For someone who does not belong to my Pavilion, and for the new Lads who were hauled in late Friday evening. What they saw on Saturday and Sunday will so dazzle them as they will wonder if where they are is truly a Prison or sort of rave-camp for men sent in by the wives and mistresses to get their heads Straighten out.
How we wished, it was such a camp, but it’s a still a fcuking Prison with mean M16-carrying Cops in their watch-towers, watching and ready to shoot; just as they did with the guys who tried to escape. Well, that’s the reality part of our lives in La Joya Carcel Panama.
The realities and the facts doesn’t stop my fellow inmates from doing what the body so desires; lusts, Leisures and pleasure! The satisfactions may be, but for a moment and the hangovers lasting. But the joy in it; for a while and a moment you were not in here. You were able to live like a free man; doing what free men will do, binged drinking, pot-smoking, dope-sniffing/snorting, and those with the affinity, urges to indulge in whatever-they do within closed curtains were able to carry out their self-indulgences!
Music, smokes filled the air as plastic cups of diverse shapes and colours passed hands and to mouths. At those moments, we were at peace with ourselves and with the system. They have taken all that makes a man a man; FREEDOM. But not the indulgences of the flesh that will keep men going. And such was our lives in Pavilion 6 of La Joya Carcel on the weekend of 3rd of September 2011.
The fiestas had come and gone, and our lives is back to what is normal to us. Monday, began with the hustle of gym space; since inmates sleeps on the gym floor now. They are awoken at 7am as the first batch of gymbites drops in with clangs of metals.
Woke up on Tuesday with swollen, red and irritated right eye. Glad, one of my compatriots had eyes drop. Was a great relief, was called up for the 2nd of my injection, 5 more to go. Plead with the Nurse to let me have all and take them in, he said no way, think, I’ve got to deal with going up every Tuesday for a flipping injection. Well the risk is worth it, but walking among the pestering Panamanians is what I also have to deal with.
They don’t bloody see anyone from our Pavilion going up upstairs without asking for something. It’s like they don’t bloody get it; we are the foreigners and they are the Nationals and in their freaking home and country; we should be the ones begging and not them, glad I don’t get to go up so often. Pity those who does, as the Lads could become very aggressive after too many No’s and refusals.
While waiting for the Nurse to administer my injection, over heard in him asking for an inmate among us to come for his medication. His Assistant, who happened to be one of us, didn’t get him until he said the inmate with HIV; know the lad, and fcuking scared the wits out of me. The lad doesn’t live like someone with any ills, well, he doesn’t need to as that might bring his demise very quickly; just gotta live life normal. So appalling, how the system can’t provide medications for him; his family had to send his drugs from Colombia and on getting here, it still goes through the bureaucracy of the clinic, just like mine. It took about two weeks before I got my first shot; I bought them with my money.
Wednesday the 7th of Sept, Stayed indoors (have always been indoors; 😉 Lol! ), the eye was getting better, can’t imagine surfing internet with one eye, but had to do it. The drops from my compatriot helped a lot. Anything with illness has to be self-medication since we can’t rely on the service of the system’s clinic.
The Pavilion is back to life with the usuals; early morning gossip conference in my cell with all the black Colombians, those hawking whatever they can are busy with their wares and the gym is full with inmates lifting and pumping. And the Lazy ones are whiling away or doing their time playing card, board, and any form of games they could imagine. The cell before mine should have been made the cinema of the pavilion as the lads must have watched all the movies ever made in this world; they hunts for films on daily basis. Well, since it keeps the pressure down, nothing bad!
Anyone thought to be security risk is whisked away to Pavilion8; Maximum Security for foreigners. The Bulgarian Ship Captain and the Dope head Russian had been transferred to that Pavilion. It is said that, the Captain was overhead talking on phone about escaping; he forgot that Walls have ears! In a place like this, one don’t just talk about escaping to anyone you see. You talk it to yourself and make it wordless; only in one’s thought and mind. Deal and battle with it till you carry out your plans or let it die; but all in your mind! Lol!
There’re so many snitches and Sapos (Colombian slangs for turncoats or as the Jamaicans will say; Informers). So whatever one’s plans, it should be kept and buried in one’s mind until the day you pull it out, like the last escape. They took the informers unaware, they didn’t see that coming! Painful the main-guy didn’t make it, at least one made it to his freedom!
The signal jammer project is on full gear, the ministers are so proud of their war against usage of mobile phones in jail. Hope they know exactly what they are doing. Most pavilion has non-working pay phone and inmates has got nothing to do to help with their time. Many amongst the Nationals and foreign inmates so far had enjoyed the privilege of having a mobile phone as one can spend hours with their loved ones and families. When that privilege is taken and nothing replaces it; it will be a tough one on the inmates and hope they system has enough manpower to control the situation when it happens.
They said within weeks, the Jammer will be in operation; waiting and watching. When it comes, so be it! The queue to the public pay phone will be longer than the ones at any Dole centre!Lol! One will have to wait all day to take his turn to make a call that wouldn’t last five minutes before the none-audible thing cuts you off. Asi esta la Vida!!!
Another Weekend came and gone; probably the last one before the jammers start working. Can’t imagine life without my BB, will be terrible and horrible; guess that’s when I will start feeling being “really” locked up in a distant country.
The phone has been the bridge between me and my loved ones, no day goes by without communication between me and my loved ones; taking this away will be devastating! As Humans and Criminals that we are, we will find a way; adaptation or smuggle in devices to counter the jammers; as they say “The innovation of the Pencil brought about the Eraser”
There’s always something or somebody to ruin or upset things; one foolish inmate!
Saturday, 17th September; a member of a new Religious group that has been brewing underground came up lashing on his supposed leader; calling him Devil and Evil! Too early for that!
Sitting outside my cell and playing with one of my cats. He came up, still ranting and breathing heavily and apparently just woken up from sleep; didn’t care to wash his face or brush his teeth! He just needed to wind down and get what was haunting and hunting him all night!
His mate who introduced him to whatever form of religion they engaged in then; apparently was the accused! And the accuser who had always claimed to be a Rastafarian since he wears locks on his head. Told me, while he was sleeping, felt someone pinned him down to his concrete-slap bed, he couldn’t moved, jokingly, asked him if he wasn’t shagged by the supernatural power that pinned him to his bed! Didn’t like the idea! But was worth the laugh!
He said, he was overpowered by the force, but when he screamed; Jah Haile Selaisse Rastafari!!!! At that moment the Evil force released him and fled out of the cell! He didn’t think twice, but came running to his old mate, with accusations! Well, there hasn’t been anything to brighten my mood in a long while. But such a twat and his folly gave me the laughter I needed to lighten up my mood.
Sat him down and tried explaining what sleep paralysis is all about; I guess it all fell on deaf ears. He smokes pot more than the food he rarely eats! Why wouldn’t some voodoo and men-loving spirit jumped him (the term used behindbars referring to an attack by a group of inmates; could also be used to described Gang Rape!!!)
When I finally met with the accused as we both speak same language; he’s from a former Colony of my country; he explained how it all began; the cleansing process, the grass around the building (which he called herbs), apparently there are just one sort of grass here. He also did used salt, and tea which he always get a bag from me. Candles, incense and whatever they were led by the good spirit to get.
Well, didn’t forget to remind him, the day they could come up with invisibility, I’ll be the first to try it! Will sell every little belongings; mostly books and more books to buy the power of invisibility and hit the road!!!
Many, apparently are breaking down from the stress of this place; a Spaniard who deals on anything money can buy tried committing suicide by cutting his wrist and drained his blood! He went to the extremes, didn’t know about it, until the day he walked in with cops and had both wrists bandaged!
Another, has chosen other means to vent out his anger, the pressure and depression; Noise and real loud noise, plays music, screams and shouts (thinks he’s talking) and when he’s done. Sleeps gently like a Baby in his bunk-bed!
One new inmate; once said, if I get to that point and I can’t handle it anymore, will let go and end it. Well, seeing and hearing him, I know he ain’t got much to live for. Hearing people like him bring the chills and set one into the thinking mood! But I’m determined to sail through!
Good News finally; after weeks of negotiations with the director and cops; we are allowed Patio 3 days a week and for 3 hours. Gotta make good use of that time. Every other thing remained normal or the way it used to be.
Soon, I’ll be marking my 2nd anniversary behindbars; terrible and. Horrible! But as human, have learned to adapt and watch my back! My survival instinct is at its highest level; all working to keep me alive and going.
Each day is taken at a time and as it comes. So far, so good, seen few walked out into their freedom, others tried fighting for it through other means. Some made it, others will live to try again. Many are coming, not knowing what lies ahead; a dark tunnel that seems to have no end and no ray of light at the other side!!!
“Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough.” – George Bernard Shaw.