Archive for March, 2010

ANOTHER ESCAPE!!!

Posted in 1 on March 23, 2010 by doingtimeabroad

WEEK 11

Monday 15th through Sunday 22nd

Up by 2am from text sent by Schat over Jessie`s wanting to talk to me and her cry that night, how she could hear sobbing in her room after she sent her away, things got worst when she gave her water and Jessie spilled it, she broke down, guess she also felt my absence at that moment as she would had me helping. But then what can I do as I`m thousand of miles from home. At 2am here, it will be 7am back home, guess she will be on way to work, couldn`t sleep anymore as the text wasn`t that cool. Exchange several texts, thought she just wanted to get things off her mind, but whatever she wanted to prove now, can it really be proven as what has happened  has happened. I`m behind bars here in Panama thousand of miles from home and away from my sweet lil kids, for them? the only comfort I can give to them is through phone conversation; owning a phone might be illegal, if it`s the only rule or law I will break while here, I will do it. The phone has been my saviour as we communicate everyday, exchange loads of texts each day, Schat even confessed that because we talk often and she read from me everyday, she doesn`t really feel the absence much except when things like the incident occurs, like the car thing, fixing things at home and when the kids really want me. One nice thing with the kids, once they hear my voice, then seems satisfied and ok, but Jessie always want to know when I will be back home.

Her text made me felt certain things are still untouched, spoilt me  day as I couldn`t sleep anymore, went out for workout, just wanted to do something and put off the negative energy, guess if I was one the Panamanian, maybe would have gotten into a fight. Did workout and jogged till I couldn`t take it anymore and the body just couldn`t keep up with the workout.

After shower, came in and made a power lunch of Beans, eggs and plantain, after my meal watched some music video with our Banker (Pepe); he loves the ones with the girls showing off their assets, what a old Perv he is, he talked of when he was young and had loads of money and loads of women too, told him, well that you gotta either be famous or rich or even both to have loads of everything and sometimes loads of trouble. I have become his call centre as he`s always on me to use my phone, he called for credits as that is the only way he gets money sent to him, I`m the only one he sells the credits to and at a reduced rate. He hasn`t had any visit since he came here, since most of his people are down south about six hours from here and they are poor. Lately he and agent has been getting bits of our food as sometimes we can`t just leave them, I make enough drink for them and they get sauce from whatever we are having for dinner. I guess we`re doing what normal people should do; Sharing, unlike their fellow brothers who will bluntly say no.

Did Called Jessie on the house phone as I was taken by guilt that my kids should not suffer because of my mistake, surprised how she recognized my voice, she was so happy that I called, we talked about loads, surprised how she can hold a conversation with an adult. She mainly reported her brother to me, how he is been using some words he ought not to use, may her understand that he was joking and playing. She felt much better and happier so do I after that conversation.  But I was the happier one, couldn`t help the feeling of how I have wrong them by not being there now and when they really need me most. I initiated most programs that she is following and had vowed to see her through all of them until she decides what she will want to do. I`m happy that Schat got my vision and has been burning the candle at both ends to make sure that Jessie continue even as I`m not there and she really loves her Piano and swimming lessons. We talk about it whenever we get on the phone; she is so happy that she can play some tunes without looking at her books. She has made and given me the zeal to take up guitar lessons while I`m here. I hope I`ll perfect it and also the youths here will allow me learn without nicking it from me. Time they say wait for no one, now I know in full what that means, you play with time and it plays with you making you forget the important things in life. Many are here locked up for years and had all the time needed to make that decision that will bring change in their lives and mostly in the lives of their loved ones, but they never and will never. Lost in the jungle and in oblivion, most will never come out of it even when their time here has been done and they are set free. They will still be working and searching.

Schat and I exchanged some text; no calls as tension was still high, guess Jessie must have told her that I called her. From her text, can tell she was calm now; hope it remains so for a long and longer time.

We had a big dinner, had to stay up to digest a bit before hitting the bed, gotta cut down on my dinner as that is not so good. Maybe half portion every night.  Did some reading from some of the magazines I got from my Consulate. Being reading them for sometime now and it is been very fun and interesting: mostly the Quest, nice magazine with loads of educational articles, shared some of the findings from the magazine with my mates…..kinda quiz and answers thing.

Nite and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Tuesday 16th

Up as usual, loads of dreams hope they all come through; mean the good ones. Too bad to always wake up to my bunk bed in the small room, seeing the same people and seeing them shit as well, happy that it is a bit ventilated compare to most cell that is airtight. Imagine what it will be like inhaling all the farts that we had been having from our Agent and our skinny mate lately and every night.  Who knows what they have been secretly eating, each night we are bombarded from two sides by this fellows.

Most nights I endured their farts; the skinny dude sleep just above me and each night when it comes, gotta take my head to my fan or rub some methol on my nose, locking us up should be enough punishment for whatever crimes we have committed but having this guys shelling us with sulphide gas every night is the worst anybody will wish on his worst enemy.

Well, back to my day, had a good workout, I now believe I will leave here with six packs as most people expect of me. While walking the field, met one of my country bloke; well if you come here and seeing him you will be discourage about getting the six pack thing, he is like Big Tony in Bronx Tale, you don`t walk with him but swim with him, we`ve got many of them here. My mate is due home soon; we talked about loads and life here. Asked him how he had stayed through without fights, he said, just dance to their music and you will stay away from their problem. Pray God for load of patience here; believe that is what anybody in a place like this should be praying for, Loads of Patience and more of it especially with the kids from pabellon area, I have loads from them, of which if I was one of them, guess they wouldn`t try it as they know I can easily call up knives, maybe a gun and the next will be history. They don`t know what NO is or respect, but they want that and not ready to give.

Later on that day, Schat called when Aaron my buddy came to help her with the PC, guess she has to buy another  the one I built isn`t working. She really needed to get a new one as Jessie is using her laptop for her games and school work, while my lil boy stays and watch, love him for that, always watching what her sister is doing, then he will try doing it himself, she is learning loads.

We are cool now with each other, and no more talk about Jessie wanting to call me and over what happened the previous day. Sometimes we need that bit of quarrel to let off some hot air; we know each other too good.

In the centre, one of the boys from Santos (my escaped friend who was slashed) tried nicking a silver or white metal chain from one of the boys in the church, well they all here for homicide, but the later who has turned to God seems to be quiet as he is always seen with Bible and in the church, but things didn`t go the way the other guy thought. Others came in to save the day as sides were taken by friends and gang members. Knew the next thing would have been them drawing knives.

The matter died, and that was it, the kid from the church is pretty quiet and I believe he is on his path to redemption and rebirth, I saw in eyes that he was shaken by the experience, but relaxed as most of the elders from the church came to his help.

The day came to an end and life in the jungle continued, we had a nice dinner and I made my wonder juice which secret recipe I won`t give out on the net, maybe will save it till when I`m out. Each night comes with loads of jokes of what this place holds for each of us and those that will be coming after us. My English mate is really busy with his film project and now he is looking for sponsor, but the director wants to use the film for his career progression, he`s got loads planned like having a press conference; he is the really and typical Latino Prison`s boss we always see in movies, always making money through their own deals in the prison. He`s actually a nice guy whose presence is really felt among the inmates. Most of the inmates are older than him; they walk, and talk to him like mates. I hope there won`t be more escapes that may send him packing as his predecessor.

End the night with my book, lately get so exhausted from my workout that I always sleep on my books, that takes my back to my days back home, while I was living in the campus at the Uni, the bed was a single person bed, but I managed to have my books on my bed and always sleep with them, think I`m used to that and I can sleep without rumpling the books.

Happy that schat and I have sorted things out, next time I will always tell her what I want to do and wait for her opinion and suggestion, hope and pray God that I`m humble enough to accept or ponder over what she thinks. I adore her for her strength and love and how she has stood by me through this period, soon it will be six Months and loads more are coming. Off to another world of dream where no chains and bars can hold me or stop me. Dreams are good and sometimes you come out of it strengthen but others panting and sweating from the verge of death……

Wednesday 17th

Up as our workers were called out, had an early BF, the cream came in pick today, wonder what colour they will add to it next time, still waiting for the day it will come in blue and green, then I will know that we shouldn`t be eating the prison food anymore. Once did my juice mix and the colour came blue, it was like a chemistry class thing, but we drank it and nothing happened. Later next day, knew what happened after looking at my ingredientes.

early that morning while others were still sleeping, saw one of the Custodio walked out with Toño; the guy that came from Colon who was almost in a fight and spent a night in my cell, he left with his few belongings, thought he`s taken away to another prison, but later learnt from his new mate and my country bloke that he is taken to Anexo for his protection. Further learned that he is in debts of more than 800 bucks, took money from people and sweet talked them that he is family is rich and will be coming, but so far nobody has been here to visit him. I guess the authorities here knew his cup was getting full, so they whisked him away for his own safety. But then how safe can he be as people had been murdered right in the Anexo that`s suppose to be a secured area here for vulnerable inmates. I hope they are able to protect him.

Had a nice workout and back to my cell, gotta to do some washing, no soap and the container was also gone, asked others and found out my English mate had the Spaniard did his laundry, but then he also gave him soap, since this guy came in, who knows what profession he had when he was on outside, guess nothing to do with laundry and neither of the others even know how to wash, as they all wash with brushes even on delicate materials. He`s always hanging around the cell door everyday asking for clothes to wash. When I finally met my mate at the library in his English class, he told me he gave the soap to the guy, wasn`t happy with him. Walked up to the Spaniard and took the soap, he tried to explain something, told him if he is serious with his business he should have all the materials needed for his business. He told me that most people don`t pay him, later that day found out that he washes for cigarette and maybe dope if he does it. And some for nothing as the Panamanian ain`t ready to pay a dime to him, he has done some crazy things here and that`s why most if not everybody here don`t take him seriously. He swims in the shower floor when we out in the shower and he had once wore a string and walked around with it after he was paid a dollar to do that. Well this is prison and anything goes. Didn`t take the soap thing any serious as I can always beg for soap from the few inmates that are good with me and wait until I get a new one. I actually ordered extra soap in order to meet our washing needs. I`m okay as we share things but when things like these happens, then what are we going to do.

The agent came back with some of our orders and we did have a nice dinner, I have cut my dinner size half, hope it helps me as I want to get my six packs. Hope Schat will like it as my mate told me of his girl, when they newly mate, her ex was one massive guy with a massive one pack, and she missed that as the one pack was where she rest her hands when she is on top.

Jokes and loads more, and we found out more things about our banker (Pepe), this dude has been busy even before our parents thought of making us and bringing us into the world; 1966 he was 18 years old and was thrown into jail for possession of two stick of weed for personal consumption, what a stupid law, he spent 18 Months for that, losing out the prime of his life when he would have been productive. I guess some laws in some countries are just absurd, locking a youth for minor things like joints and possession of grams of dope is just waste of youthful life, no wonder their prison are choked up with youths and most are re-offenders.

I`m glad of where I come from, even when locked up you still can function as human being and it won`t be for 2 sticks of joints, my mate said that back in my country, that if cops found you with 2 sticks, they may ask to share….. Hehehehehe. Coooool

That evening one of the warden who`s always telling me how many times he sees me on phone came to me for pay, most times he and his mates just bust into our cell, even when the curtains are drawn, they open them to see if one is on phone, well gotta to grease his hand as he was going off, as soon as I gave him what I had for him, one of the dope head who`s always talking and screaming when he`s high, saw me and ran after me, begged me to lend him two dollars as that was what he saw me got from the fiver I gave the warden, asked the warden for change as I told him, I need to buy ice. Gave the dope head, but back in mind, doubt if I will get it back. Just sow a seed of sorrow that will never grow into anything good, maybe that night he will be high on my two bucks. God helps us.

Well, life here really sucks and is also sucking us into an abyss of the unknown. Many as I have come to know really don`t function as real people, they believe they are but they seem not to be.

Loving my new book, can`t stop reading even in the toilet…… guess have discovered more things that can be as addictive as dope. Books!!!!  BUENOS NOCHES!!!!

Thursday 18th

Another beautiful day, full of life, woke up as other days and had a quick early morning shower, warm day and humid, then back to the cell, did some reading when others fully got up, did some workout with the bar in the cell, could lift myself and my own body weight now and it was fun……

Was busy until the of the custodio came calling that my Consul is here to see me, hummmm was lighten up as I thought I will be getting my books that was sent by Schat and other things. When I finally made it outside, it was my contact person, a volunteer who is giving her time for us. Well don`t know what to write but whenever I`m out there talking with her, she gives my positive hopes. She may not have the power to affect anything on our process, but she has the grace to convey a positive message of hope across to those of us that care to listen.

Were given some gifts from her, was grateful as she thought of us to bring some edibles to us, had my cookies as soon as I got in and the rest of the gift I know gotta share with my mates, that evening we had cheese grated and mix with pasta, was delicious, now we have enough green peas to last us for a while as I have chopped them and had them frozen; got them from Bin Laden and cheap though. Hope we get other vegetables soon, will do same and get them stored for each day use.

Our agent has found true love as he always giggling when on phone, I`m happy that he may get his life back on track, he is been going out to work, but always comes back knackered, guess the others always leave the job for him to do while they go about their daily things. Well he likes it and I guess it`s also helping in. Always remind him, if he wins his case against the States, 1M is mine, hope he doesn`t forget that.

Lately we have been having some nice dessert after our dinner, courtesy of one the guys who goes out to work, he gets sponge cakes and other pastries, and since we buy more from my cell, our cell is always his first port of call when he gets back. Love mine with my herbal tea, tonight had mine with the green tea that was given to me by my contact person also cutting down on my sugar intake.

Well, this place maybe shithole according to my Italian friend, but conditions made possible by the corrupt wardens has made it much better than most first world`s prison and that also include prison back home. When I read the news paper my contact person gave me about the condition in one of the prison back home. I guess the inmates there will love to trade for this place, but then when they know of the knives and other weapons stashed here by inmates and also distance from home and loved ones, well then they may consider staying back.

Laws are probably laid down, but nobody gives a shit if the laws are followed or obeyed, back home, they are restricted to the numbers of clothes, cd`s and dvd`s, shoes; while here you can own a whole boutique, nobody gives a damn, people sell clothes here and every other thing you can think of. Food is properly rationed back home, not here where you can take as much as you can waste and chucked into the toilet as that is one easy place to dump things when you feel too lazy to walk to the bin outside the cell or when the cell is closed at night. Our toilet happens to be one that even millionaires will dream to have, an automatic system which the water kept running nonstop, it self flushes itself….. Nice technology and waste of water, while the rest of Panama are crying for clean water, we play with it here.

Now I know why people loses weight when they come out of prison back home, the food is rich but in small quantities and they don`t just eat what and when they want, but eat according to the prison timetable, if it was like that here, most of these guys will drop dead, as food is like dope to most; got one big guy who walks the field everyday, but pilled up the calories when he`s eating again. What a waste of time….

This place is nice as one can have whatever he can afford so long the custudio and cops remain corrupt, our Italians and Spanish brothers all love this place as most are dope and crack heads , but then the other thing, fear factor of what if it happens, sometimes telling someone NO which he doesn`t understand and the unexpected can be just around the corner. No one knows when the volcano will erupt….But God will keep us through. Like the book I`m reading the eleventh Plague, the angel of death will pass over of us.

Thursday ends with beam of smile on my face, as Schat and I talked about the kids and my boy, he`s just past three years, but knows loads and caring, always calling Schat; sweet, darling mummy, hope he`s not like this when he grows as he will be to lovely for the gals and when he`s heart broken, guess he will come crying to mummy. He cares loads about his mum, she told me how she told him one morning that she was sick and when she went to pick him from school, he did asked her if she was better. Waoooooh how good his memory is, if some these lads should have such memories guess they will never re-offend as they will always remember what prison looks and smell like. But they ain`t got such…………

We will sleep while the jungle and its habitant stays up and alive , wonder the guys who escapes how they do it, guess they know the jungle very well, as one will be running and falls into a Boa`s trap, becoming the last supper.

Slept off into the night after reading from my Spanish lesson books; that brings me to my so called lawyer, he ain`t doing much to help bring me radio in, from what Jesus said, he had called his mum once and was suppose to speak with his brother and pick up the radio, that he never did and once I called him, he asked me for Jesus mum`s number again, then I knew he is not damn serious. Well, Gotta talk to my consul if they can do me that big favour by bringing it in. Hope it works.

Friday 19th

Early up and got our BF, did some workout sometimes felt the six pack won`t come, well no pain no gain!!! But I kinda see some improvement in my health, can walk for hours, run some laps and lift myself, just feel better inside sometimes.

My yellow top which was what my lawyer got for me while I was on transit in the other jail, was nicked from the line, I had the sleeves cut off as I used them for training, after training yesterday, wash it and forgot at the end of the day, when I went for it this morning, it was nicked; here these guys nick anything nickable; underwear’s, socks even my mate short was stolen despite having some holes on the back. Well just like the real world, once you are in alone or taking in nap in you cell, you have to lock yourself in, as the cons knows every nook and cranny of the cell and what they can easily nick when they walk in and within seconds. I have 2 more of the yellow Tees and will be getting them out.

After my workout, spent the rest of the day indoors, guess just wasn`t feeling like hanging out, tried to nap a while, but noise from outside as my bed is just beside the Dominoes tables, did some reading and thinking, kinda know how to keep both running concurrently in my mind, guess the human mind is like windows multi-tasking, able to juggle and manage loads of information at same time.

Have a new friend, an old Canadian, nice guy and like reading, in same boat like most of us, he is been away from Canada for more than 25 years, lives in Costa Rica with family, but now has a new address. We always joke about loads of things. Out of my bed, so him sitting alone reading, we chatted for a while, got back in and hopes the day will end quickly.

That evening, we learned of another Escape, guess the director will be tired of this job by now; well the guy that escaped planned it very well and bought his way out easily. He is new in the system and yet to appear before any judge, heard he was caught with over a million bucks in his house, what a rich idiot he is. Can`t have such amount of money and stack them at home, what happened to the banks or proper investment. Well, his case was a high profile one, but he was smart enough to have bought his way through the custodios and even the director, heard he bought air conditioner for most of the offices and usually buys them lunch. He was allowed to work outside in the green area which is very easy to escape from.

Our guy had all planned and made his way to freedom on his daily work routine, he was on the news that evening and his name was read out so everybody would know. We may not know the truth about his escape, if there was any inside help, but he is gone and gone for good.

Guess we won`t be punish as he didn`t escape from his cell, they opened the doors for him and helped him out, hope those in charged with dispensing of jobs for inmates should be reprimand as they do to us. This guy was not profiled before they gave him the job; he was barely 4 Months old in the system, first time arrest, used to luxurious lifestyle, and very subtle n nature as he munched his way through the system.

His talks ended our night, had our dinner and now I`m really bent on cutting down my portion, had a little and loads of drink: not moonshine, which the custodios been seizing from our brewers, bad business for them. Hope I get some proper red wine someday. Got loads stashed at home, Schat being sneaking and drinking once in a while, hope she doesn`t get Miss Rumbling pissed, that`s actually the first name our lil Angel will be getting courtesy of my son, had his ears to Schat big one pack and heard the baby`s movement and told her, Mummy your belly is Rumbling. So we`ve got one Miss Rumbling always rumbling. Maybe I will talk to my custodio buddy about getting me some red, there`s this Spaniard cell with our Italian god-father that never run dry of Ron Abuelo (Grand Father`s Rum). Their eyes are always shining from getting pissed every night, don`t want to know how they get there thing in. So long it keeps them happy.

So that was Friday, actually my English mate, did comment on the night, that it didn`t look like Friday, but like Sunday`s night, well, he is in Jail and I think no day here look like any day outside in the real world. They all look the way you want them to look.

Hit my Bed and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz into another realm or a matrix world, maybe into my own Avatar.

Saturday 20th

Up to wee and saw our old banker praying, never seen him in that state before, I guess this will be his last time in jail. Watched him as he was deep in prayers, I hope God answers his heart`s desires and his supplications.

Remained locked up as the Pabellon guys were out on visit, but our cells were open, so we could walk around and transact in whatever business one has for the day. Our Casino is now help up on the roof of the cells, guess they stay there as to also watch when custodios or the cops are coming, most especially the director, since he issued the no gambling memo. But the custodios, guess they don`t really matter much, if they have the money, I believe they will join on the table and try their lucks.

Did some light workout in the cell, gotta burn them calories, lately been having loads of pain on my right arm, I hope it`s my muscle and nothing to do with my dear heart.  Been taking me medication which is almost finish, thank God I can still get that from Schat as the Prison don`t issue medications to we foreigners. We have to buy our drugs, so not a place to fall sick, my Embassy made provision of multivitamins for us which is what we really need here. Remembered the day I got mine, I was asked by one of the dudes here if I like to sell mine, told him NO. I need it like the desert needs the rain.

Text Perla for his laptop, gotta do some work online didn`t hear from him that day, guess he doesn`t need the ten bucks for the laptop. Also thought of meeting Cara Pony (Pony`s Face), his real name is Adolfo, but according to everyone he`s got the face of Pony, so they nick-name Cara Pony, he runs a bit of internet cafe and loads of guys uses his laptop, don`t know if he will give me his.

Later that evening, no reply from Perla, hope the next day. When agent came back from work, told us of one his colleague who didn`t returned with them. The Director called them out for meeting and had even spoke with the guy on phone, guess he must have been begging the fugitive to get his ass back as his job will be on the line if the guy should truly abscond, hope he gets back. But that won`t affect the job of others as they will still be going out for the school and government offices renovating project in the city; what a way to get cheap labour, not even a dime, the contractor who came up with this plan or idea should be given an award for cutting the government expenses. But from what we know about the Panamanian Politicians, I guess he will draw huge amount from the state treasury for these jobs and the money will end up in his fat ass account and those of his peers.

Text Jesus to know if my Consul agrees to bring the Radio in, if his family will take it to the Consulate, he agreed and that was positive, just hope my consul approves. Will call first thing on Monday to confirm, the Night came up fast and we end it with our dinner, we are running out of groceries, no money to order things. Damn broke….. We will manage till pay day.

Sunday 21st

Visit day for us in the Galleria……  

Was up till the wee hours reading  and finally slept, had a call from a loved one about her marriage, well I will see what I can do, hope I can be of help as I`m here, can only make calls or mail.

Slept until Perla came calling, guess he really need the Ten Bucks, he dropped the laptop with me and went out for his work as he works outside by the visit area doing al type of woodwork. I had thought of going out for a jog before working with the laptop, but then I decided to set it up and get some music from online radio streams. But the signal in my cell was too poor, had to take it to my former cell where the signal was okay, ended up staying there and did all my work, couldn`t go out no more, despite the signal, it was bloody slow. I guess he had used up to his limits as it is capped here in Panama.

He came for it, paid him and asked for some change, he gave me a dollar, didn`t complain; hope I get mine someday and soon.

Sunday went pretty fast, and the evening was dull as Agent messed up with the phone, my heart was heavy, reasons unknown, but I was weighed down, felt so badly within, when others went off to sleep, Jer had some reggae music on and the lyrics were what I needed. I felt like crying my heart out and that was what I did in the succour of my bed. Don`t know why, but I think memories and flashbacks and fear of the unknown and how slow the process is and things not going right. Sometimes music does loads in relieving pains…

Heard that the guy who abscond from his work later came back on Sunday, guess the director will murder a bottle of bubbles for that, his pleading did work, heard the con said he had problem at home, or maybe his missus wanted some reload, but he goes out everyday and as I heard just with the driver and no warden or police, so they always have the time to get a quickie and get back to work. Now, I see all the guys that goes out, they all look happy and always smiling and very calm, I guess men needs that kind of thing to help them relax as Chris Rock said to the ladies at one of his stand up comedy show, give him his dosage whenever he wants it and you can always have him on the tow. Guess the won`t be going out again. Manni always asked agent if he get his knob polished each time he goes out, the guy is the only I guess that doesn`t indulge in it, he is always back knackered from the day`s job. While others come back refreshed and renewed.

The phone would work, finally got the phone working after I almost pull it apart around 3ish, I guess the old machine is ready to pack up; it has done its service. We still need its service until my phone gets in.

Slept after some text to schat and hope she is fine. Please Lord some help will do me loads. Assurance that all is well…. groaned in prayers as I lay waiting to drift into sleep and sleep as long as I can…….. Till Monday morning.

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TAKE ME BACK DEAR LORD TO THE PLACE WHERE I FIRST BELIEVE!!!

Posted in 1 on March 21, 2010 by doingtimeabroad

WEEK 10.

Monday 8th through Sunday 14th of March…

Monday 8th

Woken by the noise of those going to work and our BF, our agent was called to work, but there was no key to open up the lock. We were left locked up till almost 1.00pm along with other cells that had new locks replaced the old ones that were spoilt or broken. But this morning, they couldn‘t find the right keys to open up, I mean we are behind bars and being locked up and deprived of our few hours outside is damned mind breaking. But what can we do???

Finally out, rushed to the library, where one of the lads left the pc for me, able to do some writing and update. Was so happy to be in the library, the youths were back to the Pabellon as they were in the morning shift, stayed in the library till it was closed.

Back to the cell, decided to listen to some gospel, it was nice as it calms my nerves and give me some reasons for my hope, believe and being positive about the future. It was nice to hear music and songs that I really grew up with, songs that I sang, teach and lead others. I think I have to retrace my paths and find where I erred and went astray. Maybe it will help me on my path and stride for my redemption and rebirth.

Sometimes, how I wish the authorities that named this Centre Renacer (Rebirth) will work to get the inmate to truly experience a true rebirth.

Did some work out in the cell with the bar, clean the cell; gotta be the only one that sweeps the cell now and then. Made our juice for the evening and finally had my shower.

No cooked food for that evening, but Manni saved the night with another egg sauce and rice, one good thing with the Panam guys in the Galeria, most will give you things if they have while others will never give but will always expect from you, we were given rice and oil to cook with. It was a nice meal and that was it for the night.

Watch Dan Brown‘s Angels and Demon, was a nice piece and a good watch anytime again. Spent the rest of the night reading, chat with my schat and wished her a nice night rest.

What a life, in the jungle and the jungle of life….

Tuesday 9th March….

Woken by a call from a friend, don‘t know why he called that early, guess he doesn‘t have idea of the time difference. Back to sleep, not for long as BF came calling (had pink custard, wonder why they kept colouring their custard, one day we will get blue or green one too) and used the loo, couldn‘t get back to sleep as we were out early today, dressed up for training, but headed to the library first, was surprised not seeing my country bloke who is always on the pc every morning playing zuma, thought he was probably sick or something. But learnt that he was on comissione; gone to give his statement, that is almost six months after his arrest, what if he has forgotten what to say, what will they do? What a system, people wait for years without trails and at the end even when they are found innocent of the crime they were accused of, there is no compensation for the years wasted in jail.

In the library until one of the guys studying law with one the universities in the city brought me his English test for me to help him with. Promised to do it at my free time, hope I make out the time for it.

When I went out to my cell to pick things up, was surprised to see that most guys were probably still sleeping, I think the lockdown is really working on them as most people are used to being indoors now, it was almost 10.30am and the patio was virtually empty.

Since I was dressed for my exercise, went out for walking and jogging, was nice as I‘m enjoying doing this, later to the gym for some weights with our ancient weights. Had a nice time working out, back in for a proper cold shower, hope nobody will try this cold shower thing in Europe even in the summer we still bath with warm water. There are times I need a warm shower, but then what can you do, heard that one of my country blokes who has an electric boiler, does boil his water sometimes and bath with it, if he was paying for electricity he won‘t dare do that, as he will be paying through his nose.

After my shower, had a nice meal of fried egg, plantain and wheat bread and made myself my herbal tea with mint; what a good life!!!

Evening came, we were sure what will be on the table, luckily the rice that came with the prison food was Rice cooked with Beans, had it the other day and like it, so I took loads of it and my mate took some chicken  as we don‘t know what will happened. Luckily we got part of what we ordered and were able to make a nice chicken sauce later that evening and had proper meal.

Our agent, who had the phone most part of the evening, actually gotten a girlfriend, he was on phone all evening talking with her and even sang for her. Was nice to see and hear him giggling, hope she helps him put him together, Manni couldn‘t help drilling him with questions upon questions told him to leave the agent and think about his thing with the centre‘s dentist; the last time he went there, he made a pass at the dentist daughter, not knowing that he was stepping into a dangerous water filled with sharks, once told him that his English will put him into problem. Early that day when he went up for his appointment to see the dentist, the old guy asked him if he knew  who he was chatting up the last time, my mate was dumbfounded, when the man told him that she is his daughter and married, my mate couldn‘t utter a word. He was sent away that he should get another x-ray done on his teeth. Told him to stay off the dude‘s office as his next visit, he may come back without any tooth in his mouth.

We laughed ourselves into the night with jokes of Pepe becoming Popeye the sailor with his bulge muscled bicep. When I finally got the phone from agent after he used up the battery, found that I had eight missed calls and couple of texts from Schat. She was in bed sleeping I guess, sent her couple of text and went to bed early as I was worn out from the workout.

Thank God for a day that ends well and we had something to eat….

Wednesday 10th March….

Up to pick up our BF, can be annoying when I‘m woken in the middle of some nice dream, the most time they come, I‘m always in some dream or sort. Anyway, will always wake up to reality of where I am no matter where the dream had taken me to.

Back to bed until was woken up by the warden who will be bringing in the phones, he‘s been taking so much money that none will be left to pay him when he finally bring the phone in. I hope he keeps record of what I have paid so far, one good thing  about here, they don`t mess with inmates, but don`t know of foreigners like me. With their fellow Panamanians, when they have deals with them, I know they work hard that the deals came up successfully as these guys will do anything to them without any second thought.

When I came out, it was  pass nine in the morning and the hall way was empty, asked Mike the Gringo where everyone is, said they are bloody sleeping, now I know why many pays money to come here. Nobody give a damned if you ever wake up. Guess I have to make a routine or wake up as early as possible or I will become like one of them, except the nights I stayed up reading, then I can sleep out the next day. But living like this is very bad, but Mike said, it`s good for them `cos if they were in the City, they will be robbing or shooting.

Had my cereal while listening to some nice gospels I downloaded the last time I had the laptop. Used fast software I secretly installed and ripped online radio stations. Good and faster than most p2p software. Then to the Library to help Blanco with his English test, don`t know if know one has told him that he is sick, don`t know if he bath every morning as hot as this place is, one gotta to stay clean and with free water all around us. Told him to drop his materials with me, help him, but gotta also work on my writings.

Called my Consulate about my package from Schat and she confirmed that she has received it but won`t be coming soon, hope she come before her next visit will be in April. Spoke with my lawyer on picking up my radio from Jesus mum and try to get in as he has spoken with the Director about the refusal by the police letting the radio in.

After Manni`s dinner of Pasta with Egg sauce, we had my Prison brewed drink…. Healthy stuffs.

The evening was about agent, we found out that he has gotten a new girlfriend, Manni won`t let him rest as he grilled him with questions upon questions, then when he heard him sang for his girl, he asked him to learn an English song for his girl, we all took it as a joke, but Manni took it too serious, made some statement which if he had made it to a Panamanian, he would have seen knives drawn at him, but I have lived with him for a while to know him and understand him. Called it a night as the agent retired as he will be waking very early for work.

Got two new films from our blockbuster; Avatar and Hurt Locker, we watch both that night, but just me and Jer stayed through both films. They were brilliantly made and both got Oscars.

Back to my bed around 5am after Avatar…..….

Thursday 11th

Since I got to bed early around 5ish after watching Avatar was a hi8t movie which I will always love to see again, when BF came, couldn`t get up for it. Pepe picked it up, finally got up around 9am from the noise around the Passage. Had little BF and then went out for exercise, did some walking and running, then weights till late in the afternoon. It was a very hot day, did more Abs at the gym, when the youths came up to join me it was question upon question about my country and Europe. Had to leave them as I know one thing can lead to another and it could turn dirty.

Picked some mint leaves as I planned making ice tea later that day. Was called for my finger print, used the opportunity to submit my application for a job at the library, which the director signed, but don`t know when I will get to start.

When I got back, made some ice tea with my mint leaves and showered, then spent the rest of the day on my bed trying to sleep which I can`t because of the noise around me.

Schat called and we had a long conversation about loads, spoke with Karl who promised to be of help as I`m here.

Evening came, agent is back, Manni made him sing a song to his girlfriend whom I didn`t care to ask or know how she felt about the song. Didn`t want to get involved as I wouldn`t want what happened the previous night to repeat itself.

We had our dinner and called it night, every man to his bed and drifted into another world of unknown………………

Friday 12th

Up very early with the workers, very hot, had an early morning shower and stayed up till all the doors were opened. Then back to bed, exchanged text with schats, how we missed each other and loads we shared together. Hope I don`t get to stay here that long, but anyway, I will make it through as I`m strong and getting stronger with each new day.

Slept till noon when we were finally let out and the youth hauled back to their dens. Did some jogging and no weights today, very hot, heard it is always like this during the last days of the summer, just hope it will rain to cool tempers here. Got some peas from Bin Laden, well he is called Bin Laden (Real name Gregory) because he wears white beard. He lives in the green area and grows his own vegetable, but I have gotten Garlic and other things which I believe those are from what his family brings him, I guess he gives me a good bargain. Or maybe I don`t really care much as I do need the vegetable badly since the prison food is very fattening, apart from rice which comes in abudance, we sometimes get black Beans and other legumes. So i won`t complain as he continues with his deals.

Schat called, she had a call from the social service, hope nothing is wrong, Jessie picked up Chicken pox from school, she will be home for some days until she is better, I`m afraid if my boy picks it, Schat won`t find it easy as he will be all over her. She confirmed that she will be fine and not in danger if she got it.

Spoke with Jessie, she misses me loads and also Ekan really want me home, as he asked me when I will be coming home, hope soon. Miss them loads, can`t wait to hold them in my hands, they`re both grown up now.

Hope days will be going pretty fast as it does now, glad as evening came and dinner. Spoke with Schat once more, talked loads about so much happening back home and here.

Watched Avatar again and hit my bed…………

Saturday 13th

Another day in Paradise, up early as usually very hot day, the cell was washed by Ernesto; our skinny Panamanian inmate, when he came here, he barely walked, but I believe we nursed him to health and now he is very healthy, plays basketball and workouts with me sometimes. He seems to be a nice guy, but in for Homicide, always telling me how he wants to leave this country when he is done. We had all day lockdown as the pabellon were out on Saturday, but my warden friend was on duty, so I was out and walk around.

Very hot day, drank loads of water, waited for Luis for our Big Ass groceries (That`s how Mike my American friend called his shopping. he said I made him lost out from winning the lottery which is played here in the centre by inmates alongside as it is played outside. He was sure he will win and use the money to get a BIG ASS GROCERY!!!, He is the dude who sailed through the Canal on several occasions and had seen this centre as a holiday resort hidden in the jungle, but now he is here, always asked him how he is doing and enjoying his long holiday. His dad was one of the Godfathers in the Colombian`s Meddlin Cartel; he actually gave me a book with his dad`s picture in it. Told him once that he decided to take over from his dad, won`t want my son to follow me in this steps.

Luis never turned up with the grocery, heard he had permission to go out till Sunday, well whenever he comes as I have not paid him yet, no worries.

Our Casino has been moved from the galleria passage to the top of the cells, as the Director has issued a new memo that there should be no more gambling; Cock fight, you see all the guys up on the roof top with cards in hands and money on the table playing poker…

Got some KFC from a friend, made dinner that night it was fiery and tasty, loads of rice for everybody, they all enjoyed it with the KFC chicken.

Spoke with Schat and the kids again, they loved it and told me loads happening, Jessie is tired of asking me when I will come home, always try to talk her out of it. She is very strong despite the pox all over her now, sometimes she really cries most when Schat comes back from work.

But all is well…..

Sunday 13th

We were out today, so were let out and the pabellon was lock up, the whole day was dull, so had to work out the whole day, really enjoyed my workout. Shower and made myself something to eat.

Agent had his visit, taking his dirty laundry to be done by his family, while he brought the washed and cleaned ones in. what a life, even in prison, he`s got someone to do his laundry for him. How I wish I have that, which will be wicked…. Resolved that he will be doing my shopping for me now, at least we are in the same cell, can trust him a bit more than the others outside. As they say, the devil you know is better than the angel you don`t know.

Schat called but couldn`t get me as the phone was not with me, got her text that Jessie came up crying that she wants to talk to me and that she missed me. Guess since she is being sick with the pox, she really wants me as I have always taken care of them when they are sick or she could be tired of seeing and talking to mummy, she just needed me for a change.

The whole night was spent thinking about life here and there and how it will be like when I finally get back home. I hope it won`t be too long.

THE OLD BANKER BEHIND BARS!!!!

Posted in 1 on March 15, 2010 by doingtimeabroad

WEEK 9

Monday 1st of March through Sunday 7th

Monday 1st of March 2010.

Up as usual, a word of prayers to my God whom I believe is watching over me even in my low state.  And things are still same, nothing special as we remain lockdown and we happened to be on the morning shift, the doors were open up and out to the library to do some little writing. Being there for a while when we were called out that the captain of the Police wants to see the workers; these are mostly Panamanians who are working to keep the prison system running, there`s this guy who does the admin work, others do the weed and tend to other jobs around the centre. since the infamous escape, there as been lot of trees chopping around the centre, leaving the land like wilderness, they sort of forget about Mudslide, that it does rain heavy here in the jungle and since all the trees on the hills around us has been chopped off, the soil is left barren, we are waiting for the raining season to see what will happen.

Every morning, those working on the school buildings renovation project in the city are hauled out and accompany by one warden, they are mostly those with permits to go out during holidays and those who had done most of their time and wouldn`t risk running as it will be useless.

They had their meeting while I remained in the Library, did some writing and later read some pages from the book I`m reading now. That morning a fight was avoided as one of the party was reasonable enough to know that despite being a Panamanian, it will be worthless fighting as it will bring more loyal allies to the other side; being a dealer and used to live up with the minors in The pabellon area, one can tell, he has much of the minors under his control and can easily call up a knife. You don`t need to own a knife to be armed, all you need are close buddies and loyal friends, when fight bust up, they will draw the knives and you will be handed one to use. Strange how they operate!!!

We were hauled in by noon, and the minors were out, many longed to come into our area as that`s where life is and fun also, so much business activities here, it`s like a market scene, with the Italians making pizza, the Panama guys dealing in dope, someone is always busy selling or buying and also the gamblers with their table and cards. Up in the Pabellon,  it is always a dead end, smelly and no live. Since Jesus was coming with the radio today, we were also ready, had Jer Controlled him, he later called him that he was on his way, talked to one of the warden who begged me for money once as he was bringing his wife from wherever she was to his home, gave him what I can afford then. Since that day, I can always get favour from him, can always go out even when the doors are close to have my late shower or out with the minors when they are out. So he let me out to meet up with Jesus, when we got up with him at the entrance, he came without the radio and said it was denied entry. Well this is it, don`t know what more to do, he went up to see the Director, but couldn`t meet up as the Director was in meeting with the head of Police and others security officials in the centre.

While waiting, Jesus later left and my lawyer turned up, was allowed upstairs to meet up with him, others client of his came up also. We talked about loads, from him knew loads more of what is happening in this small country but with loads of history, with some so bloody and shouldn`t be told.

He talked about the Head of the national police force who had to resign due to shady past; he was an ally of the then head of State Noriega and he was among police officers who kidnapped American civilians during the invasion. He made several propaganda speeches like ones we see from our Arabs guys against America. Guess the Americans pressed some hot buttons and had him chucked out of office. Heard several papers had made reprint of special reports from the time of invasion showing this guy then. Also the Nation`s Attorney was forced to resigned as she once fired a state prosecutor who was a specialist in being paid for freedom by inmates, how I wish he was still here. Maybe he would have been useful, now he was suing the state attorney for illegal taping of his phone as he was caught on tape and also marked money was used in payment. Since the state attorney was already in deep waters with several top politician, that was an opportunity to kick her out. She was fired and hopes they get someone that will make the judicial process in this country a bit fast compare to what it is now. From what my lawyer said, there are so much skeletons in the cupboard that are being let open, many people one thought of being genuine are actually doing some dodgy things. Guess that typical of most Latino countries, murders, and shady drug deals gone bad.

it`s crazy how a country places more prominence on drugs than on homicide which is the number one problem in the country, well, I guess the homicide hasn`t gone close to affect the rich and mighty, but the drug trade is suppose to be a thing for them and also wanting to please the Big Brother with numbers; for a possession of joints, one can get bang up for four bad years. Our Italian guy that was given the maximum time (15 Years) for drug isn`t taking it as serious thing, I`ve jokingly said that since he from The Napoli area of Italy, he will live to become the godfather of the centre, his only problem is he is too small for that role, he has to be a bit bigger for anyone to take him serious.

While upstairs at the admin, one of the guys from the church was rushed up with deep cut on his left brow, thought it was stab wound as that is the only way one can sustained such injury in a place like this, but he doesn`t look like the type that will pull a fight. Later learned that improper use of the gym`s dumbbell did that to him, one of the rings fell on his forehead while he was training. Hummmmmm must have been very painful, the Director was relieved as it wasn`t knife wound so also was I as it would have been another stint of punishment on us the inmates.

Learned that Day that the Santos the guy who brought us into this punishment shit had escaped, he and others were allowed to work on the school renovation project on the third day of his outing, he changed his mind and decided to walk off. I guess he is accustomed to life on the run. He is 44 years old and for how long will be on the run. One of the custodio always joke with me, if I won`t like to escape, told him once, if he can get me my passport and some money, then open the gates for me, I will gladly walk out of this place.

Back to my den, mates waiting to know what transpired between me and my lawyer… Nothing new that the normal waiting news.

The rest of the evening was spent talking and we had a diner which is always the best meal of the day as we make it ourselves.

Couple of texts and call from my Schat, she is fine and my lil Angels are doing well, though naughty sometimes. But they are strong and being good kids.

The night came fast, laid my head to rest with my books in hands and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Tuesday 2nd of March,

Up as soon as the custodio came waking the guys that will be going out to work, BF came not too long and picked up. The Pabellon were on the early shift, which means we can sleep over till whenever; one good thing with this and most prisons in Panama, no routine as normal prison, you can sleep and wake whenever you want and nobody wakes up when you are sleeping; that can be bad also as someone can sleep into eternity and his mate thinks he`s still sleeping,  one is only woken when the warden comes calling as it maybe the moment you become free or as the Panamanian will like to know if it is one`s Consulate so they can wait for whatever ones get.

Heard my nickname; Big Black from the gate as our door are closed, the youths can`t come in, well don`t know what I will do to keep them off me. Turned a deaf ear to them and stayed on my bed till I was also tired of the bed, can be very bad for my back. When we were let out, made it to the library and was able to get a pc as the chap using it couldn`t figure out what is was, guess he thought it was a mini television, he wanted to watch porn, but couldn`t even hold the mouse, frustrated and left. I jumped on and began work on my writing, got loads to do, one of the boys came back, he`s been saying loads of rubbish about foreigners, guess because of one old bloke from my country who comes every morning to play Zuma, wonder what it does to him.

He nagged about foreigners using the pc`s while they do nothing, guess they don`t want to do anything. Finally done with what I was doing and he came on and asked me if I know where the porn are, well showed him and that was all he wanted to use the pc for. Sometimes, the best response to these kids is silence and real silence.

Back to my cell; guess the only comfort in this place, like I said you are safe in your cell as long as there is no turn coat.

That evening was our old bloke`s night; Pepe the old bank robber. All the while we thought this is just his first time in jail, not knowing he is being doing time even before most of us in this cell were born. He was probably among the first cons to christened Renacer in the 70`s when the Americans occupied this part of Panama. According to him, he was here in 1972 and he told us how good it was then, but then, it was real prison, Renacer had a garden and all vegetables and other shrubs or edible plants were cultivated on site. Then it was just foreigners and few Panamanians, and then prisoners were known and called by their numbers. Not like now that the wardens has to learn all the names of prisoners, guess now wardens only know your name when they need things from you or when you are a paying client like me and the few others foreigners. I was surprise how all the wardens know my name, not just Big Black, but my full name.

Pepe continued with his tales of how the place was really nice, that the few Panamanians, who were fortunate to be brought here, will not want to leave or escape even when they had the chance to do so. But he escaped; a friend was unlucky as he was shot on the leg. But Pepe made it out, right on broad day light, just before an oncoming train on the tracks. He fled to Colombia where he spent five years on the run. Guess he was tired and came back, his freedom didn`t last long when he came back, he was re-arrested and sent back to same jail, he came back to his former cell, he remembered every nooks and crannies of the centre, when he was brought back, he was thrown into the hole which is small dark room close to our shower and had been sealed off. He was in the hole for ten days without food, but his mates sneak him some things.

He lived through the Americans, the country changed, but Pepe never changed, he`s fathered kids who are in the Police force and other branch of military in the country, but pepe still remained a Banker: A proper banker that comes in after the  bank is closed and on with his banking business!!! He will be sixty two this year, hope this will be his last time in jail and mine also. He likes me as I`m the only one that listen to him, one good thing about him is his memory, very good with his memory, knows loads of numbers by memory, he doesn`t take notes or write things down. He also spends his money on hair dye to look younger; we learned that he`s got crush on one the lady working up at the admin and he is always in the gym doing weights, since he came here he`s pumped up a bit and looking good and healthy. I`m more or less his call centre as he`s always on me to help dial all his numbers, don`t really worry me as he doesn`t stay long on phone, sometimes when he gets credit from his people, he sells them to me sometimes at reduced rate.  He once told me that I`m such a nice person and why should I be here, told him, did something I shouldn`t have done. Ce`st la vive!!!!

Well Pepe story ends the night and we had our diner, I`m perfecting on my juice making, with different sort available for order. But my secret remains here with me.

Talked to Schat how the day had been and how I`m still waiting, from my lawyer, my consulate has been busy following my case. Happy that they care and willing to help, that much they can do, hope the process get faster. Sleep time…..

Wednesday 3rd of March…

We had the morning shift, out to the library, the two computers were used by gamers and more were waiting, came back to the cell, decided to listen to Julio Iglesias, brings back good memories, it was his music that brought me to love Spanish and  Latino music, back home started taking salsa lessons and had loads of music. He was actually in Panama for a concert, should have talked the director into letting me off to watch the show and promised to be back, How I need my radio badly now. And had an early workout, walking and jogging and then some weights, Schat and I always joke about how lots of people and friends telling her they all expect me to come back with a six pack; guess they thought it`s that easy, that when I`m leaving, the Director will call me and give me my six pack, I guess the stress is even more in a place like this; as one can be so down and your head is choked up with thinking, you need some sort of kick and motivation to even wake up from your bed and do what you ought to do each and everyday. You may end up in the gym with one of these crazy boys who may not be in the right mood and happened to be using the weights. They make stupid jokes which I have experienced loads of times. And if you response, they take it on you. And once they start, it never end, sometimes it ends with the knives been drawn and the one with the bigger one gets the day. Was in the gym with some few lads who seems cool and Pepe, we worked out and talked, they asked about my country and what life is all about there. Tell them what I can and try to discourage more questions. The Equipments are crude and can be as dangerous as the knives in the centre when not used properly.

Enjoyed working out and back to my cell to cool down with more tummy workout, hope I get the six pack, if not when I have money, I may go to Colombia for the easy form of getting it as we have come to know that Colombia is the heaven for cosmetic surgery in this part of the world. They do everything, even the backside. Wonder how one will feel having a girl and learning that she has fake lips, fake boobs, fake bumps…. and girls always say guys are fake…. well wonder what else they will not do in Colombia; at least they would have stick to the white thing, even heard they now do heroin, taking the trade from the Afghans. Maybe the Afghans are too busy fighting war, so the Colombians are lending helping hands and making the route shorter in getting the stuffs to the States.

After my workout, had a cold shower which is what we have here, the shower heads are line up like a Firing squad range, once played a joke with some lads as they all lined up taking their shower, pretend shooting them as they lined, one said I have a bad mind to think of that. He`s one the few Panamanians studying and making good use of his time here.

Our Agent was called out by one of the Wardens, when he came back; he came in with a long letter from his lawyer. Read it and from what I understand, his lawyer was suing the American government for his arrest and detention in the States for four years, there were so many blunders by the Americans; he was arrested on international waters where the yanks had no jurisdiction over and the drugs they fed him while in detention in the States which has mashed up his mind.

He was actually suing them for $10M (Ten Million American Dollars), well I hope he wins and they pay him, told him I will get $1M, guess that will solve most if not all my problems.

Things are a bit relaxed in the centre, hope it goes on this way and we live in peace with each other….

Thursday 4th of March…

Manuelito, guess his name suits him right, a petite Colombian that look like Mini-me from Austin Power films, he is involve or was thrown into the Montaño case, was caught with a boat filled with drugs, done seven years without trial or seeing any court room till December last year when they were brought before a judge and the case adjourned till further notice.

Since my name was added for diet meal (suppose to be healthy meal, but I doubt that), he wouldn`t give me the normal breakfast, he expects me to wait for Billy the Kiwi or the Bulgarian guy that serves the Diet BF and pick mine up, the BF business is suppose not to take 2mins of my sleep time, but I have to stay longer just to get 3 pieces of bread and whatever will come with it. Sometimes I ignore it but then, when the Kiwi comes, he holer my name, gotta get up again. The most absurd thing about Manuelito and the BF, he stocks the bread and when he can`t finish them, and then throws them away as they staled. That is pure waste of food when many will want to eat. Guess no one really give a damn about what he does or what happens to the food, as  most people get fresh food every other day and weekends. From what I have seen about this place, one can easily placed an order with any of the fast-food joints and have them send something down, so long you buy enough to feed the cops and Custodios on duty, and able to pay the cost of delivery. Anything is possible in Panama, we once joked that we will placed orders with KFC as they do delivery. Wonder how people in Europe will look like if KFC and others were doing delivery as they do in Panama, Europe will become one big fat continent with loads of Big one packers, it will be fun watching footie and having your favourite fast food as take away delivered to your door, nobody will bother to cook anything anymore. Hungry? Order a triple Whopper or a Big Mac and attach those cut outs from newspapers giving you one free. I`m luvin it!!!

We were on the afternoon shift, out for some exercise, did some walking and jogging, then some weights, getting my body back and feel so good now. Paco, the lying Mexican whom I asked for his laptop joined me, we finished and shower together, reminded him of the laptop, this time he said, it’s got virus, but I see him use it most nights. Hope we get to get ours soon.

That evening we talked about the incident and one talk brought another, kept wondering why our embassies or consulates thought this place to be safe for us foreigners; the most foreigners are doing time for the white stuff or money laundering thing. But the Panamanians, just few are doing time for same thing as we. The most are in for homicide and not just shooting or stabbing, but some for such gruesome forms of murders that will make a very good horror movie. Carlito our one eyed friend who has gotten his Law degree while serving a long time for what I didn`t know till that evening. Killed his girlfriend, chopped her body like steak, and the head was never found. He was given twenty years; I guess the judge was mad just for not finding the head. He`s done quite some time now and he is regularly given permission to go out to the streets.

One other Guy, I always call him with the name tattooed on his chest which happened to be his son`s name, killed his wife and mother-in law (I can understand killing of mother in-law as most men don`t really fancy them around) and set fire on their butterflies…. wondered why setting fire on their things, what must have happened, killing would have been enough but setting fire on their butterflies, I guess I won`t know or find out what they did to deserved such horrid and despicable ending to their precious lives on earth and torching their butterflies which most men will do anything to get it. Guess he will do his time here and out without me knowing the reasons behind his motives. Though he seems to be a cool guy and he is just new on his sentence, he`s got a long way to go. It will take a looooooooooong timeeeeeeeeeeee.

Another young guy, from a very rich and influential family, together with his girlfriend murdered another girlfriend who was still in the picture, well, I guess his girl must have done it so she will remain the only love in the picture and in his life, that she wouldn`t have needed his help, she could have done that alone and get back home to make him a nice meal and give him proper after meal thing on the bed. But I guess she wooed him into taking the other girl out and he fell for it, women they`ve got that persuasive powers that we all fall for.

Well, these guys and others shouldn`t be sent to a rehabilitation centre, but since they all pay their ways to get here, nothing could be done and still they are all armed with knives and whatever weapons anybody will think of. Happy that I`m sort of cool with most of them, hope no falling out as their fight never ends until they have drawn blood.

The place is like a setting for the next horror movie to take place, nobody knows when, thank God for those among them who believed they have found redemption through the word, and in God. Whenever voices are raised and the body language tells something will happen, they rush in and calm the situation. But still, all it takes could be a second for what to happen to happen.

What more to say, stay calm and leave here in one piece and in peace. In God wee trust, can`t tell my Schat this as she won`t sleep. But so long the door remained lock at night. I can sleep and be rest assured that I`m safe for the moment. In God I trust…..

Friday 5th of March….

Woke up in the middle of the night and read till BF came, up and out for exercise and workout, as I ain`t got much to do. I can use my time working out, worked out till almost noon and back in the cell for some abs training with the bar in the cell, while I wait for my hair cut; how cheap it is to get an hair cut, everything here is between a dollar or two. Hope to get my own hair clipper as that is healthy, don`t know how this guy sterilize his.

While I was out joking, one the Native Indian guy got some fishes, guess don`t know how he will prepare them, gave them to me and I bought some green Mangoes from his buddy that works outside the centre; think I`m the only one in my cell that really worry about fruits as the others don`t really worry much.

While having my hair cut, saw one the guys who trained with me earlier, put on his training glove on his right hand, my mind told me something is coming as I heard him exchanged words with one new guy who was brought from the Colon prison (Told us how dangerous that place is, chance if being shot for nothing is very high there, during one of the searches the police found 28 Guns). Next thing I saw was the guy came up with a massive Knife even if Rambo saw that will stand frozen on his feet. He threaten the Colon guy with it, but one the church guy came in before blood was drawn and talked him into putting his sword away. I have seen knives here, but this was mightier than others and brand new stainless steel, they say the pen is mightier than the sword; bloody lie, that doesn`t count in prison setting as there`s no rules of fighting. Here the Knife or Sword as I will say of this is damn mightier than any pen!!! Take it or leave it…….

After all searches, you see them displayed their treasures and they chat as if they have accomplished a great task, no knowing that what these guys got in here are more powerful than what they had found. One will wonder how these things kept coming in, guess corrupt officials running the damn centre. Some have alliances to one gang or the other, others for money.

That was the talked throughout the night, the young lad from Colon ended up in our cell that night, he seems to be a nice guy, who only smoke his joint and watch our Passa passa videos in our cell, now he is in our cell, came in with his polyfoam and got a place on the floor. We found out that something was missing in his former cell and his former mate accused him of stealing; that was just why the knife was drawn, anything can caused knives to come out from their resting and hiding place whenever they are needed. Any small thing, even words you think should have passed through someone`s ears. So one gotta be careful anytime and every goddamned time!!!!!

He ate with us and kinda felt at home in our cell, but we are just too many in that cell, sometimes having an enemy in your territory makes you an enemy also. Hope the authorities find a better place and neutral place for him soon.

Saturday 6th of March….

Up by 2.00am and read till 5.00am, our new inmate was sleeping, at a time he opened his eyes and watched me, don`t know if he wanted to ask me something. But kept his peace, later on that day, he asked me if I like reading, answered him, since there`s nothing worth doing, reading is the only thing that will take my mind off this place.

Went back to sleep till almost 7.00am when BF came, picked it up and back to bed, slept a while until was tired of sleeping. I never know one can get weary of sleeping, but now I found out you can dread your own bed and long for something else but nothing there to be done, maybe finger biting as my mate and I sometimes does out of boredom.

Had fried eggs from my mate, and Pepe came with warning of police search, not long we saw the police came in, I never believe these  people can be so brainless, how can someone organised a search party for a knife that was seen the previous day. They search the former cell and my former cell as that was the next one to the cell where the knife was drawn. They didn`t find no knife, all they found was a tank full of Moonshine which was due to be drunk that weekend, what a bad day for the guys as they were waiting to get pissed but it never happened.

Went to the library but couldn`t work as too many gamers were waiting to take turns on the computers. Stayed and read until noon when it was closed. Back in my cell away from the youths as they will be up on my ass for money or to use my phone, nothing much happened. We didn`t cook as there was no meat, so we all made something individually to eat. Made for Ernesto the Panamanian lad and made some juice for others.  The Lad from Colon was gone, the Custodio found a new cell for him. Good luck in his new cell.

Sunday 7th of March….

Was woken up by catcalls from one of the dope head in the Galeria, didn`t have an idea of time, it was frightening as I thought something was wrong. The noise was so loud and it was becoming contagious as more people joined in the banging and screaming, many thoughts ran through my mind, if someone has taken ill or something has happen; there could be fight between cellmates and it could be deadly. No idea of time, but soon gotta know that it was people who had an early morning visit and want to get ready for their visits.

The doors were finally opened and they all went out, also went out for exercise and little workout. Got the laptop, but decided to finish my workout before I will use it. Done and got online, it`s always the best moment as I find myself back in the real world out from the belly of the beast. Fresh news of what is happening, didn`t stay long as he came for it, was able to get some mp3 files and did some work online. My Schat knew I was online as I sent her a mail.

The prison rice today that came during lunch was actually the best we ever had, ate quite loads and the chicken was dried fried.

No food tonight, Manni had to make something; he did Pasta as that is his favorito. I made my juice and we all drank and ate and drifted off as sleep came….

The Night was horrible, as our two mates; Agent and the skinny panam lad bombarded us with gases that if bottles or canned be used as biological weapons. The three of us that were up watching film had to endure the stink of their farts the whole night. Many of these guys believe drinking sodas and eating loads of meaty things is the good life, our meals are always less vegetables, no fruits and I guess most drink less water, but I tried to always get vegetable and drink more than the 2litres recommended. That night was the worst night in this place, we were lucky that our cell is a bit ventilated since it`s the first cell in the row. Imagine it was one the small and tight ones, guess someone would have been suffocated.

We endured and survived the night and I hope they sort out their systems and start eating properly.

THE VISIT THAT BROUGHT HOPE!!!

Posted in 1 on March 7, 2010 by doingtimeabroad

 

WEEK 8 

Monday 22nd February 2010 through Sunday 28th February 2010. 

Monday 22nd,  Up by 2am, wondered why I kept waking up around that same time most nights, well since I can’t sleep for the moment, did some reading from the Holy book, it always has answer to life’s most astounding questions, just open to any page and what I read  was what I really needed then; Strange Though!!! Back to sleep till the guards came opening, the day was free and a new day full of life and loads to be done, should be expecting someone today from my country coming with my contact person to see me and other inmates in the centre. 

I hope he bring good tidings, as I’m tired of all the not so good news surrounding me here in the centre. 

Picked up our BF and up for the day, lately can’t sleep much after I picked up our BF, not long I was called out that I have a visit, kinda knew who was coming, as the other guys talked about over the weekend. 

Went out and through the searching and up to meet them, others were attended to individually; which is one thing I like about how they run things, just like back home, despite the fact that we have sold our freedom and liberty, striped off ever dignity once you have the cuffs on your hand and led into the walls of the place. You are theirs and at their mercy. 

While I wait for my turn, used the opportunity to see the doctor whom I showed my knee, though it was much better now as I can get back to my normal activities, he gave me the usual ointment to rub and massage it. 

Took my turn and we talked about everything, how life is treating me, well words can’t express how I feel, but what can one do, neither them can do nothing, all they can and have to do is wait till when the Panamanian authorities have finished with you. Then they can take over with the repatriation process, I guess on their side back home, they will do all they can to get the process fast and done with. But over here as we have known them to be very slow with things, even with implementing certain bills that has been signed by the ruling body takes ages. Heard sometimes files just lay quiescent in offices while the person in charge is somewhere on holiday sunbathing or with mistresses. 

Questions were asked and answered to the best of my knowledge, they sort of sympathized with you, but that’s all they can offer. The meeting was done and off they left, we were hauled back into the population, where our life is as miserable as it could be at its worst. 

Most of the Panamanian, who always hang about and know who is going out and for what reason, believed that I went to my Consulate and that there will be money, some came to me for a dollar, bluntly told them I ain’t got a dime. Back to my cell and got myself busy with something worth doing. 

The day went as fast as evening came and we had our diner and the usual prison confession which goes about a little bit of everything, from what we see on television and what we hear around us and happening within the walls of the centre. 

Round up for the night, did little bit of reading and call from my Schat, we talk about bit of everything and called it a night… And went online as that is the only way to the outside world now, guess the lad needed some money badly, so he brought the laptop to me earlier that evening. Nice he came as I could do bit of writing and browsing, the network was strong, but couldn`t download software that I needed: Well, it was ok to be online…. 

Tuesday 23rd, Online all night, my English Mate used the laptop with me, but after midnight he went to bed, met loads of friends online, guess they all know where I am by now as they all felt my absence. One of my friends’ wife did something I never thought of anyone doing, she top up my phone online. That was something I will ever live to be grateful of. And with the system the networks operate here, you get quadruple of what ever you buy. I guess in the West they won’t try that as nobody will like to take up contract with any mobile phone providers as you get loads of call minutes on your PAYG line. 

Worked all night till my body said stop, went to bed, when he came that morning was so tired as I haven’t had enough sleep, got up and he had it, call from my Schat and we talked about this and that, still got some tensions up within us. Hope things get better and we live at peace. She kept reminiscing of my past, made her understand being in a place like this for me to learn my lessons is the hardest way for anyone to learn anything. But I’m in the process of Rebirth and I hope I’m fully Reborn before leaving here. That I’m sure is very positive!!! 

Didn’t get back to sleep, went to the library and did some reading as reading in the cell when it’s day break can be a bit hard. One has to turn a deaf ear to all that is happening. After some hours in the library, I went back to my cell to have a nap, but it became a bit congested as the lads were pouring in to watch musical videos. I managed to sleep until I was awoken by someone calling my name. Had my evening shower as it was almost lockdown and spent the rest of the evening reading some magazines from back home. Nice to know what is happening over there, loads had changed in the past months. What a life, we had our only normal meal; the evening meal is when we really eat something proper, for the rest of the day, everyman for himself. 

Text between Schat and I are getting better and less blaming and anger. I hope it stays this way for a very long time. Nite Nite !!!

Wednesday 24th, The D day, up, pick up our BF and we were on the afternoon shift, had to shower as we will be getting loads of people coming to see us. Lately the Government has started a project to help most of the inmates with their rehabilitation process, the first batch that left on the first day were shown on television and many people were asked about the project, which they all consented on that it is a good thing as they will be preparing and helping the inmates to get back into the normal society if the Panamanian society is at all normal. 

The first day that my buddy Carlos left, he came back drunk, asked him what he did, told me he painted numbers on a school doors, other did one thing or the other, guess the government official or the contractor given the job to renovate the school has came up with an igneous plan of using the best and free labour available and dispensable; Prisoners. Asked Carlos how it was, his response was; poco trabajo, poco fiesta (Little work and little fun)!!! That explains why he got pissed. Such opportunities are not available for foreigners as the least chance they are let loose, that will be it. Gone for good, but then where will one run to without money or any contact here, once heard of a German who had few months left before his repatriation back to his homeland, but the crack head escaped and turned up at the Germany Embassy in Colombia, nice how the Embassy turned him in to the Colombian police who later sent him back to Panama, back in Panama, he was seen as a dangerous criminal, was not brought back to our low security prison but was taken to one of the maximum prison!!! 

Well, back to Wednesday, my country guys all came in with the director, was surprised to see them all in the Galeria, which is very unusual, nobody has ever pass the church or patio into the living areas of the inmates, from what I can see the Director really want to impress them as he knew our Consulate rep from the Feminino where he was before transferred to our centre. He was like a little kid being reprimanded; he stood still while our guys took charge and were even allowed into our cells, took pictures, I guess the living condition will be shocking as I heard from him that back home, just two people are in one cell and if one is doing a long term sentence, then he even get a cell to himself. What a life of luxury and we are six men struggling around in one cell.

Used the opportunity to approached the Director with the permit he signed for my radio and guitar which has been denied entry several times, hope Jesus hasn`t been lying that all the time he brought it in, it has been denied entry. Quickly dashed in and got my file from under the bed (the bed in prison can served so many purposes apart from just sleeping; one can stashed book, and anything under the matters also hard cover books help your back as the matters is terrible). I told him, he had signed my permit and I need the radio for my Spanish lessons, he took the copy of the permit and promised doing it later. Guess he must have done it because of my country officials as he may be thinking of me telling them.  Glad that they came.

Though I have started other plans to get it in through the back door and had even made some advanced payment. Well, will be hard to get the money, maybe we will discuss what else can come in for what I paid as even them won`t want upset any inmates since they know their jobs is on the line once they are found to be bringing in for inmates.

We chatted and talked about life here and we were allowed outside with them, where the director took them to the green area, they were opportune to have a glimpse of our canal and luckily a cruise ship came sailing through, I hope the gentleman from home took some picx. When they were done at the green area, we all sat outside at the visit area, talking about things we will all like to do to keep us busy. We also give list of what we will like to have as we can place extra orders apart from our normal monthly toiletries.

They finally left and we were herded back in, while others went in, I climbed up to the admin block and met the director who was attending to a guy from Anexo that complaining about the food given to them, well looking at the sauce, it won`t even be enough for ten people, but it was actually meant to feed more than eighty inmates in Anexo, the Bulgarian guy who works in the kitchen also voice his mind about the quantity of Diet food sent in, which I happen to be on because of my high blood pressure. From all I have come to know, there`s no difference between the diet and normal food. They all taste same and sometimes it just variation of the other, just add more water and bit of vegetable to the normal food, it becomes Diet food. The diet breakfast is awful, what comes today on the normal BF is what we will get the next day for the diet BF, so I don`t really bother about the diet BF. Like I said, the only good thing is the dried fry chicken, which if you ain`t fast enough, you won`t get nada as the Panamanian stashed them for themselves and their buddies.

Well, I met up with the director and he took me in to his office and asked me to get my permit out from loads pilled up on his desk, which I did, I believe if I didn`t act up this way, it would have become another history, he signed it and stamped it twice, I took it out and had the police signed and made copies and gave it to all parties needed and two copies for myself. Now I`m ready for my radio and Guitar to come in. Will wait for what reasons they will give why it shouldn`t come in.

Satisfied and went in, to the library and it wasn`t open, made up my mind to write and ask for chance to work in the library for free as it will give me the opportunity to study and make use of the materials available there.

Round up for the day and had my second cold shower as it`s now our tradition to have two showers a day; once heard of a guy while in the Transitory jail had to use the shower when he turned on the water, he set his hands to feel the water while others were waiting to take their turns in the shower, he was asked to hurry up, but replied that he was waiting for the water to get warm, welcome to Panama. Not everyone get to shower twice, had seen some guys who just won`t shower and one in Anexo with my Swiss friend rarely shower, guess he should be named Dirty Dee like the Character in one of Chris Rock Comedy.

We dine like we used to, soldiers of fortune…. guess my mate that will be leaving soon will be counting his days. The day he went to sign his papers, he was all alone in his bed and thinking, guess about life on the outside how he will fit in after four years behind bar and being used to life here. Remember when I first came in, each time I said anything about new innovations and  what`s out there, all he always tell me, is “Remember I have been here for four years” I have no clue of what is happening out there. I guess he chose not to know, I have resolved to keep myself informed even reading Panamanian papers which are written in Spanish, sometimes the Spanish Consulate send in some copies of news in English from different papers out there, and some times we get weeks or month old newsweek, Times or the Economist which can be a nice read and finally the gateway to the world; Internet is here, an hour for three bucks and you get all your news. I tried to do that once a week. Guess it will keep me inform and up to date with the outside world, taking my mind from this place.

The day was done and satisfied that I made good use of it. Few text with Schat and told her about the visit, she prays that things work out in my favour.

Thursday, 25th. Getting tired of the BF guys, especially when I go to bed very late, they came today called out but was late and he pushed the black T shirt that we used as curtain to cover the hole and that entangled with my fan, quickly switch it off as it may blow up on head.

Picked it up and we were out early, went to the gym and did some weights, one thing that has been very good here is the gym, though it is really old and rust has eaten up the metals, once you get in and when done, you come out a brown man with brown hands and all clothing turned brown. The guys here had really done great job by improvising on most of the equipment we use, most are fashioned from pieces of metals found here in the centre by the good welder who is now gone and free. Nice how men can think when it comes to things like that, did some work out and back for my shower.

Lunch came; the Diet meal was horrible, picked up some beans from the normal food and some chicken, boiled plantain and ate with the beans, guess that is better than the white rice that came with some pieces of meat for the diet meal.

Back in and the minors out, spent the rest of the day reading and getting ready for evening….

The old guy and our agent forgot to pick up their diner, luckily agent didn`t eat his lunch, so they had to share it. Made my juice which I can`t give out my recipe, since I moved into that cell I have been making juice every evening to go with our diner, from natural ingredients and healthy stuffs. We dine and all went well, spent the rest of the evening talking with my mates and usual prison jokes…..

Friday 26th, Woken to wee and then call from Schat about the accident…. what more can I take, but decided to hit my pillow hoping another call will come telling me, pack your things and leave…. go home, but that didn´t come. Sometimes how I wished that I will wake up and so many things will be a dream, but no way, it´s so real as it is according to my mate in 3D and full HD; that´s what life here is. Nothing is fake here, the stabbing, the fight is not staged even the food is real rubbish. Will never wish these on my worst enemies, maybe a time in my home´s prison as I heard you can live without fear of being the next one to bite the dust.

Well, Friday is here thank God it´s not the 13th, the place is busy just like every other market, people trading whatever they got to trade on. Prices of cigarette is rising and my lil friend is on my neck to buy him one stick, damn prefer giving him the cash than buying him cigarette, but gotta save to get me a phone as I´m getting tired of the sharing. Made him understand that I don´t have, just learn that once you start giving you won´t stop. But happy that he understands when I told him I don´t have, but he still brings in Cookies and sometimes chicken and always selling me his ration of beef from his mum which he ends up eating with me. What a good business man.

Tension is still high, so one has to keep to himself and less contact as that will keep you off their mind.

The weather is changing, rain will be coming soon, gotta prepare for the mosquitoes and cold nights. Hope one don´t catch the dengue fever as the clinic is partially out of bond.

Jesus went to school and we happened to be out in the afternoon, since the water wasn´t running since morning, gotta be careful not to sweat, my Gringo friend sat all day in the Library which I rarely see him, when I asked while he was there, he said he wants to stay cooled as there was no water, didn´t want to do anything that will caused him to sweat. What an idea, well was suppose to work out but since he said that, decided to put it off, but the office had water, so most inmates went to get it from there. Got some to shower when Jesus came back, just holer at him not to forget bringing the radio in on Saturday and he scream back in bloody Spanish, guess everyone to hear him that he brought it but wasn´t allowed in with it, was mad. Called up the warden and made him understand what is going on with the Radio thing, the problem now, the police are taking matters into their hands. They won´t even allowed electric bulbs into the centre, not even extension cables. The problem lies on the Memorandum that the Director issued out some weeks ago that no electrical should be allowed in and he has not issue a new one to change the previous, so the police has be acting on the old one. But we settled the issue that day. Jesus was asked if he can get his family that dropped him to come back, but he said no, I´m beginning to doubt him now and what the state of the radio is now, it was bought on the first week of December last year and this is the third Month, hope it´s still intact. A radio with everything; television, DVD Player, USB Port, Plays all file´s format and it´s made in China. Those guys they chunk out anything they think of and send them to places like Panama. We have seen so many types of MP3 players that look like ipod but ain´t ipod, even brand names that sound like the original; like GSL which is like Diesel and loads more, but this is Panama where anything goes and money talks.

We finally agreed for the Radio to come in on Monday, Hope Jesus will do that when he´s coming back from school, I will do my part in talking to the custodio that he is coming in then.

All came to end as we were hauled in back to our cell, our dungeon and our only safety if there´s no turn coat in the cell, as it happened before cellmate being paid to kill their mate. Hope mine will remain the way they are.

The day ended like other days, diner talk and loads of text and talking with my Schat and more reading. What a life….

Saturday 27th, Good thing with February if you are working and expecting to be paid, the month end very fast, Sunday will be the last day of the Month, then come March, how time flies, everything seems like yesterday but it`s two days more than five Months since my incarceration. We were locked in all day, only those having visit were allowed out, since it`s going to be all day lockdown, it will be damn boring, I`ve started playing Dominoes with the boys, could be fun with then banging on the table and seeing some guys lost. While others took to cards game, and really gambling, the scene look like Casino, the game is played in absolute silence, no words are uttered, words are spoken with eyes and smoke fills the air drawn from their cheap cigarettes. Our Italian friend who just got the Maximum sentence for International traffic; 15 years, I believe they gave him the time for all his crimes, he has been on the run from the Italian authorities and being hiding out in Mexico, but the arms of law finally got hold of him. Hope he gets repatriated to Italy or he will definitely become the god-Father of Renacer with time.

That evening we talked about this and that, then we got to our agent and something brought what medication he was given back in the states, when he brought them out. It was waaaaaoooh, we just found out for the first time that the guy has been on Psychotic Drugs, when I read through the leaflet attached to the pack, was shock when I found who should use the drugs: schizophrenia, Mani depression and things like that, well that wasn`t what anybody want to hear in a place like this. But then what options do we have, my English mate was mad, but made him realized that the devil you know is better than the angel you don`t know. If we get this guy out, we don`t know who is coming in. Since he is been there, I haven`t seen anything bad or wrong with him, apart from his weird ways, which I can endure.

All along, I have been joking about his ways, but now I realized that what he is now is as the result of the drugs, the effect of the drugs on him. He had been on the drugs for a long time and since he has stopped, they are now taking effect on his life, the slothfulness, can`t even wash his clothes , do dishes and his speech is distorted, those and many others are signs of what the Americans did to him. One of the lads that was also sent back from the States once told me that whenever he was given such drugs, he flushed them through the toilet and always lied that he took them.

That Saturday night we argued about him and him being a danger to us, which I doubt as there ain`t any thing that could be used as weapon in the cell, I left for bed as I didn`t want to argue about someone else`s life when I`ve got loads on the plate for me.

The Night went fast, like I said, we sleep but not deep asleep as in the comfort of one`s bed and home, any movement around my bed or corner and even in the cell brings me up from my sleep.

Sunday 28th, the last day and there goes February `10, ain`t coming back, same lockdown, How I wished this will end and life gets back to normal, but it won`t as the police are bent on taking control, maybe they want to make this place like the Maximum prison in Panama. My buddy Carlos lost his phone to the Police that day, he didn`t see the cop walked in with the warden even as he stretched out his hand and snatch the phone from his ear. He was pissed that day, but the phone is gone and he can`t bribe as the police don`t take no bribe, but they do, if only you know how, when and where to give.

Nothing special other than the normal prison talks and being on alert, staying out of harm way, as the guys are all getting tensed due to the lockdown.

Spent most of the day on my bed reading, the bed is also bad for my back but what options do I have? Guess none, you sleep on it or sit up all night…

We talked and text, and called it a night and she seems to believe and have some little in faith in me that one day I will be Reborn and so I hope and believe too.

CARNAVAL DE LOS MUERTOS!!!

Posted in 1 on March 7, 2010 by doingtimeabroad

WEEK 7

Monday, 15th February through Sunday, 21st February 2010.

Monday, the 15th February 2010.

Things hasn`t change in the centre and being the first day of the Carnival holiday in Panama, it`s going to be worse and not foresee anything getting better here. But what can one do, nothing is coming in, the weekend was a long one and adding today and Tuesday it`s going to be a very long weekend. Things will get back to normal as from Wednesday when the carnival is finish and everybody gets back to job. Then the centre will begin a new life, a life to normality.

Picked up our BF from the letter box like hole at the side of the cell, since my fan is right under the hole, I`m always disturbed. Sometimes feel like sleeping off, but then when they push the Black T shirt used as a cover for the hole, it gets entangled with the blades of my fan. So lucky as the blade is not metallic, by now would have gotten loads of cut on my body as my head, hands and legs had been entangled with it.

The wardens and police all came along as BF was been served, one can feel the tension among them, guess most like the job but other are disgusted as I see them walk and always with the back on the walls like us.

Coming out to the patio, the sun is blazing hot, we are still on shift. We went out first, one can easily feel the lifelessness in the air, as it`s carnival and everything is grounded. The library was closed, but the guy who work there is seen going in with his mates to watch Porn films on the computers (that is what they do even when the library is open). and sit under the cool air of the air condition. The Library is actually the brain-child of former Black British inmate who happen to do his full time here with his brother; six years, wonder why the British government didn`t get them back home as they have treaty with this God-forsaken country.

We herded on the blast of the whistle, and the minors as we call them were let out of their dens, those guys all act up like animals. Soon as they came, some try to sneak into our area as that is where they can trade in whatever they have to trade, also steal from whoever they can, and also beg from whoever will give.

We had a normal evening, watching the people get drunk and stoned from whatever they are drinking or using. The carnival was fun to watch, as we could loads of beauties and bodies. Couple of death from homicide on the first day and fatal accidents, hope it does get higher.

Couple of texts between my Schatje and I, and we called it a night, with my book in my bed, while my mates feed their eyes with movies.

Tuesday, the cell were open and we got our BF, first time to have it with an open cell, had my early BF and the door to the patio was open. Thought the minors were supposed to be on the early shift, like I said, these guys are confused, they let us out, but nothing special is happening. It went so fast and we were hauled back in.

When the minors came out, my buddy came calling me, guess to use my phone or ask for a $1.

There are so many sentiments against foreigners here, I guess some of us had their souls sold to these youths, they buy their stuffs on credit and others snitch. Some go as far as telling the Panamanians who’s got money and who doesn’t have. it`s terrible, but what can one do. I can feel this most time when I`m on the PC, they Panam guys only come in for the games, and nothing more, when they are in and sees any foreigners on the pc, they fumed about with negative remarks.

Like I have learned, don`t talk, give them the silence response and stay as much as you can away from them.

If books could talk, the ones in the library shelves will definitely say something, the only book I have seen most of them touch and the pages ripped off is a medical or biological book with pictures of women, men and reproductory system, that of the women has been torn off with several other pages of featuring women.

The boy who set up this library will see his dreams defeated as I heard, he was even teaching some of the Panamanians Spanish and also writing letters for them.

Well, Carnival is on and our get our fun from watching all the shows and especially the wet T shirts according to my mate. since it`s so hot here, water tankers are on standby to spurt water on the people and some ladies decided to go to carnival on white T shirt without Bra… A simple maths will work this out, hot sun, nice looking lady sweating under the heat of the sun and everybody is under the influence of some sort of liquid or powder they had used and music is blasting from all corners. A large water tanker lies on the corner, when the water start coming, they won`t even know, all you see are people jumping and shoving about. And the perverted Cameraman works his zoom to those wet Teeeeessss. And next you hear are Catcalls and banging of the cell metals as there ain`t any wood here. The inmates had all seen what they have been waiting for.

Last day of the Carnival, hope they just round up so things get to normal again.

The day ended with us watching all that took place during the last day of the carnival, by Wednesday we will know the effect of the Carnival on the people and the economy. How many has gone to meet their maker and how many will be joining us here in the walls of Panama prison. And those that will be on the run from what they have done within the few days of festivity in the country.

Wednesday 17th, Thank God things will be getting back to normal, my mate left early to join the Catholic faithful for their mass and later on that evening decided to give up something as that was the first day of lent; he decided to give up cigarettes, well he had his last three that night before sleeping. Hope he makes it, as the price is getting higher and higher, sometimes a stick is sold for $2, that can like cutting a hole in one`s pocket and see your money go into the drain, losing money unnecessary in place like this is not worth it.

The Overall director of The Panama Penitentiary system was here to sort things out, I guess he is sitting on a very hot seat now, all the youths that were in the fight with Santos were taken to Anexo where they will be hold up until they are transferred from here to another prison. While he was here, there was another escape in one of the maximum prison. he had to leave, one will guess to the prison where the escape took place, wonder what he can do, guess the best option left for him now is to tender his resignation.

THE CARNAGE OF THE CARNIVAL:

On the News that evening, there were 16 dead from Homicide during the days of the carnival and 9 dead from accident. So much for a small country as Panama, like I said, some will go on to meet their maker, other will join us as inmates in one of the several prison in Panama, while those that thought they are smart will take their heels, but I believe eventually they will be caught as most don`t have the resource to finance a life as a fugitive.

We thought things will come back to live in the centre, was wrong on that one. it remained same, still shift and it`s getting more boring. But in a time like this, one has to use the best of ones time and channelled all one`s energy into positive thoughts and things.

Jokes and our share of fun as been lifting our spirit as we thought of what will happen in the near future, Hollywood does not help matters with films about escapes, which can never be real in the world of Prisons. I guess any plans of escape that has been carried out here, were all work of the escapees and not copied from any movie. And the easiest of all is making an offer nobody will refuse, pay them and they will open all the doors and get you out.

The library remained close as most of the guys that work in the library are busy attending to special visits or doing something else. Many of us most the foreigners will be glad if the library is open everyday as it will give us the opportunity to stay away from cells and avoid altercation with inmates that are bored of you hanging around.

To me, this was a special day as my daughter and my first child turned five years old, she has been waiting for this day for a long time, whenever she goes to her friend`s parties and found out that they are five, she won`t stop asking her mum when she will turn five. So happy she finally turned five and she was so happy having her friends in the house, they had a very small party as my Schat thought, but it was not a small party as no party is ever small, one will realized how big the party was when it`s time for cleaning. She spent the whole night cleaning but with help from the little hands.

My joy was that they had fun and my lil Angel was five and one day I will play her Butterfly kisses. but not yet. She is so pretty and very intelligent like her mum, ask loads of questions, and I try to always dodge her questions now. Guess some day she will know many things daddy never told her. She told me she loves her Piano lessons and she did played some tunes for her friends on her birthday. She is taking her swimming lessons very serious, I`m so proud of her; that is actually her catchphrase “Mummy I`m so proud of you”. Love her mucho and my lil man in the house who is still being mum`s boy.

Thursday and Friday came with same routine except for the new memorandum placed outside by the director that Electronic appliances would not be allowed into the centre anymore, too bad for me as I have bought my Radio/CD player and this has been on the street with my friend`s mum for a very long time. He has always been telling me that they won`t let in it. Well, I have made up my mind to talk to one the custodio whom I have a good rapport with and hope he does not over charge me. Finally met with him and we talked about it and he promised to do it, but I guess it will take some time for him to pick it up as he is a very busy guy, so he said, but doesn`t look that way. He demanded some deposit, which I obliged, but gave him. it`s a pity when one know how much the wardens are paid, they get peanut, thus they are ready to earn some extra by doing what they do.

On Friday night, they were gun shots in Colon Prison, heard from one the lads that was brought in from there who happened to be the seventh man in our cell as he as taken affinity in coming to our cell from morning and stayed through till evening, that in Colon Prison during one of the search, the police found 28 Guns inside the prison, one will wonder how they get in there. Guess not Houdini pulling some vanishing tricks making guns disappeared from wherever they were and show up in prison. Our cell can be very congested as loads of people like coming to watch our English music video and chat with us, but don`t really like it, but then what can one do. Though we are lucky to have one the two biggest cell in the Galeria; which is cell 2 and the other cell 1, many Panamanians ain`t happy, but then our cell is the most exposed, so the sneaking and Peeping Tom Cops can easily see us at night when we are on phone. Unlike the rest of the cells which is smaller and the bed are hidden by curtains. Ours we have got 3 walls that one can easily peep through, so gotta be careful as to loose another phone as I ain`t got any now, but sharing with our Mossad agent.

Lately, he has been acting sort weird, always talking to himself and acting strangely. Couple of days ago, he had to do the dish after our diner, he spend over 2 hours washing, at the end, when I check out on him, he barely washed off the remnant of the food in either our plate or from the pot, I had to wash up everything again. Now we all know why he sends his dirty laundry to his family to be washed every Sunday when they pay him visit. On his visit, he comes back with the washed clothes, one roll of toilet paper, two 33cl of orange drink and 33cl of milk (in the Tetra Pack containers) and once he came back a box of cornflakes. Well, since I know what he has been through, I don`t want to complain and nobody cares about that either.

But then, Jer told us about a guy who was almost like him, and they were all in this same cell, he seems cool and he didn`t bother him, until one night after much drinking of moonshine and smoking indo, the dude came down from his bed, my mate was trying to sleep. What he saw scare the devil out of him, the dude has his pant on the floor with his Dingy drawn out and was screaming that he needs a BJ….. My mate said, I thought he was cool, but didn`t know what came over him after his binge drinking and smoking.  He stood up and quickly hid the knives in the cell, forgetting one; a little steak knife. The Drunken fellow took hold of that and picked on one gangling looking Panam youth and said he is an enemy and that everybody in the cell were against him. He packed his stuffs, that he was going to escape, well if he was in his real senses he would have known that in a thousand years, once the door has been locked and without any malfunction with the locking system, he won`t go know were. He climb up and start tearing on the reinforced steel ceiling, actually he was able to make a hole from a part of the ceiling that water and air had caused the metal to rust. When he was worn out, he went back to his bed. Next day he was sobered all day.

The good think, our Mossad agent doesn`t drink or smoke, so we know if he was doing any of those couple with his state of mind, it will be a dangerous combination.

The weekend came and gone, had a massive shopping as we have decided that we will be doing things together. Well not everybody, the old man and the agent don`t have to contribute to anything, but we wouldn`t be that greedy to turn our face from them. The old man, always come to me as I`m quite easy, and I always attend to him, telling him he can always ask me for anything so long it`s something that he is mine or I have contributed to purchased. I can always give him.

On Saturday, saw one of the Panamanian boys wheeled in a bag full of oranges into the centre and remembered my oranges and lemon being seized by the police, even my Pancake syrup and Honey. Reason; that they could be use to make Moonshine, but why different rules for different folks, well, like I said, if I`m really serious about getting those things in here, with money I can get them in. But right now my priority is to get my Radio in and also get the Guitar in, but the body still need natural vitamins from fruits.

When I heard that our consulate will be coming next week, thought that will be a good time to let her know about the fruit issues, if she could help us voice our feelings on how we are treated to the Director.

The week and weekend came in a rush and ended with nothing special, back home, my people are doing well and the kids are all bubbling with life, Ima is five and my son asked when will his birthday be, and Ima is waiting for the next birthday which will be mummy`s then mine.

Thank God that all ended well, no fight in the centre, though tension are still high but I hope the boys that were in the fight get transferred as soon as possible so that things will come back to normal in the centre.

Mike my Gringo friend from 305 Miami FL; he actually got the Zip “305” tattooed on his ankle, to show his love for his area. Nice kid, he was the one who thought the centre was a holiday resort when he sailed through here on cruise ship, little did he know that he will be spending close to three years in that Holiday resort in the Jungle. He once told me, that probably because of the sun, and the heat, people always fight around this time of the year. Now I`m beginning to pray for rain to fall and cool everybody down, ease the tension among the inmates.

Also heard that during the past carnival, there were an attempted escape at the Feminino (The Women prison), but they were caught and one was pregnant, well I guess someone has some explanation to do, how a female prisoner in an all female prison got pregnant; hummm not a miracle, guess it was a special baby and she needed to flee for the Baby safety. As the story goes, she was later released and had her baby.

Such is life behind the walls of prisons in Panama…….. A life of fear of the unknown.