The Long Wait.

The Long Wait.

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Don’t wait for something big to occur. Start where you are with what you have and that will lead you into something greater. – Mary Manin Morrissey

The feel of proper keypad, wouldn’t mind comparing it to the feel of a lady, the speed of punching the pads could be liken to the speed of peeling off her clothes before the main event. That’s one point blackberry have over its competition with virtual keypads.

Touchscreen display and the virtual keypad has got their advantages but not when it comes to  speed-typing and when you are slammed up in a prison where nothing is certain, where surprises abounds us, and when you have to rush up your writing and publish it before they come storming. 
Despite not having a keypad phone, I have been tweeting with what I have and when I can. 

Life in #TheJoint has been one of uncertainty, the only thing that has change is the ever growing inmate population and our ever-rising temper and anger; many are losing the grip of life. Every little altercations sparks reprisals in words or actions, which could be fatal as most cases has been. 

The strength for surviving the pressure of life on the inside has always come from my ability to adapt, blend and improvised, and most importantly from my beloved family; not around for such a long time, couldn’t stop the kids and schat from having my presence around them. Our smartphones has been more of a blessing to us whose families are living thousands of miles away from us. #CommunicationMadeEasy! 

Few had done their time and gone to face whatever the world will unfold before them, some will er again and be hauled back in. Even, as they left, more are hauled in to filled up their places, sometimes five newbies for every one that’s released, doesn’t add up, but someone gotta be blamed for the incompetency and bureaucracy of the police, who are fun of throwing people into jails without due process. 

Anyway, I’m in and the only thing on my mind is a way out; which can come in different ways; legally, there are two ways; time done and released or in a bodybag, dead as a doorknob. Illegally, there are many options and alternatives open; #PrisonBreak, which comes in many forms, and the most used option; #Benjamins; money talks bullsh!t walks, with corruption deep into the core of the system, anybody can be bought to serve one’s purpose, and what oher purpose does a locked man have, if not to buy his freedom at all cost, even at the cost of his own life; seen many, tried that, knowing fully well the cops will shoot at at moving object, but they dare the cops and make the attempt and the cops did shot at them for sure. Using one’s life to save the same life; what a high sacrifice. 

The Long Wait:
Talking of freedom, finally some breathe of fresh air of relief. The Justice minister back in Den Haag finally agreed to a process that will see us repatriated back to Holland. In his response to the ombudsman questions regarding his refusals to have us repatriated back to Holland, he agreed to have Dutch detainees in Panama and Venezuela returned back to Holland but carrying over their sentences as issued in those countries. While inmates in the #USA will have their charges/sentences commuted to Dutch law upon their return to The Netherlands, as America is known to issue very high sentences; lucky them! 

Since the consul last visit in December ’13, we,ve been following news and events in Den Haag to know when they will finally and officially sign the new #WOTS into law, not until that is done can we begin a new process. One which could take ages, and will still go through the same processess, a gamble with one’s fate; could be rejected! Despite the odds of refusal, I’m optimistic that something positive is at the end of the tunnel, but then, prison has taught me to always expect the unexpected. 

In the meantime, we have been hustling and bustling our a**sess to survive the odds on the inside.  People might think of prisoners as hermits, but some lads are surely living the time of their lives on the inside, they won’t want to be repatriated back to their home-country jails as the condition there is worse than what we have here; the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know! They’d rather finish their time here than be sent back to prisons where they won’t last the first 24hrs, and majority has no families to return to; the war out there has gotten to many of them, and left them nothing to return to. Such is life, the life of a prisoner. 

Verbal and physical brawls has been on the rise, #PrisonViolence! Every little thing upsets the seemingly calm mood, we tend to be like a sleeping volcano waiting to erupt at any slight change in the situation; with us it could be words, tempers, outside stimuli, fear, complex problems, peer pressure and every other thing could cause anyone to erupt; even hunger has led to many verbal and physical brawls as the lads hustled each others for our meagre food portions. 

Outsiders will think of prisons as where men go to horned six-packs and washboard belly, little do they know, some men will walk in skinny and near-death after bitter experiences with rival gangs and cops before their arrests, but will end up eating their way into obesity. It takes a strong resolve to wake up every morning and decide to give life another shot, knowing at anytime it could all fall down. But many of us are doing that, everyday we wake up with our heart still in place and beating; seen videos of inmates chopping of heads and ripping our organs of fellow inmates out of gangs rivalries.  

Having Doc. in our midst has been of great benefits, inmates who had taken ill at odd hours, even during daytime were attended to by Doc, the last was an inmate who was on a drinking spree, but decided to take his stupidity to the edge; sat above his cell, drinking and chatting on his blackberry; fell and hit his head on the concrete floor, split his head, Doc had to use his towel and wrapped the lad’s head and more towels were used as cushion to protect his fragile head as he was wheeled out. The cops rushed him to the city where I heard he was taken right away into the intensive unit. He will pull through, but hope he comes back the way he was before the fall; he’s a nice lad, makes #Subway burgers with about anything edible. 

Our consul finally came  on Thursday, after three months of waiting, was relieving as we were at the state of drought, we were literally living on day to day by whatever comes away. Now we have enough toiletries to take us through till her next visit; sometimes they barely last two months. @Behindbars one learns to manage whatever he has, everything is rationed like we are in a state of war, hypothetically, we are at war with ourselves and the corrupt system. 

War with ourselves and war within; there is but one #OriginalSin that prisoners, criminals and even the cops hates… #Snitching! Nobody like a #Turncoat or #Snitch, especially if he’s one within. A longstanding inmate, who was probably one of the pioneers of the pavilion was thrown out of the pavilion, was involved in a physical brawl in the gym, stopped him from using our weights as weapon. His opponent was also an oldtimer who has done time over time, and keeps coming back; who knows if his life will be done here. He was lucky on the day of their brawl that we were there to save his head. Both were thrown out of the pavilion, the former, despite having his compatriots as the president and vice president of the pavilion was thrown out and other pavilions rejected him as many knew he’s a snitch; even the cops who were his partners gave him up; brings us back to our first rule in our unwritten rules; #TrustNoOne! As I’m writing and since the day he was thrown out, he has been living, chained to the public toilet in the admin block as nobody wants him, not even the locals which is always one’s last resort, but the locals are looking out to do him; reason he stopped working in the kitchen. Prison world is just like the underworld, a price on your head, you are a goner. Hope he survives this phase of his life. The other fella has gone back to pav8 where he was before his previous release, then same reason took him there, involved in a brutal fight. Some people are born troublemakers.

For a while now, we at peace with ourselves, exceptions of individuals battling their personal demons. Santa Claus, our Polish Sikh fella had his ten days old tablet taken during our last impromptu search, he almost flipped, many had their phones taken, a compatriot lost his iphone5. With time, all will get to purchase new ones. Friggin in need of a tablet or ebook reader; will help with reading of books, magazines and articles I have on my memory chips. 

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Enough books to keep me busy.

Finally got hold of the packet schat sent last year to me, arrived in November 2013, but my consul couldn’t pick it up, had to wait till this visit. Got enough books to fuel my grey matter, while the weight rooms keeps my body in shape. It takes a great resolve to wake up everyday, knowing that you are following the same monotonous routines, well, once in a while we do things to spice up our lives; like a drink once a while doesn’t kill nobody. Internet has been a greater source of information as I find more things to do in the gym, which takes me from doing same thing everyday. There are some inmates who will walk in and do the same thing every Friggin day; wondering if they don’t get tired and barely see results! Incorporating yoga, HIIT, crossfit, GVT, and finally kettlebell (but we use dumbbells), the last has gotten many lads joined my group and they seems to love it. Got schat to get herself one and she seems to also like it; works out at home and her form is getting better. 

The new set of cops are sometimes nice as we are allowed outside for a 30mins of workout; individually or group of three’s. They do get tipped for their collaboration at the end of their 7-day shift. 

Religion and prisoners:
The first sight upon entry into the pavilion apart from our feral cats is a massive concrete shrine or altar with the statue of the virgin Mary and lots of rosaries hanging around her neck; I believe some are supplications left by the lads. And there’s always a faithful washing and polishing the tiles to keep it speckles and sparkling. Sometimes, the lad is seen napping on the cold tiles; probably pouring his heart out to his God. 

On the other hand, the evangelicals seems to have the most members; mostly among the locals, who are fun of walking around with their bible in their hands and knives tucked in their pants , in place of ‘good morning’ ‘good afternoon’ one hears #DiosBendiga (#GodBlessYou) ….. have heard it so much time that the words lost its meanings. Don’t see any blessing in someone getting plunged with a zigzag edge crude blade. 

Despite the violence, uncertainties and fear of the unknown, religion has given many hope for tomorrow and for the after-life, as many knows in the back of their minds, that the inevitable could happen. Thus, they believe the closer walk with God, a promised of a better life in the after-life is guaranteed. Others takes comfort in religion as a form of restitution for crimes they had committed, crimes which many don’t know. While the majority just want to belong and fit in with the norm. 

The prison walk is a long one, can be fast-tracked, but at a cost, a walk where one learns and relearn things in every little details, because one’s life depends on those details for survival.

It’s 07:13:25 on Mon 31 March. 2014 
Started this last night, slept off without saving the last entry, touched a button and everything went off, had to wake up by 5am to round up. 

It’s our fortnightly visit today, many are up, getting ready for the hour-long visit with their loved ones. There will be lot of food and lots of goodies hawked around as most of the things that will come in will be sold to meet urgent bodily or prison needs. 

Politics is raging in the country as parties gear up for the May presidential election, one presidential candidate did mentioned introducing life penal to help curb the rising crime rate in Panama; who knows what the Panamanians will think of him, as no country in Latin America has life-penal! 

Another candidate in his portfolio said, he won’t be building prisons like the current president, but will focus on rehabilitation and providing a way out of crime for the youths. That sound good, but he’s not winning, as he’s not one of the three major parties #Decisiòn2014 #Panamà

Should be getting ready to hit the gym, an early workout will give me enough time to do other things. 

As our journey continues, so is our wait; for us the Dutch detainees, the great and long wait for the politicians in Den Haag to finally sign into law what will become our fate and those of others that will come falling after our time is done! 

Our time will done and we will be gone, but our footprints will leave stories to be told… #ThePrisonExperience!

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A bird caught by our lazy cats, but rescued by the lads before they devour it. Hope the lads won’t be grilling it. The cats are becoming too lazy for the job of rat-hunting; who knows maybe they have truce. Cheeky feline things;-)

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

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