Prison: Seeking Of Fulfilment And Our Insatiable Needs For Gratification.
“Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.”
“[But the man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out.] He will be wiser but less cocksure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend.” – Aldous Huxley, from The Doors of Perception.
“Well, I think one of the Doors of Perception leads in here mate. We won’t be the same leaving”… From an Irish mate, who is slammed up for being at the right place (friend’s house) at the wrong time (when cops came to burst his mates.
SAT, FEB 1, 2014!
It’s been a very busy week, one filled with anticipation and full of expectations. But, one thing prison has taught me, is hope but don’t expect much from one’s hope and always bear in mind that wishes ain’t horses.
From out last consul visit, we were aware of a second visit from the lawyers at PrisonLawNL; apparently, we have no idea what was the outcome of their first visit, as they were to tender a report to the minister regarding our repatriation issues, till date, no feedback.
They eventually came on Thursday morning; our weekly headcount’s day, but as it would happen; bearing in mind, nothing is certain within and inside a prison complex. Just after our early morning headcount, and that’s when my flu started. The cops left for a search in one of the pavilion housing the local inmates. The lads being edgy and tired of getting search opened fire at the incoming cops, at the end of the shootout (Cops and inmates), eleven injured amongst them, cops and inmates were taken to clinic for treatment. Being very tensed in the centre, curfew; zero-movement was in place till late in the day. It so happened our visitors came very early in the morning, the centre not having an efficient communication system had to send them back; they eventually went to the female prison, to see the Dutch female detainees.
Thus, we didn’t get to meet them, and probably they are back in The Netherlands as I’m writing this. We wouldn’t know what news they came with, whatever they had for us, we will know by our consul visit which will be in the middle of March. Due to the workload at the embassy, our visit which was bi-monthly has been moved to every three months, which isn’t bad when compared with the so-called bigger nations like The US, Canada, The UK and others. And we still get our toiletries 😉
So much can happen in a small world like ours; people will think of prison as a dead-end, but to many inmates, this where life begins, and for people like me, it’s where one will hit his drawing board for new plans and proper brainstorming; like my thieving-lawyer once told me ‘when plan A failed, there’s still Plan B-Z’. At the end, one will come to see prison as place for a change and second chance to life or as a place to learn, acquire new skills and build solid network in one’s vice or trade 😉
Our pavilion has seen old faces walked ‘The long walk of freedom’ and also seen new faces walked in to begin a journey full of uncertainty, one they will live their lives controlled by their environment; they are no longer the captain of their boats. Their lives will be governed by our unwritten rules and by what they face every day which will determine their survival until the day they walk out alive or cold in bodybags.
My workout is taking a different turn as I’m focusing more on my cardio; but through resistance and weights training, since going outside for a run is never certain. I have been busy incorporating different forms of #HIIT exercises into my workout. Doing a lot of kettlebell exercises using dumbbells, which many have joined and they are seeing the results. Shredding more bodyfat as muscles are developing, my bench-press, deadlift is superb despite not using #Steroids! But munching on anything protein… Eggs, legumes (beans and lentils; Latin America favourites), meat and chicken whenever I get some, and white rice which comes with almost everything on our meal cart. Also drinking more tea and for a long while, no alcohol. Still got two gallons from my Christmas batch. Glad, still got some vitamins left, very helpful in supplementing the meagre food we get here. My body-weight pull-up is superb, even adding extra weight; using rope made from out empty ice bags; #innovation behindbars! More of bodyweight exercise as my back is still sore. Can’t afford to be grounded because of injury.
The Chinese celebrated their #ChineseNewYear; the year of the #Horse, they got in four litres of #RunAbuelo and a mate brought in a bottle of proper #Argentina #RedWine #Alegoria Gran Reserva (2007 Cabernet Sauvignon). Had a half-full cup, with my dinner on Friday evening, would have love more, but many also wanted more. Thinking of my prison-made wine from grape juice, not bad at all, in the mood for more, topped it with my ginger wine. And that was it! My mates took over and finished my wine 😉 lads are always waiting for just one reason to drink and get pissed. They always say, ‘everyday is weekend on the inside’
Another stabbing incident and a fatal one, a Dominican inmate who has spent more time on the inside than on the outside; think he’s someone the law will call #RepeatOffender! Since my incarceration, he’s been in and out three times and now the fourth one, in for robbery and homicide; he was refused entry to our pavilion. Thus, he was sent to one of the locals, within their pavilion, they are segregated according to inmates gang preferences; #PrisonGangWar. The lad being more a local that a foreigner blended in easily. As their on-going war rages, he was made the hit-man to strike on their enemies; these lads literally take these gangs thing to the extreme, tattoos all over their bodies singing praises to their gangs and to their fallen comrades.
On Friday, he found his prey; an inmate whom the system has taken everything from him, he walks around cleaning bin and helps us whenever we have our consul visit to convey our stuffs with his working-wheelbarrow for a dollar. Unfortunately, he was housed in the same gallery with the opposing gangs to the Dominican’s. Being an easy target, the lad picked on him, stabbed him several times, his intestines were held in place by hands. It brought a lot of pity on him as many knew him to be a very quiet lad who has been here for years, and the system has robbed the best part of him; many see him as mentally handicapped. The question now is, why did the lad picked him? He definitely knew what he was doing, picked the most vulnerable!
Like others who came in for a few years stint, but ended up doing the best part of their lives inside, the Dominican is bound to spend years after years here. Who knows, maybe he will join the bandwagon of religion and become one of the pavilion pastors like others who are supposed to be locked up but end up walking around with bible while wheeling and dealing with their peers in different pavilion; all in the name of the Lord! #LordHaveMercy
Bit quiet in the pavilion, but doesn’t stop the lads from having good time. Alliances are forged for the future as many found new friends and prospective partners. Some will want to switch trades to a more profitable one. Like anywhere humans are housed or crammed together in small enclosure, the frictions caused by contacts could lead to wear-out, such is our lives here; verbal brawls and heated confrontations, fall-outs amongst old pals in the underworld, payback and revenge. The last has kept a mate on full alert since his second time here, an unfinished business on the street has got him all tensed up and wary of everything around him. The lad is very hypertensive, always suspicious of every movement around him. Such is our lives!
Within the week, another escape amongst the locals, hardly does one hear of a foreigner escaping; the security here is more focused on the foreigners since we are the money bags for their thieving lawyers. Locals barely take private lawyers as they ain’t ready to fork out any money. But a foreigner, naïve, not knowing what awaits him or her upon arrest is willing to listen, trust and fork out thousands to lawyers who won’t do anything as in representing the client.
One of such lawyers was gunned down in the city of David, Chiriqui. Finished seeing his client, probably a local and a mean one and unsatisfied client. Had a stop-over for a drink, and had his last drink in this life, hope he continues drinking in his after-life! Many like him are milking inmates who don’t know how the system works, with false promises and hopes leniet sentences, early trial. But not all will walk free with their loot. Many will end up having accidents which is always inevitable in life;-)……. Accident does happen! Like an inmate whose hammock’s broke and had him slammed to the concrete floor with broken limbs and bruised face………’Accident does happen’
The flu came, knew it was coming as almost all my cellmates had it, did everything in the book on prevention; daily vitamin C, Oranges and other fruits when available and affordable. But it still got hold of me, and on Friday gave me sleepless night; blocked nostrils, fever, body ache, and just name it. Took a hot bath, had vicks rubbed on my chest and back, took necessary medication to deal with the symptoms and slept. Felt much better today Saturday, hopefully, by Monday, I will be much better to get on with my daily routine.
Lately, there’s been great influx of medications from the locals, inmates working in the infirmary, wardens and cops; and all the drugs are from the clinic meant for inmates. Seeing so much, everyone jumped in to get a cut from trading on it. The most had been for flu, cold, fever and also for worms. My pharmacist-cellmate has stocked everyone he could lay his hands as they came too cheap. Another mate had his warden friend smuggled some for him. Upon checking the expiry date, many of what they had gotten are out of date. Since the last time a doctor gave me #Enalapril for six months which doesn’t happen here, one only get a month prescription. Upon checking mine then, found out I was given expired drugs, had to dumped them in the bin. After I told my mate, the lad wouldn’t want lose his money. He kept them to sell onwards to those who don’t bother to check whatever they buy. A Jamaican female died after taking expired drugs given to her by a prison doctor and nothing was done about it. #CheapDead!
Our signal problem remains the same, always looking for a good spot with better reception and switching from one sim card to another depending on which network picks up better signal. I’m glad, I’m able to get online, get my news updated and read articles and most importantly stay in contact with Schat and the kids. Found out on Friday my little boy got into his first fight at school ;-), wifey said, he thinks it’s funny, he’s full of energy and need to channel it into something else. If his fight was for self-defence, no big deal! But otherwise, he must be talked into dealing with difficult people, like his pop his dealing with @Behindbars. He definitely need me now in his life, hope this will end soon. Can’t wait to be back home, so much gotta be done.
#Weekend before our fortnightly visit, which will be on Monday, many got their hair shaven, styled and groomed themselves, waiting for what will be a #Valentine’s day visit, gift will me made for their missus, and rent-girls. There’ll be a lot of smooching, cuddling and fingering as many tend to do.
Earlier today, talking of sex, fcuking don’t know how it feels like or taste like after all these years, but as the late Bernie Marc once told a mad man who told him he hasn’t eaten in two weeks and forgotten how it taste like…. Bernie answered him “Don’t worry about eating, as food still taste the same” …….it hasn’t change a bit”…. Thus, don’t even bother about eating….Lol 😉
I have heard about this from a mate before, some Romanian inmates are opening new doors to sexual gratification for these Latino lads, who probably only knew the old missionary, doggy and 69 positions and they friggin love anal sex. Now they are made to believe, inserting #Pearl under the foreskin will give you the ultimate pleasure in sex; will take one to new dimensions, open closed doors into another world of pleasures, will send the woman into ecstasy, a land of no return, meaning, she ain’t going back. And fuck….many are doing it. One of my mate was talking of an inmate in pavilion 8 (the second pavilion for foreigners here), who is a specialist in doing that, said, he will insert the pearl perfectly for a little fee. Well, my take on anything with prison; tattoos, piercing and pearl-insertion….. I ain’t doing no shit…… There’s so many infected with all kinds of infectious diseases here. will rather go home sound and better, healthier than I was when I came in, than go home with something that will give me a second thought about life. Incarceration has given so much thinking about life and why we live and for what? But using one’s money to buy one’s ills is out of place.
Whatever the lads will do to keep them happy, they will do….. It all amounts to doing time.
8:05:00 PM on SAT, FEB 1, 2014 ….. The grocery store upstairs remained closed today and tomorrow, thus, no ice! But many had things stocked up for such a moment. My brunch was fried green plaintain and fried eggs mixed with vegetables (salad that came on the lunch cart), made dip sauce; mashed garlic, ketchup, Mayo, dried parsley, dried oregano, hint of chilli, olive oil and black pepper;-. For dinner not sure what I will get….. A mate is cooking soup….might get a bowl which is what I need for the flu and cold.
The pavilion is coming to life with music from different parts of the pavilion. The lad who got the wine in just met me, promised me a bottle when next they are able to get some in; that will be one gift I’m giving full expectations…. Well my repatriation should paramount and top of my list, but since these things are handled by politician, friggin can’t trust that. whatever comes, let it be. But for the wine, I will be looking forward to it. The lad owe me a favour…. Once gave him a half-full container of creatine powder and I think he wants to payback with a bottle of wine.
Business as usual, baking, grilling, frying and cooking. A compatriot who probably has found solace in the church now sells vegetables, medications, and also cooks and sell. While he’s in the search and pursuit for redemption and meaning to his life, another had gone down-low; hitting lines upon lines of angel dust, selling his stuffs to meet his bodily demands. If the Dutch Govt don’t get him ASAP, pray his doesn’t become a sad ending. Well, have seen many who were like him, but ended up curing themselves as they couldn’t keep up with payment and dealers got wiser with each new day; after debts in thousands of dollars, many stop selling to clients who can’t back the IOU notes with cash! Many he will get to that point, his dealers will stop attending to his special needs.
Others are hawking top-ups cards, the only way to get money in from families or friends in Panama, is have them buy credit or top-up cards or international call cards, which inmate resell amongst the population to recover their cash. When the market is flooded, one can buy a fiver dollar recharge card for four dollars. But when it become scarce they can be a dollar more.
Prison; where men and women society rejects try to finding meanings to their lives. And those meaning can bring about a domino effect as families, communities, and even the country are affected by whatever meanings these ones will find while on the inside.
Like the pearl inserted under the foreskin to open doors into another world of sexual gratification and satisfactions. Prison, is a door way into many doorways; many will walk in through one way, but walk out differently…… The doorway meets pathways that will lead many into different dispensation!
“The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence.”
Hope is looking to the future with trust and faith. It is optimism in the face of adversity, without hope, we lose our will to live fully. Hope gives us the courage to keep moving forward. It can be elusive when we have suffered often, yet it is the light that can redeem our dreams. With hope we know we are not alone. There is always help we are willing to ask. There are gifts to be gleaned from what happens. With hope, we find the confidence to try and try again.