Archive for September, 2013

Jana Moreno: 10 Ways To Find Peace in Stressful Situations.

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama, Prison Life on September 25, 2013 by doingtimeabroad

After reading this article, I’m compelled to re-blog it as I find it very useful and befitting to my current situation, life’s conditions of many inmates hauled in an overcrowded prison in Panama and other parts of the world.

Conditions in the slammer puts so much pressure and strain on one’s mental well-being, which literally affects our every day life, how we deal with each other and eventually when it’s all over, someone on the outside will bear the blunt of all the pressure and strains that went home with us from the slammer; such has been the case of many whom the system failed to cure them of their ills and demons.

Each day in the joint, brings about something new but inevitable to us, how we handle those obstacles or hurdles will determine how long we can stand the stress of life on the inside. Not many can take the strain and stress of being locked up, but such is our fate; do the crime, do the time and live through the time, but never allow prison to live through you as you will be left battered and eventually ….the inevitable as many had done in the past: the easy way out! #Priceless!

The Article:

10 Ways To Find Peace in Stressful Situations.

By Jana Moreno.
Keeping our cool in uncomfortable or stressful circumstances can do several things for us. One, we are much more apt to find solutions to the problems we are experiencing. Two, if there are others involved we have a mellowing effect on them. Three, whatever upset we are experiencing doesn’t last as long and definitely won’t drag on unnecessarily. And four, as we don’t allow outside circumstances to shake us, over time our peace can become unshakable; this leads to an increase in happiness, better creative/manifestation capability and a Life experience that can really mirror this peace and joy back to us via people and situations.

So in a nutshell, here are 10 Ways to Find Peace In Stressful Situations:

1) Calm and center yourself. In other words, find your happy-place. Even if it means taking 10 minutes to sit down and bring awareness into your body, or listening to the soothing sound of rain, this will have a major impact on your stress levels and on the situation as a whole.

2) Don’t bring the ‘I’ into it…AKA Don’t make it about you. Oftentimes, the thing that causes the most stress is when we take things personally. Most upsets are simple miscommunications or misunderstandings and when we bring the ‘I’ into it, or when we start thinking about how it is affecting us we get caught in a downward spiral of undesired emotions and stress. Even if it APPEARS to be about you, it doesn’t. That may sound strange but it is true. Even if you hear that someone was gossiping about you, it has nothing to do with you. That is a reflection of them and their behavior~ and even if they think it is personal…it isn’t. It never is. =)

3) Express and exhaust the Stress if needed. Sometimes we catch ourselves a little late in the stress game. It could be we didn’t even noticed we were stressed until we are feeling really emotional or our bodies are shaking. If this is the case, take 10 to 20 minutes to sit down and feel it all the way through. Once our experience of a problem becomes denser and emerges as emotions, the best we can do is ride it out. Feel them, express and exhaust them until you notice that the emotions are a subtle level 1 or level 2 intensity (as opposed to level 10 code red). From here, you can begin calming and centering yourself so that you can focus on the solutions instead of the problem.

4) Remind yourself that this too shall pass. In the end, this won’t last forever. Some of the most stressful situations we have been through we end up laughing about later in Life. Keep this in mind; whether you do something about it or not, it will change. There is only one permanent thing in the Universe, and that is that everything changes. With this in mind, a person can breathe a little easier and relax into the situation. Think of a problem like a really hot bath. You don’t have to jump in immediately~ you can ease your way in little-by-little until you are comfortable. And without even trying, you notice after a little bit of time that the water cools down on its’ own. =)

5) Talk it up: find the good in it. It can be difficult to see the blessings in the issues that bother us the most, but there is always a good reason for it. Sometimes we need to have a breakdown in order to have a breakthrough. This is nature’s way of clearing out what is no longer working for us, or that which we have grown out of. Find something to laugh about in the situation or remember that we need upsets in order to find the gifts in it. Often these gifts are lessons of forgiveness, compassion, understanding or defining boundaries. A butterfly struggles for hours in order to free itself from the cocoon; but without the struggle, the butterfly would not build the muscles necessary for it to be able to fly.

6) Remind yourself that there is always an upside to pain. Pain always is a calling for us to rise to something greater than we already are. As many masters have said, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. If we can look at pain in a way that we don’t resist it, but praise its’ presence in our life, now we can change our experience of it completely. This is why some people experience a lot of pain and suffering in divorce, and others experience freedom and joy in it. It is all in how you look at it.

7) Remember that with a problem there is always a solution available. Problems cannot exist without a solution. Black cannot exist without the other colors, up cannot exist without down and so the relations in the Universe are. In fact, to find a point in 3 dimensional space we need 6 other points; 7 points to chart a course. With this in mind, we cannot have a problem without one or more solutions. All that is needed is for us to make ourselves available for the solution and to tap into it. =)

8) BREEAATTHHHEEEE and meditate on it. Meditation is something that does so much for us. It teaches us to slow down, to be mindful, to be aware of ourselves and our environment, and it teaches us to focus. These are just a few of the countless benefits of meditation, but it also does another thing~ it is a stress-reliever. Our brain, as dynamic and complex as it is, has trouble focusing on more than one thing. Granted there are a few things we do out of our subconscious such as driving, showering, brushing our teeth and so on, but when it comes to the conscious level, it can be very difficult for us to focus on more than one thing for an extended period of time. So meditate! Bring all your focus to your breathing and just sit and be for a little while. Then re-enter the situation with renewed energy.peace

9) Exercise and disperse the energy. Stress can build up in the body, so it is important to again express and exhaust whatever nervous energy is making itself aware to you. Do some yoga, go for a run, walk around the block a few times or do jumping jacks for 5 or 10 minutes. What usually happens is after this energy is exhausted, we don’t have a lot of energy left over to be upset about. We can more easily relax, and when we relax into a problem this is usually when a solution makes itself known.

10) Remember to shine in a crisis. A good reminder would be this: we are born problem-solvers. As humans, our creative capability is endless. There is usually not just one solution to a problem, but many MANY solutions to a problem. Some people can get into this zone when they are under stress~ a sort of grace under pressure. If you can access this space and become the excellent problem-solver you were born to be, there isn’t a problem in the world that you can’t solve.

In summary, there is no such thing as a ‘big’ or ‘small’ problem. In fact, problems only exist within the mind. So when we look at it from the viewpoint of the Universe, suddenly our problems seem non-existent. And in the end, no matter what you think you are going through,

“we cannot solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it.” – Albert Einstein. | So think differently!

Because Life is Effortless,


Prison Life: Tension Rising

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama, Doing Time Overseas!!!, Living Behind Bars in Panama, Prison Life on September 8, 2013 by doingtimeabroad

Prison Life: Tension Rising

Change; whether good or bad can be stressful and our natural reaction are often fear, anxiety or resistance.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy. Not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

Sat 7 Sep 2013
Yesterday (#Friday) evening wasn’t mine as so many things didn’t fit in place to make it a perfect end to a busy week and start for the weekend; well, nothing ever fits in place within the wall of a prison, and if there’s anything that fits in place, it’s the locks on the metal door that’s there to keep us here against our will and beyond our control. But then, looking around, much seems to fits in their places when one takes a stern look around the complex; the cops on the towers don’t part ways with their sub-machine guns, always ready to pull the triggers at any slight movement. And the gangs seems to fit in for a purpose to play their part in making here earned its name; Panama notorious prison #LaJoya (The Jewel) 😉

On some days, it seems the purpose of the signal jammer is being fulfilled as signal is virtually blocked, one has to wait and hover around different spots that we have discovered to be connected on the www, which can take up some reasonable time; time means so much to a prisoner, we live time daily; time is our existences!

And lately, haven’t been eating well, neither do many here eat well; but not many are into intensive exercise regime as I am. After giving myself a reprieve from torturous weight-training to recuperate from lower-back pain, but then, had taking up boxing, jogging and yoga; dammed kinda took me beyond my limits. But it pays off from how I feel even in a short-term. Gotta work my exercise routine around that now; mixing resistance and proper cardio exercises and good yoga stretches. Had wanted this week out of the gym, but couldn’t resist the weights on Friday; thanks to the cop who took over on Thursday after our headcount; he wouldn’t let people outside, thus, many were confined to the shared-gym hall. Had me pulling out materials for a proper all-rounder Chest workouts; started with flat bench barbbell, then inclined and declined with barbell until i exhausted myself. Then hit some biceps curls and dumbbell swing (improvised as there’s no kettlebell).

One doesn’t need dieting in prison, if you have to live on the prison food, you’ll freakin lose all the guts. But then, it isn’t healthy as muscle is been depleted also. Lately my main meal has been oatmeal + peanuts, does wonders after an intensive workout. Whenever our expensive fruits are smuggled in, I go for bananas and oranges, on Wednesday we had conferences pear and apple (4pcs for $3), went for a bag, forced to hid it from the preying eyes of my mates; too bad had to hide food from my mates, ain’t me, prefer sharing. But not this time. Four Bananas are sold for a dollar, that I share as we eat halves, sometimes with my cereals. The prison food hasn’t improve from what we have been having, but the lentils and beans is ok for me if only they don’t add too much salt. The chicken is scary as they are barely cooked, sometimes they come in cold and with blood. We have to re-cooked it again in order to eat it, sometimes I rather let it pass.

Back to Friday night, couldn’t keep up waiting for signal, but needed to speak with my little boy as he turned seven on Friday, didn’t work out; poor signal, when Schat finally called, line was death, #Carajo señal. Thus, called off my wait for signal and retired to my fortress and my Petit world and with an aggressive form of hunger. My cellmate who’s got a new online love always joined me for my all night, doubt if he knows what I do most of the time when I’m up here alone at night. The norm; anything done on smartphone to them is chatting to a woman or women; depending on how many one could juggle, thus, they think that’s what I do all night. Anyway, he had a cup full of coffee, but five minutes after downing the most-drank beverage in the world, he couldn’t keep his eyes open enough to wait for signal, the coffee didn’t help. We both called off our wait and descended down to our cells.

It was late, while the rest of the pavilion were snoring in the cold weather of last night with a fog so thick outside which will set the cops on the edge all night, some groups were drinking whatever they were drinking. It wasn’t the drink, but the noises of their raised and high voices that was annoying. They showed no respect nor any consideration for those sleeping. Our codes of conduct are unwritten, which we know by heart but regularly broken as we are prisoners; wild men that society couldn’t tamed.

Down in my cell, made me a bowl of muesli + peanuts and also made one for my mate; milk? Powder milk is what have I been doing since my incarceration, the liquid ones are pretty above our league, do get ’em once in a while, but have to be consumed same day or risk of getting bad. We ate in silence so others won’t be disturbed. Read some pages from the new novel I took up 2 days ago. Battled with sleep as I wanted to read more of it, but nature, like it battered my coffee-drinking mate, sent me crashing to sleep within minutes of closing the novel.

Sat 7 Sep 2013
Didn’t get enough of vitamin sleep as my mates came waking me, I knew something is about to come down on us. Phones and whatever illegal gotta be stashed, which abruptly ended my sleep. Set water for coffee as my mind needed something to keep my eyes all open and alert. Different versions of why the early impromptu call; but what made sense most; the cops wants a local whom they said entered our pavilion last night or some nights ago and had been sleeping here. Well, if it’s our local ladee matey from the other side of the fence, she will be waiting patiently for her “time of the month” after leaving here, as she must have done a good round among her several admirers and those willing to pay for her ass-service or mano-libre..

But the frightening thing about today’s shaking is another version of the story from a more reliable source; works in the kitchen. He said, there was an intel that a local from another pavilion had moved a pistol into our pavilion; with the latest trend of the locals having our pavilion as an extension of theirs, one is forced to believe that. Lately, we see the locals wheeling and dealing within and among us. The cops and their inmate-partners in our pavilion paves way for them to come and leave when they feel like; brings to mind, prison isn’t a free market, where traders and buyers are free to opt in and out, its meant to be a place of movement restriction. But not here, our fears are raised with the locals coming here as many could be transporting weapons into the pavilion, if they haven’t been doing that already.

Lately, the lads here are exhibiting undaunted courage as they seemed to have back-ups in case fright breaks out; they can easily reach to their stashed weapons, thus, my guess is right, there are just too many weapons at hand-reach amongst us.
In the past, there had been meetings that the locals shouldn’t be allowed in, and it’s not that we are keen on entering their pavilions; doubt if anyone will love to, neither the one housing the ladies wannabes, they are the most dangerous, with lethal attractions; Le femme fatales 😉

17:19:58! Sat 7 Sep 2013!
Haven’t had my bath all day; shower from a bucket of water should be the right description. No water, thus, a soaked towel is what is keeping me from drenching in sweat. Water finally came around 3pm, but for a few minutes, we have enough buckets/tanks filled for today’s use; if only the lad will be wise with using it.

Lunch, was half-cooked rice, lentils and chunks of fatty beef; had enough lentils + boiled eggs from breakfast, enough to keep me till our next meal comes up. Who knows what they will throw at us later in the evening.

Our big boom-box is back to life as the lads are belting out heavy tunes from Jamaican vibes through to latino rythmns; vallenatos, salsa, merengue, reggaeton, bachata and whatever will go with their drinks and their highs; probably in celebration of the reprieve from the expected search that would have been an early morning punishment. When searches comes, we are sent outside to sit under the weather; sunshine or rainfall, while the cops turned every stone in the cells and in doing so, some thieving cops nicks what little things could be nicked, hiding them their police pants with 1001 pockets. Cops robbing robbers?

Nature-calling… Gotta hit my cell, send a message to Mr. President and finally have a proper shower…. Brb to cover the day and our affairs on the inside (The Belly of the Beast)!

19:48:20 ….. Back to my signal spot which doubles as a mate’s bunk; he built a sort of cubicle on top one of the cells, very comfortable and better than sharing a small cell for six people with about 12-13 people. The only discomfort; he has to get down and use the loo, though several urinary are built upstairs, thus, he can take a leak upstairs along the passage that separates the two rows of cells and can also shower up there, but in the open. But the privacy we all craves for, he gets it, but at a whopping cost; to build an edifice as his, runs into thousands of hard-prison dollars. At the long term, it’s worth it; Privacy! His bunk is my signal spot, can sit outside his bunk all night, but with my back against the wall to have a 180 degrees view of my surrounding, ‘cos this is prison, not a monastery.

Before I left for my nature’s call, we all heard an enormous boooom sound; more of an explosion, despite having Amy Winehouse’s Valerie blasting through my earphones, I heard the sound, so also everyone in the pavilion. When I got down to my cell, a mate who was outside on patio with the cop told me, it was a grenade attack in Pav7 in our sister prison #LaJoyita and there are many injured. The police got the intel on his radio and had to sent everyone in as zero-movement is declared in both prisons. Nothing is new here, I once met a local back in renacer who threw a grenade into a locked cell and killed all the occupants, sometimes to take out one person, comes collateral damages, others got taken along; Gangs liquidation!

As the week goes on, we will get more and clearer intel on what exactly happened. But no matter the mood or mode in the system, our revellers ain’t budge as they are globe-trotting around the world with their music; everyone takes turn to play his type of music, at least something uplifting as it could be dead-dull in here sometimes.

Will need an early night tonight as I didn’t get enough due to the early morning search wake-up call. Apparently, while I was away to attend to nature’s call, there was a lite-brawl; test of strength; one of the lad who has been training with me, looks high on muscle juice, hope he’s not juicing as many seem to want quick muscles without earning in with hardwork. He took on his compatriot, but others came in on time to split them up. And what happened next; angers bottled up for another day, which could be fatal.

My dinner wasn’t bad, but friggin tired of rice, my mate made tomatoes sauce with chunks of beef, with rice, had a bit, couldn’t eat as I want to; maybe from my sleep deprivation. Will have my cereal before hitting my bunk bed.

23:00:48 ….. The time-keeper just blew his whistle, someone did gave a nickname; Chupapito (meaning, D!ck sucker), in prison, there’s always expensive jokes. With the whistle off, music and every other noise should cease, well, some will adhere, but defiant ones will continue and nobody will say a word. Everyone seems to have a way to release his stress but not the depression which will eat them gradually until they cross the threshold and which can only be cured through therapy and medication. No wonder, most prisoners upon released becomes something else.

Whatever happened at our sister’s prison will come sieving through our baskets of informants; mostly the cops themselves and our so-called pastors.

On the inmate whom we heard went AWOL from his pavilion and was suspected to be here; a friend said he saw him on Thursday in our pavilion. Thus, the lad waited to be counted in his pavilion and then vanished and went into another pavilion; and he should be having 7 days to make his escape since that was his plan. But his mates gave him up, funny enough, you won’t know who gave you up. Then starts the blame game. Hope the cops got their man. The lad was with us in renacer, where he escaped with his mates, but were all caught during the carnival, heard one was killed; should have stayed back; told him 😉

Hope it will rain tomorrow, got some laundry to take care of. sleeping around dirty clothes ain’t my thing. This week saw many newbies hauled in, quite a handful of them; In, to begin an uncertain pilgrim journey for self-redemption or self-damnation. The choice is theirs! 😉

Need to plan out a new workout routine for next week; mixing 30 minutes of intensive cardio with my resistance training. Exercises help with focus; if the new cop will open the door to hit patio.

23:51:51…. Thought our revellers will call it quit after the whistle went off, but the lads ain’t abating…… It’s like the feast just got started. They’ll sleep it off tomorrow being Sunday.

What a day……. So much can happen within the 24hrs of day; if only time permits. Our small world, with so many open-secrets.

As I retire to my cell, a part of me will sleep while another watches and remain alert for our alarm when it happens.

“My strength did not come from lifting weights. My strength came from lifting myself up when I was knocked down.” – Bob Moore

#Doingtimeabroad #Lockup #Prison #Jail #Panama #Nederland #Justice #Justitie #America #Panama #crimewatch #Drugs #Guncontrol #Gangs #incarceration #quote #quotes

Our lives, Our fates and Our Journeys; Life In The Slammer.

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama, Doing Time Overseas!!!, Living Behind Bars in Panama, Prison Life on September 4, 2013 by doingtimeabroad

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” #WhoDaresWin

“Enlightenment is the ability to move in total responsiveness in any situation. It is a constant flow of Grace.” ~ Nalini MacNab

Monday 4 Sep 2013
Our fortnightly visit went on smoothly and swiftly. With the new directive from the Director’s office; all pets should be taken out of the prison complex. Our beloved dog and friend to all was taken and adopted by an inmate’s family. My mate who bought her and has been seeing to all the needs will be gutten when he comes back from hospital.

Sort of an irony as the cats and their kittens are still here; though the nursing ones had been thrown out, but late at night, they still make their way into the pavilion; their hunting ground, to scavenge the bins for proper food. I was told, the cops will be coming in to take them all out.

The system seems to show concerns about cats and dogs, what about the venomous unwanted pets; snakes, scorpions and spiders that occasionally find their ways into the pavilions. A lad was once bitten by a coral snake, but survived it, maybe the next man might not be that fortunate. Some edible animals does lost their navigation system and find their way in here; to such, the lads does justice to them… Like the last animal that was caught on the wired-fence; was killed, grilled and proper sauce was made to a well cooked coconut rice, which the lads and the cop on duty had a proper bush-meat lunch.

I hope the authorities with the same zeal they are using to take out the harmless pets will do likewise to those poisonous ones as their occurrences is becoming a daily affair.

Some hardcore inmates brought in liquor from the visit; been drinking all day, hope no drunken brawl later as their voices getting louder. The lads did an all-night bender as they drank to tunes of vallenatoes and salsa.
Tue 3 Sep 2013
Woke up when one of the drunken inmate came crashing, pulling off my curtains demanding liquor; looking for half a litre to buy. Seems the proper stuff they were drinking dried up on them and they now need the locally brew; our moonshine and distil. But waking up that early and destroying my well-made curtain is disrespectful. I cleaned up my bunk yesterday’s afternoon after my intensive exercise outside; washed the beddings, pillowcases (dammit! Need two new pillows), cleaned the walls of all the cobwebs and dust trapped there. Had a different feeling sleeping on a new clean bed; the feeling of freshness and clean beddings.

Out on patio to join others and savour the weather; blazing hot sun. Pav2 (our ladees neighbours were out in their full-bounties; bikinis and fake tits, at a time, their population seemed to be dwindling, but its picking up now, seems our lasses are getting naughtier ;-)), Pav5 (most-religious, but quick to strike religious zealots) were all out for a full patio; football, stretching while the lasses sunbathed in their bikinis giving the lads a good view and something to work on and released the accumulated tension.

Since Friday’s back injury, I’ve decided to take this week off the weights and focus on other forms of cardiovascular exercises; boxing, brisk-walking, jogging and stretching. The Dynamic Yoga book that Schat got for me, comes at hand right now as I’m going through each steps one at a time. Glad I have some diclofenac and vitamin B complex, the combination seems to help with the inflammation. Hope I will be ok to return to the weights by next week.

Today saw lots of proper liquor and cigarettes came into the pavilion; counted about 12 bottles of whiskey and Rum, it’s definitely going be Rhumba in the pavilion. Only the well-to-do and hardcore drinkers will afford the cut-throat price. I’m ok with my Red wine when I have or want to drink.

There’s still elements of proper food from yesterday’s visit, thus, the fiesta mode in the pavilion.

Took a super-nap as I was knackered and dazed. Before my nap, used up my call minutes to give my family a surprise phone call; blimey! They were surprised to hear my voice, as I rarely call, kinda prefer chatting and emails. My lil boy will be 7yrs old on Friday, he can’t wait for it to come. How time flies, missed his three birthdays. Too bad though, as they kept asking, when will I be home. My answer is always same; some day and one day….. Dad will be home.

Back to life in the pavilion; the presence of the locals coming to trade in our midst is raising hairs. Having them inside here is a friggin big risk, which many knows. But nobody is talking, I guess there’s so much murmuring but none dare talk; fear of reprisals and being made to eat one’s words.
00:05:17 Wed 4 Sep 2013 @Signal and sentry post. Not many up tonight, many are getting use to the routine, some prefer during the day, while me and other nocturnal ones do our things at night.

One of the lads has got a terrible skin infections and rashes all over his body; being in a place like this, where none wishes the well-being of the other, a mate said probably he’s infected with #HIV. My opinion?, he should get tested before one rushes into conclusions and starts calling him names.

One of the lads in my cell, did asked me yesterday about hygiene and how one could. Get infected with STD’s, along our conversation; he made mention of his compatriot who is infected and almost died of HIV/AIDS…. Apparently, the lad is on a strong medication with adverse side-effects, but he looks way better than when he was taken out to the infirmary. I hope others knows and understand how to live with him; as distancing will only aid in deteriorating his health, I do my best to be of help when he needs me. Back in the days before he went down, he was one of the nocturnal inmates who will hung out all night snorting, drinking and doing delivery for those in the gym hall who are locked out from their suppliers. He was heavy on dope, then he didn’t know what evil lurked in his frail body, not until he health took a deep dive-in and sent him to the infirmary with #Tuberculosis and all sort of immune infections.

Seen some new faces around, friggin don’t know when they visited us, whatever brought them in here, they are in for the wildest ride of their life; a pilgrim journey to self-redemption. One of the newbies was singing all morning, thought someone had his birthday today, but someone told me, the lad is about crossing his threshold; seen such before, ain’t new. One has to walk his path and works his redemption.

Life goes on…… Who knows what tomorrow has in stock for us? Whatever it brings on the platter, we’ll dine and feast on it with all we have in us.

When I left my signal post to my bed, after reading the latest medical article on BBC on how sleeps helps in the creation of new brain cells, now I have to take my sleep a bit more serious. On my way, some lads were feasting; proper liquor is in, thus, the fiestas…. But on the early morning of Wednesday, they can’t wait for weekend. Well, there is a norm in here about wait and delay; what gotta be done, must be done NOW, as no one knows what will happen in the next seconds or minutes. Thus, creditors are always on their debtors for immediate payment as not even life in the slammer is certain. Just about anything can happen to any one and at any time.

One of our unwritten rules, if a debtor refuses to pay and is finally thrown out of the pavilion, the creditor will have to forfeit that debts as the payment is the removal of his debtor. But some still go after their money one way or the other.

14:47:55 Wed 4 Sep 2013!
Had intensive cardiovascular exercises outside under the blazing sun, no water today, something is wrong with the pipe system. If they ain’t fixed, we will be thrown into another water crisis.

Hit the gym for some free weights, arms and shoulders repetitions, wasn’t bad after two days away from the weight. The boxing exercises is helping with my cardio and stamina, but depletes me and get so fatigue.
Four newbies were hauled in today to begin their journeys with fate into the unknown. In their eyes, one can tell how nervous they are. Sooner or later, they will adapt to the life on the inside. Their compatriots will enlighten them on our way of life.

Need a good super nap, to recuperate. Couldn’t sleep as I was dammed too hungry, an hungry man, can’t get his eyes to shut…… Been upstairs all evening, finally made me a hot soup with three eggs and pimped up the chicken-skin soup that came for lunch; wasn’t bad as I was severely hungry and needed something to replenish my burnout energy.

Weekend is around the corner, how time flies….. Tomorrow #Thursday is our headcount day, hope it goes smoothly. We’re still waiting for our share of the mundiale search, whenever it comes, we are forever ready and waiting!

Hope there will be more rain later tonight as we still need more water to take us through Saturday. Well, I think we need more tanks and container to hold and store the water also.

Might get an early night today as I didn’t nap in the afternoon. But gotta wait as the lads are busy distilling. They need money to keep themselves going. I prefer my wine to the distil thing, still got some juniper berries, might as well try making some dry gin… One of these days. Need some Benjamins to eat good.

Good news from one of our mates who left on repatriation to #Sweden, the lad is finally freed. Nothing like breathing the air of freedom… Money can’t buy that.

Change; whether good or bad can be stressful and our natural reaction are often fear, anxiety or resistance. #PostIncarceration

Well, for those of us inside and still fighting. Our fate, our lives and our journey continues with one day at a time. We strives to stay alive and come out alive and stronger.

“A man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.” – Carnegie

Change Of Guard.

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama, Doing Time Overseas!!!, Living Behind Bars in Panama, Prison Life on September 1, 2013 by doingtimeabroad

“Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.” ~ Liane Cardes

Thursday 29th, August 2013.
Like all military affairs, guards and sentry are routinely replaced by others so those who had been on duty could get some fresh air and refuelled for another round of services. Not so much of a difference with our police guards who with time gradually become part of us; many are on the pay-roll of well-to-do inmates who need them badly to facilitate their businesses! They deal and wheel with us for the benefits of all parties.

The change of guard comes with our weekly head-count, in the past it was a daily affair, but somehow, they got tired or became too lazy as the numbers of inmates spiralled out of control; our pavilion is one of the overcrowded in the centre. They then christened Thursday as their head-count day; being the day those on a week-long shift will be due to change guard for those who had gone home and are refreshed and ready for another one week stay with prisoners, who apparently don’t give a fcuk about their presence.

An inmate once escape during the change of guard; his contact within the rank, had some uniforms sent to him. He dressed up and left with cops as they filed out of the prison complex into his freedom. Smart fella 😉

On all of these Thursdays, we are always on full alert as nobody knows what the cops will pull out from their fleece; they are friggin full of surprises, Impromptu Search!

Thu 29 Aug 2013
17:11:19…. The cop on duty, due for a relief from his week-long duty in the midst of. friendly foes (prisoners ain’t friends of cops, except the turncoat and rats) had made his round for a free-will offering by good-hearted inmates like me. Being a nice Indian-lad, he should be going home with almost his month wages, as inmates dipped their hands and give freely to help/support him; those giving the most are those in business and gets free passages for their wares and transactions (Monkey business like a friend calls it).

Lately, the cops do allow us out to play group/contact sports; football, volleyball and softball, but only and after the group has paid. #MoneyTalks!

His comrades will be coming soon for the weekly head-count and when they come, the mingle and rub minds with their prisoners buddies; hope today’s headcount won’t be disastrous like the previous ones, when we had to be counted over and over again, because some lazy-ass inmates were sleeping and their cellmates failed to woke them up. Our soon-to-leave leader has been making series of reminders on the PA system that everyone should be out for the head-count when the cops shows up, so it will be a swift one. I hope the block heads will grasps that.

My morning was short, drifted into the land of dreams and freedom around 5am after battling the demons of insomnia; lately been finding it hard to sleep, too much on my mind and since the brawl with my cellmate, gotta be especially careful. Two night ago, when I came down from my sentry spot around 4am, found a claw-hammer on the stool beside his bunker, didn’t bothered me, but gave me something to think about; #Alert!

Read few pages from the novel I’m on now, before drifting into sleep around 5ish or later. I tend to read diverse materials; philosophy, fitness, sport nutrition, health, psychology, creative writing, and whatever I find interesting and the holy book #TheBible (the last helps remind me that I have a faith). The bulk of what I read keeps me from dwelling on the mess of my own life, helps with doing time and taking my mind from the torments and misery of life on the inside. #TheBellyOfTheBeast!

Was up by 10ish half awake and half asleep… And by 11am was done to hit the gym, but the door to patio was locked as the cop had sent everyone in; probably his Bossman was on the beat on the centre. Thus, the gym was jammed-packed with inmates, most doing nothing other than chattering and taking up the little gym space; since we share the gym floor with inmates that our overcrowded cells couldn’t accommodate and others thrown out from the little luxury of having a cell and a proper shelter after they must have broken some of our commandments; “Thou shalt not steal” …. isn’t funny, crooks stealing from fellow crooks and inside prison; “some habits are fcuking hard to part with”…. Tells you that prison rarely change people, neither the 24hrs church services in the centre. A man will change when it has dawn on him to change. something gotta happened to precipitate and get the ball of change rolling…. That’s when that change will come.
Workout was intensive, combination of arms and shoulders, got unusual mates who wanted to train with me, but one kept getting on my nerves; I always make out my programs and pick up a set for a particular exercise! the form is more important than the weights. But many, like all men, fcuking love show-off; lad went on same weight with my regular team, warned him to be careful, as accident does happen even in the gym. Dude was mouthy, but I took it with a pinch of salt. Finally promised sharing some of my books and magazines with him, so he can learn some proper forms of training. Hope he does learn as most inmates are damned to wild and wise to be tamed or taught a new thing. Most will walk into the gym, see you dead-lifting a barbell stack with 280lbs and they will want to try it, some for the very first time, many ended with real sore backs. #FoolishOnes.

Done with my workout, was the #LastManStanding, patio door was closed all day. Back in to shower and wash my clothes as there was water this morning, enough to take us through Friday. Lunch came in, had only lentils, bought three eggs, fried and ate with the prison’s lunch lentils; wasn’t bad, but lentils was all salty.

The headcount and we did it swiftly, didn’t bother to stash my phone as it was very late; and nobody stayed back. How I wish it will always be smooth like today’s.

For Dinner, we had chunks of half-cooked chicken, and minced meat mixed with potatoes; chicken is one crazy stuff that should be well-cooked! The lads took the chicken and made soup. Had a bit, was ok, will have my musli before sleeping.

One off the hardcore thieving-cooks working in the kitchen came in from his day’s job, I knew he always nick things, less than five minutes, the lad who hangs outside to help co-ordinate businesses from the locals with their partners here walks in briskly with a tank full of hidden stuff. I marched along like a curious cat, deep inside the tank was the loot while on the top was our half-cooked rice to cover up the loot; Fresh Chicken thighs. And loads of them. Can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Offered to sell me some, got four pieces at $1.50 per piece; my much-needed protein source. Will serve me two meals, but gotta share with my mates, very hard to eat alone when you are all in the same sh!t!

We share almost every little thing, there’s nothing personal here, not even one’s privacy; I crave for this as I sometimes want to be alone to me thoughts, but it’s not possible in such an open-prison like ours, one where everyone bumps into another, sometimes one has to wait for clearance on the passage before moving from one point to another.

At the end…….. “Everything that has a beginning definitely has an Ending.”

The only problem with that quote; what happen in-between the beginning and the end really matters! Thus, one gotta give in his love and hatred to make the in-betweens worth a good end.

01:14:20 on Fri 30 Aug 2013 …. The brawl downstairs by the kennel is getting louder and hotter; who knows what they are sparing for, it’s either money or old beef from the streets that they brought in with them. This is coming after blowing and puffing joints and downing some good quantities of our potent brew. If they can’t be contained, it will spiral into something bloody tonight. When there’s nightly fights, cops don’t bother to come in, they leave us to kill and divide… #JungleJustice

Finished brewing a batch of my much-researched #RedWine; made from Welch’s Red grape juice, a mate is having his birthday tomorrow, will be a gift for him as he’s good buddy. My birthday came and gone; was bathed with flour and eggs (Latino custom), bought grilled chicken, which we dined on and drank like we always do on such occasion. La fiesta en la carcel.

The rate of brewing and distilling is declining as proper juice are coming in from the outside; many prefer to spend all their hard-earned or money sent by loved ones on these expensive and proper liquor once in a while. Freakin expensive, rather buy me a jar of Whey protein and some much-needed fitness equipment and gears and other supplements than spent such a fortune on a bottle of good olde whiskey; ‘ve almost forgotten how proper liquor taste, whatever the taste, they all give one a hangover which my prison wine does, thus, ain’t much of a difference. All one wants from them is to get drunk, which some the lads can really do. But our #Moonshine prison-brew gives one a proper hangover.

One of my cellmates once had a hangover that lasted two weeks; that was his initiation into prison’s moonshine, drinks made on the inside. Some batches made by unprofessional inmates had sent many upstairs, and once the cops perceived alcohol from their breathe; they are left there for self-cure! Some are left to stay out in the cold and after spending all night chained to a bench, they are sent down to the pavilion cured, but without visit to the clinic. Thus, many don’t bothered to be taken when they are hit by our lethal brews. They take the pains silently and quietly like men, they thought they are. All these happens as most just don’t know when to call it quit, they drink beyond their thresholds and become unearthly.

Gotta go in, feeling knackered from my intensive workouts; Doc saw me earlier in the evening and pointed to a protruding vein on my head, warned me to be careful and shouldn’t push myself beyond my limit. He’s right, gotta take it easy; but I need more sleep, of which I barely get. Not in this shoals, the truth… One don’t need much sleep in here, as you are your own guard and guide.

Will call it a night, throw in the towel and head downstairs to my small world; my bunk. A place of solitary and where I can lie comfortably but in discomfort.

00:22:45 Sat 31 Aug 2013
The above was supposed to be uploaded early morning on Friday before hitting my bed, but couldn’t stay up and wait for signal; most nights if not all nights; I’m always the last to leave the signal spot.

Friday was bit quiet, with the lads playing softball outside, making the gym a bit free. Did Chest and Squats, I tried mixing bits of all-rounder; working pull-ups, squats and chest. The consequences of not using belts during the squats is what I’m suffering now; sprained my back, and I’m serious pain, can’t move as I used to. Glad it happened on a Friday, thus, I’ll take off Saturday and

Hope there won’t be search during weekend, as I will be confined to my cell, the young lads helped me today with basic things. Sometimes they are nice, other times, very hard to deal with them. Guess, we just gotta look out for each other; despite we are from different cultures. The prison; a crossroad has brought us from different parts of the world here.

Our Crimes:
Majority of the foreigners here are in for drug-related offences; the younger ones are mostly on robbery charges. While there’re some that are in for fraud, illegal firearms possession, assaults, wanted by a third-party country; extradition and just about anything one can call crime.

But there are some who are in for some hideous crimes; that some criminals see their crimes as the “Mother of all crimes”….. It’s well known that even in prison, criminals hates and loathes certain types of crime; namely #Paedophiles and human parts/organs dealers. Most prisoners will do anything to harm an inmate who had perpetrated those crimes.

After my workout, I asked an old mate of mine for some #NSAID for my backache, while walking to his cell, I greeted another older inmate; my mate wasn’t happy. He asked if I know what crime the man committed. How the fcuk should I know what people did, have got a table-full of my own problems. Told him, got no idea and he replied, “the man is of same faith as I am #Judaism.”, “but I hate him like sh!t”…. When I allowed him to finished, I did asked what the poor fella did that brought him into the belly of the beast!

What he told me got me wondering what sort of a man will do what he was doing before he got busted; the old man was trafficking young girls and boys to men who were involved in a paedophile-ring. Physically, one will never suspect such a man to be trading on vulnerable kids. Who know what sentence the judge will slap at him; whatever he gets, he’ll

Getting signal is becoming very hard, one has to wait for hours before the green light blinks…once its blinks, you rush up whatever you want to do.

Hope it rains tonight, thunders and lightening on the mountains around the centre, we definitely need some rain as our water is never constant. Will be a very big relief if it does pour tonight.

It didn’t rained but drizzles that brought about droplets of water; patiently, I filled five tanks/bucket with rain water when I finally got into my cell.

Weekend before our fortnightly visit, the lads will be gearing up for Monday’s less than an hour visit. For those opportune to be out there, it’s a blessing and a chance to loosen up all the build-up tensions as they cuddle and snuggle with their loved ones.

17:42:34. Sat 31 Aug 2013!
Laid on my concrete bed all morning as the lad did their general cleaning. Wanted to get up, but my body wasn’t willing to be moved; excruciating pain, popped in more painkillers, breakfast was hot chocolate with boiled eggs (2). No workout today, have to rest out the pains and recuperate, if by Monday no improvement, changing my training routine to boxing and other forms of cardiovascular exercises, thus, no more weights, the only resistance exercise will be with my body-weight. Will keep with this routine till I’m well enough to hit the weight room.

Lately, in the gym, most are turning our normal workouts to a sort of contest and competition; very manly, but they seems to forget that there’s no access to the medical when accident happen; which does happen.

Cooked soup; Colombia-sort #Sancocho! Wasn’t bad as we feast on it, before I went back to the much-needed sleep; put about 3hrs into it.

Missed lunch, but up for dinner; chunks of meat and white rice, #Passed! Will do some cereals or peanut butter and bread much later with warm chocolate drink.

My mates downed some of my Red #Wine; well, Red moonshine! But close to the real thing. The pavilion is quite quiet tonight, maybe I’m not hearing much happening as I have my ears plugged with earphones; listening to #CoffeeBreakSpanish, thanks heavens for Torrents… 😉

23:41:51 Sat 31 Aug 2013!
Our internet centre size is dwindling as many are drifting away to their hideouts for the night. My lower back feel real sore, can’t bend or move with ease, hope I feel better by Monday.

Another barrages of gunshots, there was some yesterday’s night; heard there was an escape among the locals. There’s no doubt, today’s is also another escapes, the cops always know where to get them; mum’s house or with girlfriends who have been visiting them in prison (forgetting that the cops has all their details) and the fiesta-loving ones are caught during the carnival.

If the cops waits a little longer; what brought them in at the first time, will bring them in again….. Greed and Money! And that brings me to a subject I have been brainstorming on…… “What is Money”?

What is money;
Money, is the stuff of dreams, the cause of arguments, the source of both pleasure and anxiety. We hold it in case we don’t die, but we spend it knowing that we will. We invest it with our affections and disaffection. There are clean and dirty money! The later has gotten most of us here! Money, the bible say is the root of all evil…… But I believe, it’s the heart of man that is the root of all evil…. In his heart, he desires more and more of everything.

“We are not trapped by the mistakes of history (the past)[sic], we are masters of fate.” ~ President Obama (50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s ‘Dream’ Speech)

“You’re Not Going to Get BETTER Crying about What Was! Take Back your Life… NOW!” ~ Tony Robbins

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