Archive for October, 2012

Something Sinister Lurking and knocking.

Posted in Uncategorized on October 15, 2012 by doingtimeabroad

“Oh Laughter,  definitely laughter. You have to laugh even if you are sad because it is your life and you can’t change it, but it is always better if you are smiling” – Louise and Martine Fokken (In “Meet the fokkens”, Amsterdam oldest prostitutes) #BBC #News

The Oldest Amsterdam’s Prostitute rightly said it; One have to laugh even in the face of life most difficult situation. From my ongoing experience here in The Joint; the laughter definitely gives you the strength and grace to hold on, go on and see life on the inside differently.

Walking around the pavilion one will think we are a bunch of men in a kind of summer boot camp; sent in by their spouses to sort themselves out. Many are well groomed; apparently many will spend their entire days behind bars checking how they look outwardly. But deep inside lurks something eerie and creepy; Pure evil.

Our pavilion might look and seems to be the safest in the complex; but with so many inmates jammed and confined in such a small place, many are on their breakpoint, many had crossed the threshold. And the system can’t do anything to help the situation.

In the past, newcomers were brought in weekly but lately, they’re hauling them in on daily basis. If I’m not mistaken, we had inmates hauled in on everyday of this week. Seven Freshers were thrown in yesterday, from my statistics we should be clocking 550 inmates in a pavilion build for 216 inmates at one point in time. The system don’t care; so long the doors are under lock!

I’m beginning to see a new pattern and trends among my fellow inmates. Violence is on the increase. In the past, one rarely see physical violence, but lately, it’s becoming a norm. Our unwritten rules of law ain’t doing to stop the agitation and anger is rising like vapour in a pressure cooker. In the past, hostilities could be done verbally, but now; punches are thrown, knives drawn and gangs are building up.

Earlier today, my quiet cellmate was throwing punches at an older inmate next door who owes him $40 for months; promises of payment failed. The lad got a wife and two young kids outside. Survives by selling legal-drugs (apparently he’s our pharmacist) which his wife brings in during the fortnight visit or by some good-hearted cop whom he pays. He has stocks all types of over-the-counter drugs and some that should be issued only with Doctor’s prescription, but this is Panama; anything goes.  Others stood still and watched while he was delivering punches at the older inmate, stepped in and pulled him in, others weren’t happy; guess we’re flippin losing our minds.

After the incident came up for better signal, another inmate (a new inmate) went to pull out a hidden knife. Doubt if he has a fight, but walking around with his Rambo-styled knife sort of gives him the security he so desired. I have heard, many of my fellow inmates walk around the pavilion with knives in their pants. Guess, we ain’t different from the locals, whom I had lived with in Renacer; their knives are like their girlfriends, they even shower with their knives. Was like a war zone there.

Sooner than we thought, life here will be nothing; my cats and the roaches will have a dignified manner of living their world than most of us, seen that in the past.

Tension is so high among us, soon, someone will flip and it won’t be easy, walking around after the whistle, many cells are under lock; not the system, but individually they decided to lock themselves in for extra security. The last bloody fight was between a Colombian and a Mexican; apparently the Mexican had a club, fashioned from hardwood. Burst the Colombian head who has been pestering him. Guess the Colombian underestimated him. After all said and done, the Mexican had to switch cells with someone; sometimes it’s difficult finding someone willing to change, he was lucky.

After that fight, an invisible line has been drawn…. For now, the sleeping dog will lie.

Another crazy incident on Thursday; the dude who can’t handle himself after siphoning our lethal and potent moonshine, flipped again, the last time, he was tied down on the top of the cells; but very stupid to choose an high altitude to drink and get pissed. But Thursday’s was on GroundZero; after getting pissed, looked for someone to punch, and got one of my pal, who unleashed all his anger on the drunk. At the end, he got his only remedy; Tied and left on the passage until the drink wore off. And the flippin Wanker does have conjugal with a beautiful lady; hope she knows how he reacts after befriending the bottle. Soon, a video of him will emerge, very common here; a Mexican who was drunk and snorting had a picture of him taken and sent to his missus. In return, he informed the cops, that his mates who did that are selling Dope. We had a massive search after the incident. But he had to live the pavilion as he was on everyone’s #DeathWishList!

The system is apparently failing the inmates and society in general; many amongst us are suffering from various forms of psychological problems; schizophrenia, manic depression, anger and rage, insomnia and other forms of sleep disorder. The list goes on and on. Many of these lads came from a violent background where #Violence is the rule of law and of the streets. Thus, everything around them is violence and more of it.

But, one thing bothers me; after reading an article in a #Dutch newspaper earlier this week; of the failing situation in Dutch prisons, how many inmates are not getting medical attention needed; it baffled me that in a highly developed and first world country, things ain’t much different from our situation here. Here is the link to the news article;

Psychische zorg gevangenis slecht

11 oktober 2012

“Veel gedetineerden met psychische problemen krijgen niet de passende behandeling die ze nodig hebben. Dat zegt de Raad voor de Strafrechtstoepassing en Jeugdbescherming (RSJ)”

http://medfacts.nl/psychische-zorg-gevangenis-slecht/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=psychische-zorg-gevangenis-slecht&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

From the above researched report; we ain’t alone in this predicament.

The chatterbox lad in my cell, kept me up while I was trying to get my needed sleep this morning, with tales of murders back home in his cowboy town back in Colombia; 6 murders just last night and all met their calling at the nozzle of a #Sicario #Assassins. Such is their life….he once asked me if back home in Holland, we walk around With guns. Told him, the cops does that for us…..#LOL.

It’s 00:07:53 on SUN 14 OCT 2012: the lights are out as many hits their bunks, hammocks (hanging up like cocoons of caterpillars), could be very fatal when the rope breaks. And the less fortunate ones, sleeping around on floors with spread-out cartons as their mats.

But our revellers are still banging and music still on while their drinks and dope flows. The only way that keeps them going. But among them, are those insecure fellas with knives or one form of weapon stashed within and around at arm’s reach as there is no trust amongst them. Have heard and seen drinking mates had their phones nicked by their supposed-to-be friends. Others had their eye brows shaved, and same lad, took a leak on someone’s bunk after a night of binged drinking. And he still. complains that one ain’t allowed to drink as much as he wants. Guess in his previous life he was a fish.

Monday is around the corner, another day of our fortnightly visit; those with. Families around will be working in with fresh produces. Those few minutes with loved ones, gives them such a happiness that can’t be compared to the ordeals of every two weeks before the next visit.

For me and many others are happiness can be sum up in this few words;

Happiness depends on the difference between your reality and your expectations; to be happy accept your reality and adjust your expectations.

“When men are pure, laws are useless; When men are corrupt, laws are broken” – Benjamin Disraeli.

A life spent in making mistakes is not only more honourable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Forgiveness will never be able to change the past; but it does make the future a whole lot brighter.

THINGS THAT LURKS WITHIN AND AMONGST US

Posted in Uncategorized on October 3, 2012 by doingtimeabroad

Prison; it is survival of the fittest or should I say, the wealthiest or most connected. But then, there are some good artful dodgers who survives on their wits and skills; apparently those crude skills brought them to their downfall. Downfall to some but to few others, windfall; many has made more money in prison than they made will on the outside; no regulations or big brother eyes watching, armed with phones and contacts from within and without, they are masked by the wall of invisibility and thus, becomes invincible from the reach of the law as they operate on the outside from the inside; if we the air we breathe could be contained, we’ll be paying for breathing, the locals who don’t have water problem as we do, are now making living selling water to us.

 

Something else and more fatal lurks within and amongst the inmates of La Joya; #Pathogens and diseases that’s savaging on the frailty of our weak immune systems.

 

I survived the food poisoning from eating half-cooked chicken; partly from my strong immune system or from knowing what to do or to the speedy response by my consul to purchased me medications I requested; maybe all attributed to my recovery or just sheer luck. But after the diarrhoea has taken its toll on me, many saw the changes in me; within a week, I have lost some pounds. Not many among us can or will be that fortunate, seen few taken ill and within minutes they are no more; many are walking around with infections or some form of chronic diseases when not controlled could be very fatal to the carrier and the rest of us; since we’re in very close contact #Overcrowding.

 

Reading an eye-popping article on the deadly outbreak of the #Marbug #Virus sent some cold shivers down my spine.

 

Killers on the loose: the deadly viruses that threaten human survival. (An edited extract from Spillover: Animal infections And The Next Human Pandemic, By David Quammen. Guardian.co.uk)

 

Since my incarceration I have seen all kinds of exotic animal and pest among us; largely due to the locations where the prisons are build. Deep in no man’s land, forest are cleared to make place for the concentration-look-alike pavilions; thus, disturbing the natural habitats. We’ve seen snakes, gigantic spiders, black scorpions, bugs of all kinds and not forgetting our millions-breeding friends; cockroaches and the rats. All these could be primary host to some exotic viruses or diseases when changes host to humans can be fatal. Some could be airborne viruses that could be deadly due to the overcrowding situation in the pavilion. Now comes the cats; they were and are very useful in pest control, two years ago, the numbers of rats in the pavilion were as much as the numbers of inmates. But since our cats started breeding, either the rats decided to relocate or the cats are having their field day with proper protein.

 

But, like every other animals without birth control, they are producing at an alarming rate, the last birth was six little cutely kittens; my daughter want a kitten, too bad, can’t get one to her. How she will so adore it…but for now, I have to deal with these ones. Most inmates want them thrown out of the pavilion as their faeces are all over the places. Wouldn’t say they are stray cats, but they sometimes wonder to the other side of the prison, thus, mingling with those wild and stray ones that we see on our way to visit; most look very sick.

 

Many amongst us, fears that the cats could be carrier of some unknown infectious diseases. They should be getting shots for worms and also get the female ones neutered, we have enough. But who will do that, so far now, we have to live with them. Another one is heavily pregnant, and like the mother of six, she should be expecting four or more. I hope those inmates with visit, will get their families to adopt some of the kittens. Will be a big relief.

 

Done, with the cats, but more threatening are the human factors with our different ills. Many seems to look healthy and sound, but deep inside them, they know they are sick; it could be physical illness or the worse scenario; mental illness which many seems to break into.

 

Some try as much as they can to shield whatever they’ve got, but in a place where one’s whisper is as loud as boom box; thanks to our gossiping men who enjoys chatting about others. Having hair cut is scary as you don’t know who had his hair cut before you. There’s a crazy norm among most latinos; drinking from one cup, it scares the wit out of me.

 

Once read online of American therapist who visited the prison years ago and helped with the back-problem that many suffers here. Nearly everyone is having problem with their back; due to sleeping on concrete slabs, cold floors or hammocks and little or no mobility. The gym hall now house inmates who can’t find anywhere else to lay, also serves as worship place for the two Christian denominations. Massaging is a thriving business among the two inmates walking around giving massages; makes their living doing that.

 

The infrastructure is near collapse, of all the pavilions in the complex; ours seems to be the best kept. With little bit of organisation, we try to maintain a clean environment and keep all the utilities running, but then, there are things beyond our reach; electricity, water and the sewage drainage. All are working on the edge, outside the wire fence, our sewage system has overflowed, the water that rarely comes is toxic on its own; sometimes it comes dark as chocolate. But we have no choice, other than to improvised and use it the way it comes.

 

After multiple deaths amongst the population, a little clinic was set up, but poorly staffed, the existence of the clinic hasn’t changed anything as one never get to see the doctors or nurses.

 

I had an appointment on the 1st of May and it’s SUN 30 SEP 2012! I haven’t heard from them on my appointment. The only way one makes it to the clinic is when one drops down in pain or near death. Sometimes to late to save the person. drugs are stashed away, sold to those with contacts and money. If you are given drugs, does one good to check the expiry date as I have been issued expired drugs and the flippin crack-head doctor looked me in the eyes and told me to take them; that they are still valid three months after the expiry date. Well, I did gambled with my life before and ended in here. Ain’t playing that game anymore. Dumped the lots in the bin. Glad we have a consul that can buy us our medications when we need them. But not many are fortunate to have that. As many are smuggling in illegal drugs, some inmates also pay to have the legals ones brought in for them, since they aren’t allowed in during normal visit.

 

Thus, doing time here is a very expensive business to the inmates; paying for one’s survival.

 

The food, like every other prisons is nothing to write about. But glad, we can cook but then at a cut-throat price; everything sold within the walls of the pavilion is at over-the-top prices. Bloody expensive, many crack heads will prefer to get stoned or drunk and then dine on Aliprac prison food; which sometimes can be devastating. There’s aways cases of food poisoning, which makes my cell mate pharmacy business booms; many lines up to buy diarrhoea drugs. What can one do.

 

My most fears are for those amongst us frolicking and enjoying doing what they do in the secrecy of darkness; free or on pay as you are being served basis. I hope safety is taken as I have come to understand; many are infected with different types of STD’s! So also the urge to get tattoos is very high among many, I’m left to wonder what are the safety measures taken to prevent the spread of infections among the many tattoos-loving inmates.

 

So much lurks amongst and within us; but one will never what the next man is going through until he spills it out; sometimes it’s too late for any remedy or help.

 

My compatriot and a Jamaica crossed the thresholds after they couldn’t handle the stress that comes with being locked up here. They needed psychiatric help, but all they had was solitary lock up; guess it cured the madness!

 

There’s been pockets of fights over little or nothing, but many don’t know where and what to channel their angst or fear to. Thus, unleashing on the next man to step on their toes.

 

We’ve come to learn to accept what every day brings up for us. We live for each day as it comes and savour the sorrows and joys of each day as it unfolds. Till the day we walk out alive, we will live among what lurks within and among us; striving to survive the odds.