`s security and not running into people. Both mates are English, but one grew up in the states and among blacks of Jamaican Origin and the other grew up in England and in a white setting. He even walks as a white boy, acts like one, that one of my country man noticed his ways and told me in front of him and a kiwi, that he`s a white man in a black skin. He`s a nice guy and we have forged a great bond of friendship between each other, I hope he is genuine and a true friend.
Went up for my appointments, and got up, the dentist checked my teeth and offered to fix my broken incisors which he said will cost me $25 each instead of $200 outside on the normal practice. Well that`s the good thing with prison, cheap service, his little helper Marco the German guy who is been here for 4 years plus and doesn`t know his fate, said he is a good dentist and he will fix it very good. Will take him for his words, we later found out that the Doc`s door was locked, but we were able to get in and I had my injection. The suggestion on how to open the door was given to us by one Ariel, a Panamanian who is in for dangerously driving a bus and killing his passengers when the bus caught fire. I asked Marco what his job up there was, he told me he cleans the area, but he seems to do more than that. I tried to ignore him sometimes. He always wants to create the impression of knowing and one which will portray him as he works directly with the doctor. This time he told us that we can get into the doctor`s surgery without keys and we did.

Got my injection and we left, the dentist had the slip signed, left one more to take and that will be it.
The teeth will be done on Friday after my last injection, then my Que so pa Doc will be back from wherever he went to.

Saw some guys from the green area, sent for my Swedish friend Mateo, he finally came and we talk a great deal about loads of things, life up there and down where I am presently. From all he said, the green area is much better than the main area where we are house. He`s got a cell to himself and he even had a refrigerator, rub shoulders with ex ministers and top bankers. Have decent discussions and has access to his cell whenever he want to as he has copy of the keys. The wardens doesn`t disturb them as they do down here. I guess that will be a place I will love to move into. I`m always thinking when my mate, the Brit that grew up in the states leaves, how it will be like down here, as he`s been here for a long time that even the hardest of Panamanians respects him and the Wardens also respect him. Well till then, God will take care of things, and I hope by then, I will fit in properly into the Panamanians and life here. Mateo and I spent part of the day up there talking and sitting beside us was jack from Anexo, he spoke German with Marco and Spanish fluently, I was curious and asked him where he came from, he said Panama. How he learned all the languages, he said he is an old geezer in the game. The he said something in French, we talk about the system, told him I do speak French also, and we spoke few sentences in French until he finally said in French that he is Canadian from the French part. He is in for you know what, and he is been at the centre for one and half year without trial yet. He said he loves the system. Well, I think he knows more Prison walls than I do as he has done time in England and who know where else, so I tried to let him leave.

While up there, out in the population area, the sun was blazing hot, the field was empty except for our crack head gringo Shepherd, he was walking round the football pitch under the heat of the sun playing his Harmonica and stopping at intervals to twist his locks. I remembered his previous episode then with a back pack on, I guess it`s that time of the Month for him, don`t mean to say he is having his periods. Guess something to do with his Crack. It`s either high on it or something close to that, as no normal person will be walking under the hit of the sun at that time of the day. My Swedish couldn`t help laughing his head off, what a show in Renacer.

When Mateo and I finally parted, went back to my area and at the same time were group of church visitors to the Evangelical church, mostly ladies, and they were all middle aged normal church zealot types. But they made the mistake by dressing on skirts, which is not what a woman should wear when coming into a place like this. One could tell how the men in the centre will react and what was on their perverted minds. All eyes were set on the women, as if they can undress them with just their looks. What a pervert they all are, they won`t see anything in the message of hope brought to them by these beautiful ladies, but all they want to see was any opening in their clothing’s. God have mercy on them.

The few days I have been opportune to go up there, I have seen the ladies at the admin working hard on the educational program, I hope many of the Panamanian will truly follow up with the training program come March this year as that was the purpose they were sent in here from wherever they were.

Back in my cell, my mate was making soup, soup in Panama is quite different from soups we have in Europe, so many things are dumped into the soup pan, my joy is that some are recognizable and edible. Saw text from my Schat, she wants the kids say hi to me, call her and briefly and she rang back, spoke with my two Little Angels, my son was busy with water in his mouth and he is learning to use two words when answering question like Yes daddy, heard he wants anything his sister wants, he wants to be on television. Made the biggest mistake to ask mummy that he wants to go to television and mummy told him there`s one big TV in the Living room, he should walk into it. If my daughter was there and heard that, she will laugh her head off. That was naughty of mummy playing with my boy`s feeling. Asked my baby girl why she wants to be on Television and what she will do there. Well, I think she has idea of what she wants. She said she will play her Piano, told her that she has to practice everyday and be very good. When she plays as good as her teacher, she will be on television, she was so happy. I gave her a good hope and I pray I will be out there soon. I will help her live up that dream, she is such a sweet girl, all grown up now and knows how to talk and ask questions loads, that`s one part I sort of don`t want when we talked. Miss them loads xxxx.

When back to my cell and had some soup, it was bad at all, told my mate, he would have made that for me when I was sick. The only thing lacking was chilli, which I dropped few into mine, had a second bowl. We had loads of Panamanians in our cell all for the soup. That`s the thing with my mate, he likes to cook and share with them, we did that on Xmas and New year, but the Panamanian will never do that.
The day will soon be over, nothing much to do, gotta continue with my novel and see what comes up later today.

So much to talk about Panama, sometime ago I made mention of how the media will ruin business for the tourism industry with its airing of death and violence on Television everyday. I guess the President noticed that also, in one of the submit with other Latin American country during a press conference, he did mention it, that the Television Networks are in Competition of who shows the most dead bodies every night, once read of a Brazilian crime TV host who was accused of hired killing, always the first to be at the crime scene and having the incidents aired on his program, that really helped boost his rating as he had many viewers. But along the line he was caught, I guess that was cold, well these are things that could happen in Latin America. Well in panama, there is no day without report of someone being stabbed or killed and more tourists are coming, guess not just for nature, but also for cheap sex. I guess there are more women on the streets as their men are all locked up in jail. I guess most tourists here are sex tourists and some are peados as well.

I have seen more than eight people who are locked up for more than seven years now without trails and they are still waiting. People spend years waiting for court appearance and some are in for doing nothing. I hope I don`t get to wait that long, should hold my lawyer for his words that he will get me to court within six Months. Mateo also hold that believe, but with Panama judiciary system, anything is possible. It`s all about who you know and who he or knows and who that person knows and so it continues, you just gotta know someone or know someone that knows someone who knows someone that knows people or belong to that group of power brokers. That`s why we need private lawyers but now so many doubts hangs in the air, no one to trust. Then we turn to heaven and that`s the one that knows everyone. In Him I take solace and plea my cause.

One the custodio walked in and look around, I know he`s looking for phones, they are in from Wednesday and they are the money making set, that always come on us foreigners for our phones and expect money from us. Well, one day, we won`t be here anymore, but then there will still be foreigners coming and finding their way into El Renacer and they will meet this fate here.

I feel more better and relieve now, the fever has gone and aches also, but gotta be more careful as something more threatening and vicious is out there “Chicken Pox”, first saw it on one of the guys at the Pabellion and as his was waning another picked it from him and happened to be one of the boys that used to come to me for a dollar. Thank God he stayed away from me when he picked that, I`m doing my best to stay away from them and from that area until the pox has been contained. A big joke!!! Hope it doesn`t spread down to the Galeria area where I am. Who knows what else must be going around? The Panamanians here barely have any sense of personal hygiene, one will be drinking and they will begged for same drink and seeing that there`s no cup, want to share from the bottle or same cup with you. I always drink what I want and give the rest to them. Or take them in and get a cup for them, damn can`t afford to play with my health after what I just went through. I have seen cases of people eating from one sandwich and once one asked me to give my chicken, gave him all. But when they get theirs they won`t share, good as they don`t.

Weekend is at the corner…. guess out in the real world; students are starting theirs today and workers from tomorrow evening. Over there is no sense of that, one only tell that from visits on Saturdays and Sundays, and when the Library is close. Then you know it`s weekend and Sunday is always a dull day.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010. Was awoken by the call to stashed our phones as there was search upstairs, they didn`t turn up, we know someday it will be our turn. In prison, one has to stay at alert all time. Had an orange and later my tea and my mate made Pancake which was really filling. Went up to the gate for my appointment to see the doc for another bout of the injection, well since the doors were opened late today, the Dentist who is suppose to attend to me had a busy time as he was behind his schedule. He couldn`t see me, couldn`t get what the guy that works up there was saying. Pick up my slip and went to the Library to do some reading.

Was on the computer when the guy that sold me razor blade came calling me that I`m needed upstairs, guess by the dentist. This guy that sell blades and all sort of shaving stuffs, walks around with his Chair and couple of books and his Bible, when you say a word in English he writes it down hope he checks up the meaning also, but the Chair thing, I can`t understand, whenever you see him, you see him with his chair. I think he`s got something with chairs.

Sitting in the Library on the computer until I was sent for by the Dentist, left and went up for my third injection. Up there, both the dentist were looking for the Doctor Assistant to open the practice door he eventually came up and let us in. He took my blood pressure which seems to be going down now and then the Dentist came in and had my injection. We went to his office, then I realise that I have 5 injections to take, just had three and he signed behind the slip and the usual word, take it easy.
Left his office and sat outside to enjoy the fresh air and the view of the Canal, two cruise ship came cruising and can see the passengers waving. The Spaniard who promised to give me some leaves he said he used and it helped lower his Blood pressure came up and we went to the Police who opened the External  gate, he went out got me few of the leaves. When we got to my cell, he washed some and boiled them as one will do with herbal tea. I filter it and drank, hope it works, my mate got me ice cream, finished that and went out for fresh air, met Hugo my Panamanian buddy, who offered to buy me the local brew juice, decided to ask the dude selling it what is the content. Like every dealer or salesman who wants to sell his products, he told me how good it is and all natural, well took him for his words and drank my juice. I prefer it to the soda sold in the centre and he is one the guys I always get orange from. But despise him as one will when you step on someone else`s shit. He loves money more than anything, I have heard how orange how cheap in Panama but he sells me eight for a dollar. I need it for my juice so I`m forced to buy them.

Carlos, the Dude who cried that he will be kill if he doesn`t pay his debt, met me outside, he was with one of the youth who always come out early to steal things from my previous cell. Carlos told me, if I want him death, hell no I said, why must he die. Guess him dead will do take one leech off me, but I see him as someone who will watch my back, but you can never trust Panamanians.

Later that evening he came to my cell, I was lying on the bed reading, heard him asked my mates if I was in and they told him I`m lying down and he asked if I`m sleeping, they made the mistake to tell him no. I went out to meet him at the door. He was shouting and trying to say the words right in English, You are my father, Mother, brother and sister. I asked him what he wants, this time he wanted Sugar, told him to get a container, well my buddy look around the next bin and picked out a biscuit wrapper and I gave him all that was in the container as we have more in the storage box. He left saying I`m his brother. I hope he enjoys it and better stay off me for a while.

My schat and it talk a bit and text each other, she is a bit relieve as I`m getting better now. My Daughter still holds on to her dream on being on television, hope to speak with her soon. And my Schat, she doesn`t eat much lately as she is full quickly, hummm, she has the biggest food that doesn`t digest, kinda laugh, told her to eat bit by bits as many times as she can and also power foods. As she will be eating for two people, they are all waiting, most especially my daughter, she wants the baby to be her pet. Told my Schat, careful, now that someone wants your baby as pet, with my son, I think he will know what he is into once his mum is always carrying someone else and not him, then he will realise that he had been displaced and someone has taken over his Baby position in the house.

My mate that cooks didn`t cook anything, guess we don`t have meat, he made something for himself and the other Panamanian mate, I made sort of Soup and Porridge with Plantain and other things. It was nice, my English mate, he is a bad cook, remembered telling him once to boil my plantain couple of days ago. Today he had to make something for himself, he cut up the plantain in 3 pcs and halved each, asked him if he was boiling or frying, he said frying. Asked him again if all the fried ones he has been eating comes up the way he cut his, he said no….. well, he knows how to cook Pasta just like everybody knows how to cook that. And he does make tea, since he is Brit. He offered me his food, told him no and nobody wanted it.
Back to bed and read a bit, then sleep took me…….

Tuesday, 26 January 2010. Up to the library and thank God that I made it through the fever ordeal and all the pains and moreover for my Consul, wondered what would have happened if she didn`t call the Director. Well, guess God knows better, I don`t pray for the worst. Will be going up for the second injection and 2 more pills for the pains and fever, I have lost so much weight, guess that is good as my disc problem is sort of relieving now. Guess weight also contributed to that, I`m happy for the weight lose but should it take body and mind breaking condition to loose weight? Guess not, My original jeans drops from my waist and my slimmer mate`s jeans does fit me very well now. Had my shower and drank a cup of my local brewed Ginger/Green Tea before going up to the Clinic.

Got to the gate and was opened for to see the Doctor, when I got to the clinic, found out that the Doc wasn`t in today (it was the same Doc who when he saw me 2 days after I first met him with my Lower back problem; used the street slang “¿Que so pa Loco?” meaning “What is it Crazy?”) well, we hear that from almost everyone in the centre and on Television, not yet from the President. But I wasn`t expecting to hear that from a Doctor, later found out that one should not take the words for its literally meaning.
Up at the Clinic, The Doc was not on duty that day, met his new assistant who had since taken over from the Cigarette smuggling sacked assistant, who I also heard that he was gay. Wrong place to be gay, working with vulnerable youths (Boys), who knows what must have happened here which many of us don`t know. Anyway the new assistant who happen to share same name with me, Roberto received me with smiles, but I was damn sure he won`t bring any needle close to my butt. From the way he handles things one can tell he does not even know how to take blood pressure. Was glad when he told me that the Doctor will come in to attend to me, then wondering which doctor, finally, the Dentist came in. I was scare as I know pain has been associated with dentist. He spoke to me in Spanish, but with the state of mind I was, the only words that came out of my mouth were in English and he responded back in English and was happy to speak it with me. And he said the one phrase all Panamanians like saying “Take it easy”. I should be the one telling him that, as he was going to something delicate on my body. The Assistant couldn`t even find all the stuffs needed to mix the drugs, had to show him, it was nice I took note of what the doctor did on Monday, I guess in a place like this, one had to be very curious and alert to everything around you. He finally got the mixture and injected me, well it was painful but for a moment, was scare, but her the spot massage and went back to bed. Before leaving used the opportunity to ask him for an appointment for a dental check up which he gave me for Thursday 28th January at 10am in the morning. I hope it won`t be a painful experience.

Back to my cell and slept through till late evening, phone call from my Schat and we talk about loads of things and how I`m doing now. She told me of my Daughter and her latest desire: She wants to be on television, well told my schat, he has a big dream, she never knows, one day she will live out that dream.

Watched a nice movies with my mates; Taken, how a man kept his promise to his daughter when she was kidnapped in Paris that he will come and get her. He did go for her and along the way heads rolled. And she eventually remembered his promise “You came for me”.
Read some pages from my new book and dozed off, only to be awoken early Wednesday by someone who came to inform us of search going up in the Papillion. We stashed our phones, the trick about hiding phone, take out your sim card even if the phone is found and taken, and you still have your number. BF came and gone and we waited all morning for the doors to be open. They eventually opened the door around 11am, guess nobody to ask why and we have no right to ask.

Monday, 25 January 2010, Today makes me 4 Months in incarceration in El Renacer Panama. I have talked so much about the good side of El Renacer, almost forgetting the bad side. Apart from the Panamanians leeching, bad food and other things that makes it a prison. One more thing is don`t ever fall sick, one can easily kick the bucket here as the medicare is absolute rubbish, nobody care or give a damn, mostly when you are a foreigner. They expect one`s Embassy to take care of their sickos. But I believe once you have someone locked up, you are taking up responsibilities to keep that person in good health. Well not in Panama, all the time that I have been to the Doctor and get prescriptions, I have to buy them myself. That the Embassy does and not for free, but with my money, my blood pressure had to be sent from home by my Schat. Now back to my current situation, firstly, I have read a bit about the human body in a biology text I found in the library, it`s amazing how fragile and at the same time how sturdy and defensive it can be. From what I experienced since the fever, high temperature and pains all over my entire body started. At one moment I thought I won`t make it through the night and the next moment the body is combating the illness.

The fever and pains had been on and off since Thursday last week, during the day, it drops and at Night I`m brought face to face with my maker. Sunday`s night to Monday`s was one I thought it would be over, my mates knew for now how sick I was, they offer to alert the wardens by making noise, told them I will hang on till the crack of dawn and up to the doctor. If I had known what will happen, I would have allow them to alert the wardens and I would have been taken to the Hospital.

The truth, I hate the Hospital, for the period one has to stay there, one is locked up without seeing daylight and the food comes in very cold. I dread the idea of going to hospital and being on admission there.

Went as early as I can to the Doctor, but at the gate, they won`t allow me up, they allowed all the Panamanians upstairs, the funny thing with the wardens, when they need things they always come to us foreigners as their fellow Panamanians are too selfish to share or give anything without getting something in return. Waited at the gate till the sun came up, then I knew I can`t stand it anymore, the pain in my head made me feel dizzy and fainting. Had to go in and lie down. Rang my Consul and explained my condition, she knew about it from the Volunteer that came to see me last week, bless her. She promised to call the director and inform him about my condition. I went back to the gate and nothing happen, back to my cell, my mate made me warm oat with raisons, tried eating a bit, but just couldn`t as the only thing I could take now is liquid.
Back to bed and felt some tingling on my left foot, when I drop it on the floor it quivered, was scared and had to call my consul again. She told me that she made the call 10mins before my call. The bed and room was uncomfortable, went out with the help of my mate and lie out under the shed, had a cup of the local brew juice, was refreshing. Fell asleep on the bench until one of the wardens came for me that I should go to the medics with him. Dragged myself up there and went to the Doctor, wondered where he got his certificate, his diagnosis was infection and he gave me antibiotic injection and 2 tablets for the fever and headache. My blood pressure was still high, kinda scary, hope it goes down. Well, since I`m down with fever, it could be the reason its gone high, hope I get better and then take measure of it again. Managed to get to the library and met my gamers on the computers, one left as he was confused about the system. He couldn`t even hold the mouse and point to the balls he want to shot, tried to help, but there was no strength left in me to explain to this dick head that he is to shoot balls of same colour and not just shooting at random. He was frustrated and left as he kept opening other programs by mistake. Took over his system and do a bit of update. Gotta hit my bed and wait for the medication to work its way through my body, hope it does as I’m beginning to doubt the efficacy of medicine prescribed or given by the doctor. I have to get some Vitamins and other food supplement to help boost my immune system.

My Schat has been so worried and drained psychologically and materially, she vented that in one of her text. Don`t blame her, I brought this on her, told her to minimize her calls, we should do more text, but she wouldn`t, I think we both need each other to remain strong. The calls sort of bridged the distance between us.

It`s so weird how the Panamanians reason, one of my buddy been up on my ass since yesterday to help him pay off some debt, was so mad at him as he was the one I gave $5 to get me credit and his man on the street sent me a $2 dollar worth, and that was it. No news about that, he`s been on me the whole day, had to raise his palm to feel my forehead how hot I was, and that I`m sick also without money. He shed some crocodile tears that the guy he owes will stab him, well I know the guy won`t do that, cause he is due to leave the system any moment from now. Close the door on him and went back to sleep….. Told him I don`t have and I`m not giving him a cent.

Back in the cell, slept for a while, when I woke up, found out that my temperature has dropped and was a bit relieve from the aches. I also noticed that I was having bad breath, guess that should be from my sinus as I have always have sinus problems. Well, thinking of the Doctor whatever he gave me, did worked as I felt a bit better in the course of the evening. But still haven`t found my appetite for anything solid, got rice in the evening, had a little and left the rest. Drank loads of water and juice, tried reading something positive and something to give me hope; The Bible and that was a big relieve.

My Schat and I were on text chat all evening and eventually she rang and we talked about loads. I know she is stressed, I told her to stay strong until she deliver our Baby as any breakdown in her state of mind will affect the unborn Baby`s health. She promised to be. Picked up a new novel by Robert Ludlum which I hope I will be able to finish ASAP as I`m getting better now. Watched Crank 2 and eventually hit my pillow. Woke up from a dream about what I just read from the Novel, what a weird incident, couldn`t sleep anymore as it was almost time for BF, they came up. Picked it up and it was Tuesday morning 26th January. Stayed awake until the Library opens….

WILL THERE BE A REDEMPTION?

Posted in 1 on January 24, 2010 by doingtimeabroad

Saturday, 23 January 2010. Still recovering from the fever and aches, slept through till late, heard many of the Panamanians asking after me. Well, not to wish me well, but to lend my phone and make calls or ask for sugar. Thank God for my mates, told them I was sleeping, my coke-up friend, Hugo came by and told me he heard I was sick. Offered to buy my local made juice made by the boys in the centre, nice of him and he got the phone to make calls. Surprising how he calls for credits and then sell them, he doesn´t have a phone of his. But get call time sent to him by his family, heard was of his Aunt is a lawyer. Nice guy, he gave me a dollar. We had the cell cleaned and washed, was able to wash my bed spreads and some clothes. Couldn´t eat anything, just liquid and loads of it. Still feel feverish and the aches, but in the evening felt a bit better.

Nothing happened much as I sat in most part of the day. They had their cock fight and anyone in the west will be disgusted seeing how the breed cockerels and set them on each other to fight and big bets are placed on them. Guess PETA need to know about some cultures in some part of the world not just what happens in Europe. The Cocks are almost skinned, the flesh are exposed and they are given chilli. Well those are things that happens in a place like this. I suggested why don´t we have boxing fight like the types we see in movies. Hand to hand fight and they winner goes to his cell with money, they didn´t take it lightly with me. I guess the Panamanians can´t fight without knives or any weapon. One of the young guys who has been close to me, tried to nick my USB flash and I caught him, he was happy and since then, has been saying that foreigners are not suppose to stay here, but move to the Green Area. One asked me to buy his 2GB Ipod Nano, I told him, ain´t got money, he said we´ve money, but told him, he is in his country and we are not in ours. That he is richer than most of us, and we don´t wear Hilfiger and Armani trainers in jail like they do.

The water went off early today, at least we have enough to cook and make our drink (Fresh Ginger and Orange drink) that is my innovation. Got the laptop and the connection has been terrible, breaks off every now and then, was able to get it stabilize and do some things online. Pedro the Paedo will come for it in the morning, I´m beginning to hate him, My mate and I asked him to help translate my Mate´s request for a laptop and he went behind us and wrote one for himself. Pressed the director and got his approved without my mate´s one. Not happy with him at all, most the youths don´t like him as he is in for sex with minor (boys). He walks everyday with his Bible, hope he get changed and experience the REBIRTH. Seen some of the Panamanian with Bible and also with Knives in their side, sort of wonder which they believe in for protection, the God the Bible talks about or the Knives. It´s strange how they practice their Christianity, once they in the church screaming and crying and next moment they are walking around with knives on their side. I believe my own God will keep my safe till the day I leave here.

 Back in the cell, our mate that was deported from America dropped another bombshell, that he was trained by the Mossad, now we know for sure that the Americans did something sinister to this fellow. Pepe the 62 years old bank Robber said he was once a boxer, we believed him as we can see that in him, and our fellow said he was a boxer also. Well whatever they did to him during his time in the States is affecting him and we know for sure he will never come out of it. Gotta sleep…. my body need rest and loads of it as my schat said in her text. She has our family friend kids over, what a full house, how she will cope with four kids and one in her belly. Well my son woke them all up very early, she wanted to get them on line so I can see them via webcam, but the server here is so bad. I hope I get to see them someday and soon.

Friday, 22 January 2010. Picked up our BF and waited for the doors to be open, but today it was delayed. Sort of wondering if there will be a search, hid my phone (one that we don´t have in service anymore in Europe, the monochrome type) and lie down but on alert constantly looking who will walk in. When it was finally open around 9am, found out that we were been punished as a result of what happened last night at the Youth Papillion, they refused to get in on time when lock down was called last night, so we all have to be punish because of the bloody kids. Made it to the library and met the gamers waiting, was lucky as one left the computer for me. From last night, I have been feeling feverish and loads of pains around my joints and harsh migraine pains on my forehead. Had oats and decided to lie for while as moving around will make the situation worse. Couldn`t get to sleep as the pain was too strong, took some panadol and back to bed. Lying and thinking of how live is treating me. Heard my name from one of the guys from my country that I have a visit, I was reluctant of going out. But manage to drag myself off the bed and went up. Seeing her sort of alleviated my mood, at least someone to talk better things for a change, we talked about loads of things and touched part of my early years back home. I felt really sad, seeing what I have brought on myself. My only prayer now is getting a court date as soon as possible and then I will know where I stand regarding repatriation back to my country.

 Getting my Schat to move with three kids will be devastating as she had just begun building a beautiful career at her new job. I still believe I stand a chance in the treaty with Panama to be sent home and do my time there. Even I´m told to do a million years back home, will gladly go for it as being here is mind wrenching. Back to the cell, heard there will be a search and there they came with gas mask and dogs, and with the Director. We believed it was a targeted search as they went to just one cell. The guys sell cigarettes and dope, guess someone must have snitched him. They went behind the cell and also upstairs by the youths. I had the opportunity to speak with the Director who was happy to speak English with me. He is trying though and the first thing he told me was ¨TAKE IT EASY¨ which is actually the first English most Panamanians learn. Well I have been wondering for 4 Months what I need to take easy of, after the banged up. I finally asked him why he denied my applications for a Radio and an Acoustic Guitar, he said out rightly that it wasn´t him, I´m forced to believe that the bloody custodians either they didn’t hand them in or just ripped them. I had to write one immediately and gave him by hand. That same day he signed it. My joy knows no bound as I can finally get the items in. I guess our Embassy could be doing this for us, but I guess they wouldn´t want to step beyond their given boundary.

My body is killing me, right now I don`t really know what is wrong, if it is my mind or the body, I have lost loads of weight and my waist line has drop few inches. My pants are dropping off my waist. I hope I can keep myself together from Breaking down as I have seen people going down gradually due to life here. The Night was hellish as the pain and my body temperature became severe, I felt the bed spinning, stood up several times and was sort of bamboozled, remembered pouring water over my head at one point and sitting on the floor. My mate was reading and came down to see what was wrong, he screamed when he found how hot I was. He wanted to call the warden. Told him not to, will handle it, this is the first time I have been so sick and nobody around to help. That is what Banged up Abroad can bring about, and the prison medical system really sucks. With internet, I will be able to find medication for minor ailments, vitamins and food supplements to help me through.  

Thursday, 21 January 2010. Woke early same time with 2 other mates, all had to use the loo, guess we all drank loads of Liquid last night. One went back to bed, the other and I sat down to talk until BF came and picked it up, and we had the Custard-like thing with normal bread and slices of salami. We both drank from it and talked briefly before heading back to bed. Quick call to my schat and she rang back, was curious about her check up and test today on pregnancy diabetics. All went find and she will get her result next week, she was able to meet with our former pastor that wedded us in Holland who now is pioneering a new mission in Guyana; that`s actually close to me. We spoke briefly before I finally slept off and woke up at 10.35am. We hear stories of how some prison are so strict with time and other things, not here in Panama. We do what we want when we want; all they want to know is that you are locked up. Two of my former mates were freed today, they left the centre after 10 Months, three were involved in their case and the one caught at the airport snitched on the other two who were in the hotel. His initial statement was that they were all involved, but later changed it and took responsibility for the crime. They had their trial and he was given 130 Months, since our home country has treaty with Panama he should be due home by end of the year or sometime next year. The two set free had to spend ten Months waiting and that is Panama; one is guilty till proven Innocent. The day went so fast, started feeling feverish and cold had to take some panadol and drink some herbal tea. As a foreigner we are expected to buy our medications, so I don`t really bother seeing the doctor as he won`t do nothing. So long it`s not a serious case, I can always depend on self medication to get better.

So annoying seeing the sort of people who queue up everyday to play shot the ball game (Zuma) on the computers, advanced men of more than 40 years old. They sit clued to the computers like kids and I wonder what they gain and what benefit there is as it`s not interactive and they don`t seem to learn anything. From my few Months here at the Rehabilitation centre, I believe the Purpose of the Centre has been defeated as nobody seem to be making use of the facilities; The Library and its Books, vocational programs and the Music studio, well that is barely used. I hope with the new Director he will step up and get this kids rehabilitated as most of them don`t have any single clue what life is or what they will make of it. In my Cell, the inmate who spent 4 years in American Prison loves watching kid`s TV (kids cartoon) and I mean real kids TV. All morning he will tune to stations showing these cartoons and will sit up laughing and enjoying it. Was forced to ask him if he used to watch that before he went to the states, he said no. So I believe without doubt that The Yanks fed him with Anti depressive drugs and since he came here and not getting the drugs. He acts abnormally. For him to sit down, watch and enjoy that, means he`s got a mind of toddlers. We do watch The Simpsons and things like Family guy, but not the morning slots of Kid`s program meant to get kids to learn words, colour and objects. I hope he will find a way out. The day ended with our nice meal and did some reading. Didn`t feel too good as my temperature was a bit on the high side.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010. Wake to use the loo and couldn´t sleep again, decided to do some reading, finally the characters in the book are taking the places in making history for Ireland. Jeremy Hubble gets to know who Rory Landers really was; he was the nephew of martyr mentor Conor Larkin. Too bad as I have not been talking about what I read and how their lives kinda affects mine. But this book is so wonderful such that at a point I have to dry tears from my eyes. Finally finished the book I was reading, nice book, some part nearly brought me to tears, it was beautifully written and a very lovely piece. It is for anyone who is interested in the Irish independence and how they fought with words and emotions. Pick up the BF and back to my book until I felt drowsy and had to sleep for a while. We had expected a search party this morning, so I stayed at alert during my reading but nothing happened.

Visit from my consulate and a volunteer from the organisation helping with repatriation when the times come, letters for some of my fellow countrymen and a new pack of toiletries for the new guy. We had discussion of a project to keep us busy, well I have more than enough to keep me busy here with the young Panamanian running around begging and hovering around like flies also looking for any loophole so they can nick something. Whatever project they will agree on, I will be with them to carry them out. Finally got hold of the copy of my request for a new fan and put in the 3rd application for a radio and Guitar. I hope this time around, the new director will honour it as I want to get it as soon as possible before I use up the money meant for those two things. One having the things one really need makes life in the centre worth living.

The young lady from the Consulate was opportuned to have a tour of the centre and the facilities that we could use for our project. Hope we will find out soon what we are to do. It`s like the new Director will be making load of changes as I heard he has cut off the Conjugal visit time from 6Hrs to 4Hrs, well that is of no importance to me as I don`t have anyone for such. Having that, one need to have STD test done and produce a Marriage Certificate which states that both parties are legally married. Think I can wait till I get home to my Schat, then we can have our steaming session. Call from my buddy whom I met at the transitory jail, he and couple of guys from Nepal were locked up without daylight for more than 7 Months. He is now out and was issued with a 1 month resident permit. He hope to visit me someday and then we can talk about life. We had a nice dinner, if the prison authority knows how most of us live and dine, I think they will stop bringing us the thing they call food. There are some who will kill for the food, like those that came from other prisons to our centre. Have heard some say, this place is heaven when compare to where they came from.

Made to believe that the Government is working hard to stamp out Drug and its uses in Panama, but they will be in awe when they find out the numbers of regular users in the penitentiary system in the country. My good friend who calls me Big Black is walking Coke machine, I guess his system runs on that potent mix. Went around his block and happened to meet him, the state I found him was so terrible, he couldn`t grasp what I was telling him. The look on his face was of one who has seen a ghost, he was staring at me and in eyes I can tell he was hungry for his dope. Well, early to bed, after a nice meal and woke up around 1.20am and continue with my novel, finally finished it around 3am. Had missed calls from my Schat and from friends while I slept. Stayed up and pick up our BF and later rang my Schat, she as at work and she sounded lovely as she was whispering as we talked, since she couldn`t talk much while at work. I miss her loads. Back to the final phase of my sleep, I kinda compare our prison to most prison in other part of the world. Here we don`t live within any routine, sleep when you want and wake when you want, cook and eat what you like. Well, it`s most likely one of the few prison one can have such liberty. I read of the Japanese Prison system, too much rules to live with. Thank God I`m here and not there. But I still prefer my freedom!!!! Monday, 18 January 2010. Woke up to a bright sunny day after the toll of the weekend, worst was Sunday night, there was no ice in the centre, had to do with drinking the water from the tap which is as warm as Panama itself.

Gotta hurry up to the library before the gamers to get hold of one the computers, made it on time and got the best one. How I hope one the schools will write me, then I can apply for a laptop. The weekend was fast pace, came too soon and that was how it went, not much happened and no escape. There were loads of visit by families to their loved ones, they brought fresh food for them and words of comfort to keep them through till next weekend. There were football matches between the different teams in the centre over the weekend. The price of cigarettes had dropped back to 50ct a stick, good news for smokers and bad news for us inhaling the second hand smokes. The right set of wardens that runs things rightly are back and they are running things smoothly by bringing the smokes and whatever they have to bring in. How I wish the price has remained, but I can live with my mate that smoke, he is a nice fellow and one that will always look after my back. Last night, he ran out of his and went through the ash tray for what I think was butt, maybe to get some last smoke, but there was none. What a life!!! Really want to get my Guitar as soon as I can, I`m going to make the contacts and see what I can do, most people in the centre wants to sell me theirs, but the prices are highly inflated, so I will try outside and compare the prices. Conversation with my Schat has been very beautiful and supportive over the weekend and she commented very well on my Blog. The kids are doing fine and the boy is always pulling little tricks off his hats. I can feel how much they miss me and hope I will be home soon.

Had a proposal from one of the inmate, who wants me to go in business with him buying and selling cigarettes. Well, I`m not too keen on doing that, as I know somewhere along the line being a foreigner, something might come up wrong. So I will keep on playing around that I`m still waiting for my money through western union from Europe. Hope he gets weary of waiting on me to join partnership with him and continue his business solo. Don`t know what today will be like, but I hope as it started bright with live, it will be bright about all things. Almost done with my Redemption Novel, I hope it won`t take me that long to finish another book. Last night we talked about prison life and compared our centre to most European prisons, well apart from being far away from home and loved ones. We surmised that it`s much better here in Panama, as we have access to almost everything money can buy. Despite these, we all want to go back home, even to the prisons there. At least we will be close to our families and friends. Had a call from my Zimbabwe friend, whom I met at the transitory jail, he has been granted a temporary stay for his asylum request. He was issued with a 1 month renewable document; I always wonder how on earth someone will come to Panama and ask for asylum. I guess the reason or reasons are best known to them. But he was in captivity for more than 7 Months with out seeing sunlight. I`m happy that he stayed through and now he is on the streets, Hope he finds what he came looking for in Panama. On the news, we have seen Somalians being arrested, well for crime I don`t really know, one version was that they are here to get drugs and some said they are members of terrorist groups. Whatever brought them to Panama, I`m left in absolute wonder on how they made it to Panama. Well, I guess with the position of Panama in the horn of Africa, and located along one of the major ship route, most get stowed and made it to panama and other countries. But that is just like a game of numbers as anything can happen on the open sea. On Sunday evening, rang my former mates at La Joya Prison, was nice to know they are all doing well, but still waiting for the Government to approve the two third programs for foreigners also. Gringo is doing well and loathe the American Embassy in Panama as they ain`t doing nothing for their citizens, all they get during rare visit are books and vitamins. The French guy hope his Embassy will get him transferred to our centre, hope it comes soon for him. Gotta stop here as the day has just begun, will wait and see what lay in stock for me and my fellow inmates. Well, nothing much happened in the centre. Saw the director with some wardens and a man whom we believe will be his successor walked around the centre and checking through the cells. After the in famous prison break, we learnt that the director will be transferred to the feminino and the one from the Feminino will be brought here. The football matches continue until lock down time at the blast of the whistle. The outside ended and it was another live inside our cells. Some hit their beds early, others stayed all night, smoking, watching films and talking or whatever they deem fit to talk about. Others stayed all night on the phone with lovers and talk what lovers talk about.

Friday, 15 January 2010, had loads of liquid last night, not alcohol just cool aid which I made. So I had to make use of the toilet at least 4 times before day break. Had the laptop last night and did loads of browsing and emailing and updated my blog, getting to love blogging. I also downloaded some PDF files for my studies and software to help conversion of different video formats so we can watch files on DVD player. Getting signal was a like a game of numbers, had to move the laptop from different position until I had a good one on top of my mate`s bed, which was the 3rd bunk, had to use there despite the poor signal. Worked till pass 2am before he took over, tried to get some sleep, but couldn`t, so made a call to my Schat as I knew she will be awake and probably on her way to work. She rang back and we talked briefly before I struggle with my sleep and finally could close my eyes. Was awoken by the shout of Desayuno, our Breakfast call, picked up whatever they had for us today and back to sleep.

 Today was my sort of D day, as was awaiting the scan result from my Schat, my daughter wants a baby sister as she has had loads from her little brother, the pulling and destroying of her things. But she just can`t do without him, they are the best playmates together and she is always on him to do whatever she wants to do. On the other hand my son doesn`t care what Mummy will have, to him babies are babies and are cute little things. She sent a text, didn`t get it as we didn`t have Charger to get the juice charged, finally rang her and she gave me the news, just like most of her friends had predicted, she will have a girl and that was it. A baby girl is coming our way soon; guess will still be in Panama when she put to bed. Pray that she remains strong through it all and she has a hitch free delivery. The Lord is her strength. Nothing special today, spends the rest of the evening talking with my mates. The one who is nagging about the high cost of cigarettes, we talked and compare the trade in the centre with the stock market, we just get some few packs and trade them lower than what other are selling, then forcing the price to drop. No, that won`t work as there are some dudes that had been selling his for $1 even before the price change occurred. Earlier in the day, the water stopped running and one of our mates used the loo without checking out even after that, as I told him he should have gotten water from outside and flush the his shit. He left it there and the whole was all over with the smell of his shit. We talked about him and whatever the Americans did to him as he was repatriated from the States back to Panama. He was crew member of a ship that was caught with 2 Tons of the White substance. He did 4 or so years in the States and during his stay in America, I we thought his mind was mashed up, probably with anti-depressants and now the effects of those drugs are talking hold of him. I think he hears voices and he does walk like robot and acts strangely. Since I noticed his doings, I don`t sleep full sleep, that`s how people sleep in prison, one never fall into full deep sleep. Half of you sleep and the other half remain conscious to the surrounding as anything can happen. We pray not!!!

 My Schat called again as she was awake and lately she always wake up in the night and find it hard to get to sleep again, talked her to get back to bed, then realised it`s Saturday and she won`t be working, her only fear were the kids that will come in to disturb her. Though she gave her warning that nobody comes in, my daughter will be okay with that, but not my Mother`s boy son who thinks mommy is his alone. If I only I could give her that much love as my lil boy, what a home it will be. Guess I`ll learn from him and how to love again. Finally hit the bed, couldn`t continue with my Redemption novel, hope to finish it this weekend, got loads to start with soon. Had a horror film running and it was sort of funny as the bad guy has a thing with farting and giggling, couldn`t finish it as sleep took me off…….

Saturday, 16 January 2010. Up to wee and heard the door opened outside, knew the Breakfast guy will soon be coming, no need to sleep. Waited and picked up our breakfast with the only changes being both the Liquid and what comes with the bread. Each day comes with either custard like thing called cream, some comes in pink, yellow, and milk or any colour they could think of. Also sausages or a slice of cheese, sometimes boiled eggs or slice salami or ham comes along. In place of the Custard like thing, we get black coffee or black tea, all the liquid are loaded with sugar to help with the taste. To the library as usual and the gamers are hating me now

THE REAL PRISON BREAK PANAMA!!!

Posted in 1 on January 15, 2010 by doingtimeabroad

Thursday, 14 January 2010. Early from bed, as it has become my habit now, in order to get to one of the three computers in the library before the gamers get there before me. Did my update and hope I get access to online tonight so I can publish my stuffs. This morning, many inmates received certificates for the basic education they had in the centre. I hope I get access to begin my Spanish lessons, my mate got his for the Spanish course he undertook for the past 3 years, and he does speak the language very fluently. Hope by the time I leave here, my Spanish will be better than what I speak now, well what more can a man do when you are behind bars, guess the most is to make good use of the time.

A Spaniard that I once made mention of sometime ago, will be leaving today for Madrid after spending some years here, he has dressed up for the occasion as early as the sun had risen today. By this time tomorrow he will be in Madrid and as we have heard, he is not that free, he will be spending couple of months in Spanish prison. His Panamanian lawyer wife has taken the lead, she left on Monday for Madrid and will be there and the rest of his family to receive him. Wish them a happy marriage and long life together. Recently loads of female lawyers have been turning up at the centre, maybe looking for wealthy Europeans or Colombian as clients and prospective husband.

Nothing much today in the centre, except the ladies from Administration were here to talk about the new school year, hope I will get a place  and start with proper studies, not the one offered by Pedro, the Paedophile serving time for lewd acts with underage young boys. Most guys here will do anything to harm him, but seems he has found God and peace of mind here. Hope he goes out changed just like every one of us going through the Rebirth process.

For the rest of the day, waiting for call from my Schat or Text from her before she hit the bed, Friday, she will be going for sex Scan to find out the sex of our 3rd child, can`t wait to know what the outcome will be, well it will either be a boy or Girl. Will want a boy, but my daughter wants a sister, as she once confessed that she can stand it again having another kid brother. Who knows what my son does to her. Bless her….

Finally, gotten the laptop and busy writing this part, to those of us who knows what internet means, having access online is like been a Gold Rush, we´ll do anything to get online, as that is the only we can get link to the outside world. Guess we will ba having a nice dinner tonight, we rarely eat the prison food these days.

For my lunch, made sandwich filler with Egg, Mayo, mustard and black pepper, my mates loved it. My Brit´s mate does the cooking in the evening, he is a good cook. Maybe someday i will sample my own recipes, for now I´m relaxing. 

Wednesday, 13 January 2010. Up and to the Library, was just talking about the sun and how I will do some washing today, when I heard outpouring outside. It was actually raining, hummmm, unbelieveable, think the plants do need bit of the water and the animals that can`t make it to the Canal for drink will get some too. My Brit mates had visit from the British embassy, they don`t come monthly as ours, they come every 3 months and this time with a not so good news as they will downsizing their workforce in Panama within some months from now. The Embassy in Mexico will be responsible for the job in Panama, guess what will be left here will be the Consulate, and not even a Brit, but his Assistant who happens to be a Panamanian lady. They feared that her presence won`t be strong enough within the system. She will still be visiting every 3 Months and the Rep from Mexico will be coming twice per year.

Not much happened today, the football matches continued and the prison break saga is getting a new twist to it as heads will be rolling. From the grapevine, heard that the Director will be transferred to the Feminino and the one there will be coming here, ours is a young dude and man enough, so the lass at the Feminino should get ready for Don Juan. Heard that one of the warden has been placed under arrest, hummm, he is welcome to the real world, guess he will now experience life behind bars as we are experiencing here.

Spent most of the day reading and thinking which is a good activity for the brain. Things ain`t coming in as the centre is tensed up due to the incident at hand, the smokers are all on the edge of quitting as the prices has shot up so high, used to be 4 sticks for a Dollar, now its 1 for a dollar. And on the street, a pack is sold for $1.50. Guess this will be right time for most to quit.

Spoke with my schat and miss her so much, had their pictures printed, ready to set up my picture corner, but got loads to do, as I need wood and other things.  We had a nice dinner and made some fresh Ginger lemonade.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010. In order to get to the computer before the Zuma gamers lined up for their daily doses of Zuma, I have been waking up early, so I can do my bit of writing and listening to my music. It`s been nice in the morning as the sun comes up early and it`s nice to sit out and enjoy the early morning sun and get bit of Vitamin D (well think we should call it Vitamin Sun, as we have more than enough from the Panamanian Sun). Later in the day, it is always hot and very hot, so most inmates always stick to twice daily shower.

Outside saw most of the guys dressed up on European football clubs jersey and full kit, knew right away, there will be some tournament as that is done occasionally in the centre. We had Liverpool F.C, Manchester United F.C, Juventus F.C and Barcelona F.C. while they started with the ball game, was inside the library busy with my thing. When I finally finish, went out to watch. We have some good players here, wondered why they never discovered their talent before ending up here. Guess same will be said of me, got some talents in me, but just didn`t give myself some time of me and patient enough to work things differently. Well, we all here and at the Place of Re-Birth, hope we get reborn anew.

On of my mate was on Basketball game with other inmates, he is good at it. Had to leave and make myself something to eat, while inside. A friend of his came in and asked for a jumper for my mate, we asked him why the jumper. He then told us that he is being injured while playing. He had a cut on his face just behold his left eye, that was very close. Later heard he was elbowed and from the same guy who had in the past injured him. I think it`s time he stay off the court.

He was later taken to the big hospice as he will required some stitches, he had to wait till 7pm before the vehicle came up to pick him from the centre.

I took care of the dinner, as he prepared the sauce before the incident; I boiled us rice and fried some ripe plantain. Made us ginger drink, had that and others had malt drink. We had our fill, and waited for him to come back. My schat rang me and we chatted for a while, she was busy with emails and doing things wife do at home, tiding up the messes the kids did before heading to bed. She is always sweet to talk with and how I missed her, like I told her that I`m getting use to it. I lied; one can never get used to missing a loved one, but just have to live with the fact.

He finally came back late at night, had tea and later had his meal, was slept by the time he ate, only to wake up to use the toilet. And finally woke up to pick up our Breakfast on Wednesday Morning, couldn`t sleep so took up my novel and read some chapters before dosing off. 

Monday, 11 January 2010. Less sleep as I was Online and had loads to do, update my blog and sent several mails, to some Universities in Panama, to friends and my Schat. It was a bit difficult getting the internet running as the USB cable was very short and we couldn`t get the dongle high enough for a good signal. My mate and I finally agreed to set it up on his bed where we can get better reception, price was paid for being up on the 3rd bunk, my feet were swollen from dangling them down. Was able to round up before 3am and my mate took over, according to him, he didn`t stay online for too long, as the signal was lost. Slept and was awoken by the warden who came shouting my name as I was going for my X-ray appointment at the hospital in the city. Was sort of disoriented as I didn`t get enough sleep, made up my mind that I will get some sleep on our way to the hospital. My mate collected our Breakfast, had my shower and cup of tea before leaving.

At the gate, things were sort of strange, one could feel that something was wrong, but what will that be. There has been rumours spreading among the inmates that some wardens are under investigation for taking out a rich inmate from the Anexo wing (the supposed to be secured part of Renacer; inmates are taken to Anexo for protection from the general population and from other prison for or reprisal) on xmas eve and who knows what happened when they went to town. We don`t need to be told, but they were snitched by another who was jealous and the custodians were placed under investigation.

Monday morning at the gate, the police on duty seemed to be very strict with his duty, as he had everyone search, except the top officials. When the doctor assistant (a lanky man that seems to have only one pair of shoe, as I have never seen him with another) walked in, I believed he had woken up that morning on the wrong side of bed, not knowing what will befall him that day. I guess if he knew what will happen; he would have call in sick and stay home with his wife. His job in the doctor`s office as I and several mates here has come to know is measuring blood pressure and sometimes giving injections which most inmates can do with their eyes close as some had experimented with drugs and some are still using.

He was searched by the police, but wouldn`t want the police office open  a little box which he claimed were medications, and Mr Policeman won`t give up either. He locked the exit gate, when he knew our Assistant was about to make a quick exit to his car and maybe drop the stash of whatever he had. The assistant argued that he won`t be search as he is not an inmate, well that fell on deaf ears as the police man won`t budge.

I left them for my appointment at the hospice, with Hands and Legs in chains as if I`m a big time gang Lord. Couldn`t help as I slept all the way through, only waking from the noise and bumps of the mini bus we used. Arrived at hospice, met a minor from the juvenile penitentiary whom we chat and got acquainted. Behold walked in a female cop, the male cops gaze in amazement as they sat facing the doors. I and my Minor friends it was all because of the presence of the female cop. No, not knowing what was coming behind her was another, she was like something from a porn film set, and she was dress to kill as my minor friend said.  My police escort and the two male police officers in the waiting room all winked at each other. She was from the Feminino Prison; the women prison and was also out for medical appointment. At that moment, I guess most of the male`s mind wouldn`t think of what sickness or what brought her to the hospice. She was dressed in a hot mini skirt, tight fitting T that shows the outline of whatever she had on her chest. Her make-up was simple but fitting, she had the native Indian ankle bracelet on her left ankle and a star adorned with flowers of diverse colours tattooed on the front of the right ankle. On her hands and wrist were nice silver watch, and some bracelet. And she had the father of all blinks: A silver stainless steel handcuffs, my minor friend said she looks hot with the manacles on, couldn`t help laughing. She was forced to ask me why the laughter. Told her what my minor friend said, and with my little Spanish, they all understood what I meant. Even passersby noticed her as she sat facing the road, one man walked pass more than 3 times and the 4th time came in to ask for direction, which I knew straight away that he was lying. He eventually asked if he could talk to the lady in cuffs, at first there was objection from his female escort, but was eventually granted audience. Straight he asked for number, but as she won`t give out her number in front of the police officers, she offered to have  his, which he did without any delay and made her promise to call.

Later found out, that most of the ladies in the female prison dress to kill when they are out on commisiones (term used for any appointment outside the prison). Most of the Female are in for homicide, drugs and robbery charges and other minor crimes. Many are in with their lovers in the Masculino also doing time alongside. Walking in chains and having people looking at me has become a norm here in Panama. At the hospital, the staffs are used to that sight, but most patients will be seeing us for the first time, eventually had my X-ray, there was no representative from the embassy to help me with the language, had to do with the little I can.

Back to the waiting room and others inmates from other prison were brought in from their different appointment. We finally left, had the new guys in my bus; we dropped them off and picked up carlito who came with me. Surprised how things are run out here, every inmate chained hands and legs no matter the nature of crime always goes with an armed escort.

On our way back, we stopped to have Brunch at On the Run, we had fried Chicken and fried potatoes wedge and top it up with cold cola. While the police went to buy the stuff, I joke about getting a can of beer. One of the escort said, why didn`t made mention of that on time. Eventually we got that on the road back, it was nice to get pissed, and two cans were enough to do just that, as my system has not been having much of it since I got banged up in Panama in September 2009. I paid for the pleasure we had on our way back and the driver wouldn`t drink as he was on duty, but his comrades did drink despite being on duty, we had gums to disguise the beer breathe. The police were nice fellows and I hope on my next commisiones, they will be there to take me out as our cuffs were taken off on the way and we had a bit of freedom.

Back at the Centre, the whole place was dead as a graveyard, there was just handful of people working around. I asked one of the guys, who was so stupid as he told me to ask the wardens, well wasn`t too long before I found out what happened.

First, our Doctor Assistant was searched and was found to have concealed 13 packs of cigarettes in the medicine box and a phone. Don`t know what will become of him and his job. Later found him upstairs, guess it will take him a while to get over what has befallen him.

THE BREAK

I am not a fan of Prison Break the Series, but being here sort of makes me a life character that could fit in the series. Sometimes ago I did search online about prison break, as most friends when they called me on hearing of my predicament always talk about prison break. I found out that one of the series was actually named Panama. Today we did experience the real Prison Break and not just some actors trying to tell someone how it is done. Between Sunday Night and Monday Morning, while most of us were sleeping and dreaming of whatever we dream, somewhere in Anexo (our supposed secured area) someone fellows were planning and making move on their real live version of prison break. The centre has had incidents like that in the past, but mostly in the less secure Green Area where inmates even have their own keys to their cell, own washing machine, some have a cell to them self.  But not in the populated area where security is high, but this day, that high security was breach as we had our own prison break. Investigators were brought in, photos were taken, statement given by wardens on duty. Rumours had it, that Moreno, one lanky warden must have been the one who opened the cell for the 3 fugitives who are probably out of the country before the dawn of day. 2 Colombians and a Panamanian, they were involved in the biggest case (Montaña Case) which has taken 7 years before coming to its first trial, involving people in more than 10 countries. All transferred now to Panama except the top man still held in Brazil. I guess this is the easiest way to prison break, no injury or running through the thick jungle with all its wild animals.

Soon as these was noticed, all inmates were sent back and locked up as investigation started. I Was lucky to have the Patio to myself, took an afternoon nap on the bench in the Patio and had time to look for books in the old kitchen. Where I found some interesting nice books that will keep me occupy for some time.

Was woken when my lawyer finally turned up with my groceries and whatever balance he had for me. He was not allowed to bring in anything not until the director signed and call up for clearance. Now the wardens and police want to show how good they are at their work, after the big escape. Heard that Moreno and unnamed police officer were paid 250G to allow the guys out of their cells, there was no break in or cutting of keys in the cell.

The cell was finally opened to allow the inmates to have their bath, and diner was served, we had a nice diner prepared by my mate. Told them of my day trip and what we did… how they wished it was them.

Finally spoke with my Schat, how she missed talking to me as that has become a daily ritual between us. Did download loads of picx from what she uploaded on my Facebook and from ones she emailed me.

Nice day and good ending, tried reading some pages from a Book by Leon Uris “Redemption” about the Irish independence from The Brit. It`s taken me too long to finish, but now, I`m beginning to enjoy it. Hope to round up with it soon.

THE PROCESS JUST BEGAN!!!

Posted in 1 on January 11, 2010 by doingtimeabroad

10th January 2010, Sunday, another bright warm day. Woke up and full of life, have made it my job to collect breakfast for everyone in the cell. Prior to moving here, my mates cared less about breakfast and they rarely went for the prison food. But since I came in and with the arrival of 2 older men, and being on the bottom bunk, I take care of breakfast. I happen to be on the diet meal, which is supposed to be healthier and though it looks healthy, the taste is awful. Wondered why they feed these things to humans. Oh, lest I forget, we are prisoners, expendable and at the bottom of the barrel. I guess that answers my question of why we are being fed rubbish labeled as food. Many went out today for visit, which means loads of food  as family will be bringing in food to their loved ones. Those of us without families or friends to visit us, hung about and watch. Made our orders for whatever we need, though we are ripped off and made to pay whatever price given to us for items we no do not worth the price. Despite the Panamanians being home and always having visits from families and girlfriends, they are very parsimonious with food and sharing, except some few who had became good friends of mine. I have been fortunate enough to show kindness and sometimes been offered  money when I told them I don´t have.

Last night, felt so lonely and rang my Schat who was sleeping and so tired that she didn`t even know that I rang. She woke up this morning and found out that she was in conversation with me for some minutes before she slept off. Today we shared intimate text conversations and how much we missed each other, longing to be together soon. I pray that things goes very fast.

A bit info about El Ranacer, the galleria where most of the adults are housed is a warehouse like building with our cells builded in as zoo cages. Each cell house 6 inmates, when I came most cells were empty, but now they are filled and even the unused ones are cleaned up and occupied now. Unlike prison in the Western world, we are allowed to cook and many things goes. Those with money made their cell habitable with all one will find in home, DVD Players, Radio, TV, Electric saucepan, rice cooker, electric fan, and anything that will make live here worth living. I have seen some prepare good meals with Lobsters and other types of exotic food. That is prison in panama, well don`t know about all other prisons, but from what I have seen on The Panamanian Televisions, when there are big  search, things found in most of the prison, shows that life is not all that bad for those with money to get what they want.

There`s been loads of whisperings and small gatherings, things hasn`t been coming as they use to. One the Warden went too far with some dude locked up in Annexo and the Dude got him reported to the director, who kinda got things tighter and the warden in question and his group of Wardens are under investigation. So prices of weed, cigarette and others has shot so high that most smokers are smoiking old butts. A stick of cigarette as of today was going for $3, when a pack in the street is $1.50. A stick used to be sold for 50Cents, and other things also has gone up so bad. A Spanniard was caught trying to smuggle in Cigarettes and Weed, and that has raise tension and we heard of a possible search tonight.

Had my phone switch off and hidden where we hide things and we are waiting, they may come in at anytime.

Hope to go for my X-ray tomorrow morning, and hope my lying lawyer will finally turn up with my groceries expected since Thursday.

Just finished my diner and what a delicious meal, fried rice with coconut oil, with salad and fried chicken, topped it up good old French Mustard. And with a home made Ginger beer, what a lovely way to end the day. We are still waiting for the search tonight, the clock is ticking and any moment they will be  filing in for the big search.

I guess No search tonight, maybe they will take us by surprise another day, but we wil remain on alert and here I am now uploading my write-ups for my blog, it´s 27mins pass midnight. Gotta step down for my mates to use the laptop also. What a lovely day as it ends with good food and access to the net. So much as been happening on the outside world which we barely know of, panama televisions are filled daily with homicide, crimes and new of tragedies of all types. well, that is life in panama, living on the edge.

9th January 2010, what a lovely day, woke from a dream and hated myself as I was still in my prison bunk bed, lately my dreams are always being around my loved ones and on the outside, I hope that will be the true meaning and not the opposite. Woke up exactly 5am, use the loo and stayed up for the breakfast guys as it will be useless going  back to sleep. Used the time to text my Schat and she replied but unknowing used the wrong sim, and then she realized and changed. She was busy looking for my books online, hope she gets them as soon as possible. She finally called and we spoke briefly, kids wanted to talk to me, she told them later. How I miss them all, and long for the day I will hold them in my strong arms.  Picked up breakfast; 3 little rolls for each of the six inmates, 1 boiled egg, and sugar filled black coffee. I believe whoever makes this food knows that most people won`t bother waking at five in the morning for food like the sort. I have been lucky to have my name on the diet food; these is suppose to be much better than the normal prison food which is always laced with salt, but one thing with Panamanian prison food, no matter what type of food you get, they all taste alike, most time, you chewed the food and forced yourself to swallow it, but always hard to go in, the Panamanians don`t eat chilli. When we had nothing, we try to work on what we get, add chilli and some spice to change the taste to help us swallow, sometimes no matter what we add and try to change the taste, can´t just help, had to flush it in the toilet.

As luck will have it, El Renacer used to grow her food when it was built, so we still have loads of fruit bearing trees; limon, papaya, orange, mango, avocado, noni (which I am a big fan, after reading of its benefit back in Europe) and many more. We also have a Chilli Plant (Cayenne Chilli); which can be very hot. Also mint tree, which I used mostly with my green tea, this days nobody really care about growing any food, I had plans to do something like that, but my aching back won`t let me do any wearisome  work.

Yesterday, during the football match, was able to asked the director about my request for a Radio and Guitar, he replied that all electrical are still under evaluation, but then got a permit to bring in a new fan. Well, I don`t really worry much as I have come to understand how things work here, with money, you can bring it what you want, just get the right people to do that.

Last night, we talked about Renacer, heard how it was suppose to be safest prison in Panama, many inmates were transfer from different prison here for their safety, but they end up being lynched by those they were running from. Can someone tell me what the safety is all about? One thing I have come to know, we the foreigners, mostly Europeans are big target here, as they believe we get money from our countries and families, apparently that is false believe as we also live on hope. Just as many Europeans have fallen into debts from buying drugs and accumulating more debts from loans with interest. They are forced to be moved to the more secured area (Annexo) for their protection, even there, protection is not guarantee, liquidation is possible any where here.

Made it to the library by 8am and had to wait for it to be open, met a guy who is in for minor abuse, most people hate him, but we just have to live with him, as he proofed to be a nice man, and teaches English alongside my mate to the Panamanian and others who want to learn English. He was my Spanish teacher, but my self-study is much better than is method of teaching, so I decided to stop and I`m doing much better studying and learning Spanish on my own.

Expecting my Lawyer to come today with my Groceries and a new 16GB USB flash drive, I hope to get the 160GB IPOD Classic, would have prefer the Ipod Touch, but over here, one need something a large storage capacity to hold as much media as one will need. Hope my mate gets his laptop, as he has requested for one to help with preparing materials for his English class. Mine, will wait till I start any distance learning program, then I can put in my request for one. The day looks hopeful and beautiful as it is visiting day today. Many will get fresh food and provisions. Good for them, but they still hang around us for things. Will be meeting today with my fellow country men to discuss certain things and what we deem our consulate should do for us to help us make life easy here, though life in prison is suppose be tough, well, so much is hard and bad enough. Feeding people with what they call food is enough punishment for any crime. I have loose some waist line, thank God for Panama Penitentiary system.  

8th January 2010, Set my alarm to wake up by 7.30am, forgot that the phone was on silent, what a way to wake up. Had to do that so I can get to one of the computers in the Library before the Zuma (A sort of game where you shot balls and before the fall into a Gauntlet) Addicts all line up for their dose of zuma. Well, still made it to the library and met this fellow watching porn on the system, I hope to de-install the porn stuffs and clean all the porn film from the system. Trying to crack the Admin password so I can access many things and also block the youths from viewing porn stuffs with the system in the library.

Had a mystery caller last night, but wouldn`t talk, guess maybe friends of one of the boys I always lent my phone to make calls. Hope no such call again as it was in the wee hours.

Had a nice text chat with my Schat, we are both been rejuvenated and I`m beginning to realize to many things about marry a true love, one that will go through thick and thin with you. Never believe I have been loved like this, I had my flings with ladies of diverse sorts, and I now know that they all amount to nothing. Since my incarceration, I refused to establish contact as none care to find out where I am as they have not heard from me. Maybe they tried to reach by phone, but since they can`t get me, they have emails, and since no emails. I have decided not to write also. I just want that part of my life to die out slowly and gone for good.

Back to the Centre, things has been going at a snail speed, nothing new happening, same faces, some asking and wanting from you.  The Consulate was here on Wednesday with our Toiletries and loads of Magazines, books and News Papers. It was relieving going out and seeing a fresh face. We talked about what we need most and things we won`t all the time. More Tissues, less shower gel. Well, I don`t really mind, my application for studies from Holland has been sent in, will likely take about 3 Months before I hear from them. Took Advanced Dutch and Spanish for Beginners. The others courses were basic which were too low for my standard. Updated her on my contact back home, his communication with the different office regarding my repatriation home after my court and sentence, but she still think it will be impossible, as I don`t have strong tie back home. I case the system is very stupid, what stronger tie must I have, than being a National and a citizen, I guess the Treaty with Panama is about having our Nationals do their time back home after their sentences. Now I can see why mine should be any different, I only move to study in a different country. What if I was homeless and no family member back home, what will they do? I have a contact that is ready to stand by me and meet all that is require for my coming home. For now I`m not budge, will wait till my court and after my sentence. Then I will know what to do…

Given a name and it has stick to me, one of the Panamanian; Hugo, with his sleek hair and talks like characters from The Sopranos, who is always on me for a dollar, gave me a name “Big Black” and now, it has become my name in the centre, most wardens know my real name, so prefer to call me Big Black.

Up and trying to get back to my studying, got to schools in mind and I`m praying that they offer distance learning programs in English, that will be one breakthrough since I have been here. And text from my Schat, she is searching for DVD and other things for my Guitar lessons. She also gave me a big surprise on Thursday, for days now I have been down without credit on my phone, she went online and topped up my phone, was so surprise when I got a text with my balance and then a message from her. Oh my God!!! What is love, I want to know, how she thought of it and went online searching and getting to do was amazing and gracious of her, it shows the extend of her love for me. She later confided how she missed my texts as she always wake up to lovely messages from me, but for the few past days, there hasn`t been any, as I was out of credit. Thank God for my Schat!!!

On Thursday, exchanged several texts with my Schat, she sort of blushed as I told her my true feelings for her now, not just because I`m locked up, but what I have come to realized. Being doing of reading and also learning about live, love, marriage and how to stay in love, hope I can use this in real life and live the rest of my life in perfect serenity.

Expecting my Lawyer today, got my money sent through him and he has to do my little shopping, Jesus (how the Spanish choose to have this name is kinda strange) Mother wouldn`t want to be doing shopping as she is offering her best in picking money for most of us foreigners. In the centre having someone pick money for you through any of the money transfer firm, they always come back with stories of how this or that happened, sometimes you lose more than 20% of your money, but with Jesus`s mum, no fear of such. I will respect the privilege she has given us for picking the money. Will end here for Friday as I have more to write, hope I have the laptop over the weekend, and then I can be on online and update my blog. 

6th January 2010, Lucky to have talked Cadil into letting me have his system, as we all know here in the centre, most people come to the computers just for the games and nothing else. It`s appalling how the state of these young men are. I partly blame the penitentiary system here in Panama. El Renacer was suppose to be a rehabilitation centre where inmates who had done most of their time and with less than a year or 2 left, will be send to get rehabilitated, learn some vocational studies or trade. Since I was transferred here, found out that most of the young can neither read nor write, then tell me how they will start and there are no facility for such training here.

I feel so bad as I my Flash drive with lots of important files were stolen, I wouldn`t have misplaced it, I know quite well someone must have nicked it. But it will be of no use to whoever has nicked it, as the content where mostly in English and all my Blog update before and after the New Year. I hope I find it someday. I now know why most guys hang theirs on their neck and walk around with it like a piece of jewellery. Gotta be more careful with my things, heard of how underwear’s and other items of clothing are stolen from lines when left out in the sun. Terrible how many years in incarceration rarely change anyone, one of the youth always prowl behind my former cell and look for what to steal, several times he had attempted but fail to steal anything of any worth. Not until days before I changed cell, while doing my turn of cleaning, he was able to nicked my mate`s MP3 Player, when my mate asked him, he offered to look for it and came back with news that he has found it and whoever nicked it wants $20 before returning it, and the worth of said MP3 player is about $30. If I was the one, would bother to negotiate, will let him keep it as he won`t be able to use it in the open and also charge it as he didn`t steal the charger. Then if he is seen with it in the open, he can be reported to the director, who will have him transfer to one of the so called Maximum secured prison (always on the news about escapees). How the MP3 saga ended, I wouldn`t know as I moved for my own of peace of mind. My new has been very comfortable and the mates are all but welcoming and open hearted.

Prior to New Years Eve; it has been a bit tensed in the centre as many among the Panamanians awaits the list of detainees that will be free on the 2/3 program, one of my Mates, who happened to be American – Panamanian, but used his Panamanian citizenship when he was arrested, he was among those waiting for their fate. Before now, they have all had privileges of visiting their families on important occasions, most returned in stupor from over indulging in drugs or alcohol (proper alcohol and not the prison brew). On New Year`s Eve, most part of the world were going into 2010 before us, so I waited with full expectation for calls or text, and they came from friends and my beloved Schat, many texted but most of the text wouldn`t come, sometimes it takes days before they arrived, had thought sms was suppose to be an instant communication, but I guess not in Panama. The texts were all a big comfort to me as I step into the New Year, I can feel how the excitement will be out there, the drinks and fireworks, told me love to have my kids see the fireworks display, but she was too tired to keep them up, she stayed through and my Daughter was able to see from her bed and heard the bangs of the night as she told me later on.

Over here, we contributed money and got ourselves a litre of white rum, guess not the original Cuban rum, but Panamanian Rum, I hope it wasn`t prison brew, as one of the guys from my former jail is here and I know him to be a brewer, back then my Italian friend was always high on his brew, but I wouldn`t have a go on it. But this night, I asked and was reassured that it came from outside, we all know how things comes from outside without official permits; pay the guards and they will get anything in for you. So we had our own share of the New Year`s celebration with our drink and music, talk about life and how we want to live the big life, guess that brought us all into these place. Deep in me, thought of finishing all I had started pop up in my mind and I knew in Prison, one has got all the time to do anything and change certain in life. Mine was to start working into rounding all my study programs I started. I can read all the books in the world while here and can take a music career as we have functional recording studio here in the centre with a professional producer from Spain (Canadian though).

Have mailed and my Schat is busy searching for solutions to my back to study problem, I hope we sort it soon, the moment I start with it, I can also write a permission to have a laptop and eventually, will get me online and then the world at my fingers tip. I`m happy that I can update my blog once in a while and check on real time event whenever I get the laptop for $10 a night, not a bad deal. Some times for $8 after much bargaining and lamenting what I need to do with $2. Now I`m so broke to get it  and I hate running into debts, in prison, you have to watch who you take loans  from, as some will do anything for a dollar.

Late into the Night as it hit midnight, someone came around, guess he`s got his sources and told us, that our mate will be going home and with 7 others in the Centre. As soon as family saw the list online, they also rang him to tell him the good news. Got his things ready and drank till the wee hours of the New Year. On 1st day of 2010, they all waited for the confirmation which finally came and out they walked away free men, did I say free, not totally free, conditionally, they have to remain in Panama for 6 Months and constantly report to a special unit within the 6 Months, after that will they be truly free to leave the country and some may get back to what brought them in at the first place, some I hope must have learned lessons as I had.

When our mate left, we didn`t hear from him until the 3rd of January, his girlfriend didn`t know he was coming out and left town, so he had no other option than to head for a waterhole and pissed himself, he partied all night and heaven knows what else he did, we all knew what he did. He used all the strength and energy he had been saving on whoever she was and such had the best of his 3 days as a free man. He finally got united with his Family and Pregnant girlfriend (whom he got impregnated on his first visiting permit sometimes in June or July before I even came here). Since then, he is been calling and telling us of fun and things he doing around. Family outings, clubs, picnic and spending valuable and treasured time with his family; what most of us foreigners will pay to have.

4th January 2010, When the Principal Lawyer in charge of my case came on the 30th December 09, little did he know that on the 4th of January I will be going for my declaration; thus give my statement at the Prosecutor`s office, as soon as he left, I was called up and told of it and also that I will have a general check up on the 12th of April, hope that comes soon. Asked my Schat to email both my lawyers and pass the message to them, which she did and I text and call them. I guess they knew about it, couldn`t sleep much as I waited for the dawn of day. As early as 5AM, the door was open, got myself ready, said some words of prayers and was out of the cell. Met my old mate from my former cell, he was also going out, to the hospital for check-up and many others. Before we left had my blood pressure checked by an inmate whose got machine, mine was too high and alarming, gotta to watch out and make some changes.  We were 5 in numbers that left that morning each with a armed police. It was relieving to see the hustling and bustling of the outside world again. It was all a different from life in the Jungle, beautiful and people full of life and hopes. But still you can also see the emptiness of some as we drove through some ghetto neighbourhood in the city. Panama is a city divided in 2; the very rich and very poor, no room for Middle class. Saw kids picking things on the streets, hope they weren`t scavengering for food.

First stop was the hospital and all stepped out except me and my police; we arrived at the office through the back entrance, guess nothing good comes or goes through the back door. In chains, had to wait in a holding cell outside while we wait, had a little a nap as I had little of it last night. Finally we left, at the basement, thought of strangling the young cop, as it was so quiet and dark in there. He left his old revolver with the security as it is not allowed to bring in arms into public offices. Looking at him, he was such a nice fellow, so I let the thought drift away. In the lift we made our way to the 7th floor and there we were in a big office divided into tiny cubicles. The 7th floor looks as a beauty parlour, no male presence except my police buddy and I, all ladies in their twenties and thirties, on high heels and summer clothing. If this how offices in Panama are, wouldn`t mind looking for job when my time is done, most of the ladies will pass for escort girls in their outfits or one could thought of them as heading to a night clubs. Couldn`t help feeding my eyes and my cop friend also, we exchange some eyes gestures when we see some nice ones walk pass us.

Finally the only male that came out, happened to be one I have see before, then he offered to take my statement, I rejected as I wasn`t having lawyer then, If I had known I would have given my statement. He speaks American English, but denied studying or being an American, but I have my suspicions, that he is an American or with Dual Nationality. Anyway, my Lawyer had called him that he will be late as he car was staled, when he finally came, we were given a moment together, but he didn`t say anything or advice me on what to say. I guess I have made up my mind on what to say and we went about it and after barrage of questions, we were done. One of the girls chatted with me and talked about her love to visit Europe, but she can`t afford it, in my mind, she can take one of Panama`s produce and but her or sell her wares like most girls do in the country; heard how cheap the ladies are for a Tenner you can get laid and for a little more you have gotten yourself a wife. What a cheap way to get married.

We finally left and had to wait in the hold for call from the guys in Hospice, eventually they picked us up without the fifth man, he was admitted and he his police stayed over with him.

On our way back we got ourselves some chicken, we the prisoners paid for it, but the police had the most bite. Finally back at the centre, back to the depressing life and people. Saw the dude that makes appointment for the hospital, ran up to him to find out why he set me for 12th April, only to find out that I will be going on the 11th of January for my X-ray and the 12th April is a general Medical check-up. Was happy that he set the new date for me, I hope I can pay back his favour. Got some herbs from one of the Police chap and he said, he used it and many used it in Panama for Blood Pressure, hope it works.

Was advised to write for permission to have certain things brought it for me due to my medical condition, I hope when I do that I can the go ahead.

Back in my former cell, things hasn`t been too well as I heard, they are having trouble times and bad blood among themselves, especially from the guy that I had a brawl with before I changed cell, but we are talking now and he even lent me $5 and has cut my hair, I boycotted him, but he cuts more cheaper than the Panamanians, well had to go back to him and on 31st night asked him to lend me $5 and he did, I guess he regretted the fight, but we can`t turn back the hand of time, if I could that, I have better things to turn around and not the bloody fight over my reading at the wee hours of dawn. He had a go at the Panamanian who was returned from the States after doing 4 years in his 11 years sentence for trafficking thousands keys of Coke, he is a quiet guy who will not hurt a fly, he wrote and ask for change of cell, but the guards came as early as they can and told my Buddy he will leave the cell instead and not the Panamanian, they gave time to start looking for another cell, from all I heard, it will be hard for him to get another cell. I hope he does fine one and hope he changes his attitude about people and learn to live with others.

5th of January 10, at 4pm many are going home or to hotels for a day permit to be back by 4pm on the 6th, as we know they will be back drunk or too high to walk back into their cell. The last Christmas visit, many from the maximum prison never return, saw the director of Penitentiary pleading for them to return for God`s sake and the sake of their family, Hope they return. Only one inmate from our centre failed to return on the Christmas visit, and what a fool he is, he had just few weeks or months to finish his time and be release, but from what we heard, someone tried to get him shot and he stayed out to avenge.  When he`s got, he will do an extra time and if he eventually pull the trigger on the other dude, then he is in for another lifetime. So we are waiting for the return of these men who are out on visit….