THE VISIT THAT BROUGHT HOPE!!!
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.