Archive for November, 2013

Title: Dr. Arthur Porter; The case of a doctor in the midst of ailing inmates in the Jungle.

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on November 20, 2013 by doingtimeabroad

‘They want him, but we need him here’

 

“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.” ~ Mark Caine

 

I have been on this piece for a very long while, but sheer laziness kept me from finishing it, not the lack of words or what to write. But laziness and sometimes not just being in the mood; those moments of mood swings, when you just want to lay back and watch life as it revolves around its axis and that life is our prison life, one that has brought a man of a different calibre into our midst, the man, Dr. Arthur Porter, a renowned urologists from Canada, embroiled in scandals, that has the Canadian sending out sentinels in search of him.

 

It’s amazing how and where the tide of life will take a man to; like a leaf that falls into a flowing river, its destination is unknown. Some men knew from the outset that they are destined for the slammer; others, out of circumstances end up with a stint in the slammer, some will go home bagging some bitter-sweet experience and lessons learned, the hard way. But, others will acquire new skills for their swift trades and becomes the artful dodgers of the underworld; with webs of contacts and new skills; the light-fingered ones, successful for a while with their new skills, but will soon become what they now call ‘re-offenders’, who will live to earn air-miles for prison time ;-), that raise a question, shouldn’t government be giving air-miles for frequent time-doers? 

 

Prison might not be the best of places you want someone to stay (except you are the state prosecutor, the sentencing judge, the cops and finally the big brother; The Government)… And of course the victim if the person’s crime or charges was perpetrated against someone else.

 

Unfortunately, for those of us slammed in one of Latin American notorious prison; La Joya Carcel, Panama, there comes a time, when the need arises that you will want a certain inmate to stay because he and his services and skills are needed and in great demand; then you wish and pray that he remain a little longer. That was the case of our only qualified physiotherapist and masseur, who spent months inside for being a suspect. His case clearly shows how Panama’s judicial process flaws. The lad was always busy round the clock; massaging and strengthening bones and ached backs of inmates caused from sleeping on the concrete-slab-bed. His service was in high demand, sometimes he spends hours in a cell working on three or more inmates. Since his release, we are back to what many thought is the best alternative to solving our aches; popping painkillers and NSAID’s (apparently, recent research shows that, these painkillers aren’t friendly to our hearts, but not too many here knows about that, we’ve got bigger problems to worry about)

 

For hundreds of men locked up for whatever crimes they have committed or accused of committing as in most cases, these ones were blessed when a much-needed Doctor was brought in their midst. A doctor, not the quack ones we had in the past, fleecing us of our money, stealing over-the-counter drugs from the infirmary meant for their fellow inmates and selling them back to us in the population.

 

But with this new doctor; he is the real one when you talk of medical practice. On hearing of him on the panamanian quick-to-report crime media, and after running queries upon queries online on this one man that has raised storms in Canada, Panama and other countries. I’m confident that he is the man that will bring that little change to our health problems.    

 

When we first saw the news on TV, not too many knew the calibre of a man he was. To most of us here, we are concern with the who is who of the underworld; many are familiar with all the bad-ass kingpins of the crime world, but someone like Dr. Porter, he had lived a different world from ours, well, until now.

 

Panama as we have come to know, is like the Bermuda triangle for The US, and Interpol; anybody wanted or flagged by interpol and mistakenly had a stopover in Panama is fished out and handed over. Uncle same is definitely using Panama to fish out all their wanted; which prompted Russia in a recent article to warn their citizens wanted by America about travelling to countries with extradition treaty with America, they could/will be seized/kidnapped and handed over to the yanks without any due judicial process. But the yanks would never have Panama hand over their own to any country as it was in the case of the former Italia CIA bureau chief (Mr. Lady) who had been sentenced in absentia in Italy for kidnapping a supposed-terror suspect without the knowledge of his host country (Italia)…. When Panama had him, while the Italian were preparing documents to come get their big fish, the yanks whisked him home to safety (Double-standard)

 

When the news came up, we weren’t expecting him to be brought here due to his person and his status in Canada, but then, one can never predict anything in Panama. We had thought he will be kept somewhere far from the stench of our misery. But then, those of us who follows news and activities within our host country, we’ve come to understand their workings; to break a man’s willpower, humiliates him; from the transitional hold-up, constantly in chains and fetters, and slammed up with the locals who are known to be abusive to foreign inmates. All these and more are to break one’s willpower and resolve, which at the long run could lead an innocent accused to accept charges he didn’t commit, all to get away from the momentarily torments. 

 

The moment I saw the news, I scrambled online  queries for all I could gather about the man himself; wow! A library full of information about this one doctor, it’ll be a big relief having him in our midst. A doctor embroiled in scandals; and one strange thing about scandals is how they tend to pile one on top of the other. But then, he is innocent till proven guilty by the Canadian court of law. 

 

While Panama and Canada were wrangling on what to do with Doc, on hearing he is being transferred to La Joya, then we knew he will be sent to one of the  three pavilions that accommodates foreign inmates. Thus, having him with us was like a game of lottery, but ours happened to be the chosen one.

 

Upon arrival, many took him for what most of us are or were; worthy of being locked up! But he was and is far from what most of us are or were (as many has found Christ and also found their redemption on the inside; hope it last, as I have seen bible-carrying inmates returned to the same hole within months of released; they are never rehabilitated or the government made an alternative from the life of crime for these men)

 

Once processed and brought in, he wasn’t taken to a cell, with an already-made bed, wash hand basin, reading table with a lamp and a chair; such luxury are what we only dream of or see in movies, ours are shadows of what we see or read of what prison should be; a place of punishment and rehabilitation. The pavilion is overcrowded, thus, on the inside, he is on his own; Makeshift bed, hammock, on the floor (in the multi-purpose hall; used for gym, church services, indoor football, basketball and also our casino royale hall). And finally, he has the option of building a small shank on top of the cell; but then with permission from inmates in the cell below. It’s a big dilemma which every new inmate faces on his first day in the pavilion.

Adapting to life on the inside is what every inmate who will in through that massive steel doors will definitely do, and that is the most difficult phase after leaving the transitional hold-up; one always leave there with the thought of going to a better place. But, there’s a bigger picture of torments that awaits every newbie that is hauled in here.

 

The stench of sweating men, inmates cramped together like they are in Hitler’s concentration camp, lack of sleep-space, shortage of water; these and more will unfold before the inmate who is still nervous and edgy as he’s yet to understand the moda operandi of the pavilion. Sooner or later, without being told, he will get to know and understand our unwritten codes of conduct which are unwritten golden rules that guides and keeps on the straight and narrow path; how I wished it does!

 

With Doc. in, we were able to arrange a space for him and a makeshift bed becomes his new bed, an eye-sore from what he has known to be bed before now; which is better than nothing. We couldn’t stand and see him scramble for floor space in the gym hall. The same hall sees a new transformation in the evening when all daily activities has ceased; mattresses, cartons, mats and whatsoever at hand are laid for the much-needed night rest. Many are aged men who will want to nap in the afternoon, but can’t do that, some naps sitting on tanks of water or on bare floor. For those of us with bunks, we suffer the same fate; noises from cellmate won’t allow one close his eyes for much-needed afternoon nap, and you can’t complain, as they all claim everyone has same rights.

 

Sooner as he settled in, his service was already in demand as many lined up with their never-ending problems. The funny thing among most inmates, we tend to ‘not’ think about other’s problems; as each has got enough problems to keep and give him sleepless nights, sends him to the bottles or caused relapse of habits which they want to cure, but fell back to more indulgences.

 

Being a doctor, he is full of one vital virtue which most inmates don’t have, but in abundance in every prison; Patience, this is needed to attack or avenge one’s enemy, needed for the never-ending judicial process. Doc definitely has that as he’s always listening to everybody that comes to him, despite not understanding the local language; Spanish! And after listening, he doles out advices to inmates on what to do. Personally, I’m a recipient of his service, as I’m always around to get information on my health and what to, what medication to take. I must confess, he does better than the prison doctors at the unstaffed clinic.

 

The norm in the prison with sick inmates; they are left to die before taken to the unstaffed clinic, if one comes back alive and with a date for follow-up visit. He should forget it as it will never happen; couple of weeks ago, the cop in charge of taking inmates to the clinic was here on a Saturday and demanded $15 for anyone who wants to go to the clinic. That is the worse gamble ever, one could get there and no doctors or the pharmacist is gone, there goes your $15 into the drain, same dough could feed an inmate for days. But then, an inmate with $15 will rather buy himself a bottle of moonshine or wraps of joint or lines of el Blanca to help with the pains and mood swings that comes with the torments of life on the inside.

 

The fortunate ones taken to the clinic, always return with medications to sell in the pavilion, my pharmacist-cellmate is their biggest client as he buys anything medicine and resell to others! Internet was the only source of queries for all the different drugs we get in here. Finally with Doc around, my mate is relaxed as Doc does what google was doing for us. Recently, he bought one that needs to be kept cool and it’s probably one sent to someone with #HIV; the lad didn’t know what to do, when Doc told him, it must be kept cool, meaning buying ice daily, my mate wouldn’t think of spending his money for friggin ice. As of the last time I checked, the syringes and vials of the drug, it is still there in his bunk. Prison business; you win some and lose most!

 

Since Doc came in here, I bet the doctors at the clinic will be over-the-moon as they rarely see inmates from our pavilion; many seems to get their diagnosis from Doc and get the necessary medications from our different pharmacists in the pavilion. Matter-of-factly his presence is of great importance to us and a huge relief, what he is doing now, is what the former director of the prison promised; a stand-by medical officer on the premises that will work round-the-clock to meet and attend to emergency. That promise and many others were made after the lad with HIV-AID died from negligence, the lad was sent back from the hospital to die; the doctors in the hospital knew he was dying, they literally sent him back and that was what happened to him; Dead as a door knob!

 

His presence in the pavilion has boosted the moral of the lads; just a few minutes chat with him tends to achieved positive effects on the lives of many.

 

Talking about emergency; a lad who was on a bender one night and got involved in a drunken brawl, had a mild heart-attack the next day. Apparently, this lad is a very quiet type; workouts alone and works in the kitchen, doesn’t seem to be nicking things like the others, he drinks occasionally, but when he drinks, flippin drink like an Irish; apparently, we have an Irish lad now in our midst. 

When he collapsed and Doc was called up; he did what doctors should do, had him hook up on his oxygen machine, the lad was on it for about 3 or more days. Fully recovered and went about his daily routines, all because we have Doc here. If we had depended on our alarm system (banging of the doors) and finally gotten the cops in here, it would have been another story with a sad ending. We have seen, first-hand and heard such stories of negligences from panama’s prison authorities and mistreatment of prisoners; prisoners left to withered away and die. 

 

An inmate who earns his living from making ropes of all types, sizes and breadth; turns our used ice-bags into ropes, which he uses for a whole lot of things. He makes hammocks and hangs them up on the ceiling of the pavilion like cobwebs, makes fences with same ropes, which marks the borderline and boundaries of one cell from another and other things; I will call him the spiderman of the pavilion ;-). But this spiderman missed a step and fell when he went to get ice, broke/sprained/dislocate/strained his ankle and whatever parts of his legs. The lad was wheeled out, taken to the clinic and had bandage wrapped around his swollen ankle. The doctor referred him to the main hospital in the city for x-ray and further treatment, but the cops refused to take him there; citing lack of transportation…. But we see enough police vehicles patrol our wire fence every 15mins round the clock.

 

Like others; his only resolve is taking medical advice from Doc, and help from his mates who are regularly massaging his legs with warm water. Whatever is done is done blindly as nobody knows what has happened inside his legs; it could have been a fracture, sprain or strain or even a dislocation, but without x-ray photos no one is sure. Such is our plight in the joint. We live in the dark and everything is done in the dark, even the sweetest taboos of prisoners 😉

 

Most countries would love to keep their prisoners alive to do their time, not Panama, as one dead is one less problem for the system. But thanks to Doc presence amongst us, our mortality’s rate will be greatly reduced and more chance of survival if we can get to him with the onset of any emergency in the pavilion. In the past, we had the thieving-trained nurse, who was always selling all the medical supplies from the infirmary; dude rarely touch any sick inmate, you are sick and in need of medication; he offer to sell what is freely ours, never gave anything freely; to him and many like him, it’s strictly business. We’re glad that he is gone, when he left, he sneaked out as he wasn’t in good terms with many here. Even on the outside, he is more evasive than he was on the inside, I’ve kept contact with him since he left, but rarely tell me where he is; probably scare of payback from people he had stepped on their toes. Where he comes from, most dispute are settled with pulling of triggers of plunging of knives; there’s nothing like civility, freakin archaic and barbaric societies.

 

It’s couple of months since Doc was hauled in here, on the state of our health and well-being, I must say he has contributed immensely to what we are now. His advices has made many realised and focus on what could be their problems or what could have brought about their early demises, in the past many will juggled with symptoms and walked to my cell to meet my pharmacist-cellmate, whose major preoccupation is to sell his merchandise. Tell him how you feel, he sells you his products, sometimes overhearing him dabbles what his products does, I always intervened, on some good days, he calls me to run a google search on some of his wares; to have an idea of what he’s buying from inmates who are in dire need of cash and are forced to sell off their clinic-issued medications or ones sent by families or Embassies. 

 

One of the recent deaths, had walked in the night before he died and got some Aspirin; he was feeling strong, nagging headache, if Doc was here, I believe he would have taken his #BP and been able to diagnosed a better remedy for the dead man. Well, probably that was the man’s destiny and fate; despite waiting to be released. After his death, his son and fellow companions were released a week or two later. C’est la vive….. 😦

 

So far, so good, for now we are contented with Doc. in our midst, but for how long will he be here; The Canadians want him and he might as well be granted bail to remain outside and fight his case, whenever he is gone, his absence will be felt by many, specially those who are his patients with chronic ailments and those he makes rounds to their cells to check on them daily.

 

Since Doc. came, surprisingly we haven’t had any serious case to raise our clanging alarm system to alert the cops for a sick inmate who is in urgent need of medical attention. Most cases are attended to by Doc and the next day they are taken to clinic where medication are given if there is any or if those lazy-ass nurses are willing to attend to them.

 

#Christmas is around the corner, and it’s been a fast-paced journey as time seems to flies when one is busy with time. Doc. has been in for couple of months now. If he’s here for Christmas, then it will be his 1st with us and his first in the jungle; there always a first time for everything 😉

 

As a doctor, he knows the importance of exercises more than most inmates here. Wakes up very early for bout of cardio as he walked the field, and lately he’s adding weights and resistance training to his exercise regime, which I believe will help alongside his treatment.

 

So far, so good, Doc is doing what any doctor in this situation will do; helping those he can. He has recently moved from his cell to a more spacious built-up cell around the gym hall. He’s more comfortable up there than his previous cell which is like a five-star hotel’s kitchen; cooking, frying, baking and distilling round-the-clock. The Chinese who had a near-fatal brawl in his previous cell, moved into Doc’s old cell and these LiL mings are cooking and frying all day. While the Jamaicans are busy baking, frying dumpling and distilling our potent liquor for the buoyant and vibrant market in the centre.

 

Thus, he moving from that cell is a great relief for him.

 

The Americans made an impromptu sweep of all their wanted in last Thursday nocturnal visa. We don’t know what surprises Canada has rolled up on their sleeves for Doc, if they will take to the yanks way of doing things; by-passing all legal protocols when it comes to getting what they want. For now, Doc is definitely fighting his extradition. Whatever will be the outcome, we know, the time he spent with us here was probably the best for the lads as many benefited from his skills and services in one way or another.

 

Like everyone of us here; we play the number games, everything about a prisoner’s life is all about numbers and figures. One’s sentence comes in months, then comes the waiting and counting. Our days are lived in numbers, even in some prisons, a prisoner loses his name and takes up a number which he will be known until the day of his freedom; then will he ceased to be numbered.

 

Thus, his days are well-numbered, who knows when he will leave, but then, he will sure be missed for all his services. But for now, we will enjoy his services as he’s here with us. 

 

Talking about numbers; whoever thought of attaching numbers to prisoners must have been a genius. Inmates are so attached to numbers, that our cells, walls, bedsides and newly cemented floors or walls are marked with numbers which holds meanings of importance to the creator. It could a birthday that took place while he was banged up, could be a date he lost an important person in his life (mostly gang members), could be numerical gang codes, or inmates keep tab with how much time left from their sentences. The favourite games amongst inmates here are Dominoes, paquet (Dice game), cards games and some of us while away our time with Sudoku, which is pretty fun. The other ways numbers are used amongst inmates are on the dark side; timing for a strike is very important and well-chosen and calculated; once gangs struck on their foes at the appropriate time they knew they will cross paths, and that was when the foes returned from visit and the attackers were allowed to walk out. Which was a wrong move by the cops; ended in 4 death inmates and visiting families saw enough slashing and blood that day!

 

Thus, Doc like everyone of us is in the numbers game; waiting and counting days as the roll by. Sooner than he thought, days becomes weeks, weeks becomes months and months eventually become years upon years. One is never tired of patiently waiting. At the end, like my cats, whom a fat reward of pure juicy rat meat awaits them after long hours of patiently waiting for one wrong turn by the unsuspecting rat.

 

If we are waiting for anything, doubt if it’s the rats that are chewing their way into everything they come across. But one thing I know everyone under the pavilion’s roof are waiting for now is #FREEDOM!

 

When we try to help others, when we concern ourselves with their lives and what we can do to provide assistance, we are showing ourselves our inner strength and our courage. It’s easy to walk past, and do nothing. It takes courage to face them and acknowledge their situation. It takes a great deal of inner strength to reach out and help them.

 

[Those who view everything as a result, neither a success or failure, tend to do a little better. Even what most would call a disaster can be a learning moment, and therefore, a success of some sort. Every successful result can be built on the ruins of one’s past failures, like they say; nearly every major city in Europe is built on the rubble and ruins of a prior city. Thus, the lesson; Learn, and build again. Not every failure is a failure if you learn from it and never repeat it again.]

 

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” – Dale Carnegie

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Prison: Where inmates rewrite stories of their lives.

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on November 18, 2013 by doingtimeabroad

Prison: It’s like a writer creating characters, setting them in a situation with opposing forces and alternatives and the characters dealing with circumstances, choices, and a plot to survive the situations. In his course of survival, the circumstances becomes more and more complicated, more grave, that it reaches a point of crisis. At the end, the prisoners like the main character of a story is driven by the force of their own personalities into their destiny!

 

Thus, once banged up, one is set in motion by the internal and external forces to move forward, backwards or remain stagnant; and at the end, the character’s destiny is in his own hands!

 

Prison: where inmates re-learned the first rules of the game very well & go out to break them again. Apparently, we’ve copies of Panama #PenalCode in here. Makes me wonder why copies are left in the population…..probably for inmates to know which part of the law they have broken ! #LifeInPrison

 

Memo 2 November Mon 11 Nov 2013

 

Took 2x400mg of liquid-gel Ibuprofen before hitting bed last night, woke up with less backache, don’t want to depend or hook on #Painkillers, can be devastating. #Addiction!

 

Know a mate who is hook on painkillers, lad can’t function without doses of his painkillers, he’s now using stronger ones, each visit to the infirmary always end with him fighting with staffs for more painkillers. Sometimes he comes begging, which I can’t denied him, he was my first training partner and a old-school gym rat; knows loads of training techniques and also seen tons of prison walls intercontinentally. Too bad, in friggin pains now.

 

Gym was scanty; visit day & secondly, no water, a mate gave me a tank, which I shared with my cellmate/training partner. Don’t know what will happen next, we will need water for use in the loo. And there’s no sign of rain now or later. 

 

The lads are back from visit, all smiling with bags full of goodies and what had been smuggled in. There’s so much food in the pavilion & things for sale, some are dealing & wheeling their foodstuffs to pay debts or sustain die-hard habits, which ain’t easy to wean off.

 

Last night, an old hawker was walking around with a 2×4; his debtor whom one of his creditor gave him a sleep-space (creditor wanna be close to his debts) wouldn’t pay. Why sell to him, when he doesn’t pay his old bills; that’s the most stupid thing here, competitions is driving dealers, traders to trade in credit, and at the end they lose as most debtors won’t pay.

 

The lad was kicked out from the cell next-door to mine; bad habits, snorting & all sh!t had his cellmates sent him packing. Not easy now! Same debtor owes my pharmacist-cellmate, but my mate ain’t worry about the money; counts it as bad-debt!

 

The lad is a walking corpse, but won’t give up his habit, maybe, that’s his own way of dealing with stress on the inside. Many’re like him, something gotta keep them functioning.

 

#Workout was #HIIT #Back &#Triceps + bit of #Abs! Short of breathe…. Too hot, had to down some cold gatorade to help with the heat in the gym, and we definitely need some rain. 

 

Our new #Shemale was out for visit, wonder whom she had today. She must’ve been a competition to the many flat-chested/flat-ass female visitors ;-), but she look her best.

 

17:23:02…friggin hot in the pavilion; adding salt t o injury… Still no water; scare of munching on food brought in by the lads from visit, especially the salads, though much better than our prison food.

 

Finally left for our signal spot, the spot is above our sewage passage and drain, where my fork fell in, had to get it, getting in metal cutlery is very difficult, have had that fork for more than 3yrs now; always hid it during search as cops will take anything metal; could be a fatal weapon in the wrong hands at the right time. After the lad whose hands it dropped brought it out, boiled it in hot water and bleach to kill whatever germs on it, now it’s back in service.

 

The metal on the signal post is carving in from strains of people constantly standing on it. Soon it will collapse like other parts up here. Hopefully I will be lucky this evening to get access, there’s so many people up here.

 

My cellmate whose got scalp infection is really suffering from it, after several bouts of self-medication and treatment, when it all seems to recede, it all came back with vengeance, all over his head. He’s got it for about 4yrs now. Worst thing about it, the doctors knows what’s wrong with him, but won’t tell him, kept plying him with different medications that ain’t helping. His mate, who was in same case with him, died of #HIV #AIDS. complications, pray, he’s not infected!

 

After running queries upon queries online, found out his medications are what #HIV patients use. Leaves a big ??? on my mind!

 

Medical conditions in the pavilion is awful; inmates are left for death before they are wheeled out in wheelbarrow to their fates, many survives, but the unfortunate ones won’t make it pass the first police post as they take their last breathe. Though Doc presence here, has really helped and changed a lot. Many go to him with medical and health-related questions, and he always make out time to attend to everyone. He’s got some patients he makes morning rounds to their cells, which is uplifting and hopeful for them; at least someone cares about their welfare and their pitiful conditions.

 

The Bahamas pilot finally gave in to be extradited after falling ill, and waited for treatment, which never came. He knew in America prison, he will be treated of whatever ills he’s got. But for the justice side, hope he gets a fair trial.  America want their #Prisoners alive to do their time, thus they will do all to keep him well and alive if found guilty. #Lockup #AmericaPrisonFacts

 

Had a enough for today; lentils that came in for lunch + drumstick from my mate who went out for visit + Papaya, breakfast was Banana + coffee. Eat less = Sh!t Less #WaterCrisis

 

Lately, the locals been storming our pavilion in numbers, their mates here allow them in, after they had greased the cop’s hands. Their coming in ain’t for good. Problem brewing!

 

The foreigners pavilions are the main hub of businesses in the centre; whatever the locals nicked within their pavilions are brought here on our open and free market; a trader or dealer is never threatened or ask to pay dues, and there’s freedom of movement in our #MarketPlace; very good environment to do business, but one must be wise as many end up bankrupted due to unpaid debts. Despite all the beatings and threats, a once buoyant and fat trader/dealer can decide to throw in the towel for good, since he can’t get his debts to keep up with business. 

 

Some dirty jobs that can’t be done are given to the locals to do; like the case of our ex-president that had his jaws broken & still hospitalised 1week now, someone in here had suspected him of being a turn-coat or sapo as they call snitches here. Paid the locals to do him, and they did him properly; broke his jaws which will require reconstruction. And the lad never had teeth, lost quite a few since he got banged up; whoever paid for that job, specifically wanted all the lad’s teeth taken out, thus, the blows to his mouth; heard he is in dire condition, wish him speedy recovery. 

 

Dental care here is like hunting for unicorn; the dentist is specialise in removing teeth, he doesn’t fix anything, if anyone succeed in booking an appointment with him, no matter what little need be done to one’s teeth, he will yank it off. Seen a mate who went to him and had three teeth removed on same day. I’m doing everything to protect my shinning! Wouldn’t want to leave here like a vampire with fangs 😉

 

Now back to the locals encroaching into our congested space. The last incident is one  that has brought chills to our spines; last week, a local walked into our pavilion with a loaded pistol, probably on extortion mission; one amongst us must have paid him to come in with the gun and threatened someone, likely a debtor who is not willing and ready to pay. #PrisonBusiness #PrisonViolence

 

That incident is raising tensions amongst us, from intel, the lad did flashed someone the piece, maybe that was what he was asked to do. Whoever he came here for, is probably owing someone. To this lads, it’s not the amount owed, but the guts of not paying. I have seen inmates got slashed, stabbed and disfigured for debts less than $5! In prison, it’s all about dignity; one we all lost when those cuffs were hung on our wrists like giant silver armbands.

 

Our new president is trying to put a stop to the locals coming in here for good; in doing so, he’s also putting his life on the line of fire. Foreigners can’t walk into their pavilions, dare it, you’ll be skinned and eaten alive, but them, and because of their cronies, they are so free to come in as much as they want, sometimes, they come in here, spent hours, dining, smoking and drinking with us; one is left to wonder what all the gates and locks are meant for. Well, if someone could leave his cells and right under the nose and watch of the cops, sneaked into the director’s office and nicked a fan; then anything is possible. I’ll sneak and nicked my way out of the centre, than nicking a fan and back to my cell.  

 

We all hope, there will be an end to the locals coming down here, for now, we just have to live with it; constantly watching over our shoulders with our backs on the wall.

 

19:59:02 on Mon 11 Nov 2013….. Some crackhead inmates are grilling meats on the #BBQ rack, wondering who is so stupid to do that in an enclosed place like this. The air is stuffy with the smoke from their #BBQ, it’s choking, all our laundries will suffer from their BBQ smokes. Everyone is above the law here!

 

A mate did bring me a piece of the grilled chicken, wasn’t bad, taste very different, like home-cooked; some inmates don’t just want to accept that they are in prison, certain things shouldn’t be thought of, guess that’s why they call here prison; to deny one certain things like BBQ and Pu**y, but the latter, some are bedding whatever or whoever they can 😉

 

20:38:35 on Tue 12 Nov 2013

 

Another hot day in the jungle, our water crisis is pushing us to the wall, wondering what will be the next step of action. Few are buying water from the locals; the only way to get water. Seems the locals cut us off from the prison water supply, so they could profit from selling water to us. Those who can’t afford it are silently complaining, we need one-united voice to fight against the injustice within these walls.

 

Still went out today and had a good #Chest workout, glad I went out early, as I was disturbed by inmates who flocked in and wanted to train with me. We had a good-ass and excruciating workout. Was worth the time.

 

We’re still feasting on our yesterday’s leftovers from the visit. Trust my cellmates, they can always turn stone to bread. Had my sauce with lentils that came on the lunch cart. After lunch, tried napping, but too knackered for that, no idea of what came for dinner; cold cereal will be okay later tonight.

 

A lad selling pizza (we bake anything that can fit into out prison-made oven), fell after getting his foot trapped in one of the many holes on the metal flooring on the passageway above the cells. His pizzas fell with him, that’s money and hard-labour gone as nobody will eat from those fallen pizzas again. Inmates spit, urinate and throw all sorts of bins there.

 

Should be having an early night tonight, damned too tired……apparently, couldn’t and didn’t get my early night…#PrisonLife

 

Wed 13 Nov 2013

Woke up to noises of my mates hustling for water, it’s pathetic what the water crisis is turning us into. There’s been series of fracas during our quest for water; setting your tanks and having some moved it to a different position which ends up in heated verbal arguments or inmates getting physical like it happened one evening. Didn’t expect such in my cell, but this morning as the tap ran, which ran less than 5minutes; the lads were busy filling their personal tanks while there was no water in the general tanks for toilet use.

 

When I objected what they were doing, they weren’t happy, I rather let it out as it is than bottled it up and speak behind their backs as the do when I’m off to gym each morning.

 

Anyway, left for school, boredom like always, but keeping up with everything, and so much to be done. Without internet access, will be hard to complete most of my school work ;-), back to basic….using dictionary!

 

Back from school, met a supposed-to-be lady, but was one of the full-trans dressed like a proper ladee walking around and savouring the attentions from lads locked up in their different cells. Her presence caught us unaware, but then, she is a man! Period.

 

The director and his entourage were having a tour of the centre while prisoners-workers were digging up trenches for our new water pipelines; this is probably the 3rd time that pipelines will be lain to transport water to our pavilion and at the end, it becomes a white elephant project.

 

We are made to believe, it’s probably the locals who are benefiting from sales of water to us, are sabotaging our pipelines whenever they are set up and working. We’re been levied again like other previous water projects; we paid, but no water. Hope this time it will work for good.

 

My mood with my cellmates today is a bit cold, after the morning water scuffle, I’ve made up my mind to be more careful with dealing with them. Though I always try to keep and end  loggerheads on daily basis, try never to take it serious; we’ve lived together for such a long time, I sort of trust them for my safety, and they also hold me at high esteem; being older than the younger ones and second-oldest in the cell.

 

It’s a clash of cultures and civilisation, prison acts as a crossroads for merging of these diversely cultures. All we are left to do is, adapt, adjust and improvised; accept what you can, let some slide and keep one’s distance, then you earned your respect. In prison, it’s how you carry yourself, so will others see you.

 

Took a short and much-needed nap, only to wake up with itching eyes and burning nostrils; I’m the only one in my cell who cooks with “Hot Chilli”….. Thus, when I woke up to burning sensation on my eyes and nose, I knew what it was; canisters of gas had been thrown, and thank heaven for wind, which blew all the gases to our pavilion. The action was in Pavilion 8; the second of the three pavilions meant for foreigners. But from what I later found out, pavilion 8 is no longer for foreigners alone; the authorities sent in 40 local inmates who couldn’t be housed anywhere in the centre with their fellow locals; due to gangs war. But having the locals (mostly young adults) with grown-up and old foreign inmates doesn’t work. From intel coming in, there are gangs within the walls of the pavilion, and these young lads seeing how the foreigners tend to live in affluent wealth will want to resort to extortions and thefts. We have gangs in ours, but not to the point of threatening each others with guns. That’s what happened in pavilion 8, guns and several weapons are smuggled in; keeping tension in the pavilion very high.

 

Gun incident in our pavilion has always been locals sent by our fellow foreign inmates to threatened their fellow inmates for unpaid debts or street war that spiralled into prison. Sometimes, the locals are used to pestered and threatened an inmate whom the prosecutors are keeping as a useful witness. It has happened before, faeces and all sort of rubbish were hauled at an inmate to change his statement.

 

The gun incident in pavilion prompted the search that brought the director and his entourage to the pavilion, doubt if the gun was found. At the end, everyone will be punished, the gangs are always above the law as cops are always scare of reprisals by gang members on the street. We do have some locals in our pavilion; but they are/were locals with dual-citizenship (American/Panama); some opt to live with us where it’s much quiet than with their fellow compatriots.

 

Guns and other form of weapons flow in freely into the centre through means that has been in use since the first inmate discovered he has to proof a point by doing someone or protect himself from getting done; reasons, we have weapons! 

 

A mate has been experimenting with different flavours for his liquor, finally perfected the use of coconut to distil moonshine and come up with a #Malibu #CoconutLiquor flavour. Tasted it, wasn’t bad, the flavour was overwhelming for a first try and he did well. Well done lad, our faithful clients will be queuing for this, hope they make some profits before copycats jump into it; though, most of our distillers ain’t too keen about flavours as their clients are ok with whatever they distilled.

 

Signal was a bit ok, was able to update my blog with an article on stress, depression, and bipolar disorder; worth sharing.

 

Back in my cell, as #Christmas is around the corner my cellmates like others in the distil business are busy distilling in anticipation of buyers from within our population and from the locals who are one of the biggest clients; they prefer quantity to quality.

 

It will be another yuletide in the slammer, how time flies, six inmates were released earlier today, hope they will make it out from the immigration before Christmas. A Jamaican lad is due or overdue; waited for five months for his papers to be processed. The lad did an extra five months after finishing his time; how pathetic the system is.

 

Thu 14 Nov 2013

Our weekly headcount day and also pay day for the on-duty cop; he will get more if he was a good cop. The lads seems to like him as he allows us outside, but sometimes he will want us behind the building so that his bosses at the admin block won’t see us. When he did made his rounds, he sure did get enough, sometimes they get more than monthly pay-check.

 

Today was my cleaning day, enough water from yesterday, waited while my mates did their morning rituals before cleaning. A cup of coffee and banana was my breakfast before hitting gym for #Shoulders and #Arms #HIIT workout. The gym was full, but managed to gather enough weights for my solo workout before my training partners will join me.

 

The Jamaican who did more five months on his time was finally hauled to the immigration; where he is likely going to spend couple of weeks to get his papers processed before deported to his home-country; where his ill-fated journey began 6yrs ago.

 

For the rest of us, and my compatriots, it’s a waiting game, one our cats plays with the rats that are deadly. Talking of rats; an inmate here, whose wife died after rats munched on her toes while sleeping and infected her. The lady was released and left to die; she eventually died a month after her release. Her husband and a cousin of one of my cellmates have spent 59 months and just went to trial earlier this week where they were both sentenced to 60 months of prison term; and their charges were association, with people they suspected to be drug cartels members. How they wasted their lives.! #Pheeeeeeeeew!

 

Another confrontation with my pharmacist cellmate, lad is a little twat, but an ok guy, just don’t know when to push the button. Prison, at the end doesn’t do anyone any good; it’s time-killer, time-wasting and destroy people emotionally and psychologically. From my experience here, I beginning to know why the rate of re-offending is so high here. The lads are left to rot and waste away; my mates will wake up each day to lousy talks of their inglorious past lives, and men will literally sit all day talking everyone. And today was me and my political correctness attitude, how I want things to be done. Bad enough, back from workout, drenching in sweat and definitely stinky, and my cellmate know too well, it’s either me or our mates who trains with me that will be entering the shower. But my friggin pricks-of-mates at that moment all wanted to jump into the shower; well it brought out my other side, as it ain’t the first time they are doing this. But someone gotta set the record straight, had to let them understand how I feel about it. My training mate who is older barely talks to them, kinda playing the cool guy, but feels disgusted with their attitudes. Hope change will come.

 

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

 

After all the verbal brawl, we all laughed and life continued; well, that’s one thing most people praises us for, how we can rant in heated brawls and then get to eat together again. Hope we remain this way and able to keep our cool.

 

The cop allowed me out, but was too tired to do anything outside as it was blazing hot, but did picked some #Spinach for my quick lunch; definitely have to get some spinach seeds and plant some, a mate gave me lentil soup, was delicious.

 

After my lunch, slumped into my bunk, for a powerful nap as I was friggin tired and dehydrated from workout, woke up some minutes past 9pm.

 

00:33:50 at my signal spot!

Thanks to #Android phones for being able to save tweets to draft, unlike #BlackBerry, which is not possible. Sending all my saved tweets, but not for too long as the signal won’t be for long.

 

Resigned to my cell, which is still steaming-hot from the heat of my mates distilling earlier in the evening. Run-up to Christmas, inmates will be brewing and distilling all they can. A mate asked for my wine recipe, refused to give him, told him to pay me, I’ll make a gallon for him, he’s a miserly fella, hard to part with his cents. Then, none of my secret for either. #Wanker

 

Slumped into my bunk bed, with severely sore-back, something I’ve to live with, hope to get a better mattress, maybe it will help relieve the pain. Did some reading before nature finally took hold of me…..Zzzzzzzzzzzz

 

Fri 15 Nov 2013

Barely closed my eyes when my mate came for my phone; he wakes early, goes up to the signal post to seek and chat, he also like reading daily news to keep himself abreast with the world’s affairs, at least makes good use of his time. The lad was due to leave last month, but still waiting for his released papers; he’s the oldest in the cell, then me!

 

Finally went back to sleep, praying there won’t be any surprise visit by cops for one of their impromptu search. Glad they didn’t show up, seems we are cool for now.

 

Up around 9ish, a breakfast of wheat bread + peanut butter and a cup of green tea, before hitting the gym; last day of my workout for the week, try to keep it five days each week.

 

Workout was for #Strength, had #Chest and #Triceps with #Abs in-between each sets. Was a good and intensive workout to end the week. Others will continue on Saturday, would’ve love to get outside and run, but doubt if the cop will let me out. For now, just relaxed and recuperate.

 

No water today, and we’re running low on what we had on Wednesday and Thursday, if there won’t be water tomorrow, then, we’re back to square-one. Our lives, our miserable lives.

 

Electricity was out for most part of today, like always our inmate-technicians had it fixed.

 

Seeing lots of new faces in the pavilion, we’re so many, that one barely recounts faces of new inmates, whom upon arrival are “Dead on arrival”….. Like #SteveJobs scoffed on the 7-inch tablet back in 2010… Some new inmates, once that iron-maiden of our door is opened and they walk in, the expressions on their faces definitely look “Dead on arrival”; don’t know what lies ahead of them, and who will be swindling them before they adapt and adjust and understand #TheLife on the inside. Their faces tell tales of men left to withered away and of no good.

 

Our pavilion is such a small world of its own, where so much goes on, but then, one takes in only what will be benefiting; maybe not all, but I rather stick to intel or news that is useful to me.

A Mexican old inmates who finally got extradited with others on their dark Thursday, was actually the time of his life here. The man was a handyman, built the cubicles-like-cells on top of our cells for those who could afford it. But he was also good at something else, helping a particular young Colombia lad relieved himself of build-up tension. And all these actions happened right behind my back where I sit every night writing, reading and surfing.

 

The old man’s cubicle is behind my mate’s, and each night I always see the little lad, not knowing he was actually shagging the old cow, the man was a fitness enthusiast, had all the gym equipment fixed and painted. But was also living his open-secret la vida loca. Heard he was paying the young lad to shag him every night. It was such an open-secret that another black Colombian lad went one night to ask him if he could shag him and get paid, to which the old cow refused. When I asked the lad if it was true, he didn’t denied it, said, he drank quite a few too much and needed to relieve himself, thus his lewd request, too bad he probably went and have a solo-handjob 😉 …. Well, now that the old man been whisked away by the Gringos,  he will sure be living the time of his life in an American jail where inmates abuses is rampant and higher than in other countries. He sure will be loving it there, good for him.

 

Another old inmate who did #PrisonTime in #France, also pays a young lad to get him laid in the public toilet shared by over 100 inmates in the gym-hall. They were caught by others who suspected their movements. Now, some young lads are asking the old fella if he would pay them to get shagged. Good for them!

 

02:14:20 Sat 16 Nov 2013 

Up at the signal spot when one of my cellmate came up to use my phone, but signal was a bit tricky, he tried but unsuccessful, I stayed back for a while, trying but to no avail before resigning to fate and down to my cell.

 

Sat 16 Nov 2013

Supposed to be a general cleaning in my cell (weekly), little water left from what’ve used, thus, no general cleaning today. Woke up early but back to sleep, ‘d love to hit patio for a good run, but heard the cop ain’t letting anyone out. Thus, stay put in my bed, just before 11am, my mates made rice and egg-sauce, had that for breakfast with a cup of black tea. Little walkabout and back to read, until I napped off for an hour-plus.

 

Being Saturday, so much is going on in the pavilion; meetings on how the new administration should run the pavilion, pockets of fiestas in different cells and corners in the passages. Different types of baked, fried and cooked food are being hawked around the pavilion along with those screaming whatever top-up cards they have for sale.

 

Those selling lottery numbers are also busy looking for their next unfortunate victims who daily contributes to their piggy-bank and after investing over $200 in lottery and wins $50 are so happy they have won something. There’re others selling drugs (pharmaceutical drugs), others selling clothes, slippers and whatever the locals could nick and send in here. Phones and chargers are sold on daily basis, new and used. For drugs and liquor or moonshine; users knows where to find their respective dealers. Dealers on those stuffs don’t go around hawking their deadly goods, the goods silently call and draw men to where they are ;-), apparently they get the most clients; from within our population and outside from the locals, who are too busy stabbing and shooting each other, that they don’t have time to brainstorm.

 

Talking of shooting; Panama prisons are known as battleground for warring gangs and for liquidation of one’s enemies. On Thursday and for duration of three hours or more, inmates were engaged in gun battle with diverse gangs factions in one of panama’s modern prison in Colon christened #LaEsperanza #TheHope. It’s funny how they name their prisons; #LaJoya #TheJewel, #ElRenacer #Rebirth….. Well, beautiful names but different things on the inside.

 

Video cameras picked some of the lads as they were shooting from their burnt-out windows. What was played on television was like a scene from Hollywood movies. While they were shooting and being shot at, families were crying and screaming outside, and were all picked by cameras; a scene which most families of inmates wouldn’t want to watch. It looks very much like the #Venezuelan and #Honduras #Prison uprising; gang wars that spiralled out of control and got cops and army involved, where after the war had ended; collateral damages were so much, it will take years to heal the wounds of that war.

 

While the cowboys in Colon were shooting and being shot at, the locals here in pavilion seven were also busy shooting at each other. Whenever we walked past that pavilion, they seems to look calm, but deep within and amongst them are sleeping volcanoes waiting to erupt at any moment of disturbances. After their shoot-outs, two were taken to the little town close to the prison, but they were deferred to the general hospital in the city for treatment. Hope they survive and live to shoot another day.

Weeding out guns from the population is a very difficult process, one that will cost the government a lot of money. Wardens and Cops are underpaid; thus, the need to supplement with jobs from inmates who are willing to pay to pay any amount to get arms for protection, sometimes higher that their monthly wages. Who wouldn’t succumbed to such a sweet temptation?

 

Each day is lived with all anticipation of anything can break out; like the motto of #BoyScout  #BePrepared’, we are always prepared and ready for the inevitable.

 

Up on my signal post all night but feeling sleepy, and there’s no sign I will be lucky tonight. Many are dumping our once favourite #Smartphone #BlackBerry to cheap #Android phones as they fared better when it comes to picking up signal. But for some of us addicted to keypads, nothing beats BB with its Qwerty keypad. Makes writing very easy and I’m so used to the keypad layout, I can write with my eyes closed 😉

 

Finally, knackered and tired of sitting, gazing into the unknown, and waiting for signal. Walking down the passage way, the amount of rats running up and down the passage are overwhelming. It’s likely they outnumbered us the prisoners in the pavilion. The mother and son cats living upstairs are also tired of hunting as it seems the rats are getting smarter; they operate below the passage where the cats can’t reach them, all the cats do is sit still, wait and watch. But, they always get lucky, after hours of patiently waiting, one unlucky rat will always pop up and there’s goes a proper dinner for the cats. So bad cats don’t eat cockroaches, so much of these critters here, that we have given up on them. Initially, we used to buy insecticides, but it’s all waste of money as you can’t stop them from reproducing in thousands. We’ve learned to live with them; side be side!

 

Back in the cell around 2am, someone is missing; the young lad that got blowjob from our new cellmate after night of binge-drinking. Hope, he’s not getting laid in one of our dark corners or blind-spots in the passages. Well, wasn’t long before he came in, told me, he was busy searching for signal.

 

Hope he was, lately I have been following @msnbcLockup on twitter, bet it will be a nice series as they go behind prison’s walls to see first-hand what goes on behind the scene; life on the inside!

 

One of the tweets today raised some goosebumps on my skin, it’s one gigantic question that’s on everybody’s mind; prisoners, cops, wardens and even the staffs. The tweet as it was on #msnbcLockup timeline;

 

“Inside every prison, there’s one question both inmates and COs must ask themselves: who can I trust? #msnbcLockup #Lockup

 

#Trust; 1. to believe that (someone) is honest and means no harm. 2. to feel that (something) is safe and reliable.

 

After reading this, and then looking around, the environment is not one that ‘trust’ could easily be plucked from a tree. Within our walls, trust is earned, one must work for it, some barely trust themselves. Thus, one’s safety is evaluated daily; one bad utterance of yesterday could change things the next day. No matter how close you are to someone, you don’t loose your guard.

To the men and women who will walk this path, trust mean everything to them. One’s survival depends on whom one trusts, thus, the formation of gangs; alone you are a goner, but in group you seems to be safe. Imagine a gang of 40 inmates (the forty locals housed with foreigners in Pav8) or a pavilion with more than 200 men (some pavilions are used to house groups of a particular gang), all belonging to one gang to avoid gang wars when they are housed with other opposing gang members. That’s what trust does in prison, despite how they profess trust, there’s still that strive and mistrust amongst them; we’re human!

 

Not even can one dare to share secrets with other inmates as there are tendencies of betrayals; seen first-hand from my cellmates, who will sit every morning in a groups of other lazy, lousy men and discuss things that sometimes were meant for only one person’s ears. We see in movies of prisoners disclosing secrets to other prisoners, which he has kept to himself for a very long time. Some could be where loots were stashed or boasts of his infamous acts; literally, confessing his crimes and therefore further implications. Then his so-called buddy will strike a deal with cops and prosecutors for either early release or lesser sentence by testifying against him. Such is “Trust” in prison.

 

A mate once made boastful rants of how he beds sixteen years girls, how sweet and innocent they are; definitely innocent. The wanker seemed to forget that we are all fathers of teenage girls or soon-to-be teenagers. Not even criminals like to hear of such, from that moment, we see and take him differently. Because of that statement, he had a fallout with another inmate; this inmate won’t stop talking of that statement, being a father of teenagers, he can’t believe why a man should be that stupid. That inmate whom, personally I think is a paedophile, doesn’t like sports, not into music, movies, books or anything other men will be interested on, probably his idea of manly fun is bedding minors. Glad he’s here for now.

 

Another cellmate of mine, after giving me his phone to work on; I found pornographic videos of little girls as young as two or less; I was bitter with him, asked him if he likes it, he told me, a friend sent it to him, but I knew he downloaded it. Even, if someone sent you such a video, on seeing it, you should delete it, but keeping it for that long (after checking the properties and date the file was created) I knew he had it for a very long time and was using it to satisfied his dirty urges.

 

Mistrust will make inmates when they know of their release date, won’t tell it to know one. The locals are good at that, back in Renacer, a young lad who was close to us, though he’s back now and in Pav2 with the ladees; when the lad was about leaving, he didn’t divulged nothing to his fellow buddies, but came to me and my other European mates to tell us and even wanted to give me his cherished #Rambo-kind-of-Knife; accepted his utensils but not the knife. So also amongst us here; the latinos upon their released or repatriation, rarely tell anyone, for fear of reprisals or payback by inmates they had hurt or stepped on their toes.

 

Having lived with these lads in same cell for more than 3yrs, I have learned to trust them a bit, despite knowing they loathes me as much as I do about them. But I respect the tranquillity we have maintained; other inmates talks about our cell as the best. It takes one person to realised that he can lead and then takes up the mantle of leadership and actually lead. That’s what I did; I speak out to what is wrong and I praised them for doing right and because of that, they know, if anyone attacks them, I will take up their fight. They are bunch of lads I love to hate but just can’t, once I had a terrible diarrhoea for more than a week; they did all I couldn’t do. Guess that’s how they got my trust.

 

“I will not be afflicted at men not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I do not know men.” – Confucius

 

14:03:13 Sun 17 Nov 2013

Spent all morning till now in my cell and the most part in my bed. After breakfast of oatmeal, showered and back to sleep with a cup of lipton black tea. Was writing and listening to music when the phone crashed and what I didn’t saved were lost. Wasn’t bothered as I needed the sleep, slept and got up just about when lunch was wheeled in (the state of the food-cart, will make one vomit), was about eating oatmeal again, but this cold, but opt for the lunch which was chicken-skin soup + white rice, just the soup and a handful of rice will keep me full, discarded the skin, despite being salty like always, I devoured all as I was starving. 

 

No water yesterday and today, my mates are pinching into their reserves, I have two tanks, which will be okay for tonight and tomorrow, after my workout. And then after we are left for fate, what the day has for us. The water project going on is definitely not working, there’s been series of meeting between the pavilion’s leadership on what’s best for us, but they don’t seem to agree on anything; that’s what happen when crooks are seated together to disagree and agree; always mistrust. “There’s no honour among criminals”…..??? #Food4Thought

 

17:16:36 Sun 17 Nov 2013

Just got down from seeing Doc. and his mates, his new cell or shanty build-up is much better than our normal cell, spacious and airy, we are some time together chatting, about life and all there is. A french-Canadian who had pulled off seven of his teeth out of pain showed them to me. After several attempts to make appointment to see the dentist failed, he resorted to doing it himself. He ‘d say, he sent videos of him yanking them off to the Canadian embassy and other offices. Dental care is like valet service, for the privileged. Many amongst us will leave here with bare mouth and toothless. Gotta take optimum care of my shinning. Did munch on some #Gouda cheese with slices #Salami, wasn’t bad. They tend to live quite different from the rest of us, polled up resources together, cook together and eat together, unlike the rest of us; all man on his own and God for us all 😉

 

Cooking pasta, dinner came in and it’s animal fats and white rice, with shredded leaves they call salad. Cooking pasta and tomatoes sauce, that will do me for tonight.

 

19:32:19, Sun 17 Nov 2013

Had my dinner which was filling, not rich, but enough fresh tomatoes and onions and bits of boneless tilapia fillets. Should I get hungry later on, a bowl of cereal will do.

  

Up at the signal post, the spot is cramped with inmates pointing their phones in one direction which look like a scene in one of those ancient Latin American cultures where worshippers are all on their knees with outstretched hands imploring their gods to come to their aid. It’s not different here, in our palms are our smartphones, the most are android phones as we implores the gods of signal to bless us with signal. If this piece is uploaded tonight, definitely mean I was among the few lucky ones. If not, I’ll keep trying, maybe tomorrow after my workout.

 

Our ex-president just got back from hospital after a week-long admission, where he was treated for broken jawbones. He has some wires fixed in his mouth, hope he’ll be able to eat. ‘uneasy lies on the head that wears the crown’ …..;-)

 

Bit quiet in the pavilion tonight, though some are drinking and doing what they love doing. But, the atmosphere has remained quiet and tranquil all day and evening. Hope it stays this way for a long time.

 

Soon, weekend will be over and another week unfolds before us; we men bonded by our desires and fate, soldiers of fortunes, men who will rewrite their destiny when the time comes. But, before that time, there must be our #Redemption and #Emancipation of self!

 

“Things that are done, it is needless to speak about; things that have had their course, it is needless to remonstrate about; things that are past, it is needless to blame.” – Confucius

 

“When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.” – Confucius

 

“Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.” – Confucius Image

Prisoner’s Health: Depression, Stress and Bipolar Disorder!

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama with tags , , , , on November 14, 2013 by doingtimeabroad

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“Depression can seem worse than terminal cancer, because most cancer patients feel loved and they have hope and self-esteem.” ~ David D. Burns

It seems to be common sense that hard times are associated with developing depressive symptoms. When a personal crisis occurs, many people who had been coping pretty well become clinically depressed.

#Depression is an ailment of medical condition which creates unfavourable changes in the human mind and affects its functioning abilities. It can be genetic, hereditary or just an outcome of a traumatic experience. It requires extensive treatment and medical aids to cure someone of depression. Psychological treatments, rehabilitation and intense drugs are some of the means to cure depression. It is very difficult to stabilise the mind of a person who is constantly depressed. The utmost care and attention should be devoted to a patient in such circumstances otherwise there is a possibility that the patient might lose his/her sanity entirely.

#Stress is an outcome of one’s own view of life. It is very easy to get stressed out if you have a negative approach towards life. Your perspective of your own identity and worthiness of your existence plays a vital part in the effective functioning of your brain. A person with a nervous or fierce temperament is more likely to be stressed out than a person with a happy-go-lucky attitude towards life. Stress is not an obligatory disease; it is a voluntary condition which a person creates in his/her own life. It does not need medical attention; it can be overcome by an individual on his/her own. All you need to do is try and inculcate positive attributes in your life and maintain a simple and pleasant perspective of the things which surround you.

Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder that affects many people every day. People who suffer from this mood disorder experience episodes of mania, often followed by episodes of depression and vice versa.

The most common symptom associated with bipolar disorder is sudden mood swings. People who are bipolar will experience heightened euphoria and happiness followed by drastic depression and guilt. While mood swings are the most common symptom, they are not the only symptom. There are several other symptoms associated with this condition and many of them contradict each other. Essentially, there are two types of symptoms: manic symptoms and depressive symptoms. Each set of symptoms produce very different types of behaviour and are often experienced back to back in a short period of time.

Below you will find a list of bipolar symptoms as well as the type (manic or depressive or both) associated with each:

1. Mood Swings
Type: Manic and Depressive

Mood swings are the most common symptom of bipolar disorder and are a combination of the manic and depressive symptoms. A mood swing is characterized by high levels of positivity followed by high levels of negativity and depression or vice versa.

2. Euphoria 
Type: Manic

A manic episode will present symptoms of euphoria in patients. Sufferers experience a heightened level of happiness and a sense of accomplishment.

3. Rapid Speech
Type: Manic

A good indication that someone is experiencing a manic episode is rapid speech. Patients will suddenly begin speaking extremely quickly for long periods of time.

4. Racing Thoughts
Type: Manic

Racing thoughts are a common manic bipolar symptom. Individuals will have a difficult time focusing on one thing and will tend to overanalyze their thoughts.

5. Irritation
Type: Manic and Depressive

Irritation and agitation are common in both manic and depressive episodes. Sufferers are easily irritated by situations they normally wouldn’t be agitated with.

6. Increased Physical Activity
Type: Manic

When a person is experiencing a manic episode they will often have extremely high levels of energy. To help relieve the energy, sufferers often turn to physical activity. If someone suddenly feels the need to exercise excessively to exert energy, it may be an indication of a problem.

7. Careless Use of Drugs/Alcohol
Type: Manic

Sometimes, people suffering from bipolar disorder will turn to drugs and alcohol. Careless use of these substances may be a warning sign of deeper issues.

8. Decreased Need for Sleep
Type: Manic

As previously noted, manic episodes often involve large bursts of energy and euphoria. These symptoms can make it incredibly difficult to sleep. An individual experiencing this symptom will require less sleep but won’t necessarily feel tired or exhausted.

9. Missed Work 
Type: Manic and Depressive

A common symptom of bipolar disorder is the inability to maintain a schedule. For this reason, many bipolar sufferers will often miss work (or school or other commitments).

10. Fatigue
Type: Depressive

Contrary to manic symptoms, individuals suffering from a depressive episode will experience extreme tiredness and fatigue. Wanting to go to bed, staying in bed late and a lack of motivation throughout the day are all signs of bipolar disorder.

11. Chronic Pain with No Known Cause
Type: Depressive

Individuals experiencing other symptoms on the list, along with chronic pain with no known cause, may be suffering from bipolar disorder. This pain can present itself throughout many parts of the body including, but not limited to, severe headaches.

Remedies:

Exercising in midlife helps heart;
Making sure you get enough exercise in midlife will help protect your heart, according to research.
There’s something intuitive about the idea that exercising makes you feel better about yourself. Several decades of research have been carried out on the topic, and some family doctors prescribe fitness classes to patients diagnosed with depression, often alongside counselling or medication.

Mood enhancer:
So it seems that exercise might help a bit, which then begs the question of why. And there have been some extraordinary attempts to answer this question. One theory is that exercise releases endorphins and the neurotransmitter dopamine, which make you feel good. There is also a theory originating in the saunas and steam baths of 1970s Scandinavia known as the thermogenic hypothesis, which states that the rise in body temperature from exercising releases endorphins. Those participants who sat in the sauna did feel better than those who simply sat on a bench.

Finally, to beat stress on the inside, we’ve found ways to keep ourselves occupied and busy; gambling, contact-sports, exercises, binge-drinking, feasting on porn videos, listening to music, find someone to get into heated arguments or involve in idle talk and gossip, daydreaming, gluttony, sometimes our heated verbal brawls spills into proper fights where punches are thrown and received in good fate, some will opt for proper weapons of warfare (cowards). All these and more are what keeps us ticking and going; eventually gives us the essence to live.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” ~ William James

[Culled from online resources]

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, What You Gonna Do When They Come For You?

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama, Doing Time Overseas!!!, Living Behind Bars in Panama, Prison Life on November 10, 2013 by doingtimeabroad

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, What You Gonna Do When They Come For You?

“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalise on what comes.” – Zig Ziglar

19:21:47 on Tue 5 Nov 2013
Panama: La fiestas finally over, by tomorrow the centre will come back to life as things will be coming in. But things did streamed in today. Saw oats in containers, peanut butters and whole wheat breads brought in. But I’m too stint to go for any, and I’m trying to do away with credit; no purchasing power. Been a creditor on the inside comes with a lot of insults; openly and behind one’s back.

Last night, I was the first to tucked in, my back was severely sore, used the hot-water bag and popped in several painkillers; had thought I won’t make it out of my bed this morning, but I woke up feeling better and was able to hit the gym; gotta stay clear from squat for a while, will improvise with other compound exercises for legs.

Gym was full as usual, but the cop outside been a good lad, had the door opened for anybody who wanted to exercise outside in the open-air. About 15 lads are now boxing, very good and inspiring, amongst them is a cell mate of mine, he lacks proper nutrition and supplements, I do my best to share whatever I have with him. He is bent on straightening his pathways, but from where he comes from, there’s no way out from what he had laid his hands on; poverty and lack of infrastructures to get them out of poverty, such is the life of the many marginalised black minority Colombians. And that has sent the bulk of them to jails all over Latin America; majority of them being fishermen end up plying seas and oceans with forbidden freights.

Despite the sore-back of last night, I woke up feeling much better and was able to hit gym in good spirit. Workout was intensive; chest, but too many people around, had to improvised with other forms of exercises to keep up with ‘my’ tempo of workout. Did enough for chest and went out for cardio which was rewarding and uplifting; savoured the warmth of the sun and fresh air.

20:22:16
Panama probably had had a enough of la fiesta, but in the pavilion and in my cell, la fiesta seem to have just begun. My cell mate, the pharmacist and the only one in the cell to have conjugal visit with his wife (a Colombian, but married to a local with kids), had his fortnightly vista-sexo as we call it today. Saw him when he and others (mostly locals) went into the air-conditioned rooms where their spouses or ladies-for-hire were waiting for them.

In to released the build-up tensions, ‘good for them’… The lad doesn’t drink like most of us, they say, a man will always fall for one of these vices; Women, Wine or fags. With my mate, can’t tell what he likes, he sells fags, but doesn’t smoke, sells all sorts of pharmaceutical drugs, which he rarely use even when he falls sick; wants the most profits. Wine, rarely drinks, and women, he loves his wife to death.

Well, whatever happened today with his wife during the visit set something in motion. I was outside after the cop allowed my training mate and me out for 30minutes workout, when he went in to help himself naturally.

He returned with home-cooked food; rice, which is a stable food here, chicken, which I’m tired of eating, and potatoes, and a gallon of mineral water; he will guard and hide it from me, he knows I will want a cup or two from it. He did shared his rice with us, though not enough for all. I made curry-beef sauce with beef a mate bought, had mine with lentils; filling.

Last night, one of my cellmates, whose bunk is in front of mine, kept us awake all night as he drank and was singing along to the music he had on his earphones, the singing wasn’t enough, he started drumming, first on his body, then on the concrete bed; lad kept me up till around 4am, but the old man under his bunk suffered most; he’s suffering from severe high #BP + high #Cholesterol. We did talked about that this morning, some for and others like me against him. Hope it doesn’t happen again.

And now, going in to use the loo; behold, my pharmacist-cellmate is drinking with vallenato belting out from the boom-box which I normally use in the gym. And the lad is also drinking; drinking from the moonshine I made last week from pineapple peels that was given to me by a mate. Boiled the peels, leave it to ferment with yeast and sugar and the end-product isn’t bad; can always get one pissed! And that’s happening to my mate now, lad is getting pissed.

Somehow, it’s the music, once vallenato is played, it transforms the mood and sort of takes them back home; it brings emotions, which can get them to turn to bottles or rather gallons of either moonshine or our potent distil which when abused can be devastating.

Did asked what good news his wife brought to him today or he did put to practise all he’s been learning from his short porn video clips; which makes up the bulk of our video collections on our phones. Whatever happened earlier today to him during his conjugal visit isn’t bad as he brought out the other side of him. He went to court last week after 2yrs awaiting trial, awaiting his verdict, which we all know would be a lengthy sentence for association! What a life!

21:43:11
Just gone to drop my push-ups woods for a mate; but go a sweet surprise in his cell. In one of the bunks lying with her head on someone thigh was our Queen with her full make-up, ready for the night, the lady of the night that she is. And outside by the cell’s entrance, sitting and chatting with other inmates from the cell is our princesa; did told my mates, soon she will be introduced and linked up by our motherly-queen to the ‘Dealings and wheeling’ on how to make ends meet with what she has and what she can offer to the willing buyers and patrons who are patiently waiting for that open-window; from reliable intel in the pavilion, some lads are willing to fuck out 100 bucks to be relieved of some steam.

Just had my sore back and shoulders massaged by our cheap masseur; the only qualified chiropractor here is bloody too expensive and doesn’t offer his service on credit. The massage was much-needed, felt better afterwards, but set me back on $2 on credit, with the lad, I don’t have problems owing him. He was in good spirit today, as his repatriated on and off ‘partner’ was released after 8months in the slammer in Mexico, of all relations here between inmates, theirs was the most turbulent one, it’s was like a typical husband and wife affair. The masseur was always seen with blacked-eye after receiving some bashing from his partner who was calling him his ‘Bitch’. When the lad left, the masseur was down, but picked up gradually and since then, doubt if he has been with anybody else. #TrueLove #PrisonLove

Stayed up all night to get online, which I finally did after the lads dispersed to their different corners. Had enough signal and internet connection to be able to get online and did what needed be done.

Our case was on air back home in The Netherlands, read all that happened in the programme as the ombudsman was interviewed and he raised our issues before the minister of justice who had denied our #WOTS and repatriation request. Whatever the outcome of the programme will be, we are yet to know. But, for now, we remain and will be waiting and hoping.

Wed 6 Nov 2013

Took the day off, had gone to bed around 6am this morning, thus, not fit to hit the weights, my training mate came for me, told him, can’t be bothered. Had breakfast of chocolate/milk and back to bed, slept till past noon, up for lunch of beans soup, beans and lentils, I’m ok with that, but sometimes, they come very salty. Today’s was ok, came with pieces of yam and slice potatoes.

An inmate was supposed to be released, went upstairs, stayed there all morning and was returned back to the population; no transportation to convey him to immigration where he will be processed and either deported or leave to remain if he had residence permit in Panama. When he left, his mates dismantled his shanty bunk on top of the cell and sold some of his stuffs. When he came back, had to sleep on bare floor; our lives!

Spent hours upstairs at the signal spot, but no signal, many are getting the trick, buying Android phones. Becoming pretty hard now, had to give up, returned to my cell, where I spent the night listening to music and reading till my eyes were to heavy to stay open.

Thu 7 Nov 2013
Woke up early since I slept early, well, early to me is around 2am ;-). Breakfast was a cup of green tea with ginger and a banana; it’s a blessing that some herbs are allowed in as they are healthier than most of the lab-made stuffs. Then hit gym with full force to hit arms and abs.

16:15:00
Headcount, cops are in for our weekly headcount, outside was wet from the drizzles today, we use the opportunity to fetch water from the stagnant pond, which will be helpful for toilets later in the evening and through the night. We had to be counted twice, probably they made a mistake during the first count.

As soon as we got in, alarm was raised of incoming cops, all masked like riot cops, within few seconds of the catcalls, everyone has stashed their valuables and whatever is illegal. But their coming, wasn’t for their usual surprise-search, but to pick an unwilling inmate, who is wanted in #America for drug charges. The lad, who is from The #Bahamas and claimed to be a pilot; probably true as he knows every shit about planes, but flies the forbidden fruit!

He’s been here about 16 months, fighting the extradition, but finally conceded as he’s too sick and he’s not getting medical treatment here; whereas in America, he will get free medical treatment plus jail-term if found guilty of whatever charge (s) they have against him. Wish him all the best of lucks, cause, he will definitely need that.

After he was taken, all made sure the coast was cleared before our valuables came out from their stashed spots.

A cold evening, but no rain, hoping it will rain as we’re short of water. Waited and waited for signal, nothing happened, had to retreat to my cell for an early night; much better for my recovery than waiting endlessly for a contact with cyberspace that ain’t coming.

Fri 8 Nov 2013
It’s another weekend and one before our fortnightly visit. How times flies, those having visit, will be getting ready in whatever way they can to look their best for the less-than-an-hour visit; whatever they do is worth it.

Woke up early, around 6am to use the loo, tempted to go up for signal, but went back to bed, need my 6hrs or so sleep. Finally, up around 8am, still no water, but the lads sent for water from the locals; they actually bought 9 tanks of water. We are encouraging these locals as we’re buying water from them. Our water supply is cut off from the system mains, but the locals have constant flow of water, and since they know we are willing to buy, they are ripping us off from what is free. But no one cares to ask or raise questions why things are like these.

Gym was filled, but I got myself going as I knew what I had planned to do; #chest, #Abs; was intensive but good to end my week with a bad-ass workout, which was what it was!

A Mexican lad’s shoulder popped out of its position today. From what I see him do in the gym, lad has never lifted weights in his life, maybe keys of Maryjane or felt the weight of firearms. Doc, was called up and quickly ran a check on the lad, he later took him out. Hope he will rest a while, at the end of the day, he was still walking around leaning to one side. The lad will need proper medical care, but not here. He’s on his own like everyone of us.

Intel coming from the grapevine; it’s always what one wants to know that he will know. While most of us are bothered with our families, signal and when this ordeal will end. Others are busy studying other people’s lives in the joint. A old Mexican inmate wanted by the yanks has been doing all within and what his money can buy to squash the case and be freed here. Collapsed several times and taken to hospital, only to be sent back. For some days now, he hasn’t been seen around the pavilion. Just found out today, the cops had him taken to a maximum #Lockup till the Yanks came for him. He was picked up alongside the Rasta Pilot from #Bahamas.

Many inmates wanted by Interpol from other countries should opt for the extradition than waste and spend money on lawyers who are here to milk them dry and at the end, they stop the extradition, they only delay the process; such is the fate of many, who had fucked out hundreds of thousands to lawyers to avoid extradition, but at the end, they still get extradited. Money and time wasted; Penny wise, pounds foolish!

Thursday incident was the case of the baddies been swooped and taken unexpectedly; there’s is always doubts with American Justice system, after reading the case of the #Texas judge who suppressed evidence on a case he presided and had an innocent man sent to the slammer for 25yrs and only to be given 10days in jail and debarred! true justice should have had him spent 25yrs also and knows what it feels like.

Such will be the fate of these men; will they get fair trials or were they haunted just because someone mentioned their names to get a reduced time? Such is the world of crime, the real underworld! You either die standing and stoop low and die a rat; whom both cops and comrades in crime hates and loathes.

Thursday mass-extradition is the first since my incarceration that so many were taken on the same day. Something must have been brewing on the background; especially with the old Mexican and another old Colombian who had spent fortunes to be granted bail, release or on the ultimate option; #PrisonBreak.

Too bad and too late for them as they were all taken by surprise, the walls really do have ears, but here, probably through mouths of turn-coat crooks.

Someone hauled a massive pig’s head in today, later saw one of the church’s cook frying while many pork-lovers queue for portions while some were chattering what delicacies can be made with the fats; cook white rice, boil plantain or cook beans in it. Good for them!

21:08:08
Just got back from my cell, where a sweet surprise was waiting; our princesa, the new sensation in the pavilion, our baby-face shemale, calmly and comfy in my cell with the lads who were drinking and belting out music. She was chattering with the lads, who offered her our brew, of which she rejected, she rather wanted some joints. Too bad, nobody blows joints in my cell, she kept the lads giggling as they admired her well-endowed chest and back-side; she is massive, bet some ladies will roll green eyes over her assets 😉

Her impromptu visit sort of lighten up the mood in the cell, but also drew unwanted attention as other inmates were hanging by our door for a peep show of what was going to happen. I guess, she is taking her time to study and adapt to the live before her. Anyway, whatever she hope to do, she will definitely make some dough as these lads are starving and have been in denials for a very long time.

One of my cellmates is distilling; this is the season, from now onwards until new year, our distillers will be busy round the clock to meet up with demands from the lads here and the locals who can binge on our potent stuffs and end up in the clinic.

Our ex-president has been hospitalised; the lad who was almost toothless, was punched and had his jaws broken by a local. Someone amongst us must have had the local do that job. In prison; some dirty jobs are left for foot soldiers for a peanut fee to do them, some can do a smooth operation for joints or lines of maryjane. There’s been rumours in the population that he is a Snitch, but then, who can prove it? You can be at odds with an inmate, and just because he hates you, he will do everything to scandalise your name and get you in harm’s way.

The day the Yanks came for the Bahamas pilot, three other inmates were taken along; all on arrest warrant from America. Heard one had paid a lawyer huge amount of money to get him out, but was taken unaware; frantically, he was calling his lawyer to know why they came for him after promises that she will get him out; a cellmate told me, the man is linked to a brutal medellin cartel, some of his cousins are doing time in The States. When I asked what will happen to the hundreds of thousands paid to the lawyer; simply said, his people will ask her to return the money or else?. Our bachata musician was also tagged along. And the old Mexican who has been feigning sickness all along. Seems the Yanks decided to swooped on all their wanted at the same time; #DEA must probably had a special jet flown in with DEA agents to escort them to uncle Sam.

Earlier today, a pot-bellied warden, heard he is the head of the wardens, came asking the Mexicans for the properties of the extradited old Mexican. He lied that the old man had given him his plasma TV and DVD player. What a prick….. I heard he lives on inmate’s dough, sooner or later the long arms of some crazy inmates will catch up with him. The Mexicans told him the old man has nothing, he threatened them, that he will come back with cops and cart away all their stuffs. He can’t friggin do that, he’s just a cheap and sell-out prick.

Back to reality and what concerns me and my compatriots most; our Justice Minister back home finally gave in to pressure to get the sick Dutch inmate in Venezuela back home. The lad emailed one of my compatriots that a formal request from the minister has been sent to Venezuela for his repatriation. The minister did say, he will consider getting him back on humanitarian grounds; which is basically on the ground that the lad is dead-sick! Hope and pray he makes it home and get his much-needed medical attention.

Of what will become of us in Panama and others in other Latin America countries, we have no idea. For now, getting the lad home is a first step to something positive. If nothing happen, then, it means only at one’s dead-end will they come for us. #LaVida!

23:41:16
Finally, the clouds are bleeding, there will be enough rain water for tomorrow use. Hope we have a wet weekend, need more water…..planned to clean up my bunk, then I will need sun to dry up my laundry. #Pathetic #huh!

It’s 03:17:06!
In my cell since past midnight, but had to clean up what the lads left unwashed; and fill up my reserves gallons with water and finally made me a warm chocolate milk. One of my cellmate is drunk; always vomit after binge-drinking, tonight he left the kitchen littered with unwashed utensils which will definitely attracts legions of cockroaches if I didn’t clean them up. At this time there’s music from upstairs; where he is drinking with groups of his buddies. The gamblers are having an all-night gambling session. A new Chinese inmate was hauled in today to join his brothers who are into all sorts of businesses; plantain chips (dried-fried green or ripe plantains) and today they made fried rice [Aloz Flito; how they pronounced…. Arroz Frito ;-)] and shrimps. They once tried making #Moonshine, wasn’t a success, guess they should concentrate on cooking. Many just love the idea of Chinese food, not knowing what they cook here are laden with animal fats. Rather stick to my self-cooked stuffs.

Wasn’t a bad as such, many lined up to have a fill of their delicacy. They have every appliances needed to cook; rice cooker, deep fryer and an improvised table. Hope the business last as they had tried their hands in several #Startups but always ended up folding and back to the green table to gamble away what little profit they had made.

10:04:38 on Sat 9 Nov 2013
My drunk inmate finally made it to do his general cleaning with help from another mate. But during his binge-moment, he forgot to buy ice for the chicken his mates sent to him, too bad as it has gone bad; he’s trying desperately to save them, no matter what he does, can’t fucking beat the stench oozing from the chicken. Loads of prison money gone into the drain. His mates won’t take it lightly with him.

Off from my workout today, should use the time to getting signal and get online. Won’t be cleaning my bunk as planned; no sign of water.

17:13:41
Up from a power nap, my back aches like I had the weight of the world on me; definitely need a new and better mattress.

Cell next-door are having party, trust me, you want proper fiesta in prison; the Jamaicans will do it well. Started with hip-hop, gangster rap, and music of the island; reggae, and dancehall bashment, they have literally lighten up the pavilion. Music and noises flowing simultaneously, as they soak on our priced liquor. The birthday lad got a gallon of my red wine, which the older inmate preferred, bit sauve and gentler than our potent liquor.

Heard our new sensation was walking around her large cell topless last night after chain-smoking rolls after rolls of pure Jamaican weed. Guess she gave the lads something to dream of 😉

Our Queen is a bit quiet since the new came in, probably the competition is bit caliente for her, most lads prefers the new product 😉

01:10:22
Signal is bit ok now, gotta get online and do all I need to do before it becomes history.
Cops are patrolling outside the wire-fence, pointing their search lights into the pavilion. Quite in the pavilion, but some are still feasting while others like me are busy with phones searching for signal; some, once gotten will move to their cells or a comfortable place and do what they have to do. As soon as it goes off, they are back to search again.

Do what need be done now, tomorrow will take care of itself, like it always does.

Flippin signal just went off, hopping back to the signal spot, maybe I will be lucky again. Just gotta publish this piece, no one knows what tomorrow holds for us. We live each day at a time.

“People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar |in #Prison, daily motivation is needed to keep one sane and alive and from breaking down from all we see, hear and experience around us. Motivations comes from within and without; the force we all need when all things fails.

“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”- Zig Ziglar

#Prison #PrisonViolence #Gevangenis #Lockup #Panamá #Holland #Drugs #DrugWar #Mexico #Colombia #EU #WOTS #Justitie #Justice #Nederland #Amsterdam #USA #America #Crimestoppers #Crime #Jail

Prison Experience: Some mistakes make us who we are.

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on November 5, 2013 by doingtimeabroad

 

Prison experience can shape the character and principles of one’s life, these experiences in turn either humble your character and personality or turn you into a fierce, aggressive, and hostile human being.

 

15:22:03 on Mon 28 Oct 2013

 

The day has gone pretty fast, my mates started the day with early chattering and lazy talk of what I don’t know. Kept still on my bed until the ramblings upstairs got me up, hope not another bout of fight. Take no chances; one of the most used slogans used in the joint, quickly, dismantle my phones, separating the chips and memory cards, ready to stash them. Then I heard the zone is clear of cops. Just as I had thought, two young lads woke up feeling the strength of incredible hulk and decided to let out some steam. From what I heard, one of the young lads accused the other of nicking his $100, on the inside that’s like a grand; the accused was pounced upon like a prey being apprehended by a fiercer predator; the attacker had his mates watched from a distance while he threw punches after punches at his suspect.

 

Such is life on the inside; Behind bars, he might or might not be the one who nicked the said money. But since there are many accusing him……he has no chance of defending himself; it’s a case of one against the majority! Our life, our fate!

 

While those having visit today went out, I hit the gym for an intensive #HIIT #Chest workout. Joined a group on the bench while my mates joined me afterwards, needed it, after a long weekend off from workout.

 

Done with workout, when I saw the local lad who sells water to us; met up with him, after a brief chat, agreed to sell me 5 tanks of water, rushed in and got out 5 tanks with enough money ($1 per tank), that’s friggin expensive, many will rather use that money for 5 rolls of joint or a pinch of Maryjane. But, I need the water, soaked in my sweats and have to wash my gym clothes. Got two of my cellmates to foot the bill; the water was meant for another inmate, but seeing the dough, the lad gave all 5 tanks to me. #PrisonBusiness ……first come, first served!

 

The visit went fine with loads of food and other goodies to be sold. Refused to dine on the food, scare of another bout of diarrhoea. Heard from a mate, a lady was arrested after she tried smuggling in 10 sim cards of the only working network. On the outside, it’s about $1 per Sim card, but on the inside and now, it’s sold for $10 and more. She and her inmate male friend must have figured out how much profit they will make, and then decided to risk it. She was given a fine of $120 and had her visit right removed for 6 Months. Too bad for the lad, no Sim cards and no visit for 6 months, ain’t bad, some of us are here for about 4 years and without proper visit; well, exceptional of our consular visit. 

 

Very hot today, who knows what the temperature is, guess about a boiling point as I’m drenching in sweat, was supposed to rain, but nothing pouring down, hope it rains hell tonight.

 

A meeting was called today, to address our never-ending problem of water. We have contributed and paid money for pipes to be laid out, but nothing positive has happen to change our predicament. The locals are the ones benefiting, they get water and sell it to us. Someone gotta make profit from other man’s suffering. I doubt if the meeting will change anything, ain’t the first and neither will it be the last.

 

Facts are coming on what really happened to our president; upstairs by the administration, he was attacked by a local, after the local asked him his name and confirmed that he was the right man. The lad battered his face, and then told him, he’s a snitch and a rat; many amongst us believes he’s the one ratting us to the cops. That’s something that can’t be proved, like every other incident, it’s fuelled by rumours from lazy men who has got so much time in their hands but nothing to do with that time. From this moment, he will live, constantly watching his back as he has been marked, not even a walk to the admin will be easy for him. The locals paid to do him, will be waiting like predators for the moment signal will come out, that their hunt is out and about.

 

Life in the joint can reduce a man to nothingness; he becomes the enemy of himself, driving himself into despair and finally into oblivion.

 

20:29:28

Switching from one sim card to another as we search for signal that ain’t no where to be found. A compatriot did sent a tweet to one of the major networks and he was told, by the order of the cops they have cut off signal around all the prisons, meaning, we’re now #FUCKED! Big Time!

 

The only spot in the pavilion, has gotten the lads scrambling and pointing their handsets and tablets to one direction; funny how it looks up here, like some kind of zen-movement, got no choice… Have to wait when they’re all gone, not many has got the patience to stay up all night waiting for signal…. #Patience; the only virtue that is in abundance within the walls of prisons, if you don’t have it, you have to acquire it with time.

 

23:52:26 Mon 28 Oct 2013

Seems our new ladee is a proper chimney; she puffing jumbo size of hand-wrapped joints one after the other. She is got the lad who ushered her into the pavilion on her first day hovering around her locked door like a male dog hovering around his bitch. So bad she is not in the cell with the lad, the lad can be seen stalking around the passage to and fro to chat up with her. Don’t this will go well with her host and the lad who gave up his bed for her. Something sinister is brewing and sooner than we thought, there will be clash of trans-suitors, from past scenarios, it’s always bloody and fatal; lovers brawl.

 

My mate who did couple of years in America once told me; In America, inmates always fight for three things, namely; #Money, #Drugs (not the ones you get from your street corner pharmacy, but proper controlled-substances) and finally for #GayLovers. The last is always the most brutal and fatal, as it involves men who had finally found love and a willing partner  who is ready to give himself to love and be thrust for the pleasures of both parties. The few who had been with us had always kept a low profile, a sort of open-secret. Some workers amongst them were sort of doing community services, providing mouth services to the sex-starved lads for a fee or proper meals. The las one that was sent packing, just couldn’t hold his sh!t together, after his nightly walkabout, his mates had to do the clean-up for him; vomits, soil boxers and splashed toilets. The lads couldn’t stand him anymore; they were actually scared of what he might have which they don’t know. So they sent him packing to pavilion 8, where is was too happy to go; loads of wealthy clientele base on the other side of the fence who might want to patronise his nightly community service. Good luck to him.

 

Soon our new ladee mate will get to know what ought to be done to make money; someone told me, she has been advanced by an interesting client, “Time will Tell”

 

Tried staying all night for signal, but to no avail, resigned like others who are tired of waiting. The signal issue is driving us crazy. Soon the only way to let out the bottled steam will be through physical outlet; aggressive altercation.

 

Back to my cell, unlike me, early night, some reading and played some games on my phone and finally flipped through photographs of my loved ones; bringing back good memories, of times past, how I wished to wake up in the arms of my love and to the chattering of my little musketeers. That moment will come, with time, it will come.

 

Ended my thought-filled night with some Andre Rieu violin songs and that sent me to the world beyond; where a prisoner is free, into dreamland.

 

Tue 29 Oct 2013

Since I slept earlier last night, I was up with the rest of the lads, one of my mates was busy by 7:30am nailing his new shelves to the concrete wall, and disturbing others as they were trying to get their last few hours of sleep.

 

There’s no water, but I have a tank left which I always keep for a moment like this. Lying on my bed, and thinking of what to do or rather, what I will do today. Our lives revolves around water; we can survive for a while without food, but not without water. Hearing the clanking sound of metals in the gym got my springing up, dressed up and ready to hit the weights. How I’m going to use this one tank will be a miracle. Made a breakfast of oats + peanut butter and some slice of ginger.

 

Many were surprised to see me in the gym that early, rather be found in the gym than sitting in the cell entertainning idle talk. Since I will be off on Wednesday, decided to do all-rounder body workout; picking out compund exercises for each body parts, incorporating a #HIIT format of workout. Two lads joined me, been waiting for this day, they are foul-mouthed; grilled both of them with intensive workouts until they were our of breathe. One took excuse and left, thought he went out to jog, but lad was sitting outside trying to recover. That’s what I call #GoodSh!T

 

Done with workout, only to find out one of my cellmates had used half of my water to flush the toilet, well, I’m left with half-full of a tank or pessimistic-speaking;  half-empty! Water came in a cell but they wouldn’t give others, thus, had to showered with my half tank. Soaked my gym clothes, whenever water comes, will do the washing.

 

Lentils and chicken parts came in for lunch with the usual half-cooked rice, took some lentils and passed the rest, my mates made food from the leftovers of yesterday’s visit food; also made a pass on that, scared of diarrhoea, not now when we don’t have water.

 

Prison is never a safe place, but once you are in, you do all you can to make yourself safe and secure. Until recently, our pavilion has been a quiet one, with less brawls and fights compared with the locals; where there are always stabbing, fights and shootings incidents on daily basis. Now our pavilion is becoming like theirs; we’re seeing verbal and physical brawls everyday, little incidends that used to be settled amicably ends up with punches been thrown and knives been drawn. It takes a lot of talking to persuade them from using their drawn-out knives.

 

But the latest incident is something that should make everyone here rethink about what safety we really want. A local came in here today and beat up the lad that was involved in an early morning fight yesterday; apparently, from sources who seems to know the who is who of the gang worlds, the local that came in today is the leader of the lad’s gang on te street. Info has gotten to them that the lad is talking too much, so el efe (The Boss), huge or fat from living large on the inside, came to castigate the wayward foot soldier. It was a daring act, in front of his cellmates and others in the pavilion, and nobody stood to his defence. Everyone knows, war with the locals doesn’t end until blood and life is taken, what happened to our president could happen to anybody. But the president case as we’ve come to know, is an inside job; someone or groups of inmates had ordered the beating. The man has been reduced to a pulp; quiet as a cornered mouse. He knows that daunting act was a warning of what more fatal could come his way. But there’s no proof that he’s the snitch or the rat, ratting us to the cops.

 

Today’s incident is a clear warning, pointing to the insecurity and how easy it is for one to meet his demise right where you think you’re safe; one’s supposed turf.

 

16:58:01 on Tue 29 Oct 2013

Upstairs, bit cooler than my cell which is hot as an oven, above the cell next to where I’m sitting, an old Spaniard is blowing on his crack pipe, all his earnings from lottery sales which he does daily, ends up feeding his addiction to crack coke. Wondering if he does eat, he has the proper look of an European prisoner #Lockup in the jungle.

 

21:04:31

Had thought it will rain, the thundering and dark clouds earlier today has given way to a clear sky. Thus, it will be miraculous to have rain tonight. If there’s no water tomorrow, many will voice out their angst against the authorities.

 

Spent the rest of the night waiting and gazing into my phone as I read saved articles and waiting for signal. What I feared and dreaded most struck me at the eleventh hour; stomach upset! Was so scared that it will be diarrhoea from food that came in on Monday. Went down to use the loo and back to my signal post. Eventually had signal on my #Android phone around 1am, and it lasted for about 15 minutes; which was enough to update my old tweets, refresh my news apps, brief chat with Schat and rushed all necessary emails.  Have learned to adapt and pre-write and saved all work, thus, when signal turns up, all I have to do is click send!

 

Stayed up till around 3am before retiring to my bunk downstairs. Struggled with sleep as I lay on my bed trying to rid myself of bitter memories as they kept creeping in; every inmate night, the one thing he wants to get rid off is what keeps coming back and that memories of yesterday!

 

Wed 30 Oct 2013

Finally fell asleep on the early hours of Wednesday, only to be shaken and awoken by inmates running helter-skelter with alarm of police coming towards the pavilion. Then I knew, gone is my sleep, and it was a false alarm, as the cops has found a new pavilion to vent out their angers; Pavilion 8 (the other pavilion for foreigners in La Joya), since they found the pistol and other weapons of warfare. The lads should be ready for frequent impromptu calls from the cops; whom out of boredom will always be going there to scavenge and search for things they deemed illegal. But then, how did a pistol got into a maximum secured facility; the answer to that question is within and amongst us, corrupt cops and wardens, who will do anythhing for benjamins!

 

No school today, heard there’re some problems upstairs; recent confrontations amongst the locals and amongst us; the foreigners. One can’t really tell what is happening, but the situation in the centre is very tensed. There has been series of meetings amongst our so-called “Grupo Apoyo”….. Or Santa little helpers; group of old-timers in our pavilion, chosen to keep the rule of law and order and maintain peace in the pavilion. But the lots of them are corrupted working for their personal benefits.

 

Our president has stepped down, after the fatal incident that had his jaw bones broken. Heard he was punched with a metal knuckle, which knocked out his remaining set of teeth, lad had barely any before the altercation. He was meant to be taken to the hospital in the city, till date he’s still here lamenting in agony.

 

Took a much-needed power nap this after to be awoke by the intense heat from my wannabe-chef cellmate who cooks for his mates in another cell; always been blunt with him, he mates should always send two tanks of water for his cookery service.

 

Dr. Porter has taken to resistance/weights training, apart from doing his daily walkabout, he does need thhe weights to keep his muscles firm, strong and healthy; despite his medical conditions, he’s doing what many abled young men don’t find comfort in doing; #Exercises

 

Tomorrow, Thursday, another headcount of the week, who knows what the cops has got in stock for us? Maybe a nother showdown of impromptu search, apparently, we’re waiting for the mundiale search; when hundreds of cops from outside will storm us for a thorough prison search, such always happen on the run-up to Christmas.

 

22:32:31!

About to change base to where the lads are gathering for signal, haven’t had my shower today, got a gallon, which will do for tonight. For tomorrow, who knows? Just gotta survive!

 

19:07:49 on Thu 31 Oct 2013

It’s almost weekend, feeling worn-out, didn’t get enough sleep last night; after I got down from my signal spot, did some reading and decided to watch some films, since I couldn’t sleep. Been a long while I sat down to watch a film from the beginning to the end, barely got time for that. Finally got to sleep around 5ish, and awoken around 8ish to use the loo. Being our headcount day, couldn’t nap after my workout today.

 

It rained cats and dogs today; just before I left for gym, started raining, very heavy, everybody had all their tanks and containers filled. But if it doesn’t rain tomorrow or the day after, we will be back to square one; our drought!

 

Was too weak to keep up with my planned workout for today; #Shoulders + #Abs…. But glad, I pulled through despite my weakness. Almost everyone had their dirty clothes washed today, with enough water for all, many use the opportunity to do their dirty laundry, the only problem will be where to get them dry, the lines in the pavilion are all taken, with sheets and clothes hanging every corner. Finally got to change my bedspreads and sheets, washed my gym clothing which I soaked for about two days now, friggin relieved.

 

Our headcount didn’t go well today, we had to be counted three friggin times. Don’t know which dumbo didn’t go out first and second time. Our new shemale mate paid a visit to our cell today when she came to pick up some groceries and actually gave me and a mate a odd gift; #Banana? Hummmmmmmm! Wondering why banana, she got two for herself (will rather stick to addressing her with feminine pronouns; sometimes we get confused), damned, supposed to be a “HE”, but with that #DDCUPS and a ass that will turn #JLo green, we’ll rather call him a “SHE”. The only fella who had such curvy, silicon filled booty was a freed #Jamaican inmate, his wasn’t as massive as our new ladee mate; Brendita! But during his reign as the Queer, or rather Queen of the pavilion, the lads like fondly or patting him on his backside and he friggin enjoyed the attention, which angered his Jamaican compatriots. Then, and till date, they always say, if he was Jamaica, he would’ve been a goner, freakin weird fellas, drug dealers and other criminals are seen as stars in their society. Well sure is life!

 

Went upstairs briefly for signal, but couldn’t keep my eyes wide open; nature’s calling. The sleep I didn’t get is telling on my fragile body, had to packed up and went straight to my bunk, where I snored the evening away only to be awoken around 10ish, guess I must have slept for about 2 or 3hours. What woke me up was my mates arguing about something that should be bothering everyone here; in my sleep, I heard #SIDA….. Which is #Aids in English, opened my eyes and listened as they took turns in talking. A lad was trying to tell them about a lad which I presumed they all knew; he was locked up, upon released, got home to wife and kids, but felt bit awkward about his wife. After some months he went for #HIV test and found that he was positive, told the wife to do same, at first she relented, but eventually went and tested positive also. Within a year, the wife died; from what they were saying, the wife was poking around when her man was in the slammer and along the line of her nightly duty she picked up something and when her man came back after time done, she gave him that deadly welcome gift.

 

And they went on and on talking about other cases, but then, they seems to forget the ones right under their noses; the many inmates indulging in flings with other inmates in this pavilion and with rumours of who is walking around with deadly infections. And I doubt if they had a second thought about our barbershops; what hygienic procedures they take to keep their machines and equipment safe and sterile! And they all have their hairs cut on weekly basis, I refused to use the barbershop and my balding hairline is always an issue to talk among them. I rather look like a cave man than pick up something through the negligence and foolishness of someone else.

 

The young lad in my cell, whose accomplice died of HIV/AIDS related illness, has had this scalp problem since he came here, about 3yrs on now, and the rashes seems to always breakout after treatment; I once had him on a strong course of vitamin C and antibiotics, which helped then, but they all returned. His medications now; is what #HIV patients use! Keeps me thinking, and he was the lad involved in the moonshine-fuelled lewd act with our new cellmate. On that case, the lad, after drinking and getting himself smashed, and while we were all asleep sneak to the young lad and proposed to do him a favour of blowing him and get done in return; the young lad was too happy as he hasn’t had such for about 4yrs now. Another cellmate who heard the whispering peeped from his curtain and saw both lads in the young lad’s bunk, curtain drawn and after some minutes they started arguing; the new mate did his part of their deal, but the young lad refused to honour his part 😉

 

It was a secret for a few hours, in the morning, the pavilion knew what happened and the young lad felt he is the macho, while the new lad is his girl. Till this day, he’s calm as he knows if he starts a brawl with anyone, he’s got loads of names that is hanging on him. Others are pretty open about their sexuality, but others rather keep it sealed in their closets. Now that we have a new would-be sex worker, only time will tell, as I’m seeing many on the edge hovering around our new heavily chested and booty shemale. Soon she will be on the market to offer her wares and whatever she is got; our old queen whom we rarely don’t see much of her, used to do lap dance, special dressed-ups and graces birthday parties with one-on-one dance. And she also plays the role of our night nurse; hopping from one bunk to another, tending to the lad’s need. Lest I forget; she and our Jamaican ladee were very good with manicure, pedicure and sensual massages, but for a fee!

 

Soon we will discover what talent our new shemale has for us, apart from robbing men who secretly visit shemales in the city, she should have other talents that will be useful and earned her some dough to meet her joint-chain-smoking need. If she loves the bottles, wouldn’t mind introducing her to my special #RedWine #Moonshine #Brew. She will love it! Or she might opt for our potent and lethal distil, the new #Poland/ #Canadian mate nicknamed #PapaNoel or #Santa because of his heavy white beard; once told a mate that if the mash is distilled once; it’s poisonous, real #Vodka must go through triple distillation. Well, not with what these lads are doing here. They will be too glad to get all through the first process, adding water to the final product increases the volume; thus, more money!

 

Back in Renacer, a Korean inmate who was addicted to alcohol once bought methylated spirit (Methanol) from the locals; the lads added kool-aid to the alcohol and sold it to the man, who drank and collapsed. He was lucky as we close to the hospital then. He was rushed to the hospital and survived the ordeal.

 

If I want to drink, I drink my brew; fermented fruit juice makes a good homemade #Wine or #Moonshine.

 

01:23:32 on Fri 1 Nov 2013!

It’s weekend, time really flies, waits for no one! Once its gone,  can’t be redeemed; such is how we’ve wasted precious times of our lives incarcerated!

 

The new mate is talking in his sleep, feel like wagging him a hot slap, the lad does this every night, think he’s sick and need some visit to the shrink, but can’t and won’t have it here, as there ain’t no shrink to take care of inmates unseen problems; our psychological problems.

 

08:11:46 on Fri 1 Nov 2013

Wow! How time flies, December is around the corner, will be my fifth, thus, the fifth Christmas in the slammer; fate and destiny.

 

Don’t know what my cellmates are doing, woken me up, I might as well hit the gym early today. But, first gotta look for where to get my washed laundry out before it start smelling bad.

 

The day started with a bright and sunny sky, lucky to had my bedspreads dried, every line and space on the grass were occupied with our laundries. Just before noon, the sky turned dark as the sun gave way for a dark gloomy sky; pregnant with another bout of rain, which came pouring hard just after my last workout of the week.

 

The gym was packed as always, but the new cop who took over yesterday allowed people outside to do their workouts in the patio. The boxing group and those running enjoyed the warmth of the sun. While the rest of us stick to our weights. It was a mixed of #Chest and #Arms and hardcore kettlebell swings; using a dumbbell in place of the kettlebell.

 

Back in, did another round of washing, gym clothes and more of my dirty laundries. Tomorrow, Saturday; our general cleaning as there is enough water. All our tanks are filled, hope it rains all through weekend as we will be in need of water; it’s public holidays in Panama, and on such moment, public services are always shut down, thus, there might not be water, which in fact hasn’t been for two weeks now. Been a festive season, virtually everything will be shutdown until next week.

 

No new inmates and none released today, but there are so many new faces in the pavilion; last few weeks had seen many hauled in to begin the cruelly journey into uncertainty.

 

Having flu symptoms from bathing with cold rain water, not just me, many are lining up in my cell to purchase cold remedies from my pharmacist cellmate. My mate and I are sticking to fresh ginger tea; helps with internal cold and joint pains.

 

21:23:00 on Fri 1 Nov 2013

#Weekend; groups are formed on different spots in the pavilion, some in cells, others on top of the cells or corners around the passages listening to music as te sip from either moonshine or liquor. Others rather indulge in blowing joints and chattering away their time.

 

Our revellers carried on with their drinking all through the night, sat out with others waiting for signal before nature called me up, which made me gave up my spot. Signal came up, but was very weak and with many hanging around to get online, I left for my cell and bunk around 2ish, couldn’t sleep; crazy swing moods. Finally closed my eyes around 4ish.

 

Sat 2 Nov 2013

The lads finally did the general cleaning in the cell, which brought some form of freshness into the cell.

Like other Saturdays; inmates are catching some fun to help with the mood. Earlier today, there was a brawl between two inmates, once of them pulled a knife on the other. Many wants the knifeman thrown out of the pavilion; this will be another test on the efficacy of our unwritten rules of conduct in the pavilion. On Thursday during the headcount, I saw one of the dope-head #Spaniard rewriting our rules that has seen many coats of paints painted over it, will receive new life and send its warning to our deafened ears.

 

Someone who witnessed the incident said, the lad’s name was sent to the cop outside; thus, he’ll be thrown out on Monday. It’s something we will all wait and see the outcome, if the lad is above the law.

Water came today from the prison water supply; but the colour wasn’t anything different from the water we fetched from the stagnanted pond outside the pavilion to be use in out toilet. Have three dug-out pond to receive rain water whenever it rains, so we can have enough water to flush our toilets. There were times we were forced to bathe with that water, there was no other option or alternatives; add some bleach and it’s ok to shower with.

 

It seems, since the fight, there have been series of meetings between different factions involved in the brawl. Whatever they’re discussing is probably too late as the knifeman ought to be thrown out come Monday!

 

Being a pavilion with 24hrs open cells, inmates are free to roam around whatever time they choose to; as such most find time and dark corners to indulge in their nocturnal bodily lewd acts, posting sentry around corners to check for intruders.

 

There are olders inmates who had never been to the gym and wouldn’t want to, to avoid fracas with the youthful ones who wouldn’t share their weights and others are juiced up and ready to unleash roid-rage on others at any little upset. These older inmates routinely wake up by 4am to do their walkabout round the passages before others are awoken; it takes dedication to keep to such routines as I have seen men resigned their lives to fate and what prison holds for them.

 

Early in the morning, one can see litters on the floors; bottles #Gatorade or #Powerade but filled with urine and not some energry drink, inmates with full bladder after night of drinking and consuming will opt for bigger bottles like the 2 litres coca-cola ones to empty their full bladder, all these happens despite every cell having rubbish bins outside each cell. Some are just to lazy and dirty, they say dirty habits are hard to weaned off.

 

Sun 3 Nov 2013

Frustrated as there was no signal, I went to me bed around 11pm, couldn’t sleep as thoughts floods my mind; always memories I want to do away with, plug in some inspiring audio book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, which helps as I listened to his motivational talks on the power of the mind. Finally relaxed with news I was able to update when there was an open window on our signal frequency.

 

Slept very deep for the first time; knackered and tired from short burst of sleeps and intensive, cruelly workouts. Didn’t know it was raining, woke up around 4am to use the loo, which someone had splattered; wondering who did that, drove me to the brink of waking everyone, but for the sake of the old inmate with serious blood pressure problem, I kept my cool. Whoever did it will face my wrath later on, couldn’t get back to sleep, whoever filled the tanks was too lazy to finish his work. Thus, I had to fill up all the tanks and every empty bottles of coke and my Welch’s gallons, also our cooking pots; water scarcity has driven my nutters over water, I hoard water as one doesn’t know what will happen the following day. Took an early cold shower despite feeling feverish yesterday, made me a cup of fresh ginger and popped in a bag of green tea; that will keep be warm as I made my way upstairs to our signal spot. I was first to get them, got a chair from my mate upstairs who was still sleeping.

 

Upstairs and at that early hours, signal was great, good access to update my news apps and even got a 3G band; listened to radio stations briefly which kept the signal streaming. Our ingenious way to keep the signal for a while without breaking up; once you get a 3G, open an online radio station, once it starts streaming, it keeps the signal on for a while, which allows one to do other stuffs online, like #twitter, #Facebook, and other instant messenger application like #whatsapp and #BBM. Stayed up until others started streaming in, got crowded and my battey juice need some extra power up. Left for my mate’s shank on top of one of the cells, famished and sleepy at the same time. Got some powder milk and made my way to my cell, where some of my mates were still sleeping. Made me a hot oatmeal with peanuts, should get some peanut butter, actually made enough for everyone, pretty hard to eat alone. Had mine and back to catch some sleep, which I know would be very hard to catch as these lads will be up and about in their daily preoccupations; chattering and singing off notes ballads. But I know I will sleep as I’m totally wasted.

 

So much has happened within last week and this week; my compatriot finally had an interview with a television-journalist back home in #Nederland about our situation and #DenHaag ‘s refusal to grant us repatriation so we will be closer to our loved ones. Since our signal crisis, sending emails is harder than going for a walk outside; for the latter, a can of cola or a bottle of powerade will get the cop to let you out. But sending emails is something many here don’t even dare to, I prefer emails, once sent, the recipient will always find it, so long it doesn’t get into #Spam folder ;-). I finally got my compatriot’s mail sent to the journalist who later rang him and had a recorded interview with him for a follow-up on a previous documentary on the state of our cases.

 

One will only hope, that the programme will help change the course of things, as many of are financially, mentally and health-wise drained. For now, our fingers are crossed as this programme will be air, in the past, there’s always mixed reactions to Dutch detainees outside Europe, since those in and within #Europe or #EU #EEC rarely have problems with getting repatriated or #WOTS as they call the process in #Dutch.

 

Its 17:59:40 on Sun 3 Nov 2013 …..

Had enough sleep for today, will be going upstairs again to hustle for signal, but not after my verbal brawl with someone did the splatter earlier today, everyone denied it. But, I eventually put my feet on the ground, being second oldest here and I actually bought most of our utensils; told them, whoever cooks, should endeavour to clean up. Hope someone will adhere to that as I’m bent on constantly reminding them. We had the needed meeting as I poured out my mind on the dirty habit by someone in the cell. What broke the last straw was someone who wanked in the toilet and used our hand-towel to clean his cum (semen), another inmate knew who did it, but wouldn’t mention who did it. If he talks, they call him #Sapo (frog) which is #Rat or #Snitch. To them, if one does something bad, and another sees it, you shouldn’t say who did it, kinda driving me nutters. I hope our amicable discussions today will yield positive reults.

 

23:04:44 on Sun 3 Nov 2013

Signal is bad, but many who made the switch to a different network, can only make calls as they seems to have a 2G frequency. I need something higher to get online. Thus, will have to wait patiently until the spot is clear.

Just found out about the lad who pulled a knife on another yesterday, the lad who pulled the knife seemed to be a jovial, socially lad; always drinking and blowing joint, but the lad he pulled the knife on, is someone who’s on my black book, we barely get along. His mate is one of my cellmates, since he buys stuffs for the guy to cook, he feels his on top of the world, forgetting that he doesn’t feed me; he knows we are at cold war, probably his chef-mate has told him to be careful with the way he talks to me and others in the cell. The lad is lousy, our eyes are on him. He’s lucky the lad didn’t plunge the knife and ripped his guts out.

 

We try to live at and in peace with all men, but sometimes you are pushed to the wall, then you’ve got no option, other than gaining momentum and launch back with force and all one’s got!

Another holiday season in the country; which has literally shut down everything in the centre. My food today was my morning oatmeal and beans soup which I had with fried eggs. Might make me another oatmeal before sleeping or chocolate drink, but ain’t got bread. #Malo!

 

Just hours after the last drop of rainfall, our water has gone half-way down, wondering what the lads are doing with water. Hope more rainfall tomorrow; should be hitting the gym for a #Back and #Shoulder combo, just had the September edition of #MuscleAndFitness magazine in, super workout routines, diet information; the latter not for me. Did bought #Broccoli but at cut-throat price, $4 a piece! Little did one know, being a prisoner can be a very expensive business; one have to fend for oneself. Guess it all amount to the cost of crime, friggin expensive!

 

Will try to get this online tonight, hopefully the lads will start peeling out of the spot, the more phones there, the more difficult it is to get connected.

 

The lad whose gang-boss, whom my mates called “El Efe” came to beat as they thought he’s becoming lousy is a bit quiet now. But what has got us wondering, how a local will leave his pavilion and walk right into ours and beat up someone here; the cops and wardens are all involved. Heard even the cops are scare of these gangs as many knows their homes and families and that’s how weapons of all kinds gets into the population.

 

There was another fight last night (Saturday night), lasted about a minutes or so, started with verbal exchange of hot words, then came the swift and timed punches. All for unpaid debts, about $50 is owed to a white-haired man by another compatriots of his; lad’s on joint and booze, day-to-day business. Why will someone lend another money when you know he has no means of paying back; no job and no deals. Well, they just have to sort out their problems, as we all have some little devil of ours bugging us individually; once on the inside, Everyman on his own and to himself. There’s this struggle to survive amongst us. And this is literally seen in the greed that has swept and eating us up; inmates rarely share food, many believes that the more one eats, the better chance of surviving. And they seems to forget, accumulating calories and not expanding them through mobility is also dangerous to one’s health and state of mind. It takes a lot individually to do one time here and leave healthy or with sound state of mind.

 

There is a resolve to do well here, once banged up, many falls into that spiritual hibernation of soul-searching and some will come out with that resolve to a change life and work towards a different future.

 

They say wisdom comes with age, sometimes not applicable to everyone, of course as you get older your personality changes; for good or bad! The choice is always personal!

 

“When something bad happen, you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you or you can let it strengthen you.”

 

“Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost.” – Robert Schuller