Archive for August, 2014

Panama Prisons: Where Death Plays Russian Roulette With Inmates.

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on August 26, 2014 by doingtimeabroad

No law should be more harmful than the behaviour it is trying to regulate (some laws are so draconian in nature that it outweighs the crime or behaviour it is trying to punish; such law comes from politician who believes it will work, but at the end; creating monsters out of petty criminals). 

“Wat is tijd? Meestal merken we iets van de tijd, als er iets verandert of veranderd is. Daarom is tijd vaak zo moeilijk bij te houden als je vastzit en elke dag hetzelfde is als gisteren en vermoedelijk hetzelfde als morgen. “Doing Time” heet vast zitten op zijn Amerikaans. “Tijd (Ver-) doen” Weining verandering meemaken” – Redactioneel van Gezant uit Nederland.

Sleepless nights brings those inevitable memories that one wished it will never come, though on some nights, beautiful memories of the past flows through one’s subconsciously, that one wishes they will stay forever or relived those beautiful memories once again. 

Our lives are our books, but just few ever stop to read through or take stock of what they have been writing. Every failure add to this list of one’s unwanted progression memories. And when this memories come, they come unbidden toying, playing russina roulette with one’s mind. That’s the moment one longs for one thing, that one thing so desired byy every incarcerated being: #Freedom! 

“Freedom is the very source of creativity for both individuals and society.” – Dalai Lama 

Saturday 16, August 2014

The week has been a rough one as we battled  our water problem, there hasn’t been water in the pavilion for days now. When the cells with bigger and powerful electric pumps successful tapped from the locals, wwe hustled for a tank or two; enouugh for the day’s use. Have started using my reserves, emptied some gallons upstairs, yet to refill them, used a tank out of four of my valuable reserves, but quickly refilled it. If it doesn’t rain over the weekend and no water, then, I will have to use more of my reserves. Pray it doesn’t come to that. Many are eating less, with the anticipation of shitting less 😉 

Like all Saturdays, few hit the gym, but wasn’t bothered as I have had my dose of workout through the week, need Saturday and Sunday to recuperate and get my body ready for next week’s workout. Many amongst us are eager to jump on the fitness bandwagon, but few amongst them ever stopped to learn the basics of fitness; many end up doing same routines every day, after a while they vanished like vapour, and the food they are eating hasn’t changed from what they have been eating before incarceration. Well, that’s they only thing they know; feed the hunger worms, with whatever available. Though the prison food is absolute rubbish, if one knows what he wants, he can always tweak and improvised and get the best from what’s available here; I always popped up from my bunk whenever the food cart passes to know what’s on the menu, yeah right! Menu? For breakfast, hardboiled eggs is ok (use them for sandwich fillers), for lunch; I go for salad despite finding maggots once inside, and I also go for whatever legumes comes with the menu. Rice is our stable food here, they can’t stop feeding us with half-cooked rice; a now-released Chinese found something for the rice, uses them for his powerful rice wine, which he later distil to make rice liquor (necessity is the mother of all invention), we need booze, someone gotta get a way of brewing or distilling it, to satisfy our insatiable fleshy or bodily desires. 

Monday is family visit, those with families around will be fortunate to have their spouses, members of their families and kids or grand kids around. For us, whose families are thousands of miles away from here, we can only do with our online visits, which we have been doing since slammed in here. 

Being a family visit, the pavilion is full of life as inmates anticipates meeting their kids, for some new inmates, it will be the first meeting. Wondering what they will tell their kids, there’s always a convincing story for those innocent kids, guess the olders ones, definitely know why daddy, granddad is banged up away. 

Some are arranging with our several bakers to prepare or bake something they will want to share with their loved ones, my mate who sells fried pastries: Empanada (cornmeal filled with chunks of meat and mashed potatoes) is also preparing for that, but his will be fried on Monday morning to keep it fresh. The most are grooming themselves and getting their visit uniforms of yellow T-shirts ready, majority favours Colombia’s national team jersey, apparently, the Colombians are the majority here. When they are out there, it’s a sea of yellows and reds (Red T-shirt is what visitors wears for every visit, excepts consuls, embassies and lawyers). 

We are used to our water crisis, and it doesn’t stop life from going on in the pavilion, it’s Saturday and weekend, thus, life goes on. There’s proper liquor in the pavilion, but majority favours our locally distils, which is by far cheaper than former. The price for half a litre of a proper rum here will fetch one, five litres of our distil, meaning more pissed and longlasting hangovers and also enough to share with others and get stupid! 

Things were going on fine and smooth for everyone, took a nap in the afternoon, woke up and continued chatting with Schat and my kids who are on holidays in Disneyland Paris, glad they are enjoying the best of their times. Anything that should take their minds off me will also help me, as being worried about me also disturbs me. Glad they are always busy and that keeps their minds also busy. Occasionally, schat does have her low moments, but thank God for our incessant communication via social media and instant messengers. Even my two older kids are online as well, but they are just too occupy with schoolwork to make out time for daddy. I’m strong because of them and they give me the inspiration to come out even stronger than when I first walked in through those doors. My inner man is seasoned through the invaluable experiences I have acquired within the time BehindBars, it will be hard for anything to break me, as I have learned to build a fantastic and unbreakable wall of defence with stones thrown at me; sarcasm 😉 

They say, it’s trials that we go through that makes us, but I believe we make, mould and shape ourselves into what we want to become during those times of trials. Those trials are the materials needed to shape us, but then, how do we use them for our benefits; turning punishment to correction! 

The day and our lives rolling as it has always been, businesses as usual are thriving; anything sellable and worth buying is been hawk around either by their owners or by our hawkers who will sell for a percentage or sell above the given price, thus making their own profits, sometimes these lads make more profits than the owners of the wares been sold 😉 

There’s been rumours of meetings that will be held with regards to the riot incident and our water crisis. Wondering, when that will be. Despite all who came to calm the situation, nothing has been done about our water problem and nothing will done about the overcrowding condition here also. 

So far, so good! But things took a different turn in the evening. A Caymanian inmate who has been here less than two years and started drinking from the first day he stepped in here after he discovered that there are liquids or liquors that can undo the reality of what he was seeing and about to live through fell from his high makeshift bed in the cell before mine. I have once written about them (the lads in the cell); the lads who will spent hours arguing about women menstrual cycle, and other trivia issues that men shouldn’t be wasting precious time that we barely have on. 

There are days and nights, I longed to stay awake and do something positive, either writing, reading or brainstorming and bringing those ideas into forms and live, turning those abstracts to matter where I can feel them. But then, one can’t cheat nature. 

Then when he finally retires to his bed, there’s another half a litre of same poten liquor besides him. Thus, he’s never out of his booze. The first time I knew he was taking this drink thing too serious, was when he stopped me on the passage to translate his conversation with one of his sellers to him. When I heard how much he owed the lad, who wasn’t ready to sell to him again if he doesn’t pay off his old bill, I was shocked beyond words. He was owing the lad a whooping $500 just for booze! I said to myself, with such amount, I will be dining like a mob boss locked up away; having his boys smuggled in best Italian ham, salami and the finest wines. Anyway, I will stock my food tank with enough lentils, bean, peanuts and cans of peanut butter, I do get them when I have some dough. 

I was standing outside under my router as I was receiving pictures and videos of my family Disneyland’s vacation, thus, I needed to stay closed to the router for better reception, then suddenly, around 9pm I heard a loud bang on the floor. On checking the cell, there was the cayman inmate lying in a pool of his blood that was coming from sa cut in his head. 

Dr. Porter, who had now become the pavilion resident doctor was called, he came running, leaving whatever he was doing, even without his shirt on. Armed with his stethoscope, which is the only medical equipment after his oxygen machine and the other thing he uses for his chemotherapy. 

He attended to the lad, who was so drunk, after checking him, he advised he be laid still on his mattress that has fallen with him. And also be given painkillers. One thing I remembered Doc saying, was “We should be worried about what’s going on in the inside, than what we see on the outside” and those words later came back to me on Monday. 

When Doc left, a cellmate of the lad came telling me and another cellmate of theirs who was with me with his phone to fix a problem, that his shoulder has swollen. I left with a tube of diclofenac gel (I have about three new tubes, which a local nicked from the clinic and sold to me, and that’s something the doctors at the clinic won’t issue to foreigners). I went in and in the process of finding out from the fallen inmate if he can move his shoulder, so I know if I can touch it or not, Johnny Gringo (El loco Gringo) decided to take it on me, shouted at me to leave the lad alone and get out of his cell. I have always maintained that friendship with him, despite all his problems with many inmates, but not tonight, I dished him his worth in words he will live to remember. We exchanged heated words, which sent me out in annoyance. 

The lad’s cellmates tried getting our pavilion’s president and his vice to call the cops or whoever they can, so they will come for the lad. Nobody did anything that night, the lad was left on the floor all night, with nobody knowing how serious his condition was.

A fall to a concrete floor like ours should have been treated immediately with urgency, like that of the Colombian lad who fell from a much higher attitude (top of the cell), rushed to the clinic and spent weeks and came back fully recovered. 

Throughout the night, his cellmates said, the cayman inmate woke up twice to use the loo, initially when he fell, he had wet his pants, but he later woke up and used the loo, then went back to sleep. 

On Sunday morning, the clanking sound of metals against our metal door rattled me from my short-lived sleep. Having gone to bed very late, I had to get up as I know it’s about the lad. Armed with my phone, what I saw was sickening, the condition of the lad has deteriorated so rapidly within few hours, he was having seizures after seizures, in total he had about nine seizures. Doc was called out, and on checking the lad he was alarmed. Without the needed machines and equipment, there’s little or nothing he can do for the lad. 

The cops finally came after hours of waiting, and the lad was taken out in his mattress, Doc accompanied him, but was later sent back, as the cops won’t allow any inmate to accompany them out. 

Hours later, we heard the lad is stable, which got us back to our lives and normal moods. Many were saying thank God, and when he recovers, hope he learn from this close encounter. But little did we know, like every other thing that we place our hopes on, this one also will vanish like vapour. 

Late at night, a nurse working in the hospital, who attended to the pavilion’s ex-president when he was admitted in the hospital after a local sent/paid by someone amongst us battered his face and mouth, lad spent almost a month in the hospital, came back and has been on liquid diet ever since, as he can’t open his mouth to chew anything. He’s doing better now, but still got his mouth all wired up six months since he came back. The problem will be to get him back to the hospital and remove those braces and wires, and that will be forever. 

The nurse called him to tell him, that the cayman inmate life has taken a wrong turn. She doubts if he will make it, as he’s on life support machine. She said, the lad had tumour in his bread. It’s likely clots from the bleeding he sustained when he bashed his head on the concrete floor of the cell. I doubt if anybody could have survived such a fall from that height, even if he is sober, though the lad had a little too much of liquor in his system. 

The mere fact that he had to build a makeshift bed to fit in as the cells are all full. The pavilion has thirty six cells, each with six concrete beds, making a total of 216 beds, but we are almost six hundred inmates cramped together; thus, every cell is forced to take more than inmates in that it can coped. As of now, my cell has eleven inmates, nine of us inside the cell, and two on top of the cells; one built a makeshift shack and the other sleeps in the open. Back in the cell, one is sleeping on hammock, two on makeshift beds, and the rest of us on concrete beds; with each man making his as much as comfortable as he can or afford. 

On my bed, I have a wooden skeleton of what should have been a decliner/bed, designed and built by a chinese inmate who did thirteen years for homicide. The bed has gone through many hands before getting to me, it’s a big relief as the concrete bed was very bad for my back. 

Once read of a team of American chiropractors coming to the prison to help inmates with back alignment, apart from cardiovascular diseases being the most ailments amongst inmates here, sore and bad back is another chronic sickness in the centre. And not many know what to do help relieve their sore back. The most rely on over-the-counter painkillers, and some go as far as getting steroids. Few realise that, with exercises one can get relief from aching back. But then, you still have to get back on the same concrete bed, thus, it’s a never-ending vicious circle. 

So, many in the pavilion without access to government beds in cells, once accepted into a cell are left to build or construct a makeshift bed wherever there’s space in the cell. And that was the fate of our Caymanian inmate, when he came in, he was accepted by the British lad and the Jamaicans in the cell as they all share something in common; Cayman Island is a foreign territory of Britain and is also a Caribbean country. Thus, he was very comfortable in the cell. And as the norm is here, everyone looks for his own; whenever a new inmate comes in, everyone tries to find out where he comes from, once that link has been established, the new inmate is taken in, if he’s unlucky and has nobody who knows or associates with him, then he’s left to look for a sleep space on the gym hall, which has become very congested. Some inmates with space on top of their cells can decide to sell a spot to a new inmate, who will then build his shack if he has money. And the money shared by the those in the cell, it’s business as usual.

The Cayman lad upon coming into cell A7, was fortunate to have a bed after some weeks sleeping on the floor. He moved into the bed which is welded very high up in the cell, higher than the television and every other bed in the cell. Like those of us sleeping on high bunks, we sleep, but very cautious of where we are sleeping on as a little wrong move can get one falling to the concrete floor. There’s been many falls in the past from the normal top bunks, but not from such height as that of the lad. His was far too high and dangerous, there was no protection bar to keep him from falling, and neither does any bed has it. 

We went through Sunday night on suspense as we were still hanging unto hope, something that we have in abundance here. Hanging and believing that in the morning, it will be well and that whatever the nurse has said was wrong. 

Monday morning, the English lad rang the British embassy (they are responsible for him here), which had someone despatched to see the situation. Same lad and a Jamaican from his cell kept on communication with his families back in Cayman Island. 

I decided to hit the gym, as I have been off all weekend, and many also were in the gym. Half way through, my English mate came calling to tell me what we dreaded most, but then it’s the truth and fact; The lad is dead! He died on the morning of Monday, the 18th of August, just four days before my fifth birthday BehindBars, not the sort of news one will expect on his birthday’s week, but then, this is prison and one where nothing is certain, our lives hangs on threads of hope and of uncertainties. That was it with my workout, couldn’t continue any more, had to call it off; others wouldn’t be bothered, kept on with their workout. The lad will be the sixth inmate to kick the bucket since my incarceration, and all died because of negligence, failures by the authorities to give them medical attention, many are sick, and the older ones with sicknesses that comes with old age, yet they are ignored, help only comes at the 11th hour, that’s if it comes at all, of which in most cases, it doesn’t come! 

From the moment his death broke out, his families and everyone who cared were informed, and back in Cayman Island, there’s been several news broadcast about his accidentally death. Which came as a surprise to many, as the lad was due to be repatriated back to Cayman sometimes later this year, to continue with his sentence close to his families and loved ones. But now, the family will be battling to get his body bag; and there goes my saying. ‘many will walk in alive and hearty, battered, or weary, but not all will walk out alive breathing, some will be taken out in body bags or sent home to die’ 

His death, came a days after we had a heavy riot against the police who came for an impromptu routine search, but decided to flushed us out with tear gases and rubber bullets, which almost killed many, the elderly inmates were severely affected; amongst those was Dr. Porter of Canada. Thanks God we all survived that episode, but, little did we know that death was lurking around the corner to snatch away one of us. And it came when were ill prepared; taking away one of us right from under our nose, and nothing we could do to save him. Someone has fallen from a higher height than where the Caymanian lad fell and survived, got us wondering why him! 

Whatever investigation the prison authorities will do will yield nothing, will never bring him back and will never bring changes to our conditions. Instead, our publicity will caused them to be harder on us. 

The situation in the pavilion is so bad, that they now refused foreign media from coming into the pavilion, not even our embassies are allowed inside the pavilion, for what they will find will be mind-blowing and it might lead to loads of petitions against Panama’s poor human rights record and mistreatment of prisoners. Anyway, we are prisoners and the scumbags of the society, so who cares if we die or live! 

Finally, I hope his death will be the driving force to bring about the changes we so desired and dreamed of. 

To the authorities, it’s one man gone, one problem less, one mouth less, but for us who knew him; it’s one friend gone, one who almost survived the ordeals of life BehindBars, to live and tell, but that won’t be of him; maybe his death will tell the stories of the ordeals men are meant to go through while incarcerated. Our voices will be his in telling the world of the deplorable and inhumane conditions of Panama’s most dangerous, overcrowded prison system; #LaJoya. 

Prisons, where people are hauled in without charges, held up for years without trials, and then released without apologies and compensation for those deprived and wasted years. 

Hopefully, The United States of America knows of the human rights record of its greatest ally in Latin America; how the state is becoming authoritarian like the ones they are fighting now! 

I have been retweeting several news articles culled from internet about the lad’s death. Today Mon, 25 Aug 2014, there’s one from his country #CaymanIsland, decided to add it to my blog post and publish both online. 

MUST ANOTHER INMATE DIE FROM PANAMA’S NEGLIGENCE BEFORE SOMETHING IS DONE ABOUT PRISONERS DEPLORABLE CONDITIONS IN PANAMA’S PRISONS. 

Decided to post this article about the caymanian inmate who died in our pavilion, with the hope there will be pressure on the Panamanian authorities to do something about the prison conditions in Panama. 

The lad died from negligence from the police who would never come when our alarm are raised, and most times late at night. 

As an inmate in the same pavilion where the lad died, I have been tweeting: @DoingTimeAbroad and blogging: http://www.doingtimeabroad.wordpress.com about our deplorable and inhumane conditions in the pavilion. 

We could go for days and weeks without water, to the extent of relieving oneself in plastic bags and throwing them over the wire fences. Sleeping condition is at one’s own risk, inmates without beds find themselves scrambling for sleep spaces on cold floors, or hung high in hammocks made from empty plastic bags of ice cubes (improvisation). 

Those with money can build makeshift beds in cells when accepted, and such was the case of the late Caymanian inmate; his hunk was very high and higher than every other thing in the cell, doubt if anybody would have survived a fall from such height. And his death just proved that. 

I hope the Caymanian authorities with the British government will put pressure on Panama to better the conditions of its prisoners and improve our basic rights. 

Article culled from:

http://www.compasscayman.com/mobile/story.aspx?id=143078

CAYMAN CALLS FOR PROBE. 

Caymanian Prisoner who died in Panamanian Prison. 

25 August, 2014

By: James Whittaker | jwhittaker@pinnaclemedialtd.com

http://www.compasscayman.com/mobile/story.aspx?id=143078

A Caymanian prisoner who died in a Panama jail cell had been in negotiations with officials in his homeland to be transferred out of the dangerous Central American prison.

Mark Bodden, who died from head injuries apparently sustained in a fall from his bunk in the overcrowded La Joya prison, was in regular contact with Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, according to his cellmates.

“He had great faith in this guy Franz Manderson. He had been speaking to him on Facebook and he was confident he would be returned to Cayman,” said Leo Morgan, a British inmate locked up alongside Mr. Bodden in the wing of the prison reserved for foreign nationals.

Ben Perschky, another Brit who shared a cell with the Caymanian prisoner, said he had borrowed his cellphone on several occasions to make contact with Cayman and believed he had got clearance to come home.

Mr. Bodden was in the second year of a 100-month sentence for drug offenses at the time of his death, according to his fellow prisoners. Mr. Manderson is currently off island, but Eric Bush, chief officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs, confirmed there had been contact between the Deputy Governor’s office and the prisoner.

He confirmed that officials were negotiating through British embassy representatives in Panama to have Mr. Bodden transferred home to serve the rest of his sentence at Northward Prison.

“We were in the process of considering the issues around Mr. Bodden’s request to be repatriated to see if that could be a possibility,” said Mr. Bush.

Mr. Bodden died before his request could be fulfilled. Now officials are assisting the family in efforts to have his body returned to Cayman and are pushing prison officials in Panama for a proper investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.

“I think the Cayman Islands Government’s responsibility is to ensure there is a full and fair investigation is carried out as to the cause of this death and from the findings of that ensure appropriate corrective action is taken,” Mr. Bush said.

He said an official request had been made for the findings of the Panamanian government investigation to be handed over to the Commissioner of Police in Cayman for review.

The Deputy Governor’s office is currently keeping tabs on 13 Cayman nationals serving time in prisons abroad, including in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Mexico, Jamaica and Trinidad.

Cayman Islands officials have some scope to aid prisoners overseas and have done so on previous occasions – facilitating the return of Kisha Letoya McLean from prison in Mexico to serve the rest of her sentence for drug trafficking in Cayman in 2012. She has since been released.

But the extent of the assistance that can be provided is somewhat limited and dependent on often time-consuming negotiations through the British embassy with foreign governments.

“While we care very much about the welfare of all our citizens, when someone is legally confined in another country, they fall within the relevant legislation and conventions of that country,” said Mr. Bush.

“They can make a request which is considered through the department of Public Prosecutions in consultation with Home Affairs as to whether we are able to house them and allow them to serve the rest of their sentence here. We have to come to a mutual agreement with the country [where they are being held] to allow them to do that. We have done it before.”

He said British embassy officials facilitate communication, but any decision to repatriate Cayman prisoners – usually only considered when Caymanians are locked up in potentially dangerous circumstances – are ultimately sanctioned by the governor.

Cellmates of Mr. Bodden have given firsthand accounts to the Cayman Compass and have sent pictures via cellphone that depict the harrowing scenes inside the La Joya prison were the Caymanian was held from 2012.

They say there are more than 500 prisoners living in a wing built for 180 inmates. They have to buy or build their own beds and sleep seven to a cell or piled up in cramped passageways.

Internet and cellphone access do not appear to be a problem, however, and Mr. Bodden had posted pictures on his Facebook page of daily life inside the prison, including shots of laundry hanging in the narrow corridors running through his cell block.

Mr. Morgan, a British drug dealer locked up for money laundering, sent the Compass grim images of the darker side of life on the cell block, where he says he has seen people shot, stabbed and killed in fights. Access to healthcare and clean water is also a serious problem, as well as abuse from guards. He says he has pressed for improved conditions in talks with embassy officials but without success.

According to several prisoners, there was a riot in the cell block earlier this month after prison officers opened fire with tear gas and shotguns during a routine search. Details of the riot were widely reported in Panamanian media as well as in Canada because of injuries sustained by inmate Dr. Arthur Porter, a high profile figure in that country.

Other prisoners have posted YouTube videos of the squalid and cramped conditions inside the prison.

A 2013 Human Rights report by the U.S. State Department on the Panamanian prison system suggests such problems are rife throughout the country.

“Prison conditions remained harsh and in some cases life threatening. Problems included overcrowding, use of police stations as detention facilities, a shortage of prison guards, and inadequate health care.”

It adds, “Problems included overcrowding, lack of medical services, lack of potable water, inadequate ventilation, lighting, and sewage treatment,” the report says.

The report says there are currently 15,124 inmates locked up in prisons built for half that many. It says La Joya prison, where Mr. Bodden was held, has one first-aid clinic, but it does not have the capacity to deal with serious medical issues. It also points to difficulties and delays in transporting prisoners to outside medical facilities – an issue which cellmates say may have contributed to Mr. Bodden’s death.

Sleep well Comrade! 

“Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.” – Patti Smith

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” – Washington Irving

The search that wasn’t, and fighting armed cops with stones and rocks; when hell broke loose.

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on August 14, 2014 by doingtimeabroad

The search that wasn’t, and fighting armed cops with stones and rocks; when hell broke loose.

“Life in the natural condition of mankind is “nasty, brutish, and short,” – Thomas Hobbes (English Philosopher)

#BehaviourModifications #MindControl: The best way to deal with an enemy is to control his mind, make him your friend, without him ever realising that he’s been manipulated. And then wack him woefully. #PrisonViolence 

Mon, 4 Aug 2014 
04:40:33 been up since 2am, full bladder kept sending me to the loo; finally gave up on sleep and climbed upstairs to get some update done. 

Some lads upstairs are taking things into their hands; turned up their music very loud. Very inconsiderate as others are sleeping. They started around 4am. Finally, someone has gotten up against them, gringo loco has gotten up and told them to turn the volume more louder. Just told them, he’s been here for ten years, there’s gonna be a serious problem. It wouldn’t end well today. Likely, cops will storm us and probably seize all our electronics. Just because of some ingrates and their stupidity.  

The rest of the pavilion are rising to see what is happening. Too bad, this is what happens when a prison is open, and everyone does what he pleases; like the friggin wild wild west! An open prison system also put inmates at risk of harming each other. Since the doors were left unlocked after many deaths, many had gotten padlocks to lock up themselves at night for their own protection and safety; prevention, they say is better than cure. 

As the incident happened this morning, many woke up and never returned to their sleep. Thus, ending their so-much love sleep. As it has happened this way, it will affect every other activities today. 

07:30
As the first batch of the early gym goers hit the gym, inmates sleeping in the gym hall refused moving their cartons, and whatever they had on the floor, citing the early morning disturbances. Thus, ended today’s workout. Wasn’t feeling like hitting the gym as I didn’t get enough sleep. Thus, good for me to get my missing vitamin snooze. Later took a power nap later on in the day. 

Saw Gringo that was hit on his face that morning by one of the lads who were playing music and woke us all from our much cherished sleep. Man wasn’t looking his best, his face was battered, like always, nothing would be done, and neither the #AmericanEmbassy in #Panama will do anything about their citizen; just a prisoner. But he’s also a Veteran of the Vietnamese war! 

The day went on slowly and dull, some decided to use the time to start drinking or continued from where they stopped last night. And being our visit day, there were lots of fresh food from outside; lately, there’s been incessant complains from inmates and their families that cops at the controls won’t let in food, some of the food are taken out. The cops know fully well, that most and all of these foods aren’t meant for one inmate, just a handful amongst us get visit, the rest of us are happy to contribute to their families to cook extra portions so we can get bit and pieces of what will come in. But the cops are always taking out some of these food. They are so bad and inconsiderate, washing soaps, powder milk, chocolate powder and other things are taken and large portions are removed. Got me wondering why they are doing that, when the food we get on the prison carts are always sending us to toilet with diarrhoea. The most thing we get enough of and in excess at all time is the salt-laden half-cooked white rice which accompanies everything that they churns out of the kitchen. 

Two of my mates came back with enough food that will take us through a day or two. After then, we will go back to surviving the odds in our individual ways. 
 
We cooked our own rice and made sauce with lasagne that one of my mate brought. Told them, lasagne is best eaten on its own, but been something new to them, wasn’t bad with rice either as many here eats for the nutritional benefits of food, but to get filled up and kill the hunger worms 😉 

Spent the rest of the day reading and brainstorming about #LifeAfterPrison, one thing I pray always is to walk out of here alive, healthy and in one piece. Who knows what lies out there for me, hopefully what I have learned from this school of hard knock life will help me survive the odds on the streets. The world is enormous and massive but becoming a small village through technology. Glad I’m not locked out from what’s happening in the world, doing my best to keep abreast with latest newsbites and current affairs and also studying and reading on fields I could get myself started on a new career pathway. Out of nothingness something definitely has evolved. One can sit through a 10 years prison time without learning nothing because the system doesn’t and wouldn’t allow him to learn anything new and for a change of career; the system wants him out and back to what he was before, so he can come back and do more time. And it goes on and on, and someone or some groups of consortium are profiting from this vicious circle of crime and lock up. Then, they labelled him; a #RepeatedOffender! 

Tues, 5 Aug 2014 
Hope I’m not becoming insomniac, always last to sleep and the first to rise and shine. Anyway, I do try to make up for the missed nights with bouts of short naps in the afternoon or evenings, and it does help. 

I’m up for the day and awaits what the day will throw at me and the rest of my gangs 😉 

Rushed through my morning rituals as the rest of the cell were waking for the day. If I’m first to rise, I rushed through my things even before the one cleaning wakes. But, I decided to lay back, I will wait for all of them to finish before getting down from my top bunk. And I always ask, if they are done, as one of our major problem here is space-problem; the cells were build for 6 inmates at one point in time, but most cells are holding more than that, some has 9, 10 and even 13 inmates in one cell. My cell has 10 inmates now, 9 sleeping inside the cell, while the 10th one built a shack on top of our cell; climbs up with ladder, and down to use the loo or shower, not a good idea when diarrhoea strikes 🙂

After my green tea, dressed up for the day’s workout, rushed through a half cup of early grey tea with milk and egg sandwich (made sandwich filler with boiled eggs that came on the breakfast cart yesterday), my cellmates are not boiled eggs lovers, thus, whenever there’s boiled eggs on the breakfast cart, I’m literally left with lots of eggs. One or  two will eat, but I do get about 4 or 5 eggs, which I normally make sandwich filler, always filling and nutritious.  

Now the lads have eaten proper food from the streets, debtors pay their debts, creditors and dealers got paid, even those rendering nightly secret services get paid on visit day, as visit day is our pay day. But for the Europeans, Canadians and Americans, the days of our different consul visit is always our pay day; our creditors are always on us on such days. The Spaniards are the ones mostly hit, after accumulating debts from buying dopes, or binging on our lethal weapons; moonshine and liquor. Eventually, they do get to pay, sometimes after receiving threats and punches.  

Still working out solo as yesterday, two lads later joined me for what would be a badass #HIIT #Hardcore #Back and #Biceps routine for the day. We had a bloody good workout, well without spilling no blood 😉 

Back in, the lads had cooked; always rice fried or burnt in oil till it’s brown; sometimes they use so much oil that the rice itself becomes oily and shiny, and they also made sauce with beef from yesterday’s visit. The meat should take us through Wednesday or Thursday if they managed it probably and also keep it from going bad. Got me wondering why they don’t want to put them in cooler with ice, to keep them fresh. Maybe they like them fermented 😉 , as my lil gayly cellmate does; lads stores bowls upon bowls of food for a day or two and then eats them gradually, no wonder his shit stinks like hell. 

Finally bought a router of mine (2nd hand) and also got a modem;  what works here comes from Colombia. A lad is making fortune from selling them, it’s almost free or cost less than $5 but he sells each for $80 and once they come in, they are gone within seconds. Good business and he sells for cash, no credit. 

Got it set up and finally online with my own router, hope to share the cost with a new inmate and probably will give signal to few people to meet data’s cost. 

Chat with schat, she doing well and the kids are busy, waiting for their Disney Paris trip, they just can’t wait for the day to come. She and my kids are my strength and what keeps me going. Always wondering what other thing could have given me joy outside of my family.  

With my own router, and having wifi signal from the comfort of my bunk, I will be spending more time in the comfy of my cell and on my bed. Well, have always been spending more time here, as I really don’t relate much after gym. Try to always round up all conversation in the gym and it does work for me. 

Wed, 6 Aug 2014 
Another early day for me, despite sleeping late as I was busy with phone and other things. 

Went through my morning rituals before the first of the lads woke up. Dressed up for an early workout, but ended up on whatsapp with schat. We talked about the kids; my boy has gotten a football club, my big girl has joined an athletic club and the little one has started swimming lessons. It’s beautiful idea to keep them busy with healthy activities, so when they grow up, they will continue from what they had learned as kids. Schat once sent a video clip of my big girl reading in school during one of the assemblies meetings; she was reading about the benefits of exercises, so nice that they learn that from childhood.  

My kids enthusiasm for fitness and healthy living has also spurred schat to take her fitness serious, she is also joining the athletic club for cycling to combine with her kettlebell training. So proud of her determination dedication. All she is, gives me the strength and courage to survive this place and come out stronger; “what doesn’t kill me, will make me stronger”! 

Finally hit the gym, bit late though, but was able to pull off a good shoulder workout and added some abdominals to torch my abs. Didn’t train alone as some lads joined me. Did and enjoyed the shoulder press (military press). In and out within the hour. 

Lately water only comes for the day’s use, we barely get enough to take us into the next day. But I do have my reserves and they are untouched. I try to fetch a tank or two for use after workout, as I would need to wash my gym clothes and shower. 

Had a postworkout shake of chocolate + milk + oats. And later a lunch of rice (fried or burnt rice) and sauce made from dried-fried meats from monday’s visit; probably the last, or something is left for tomorrow. With many still dining on food from monday’s visit, they ain’t bothered with what rubbishes comes on the prison menu; as always, it’s rubbish. 

Took a power nap to catch up with what I don’t get at night. Might not be the same as the nightly snooze, but it’s needed and helps with workout recovery. 

Spent the rest of the day in the cell and occasionally out to get a cup of ice as it’s bloody hot, we literally being grilled by the heat. The prison is so overcrowded, that one feels the body heat of the next man standing. And cops are hauling more and more inmates into the pavilion, and they don’t stop to find out where they will sleep or how they are fending for themselves. Well, I guess it’s the corruption that is making us feel too comfy here, as many with money can get whatever they want. Soon, our overcrowding condition will push us very hard against the wall and we will react.  

Have lost count of how many we are, but the cops haven’t as they take count of inmates every Thursday morning. But from what I’m seeing we are close to 600 inmates in a pavilion that was build for 216 inmates. Walking around the passage is like being in an open market; takes minutes to navigate through human’s maze as inmates are standing on every free spot or space in the passage in serious or lousy conversation and others are busy shuffling cards or throwing dices as they gambled their time and money away. Something gotta be done to keep one busy or evil will prop up in someone’s weak mind. Simple minded people!  

Thurs, 7 Aug 2014 
Tension is high, it’s been a while we have search, thus, no taking of chances. Woke up before others, and had all that needed be stash stashed. The rest of the pavilion went about stashing their stuffs as we expect the cops soon. Just before 7am, they were in pavilion 8, very early, so we know they will be coming to ours soon. 

When they arrived, I was all dressed up, among the first set outside. Went about working out in the open. Did all I could outside before the count was over; my workout outside today should be enough for the day. I did some sprinting, brisk-walking, inverted rows and dips on the monkey bars behind the pavilion. Also did some pull-ups and hanging leg raise, added some lunges and push-ups, body-weight squats and finally stretches. 

Back inside the gym after the headcount, decided to use the Olympic bar; set it on one of the corners and work my arms, shoulders and back. And also focused on arms; biceps curls, hammer curls, E-Z bar curls and other triceps exercises. A man who does the same thing every day on that corner started a row with me, saying I should move, told him, I need the corner for the bar as I can’t use the other corner because of the pull-up bar. He wasn’t happy, well, made him understand that I tend to start early every Thursdays as I can’t get back to bed after sweating outside. Sorry though, kept on with my workout. 

The gym was scanty as many went back to sleep, and I know not many will be working out today. Good for them. 

As I thought, my mates were able to rationed their visit meat to take us through today. But from the smell of it, it’s almost getting bad. But then, what can we do? Nada! But eat! 

They cooked rice and made sauce with the last of the meat (mix of very dried chicken and beef), wasn’t bad as it was filling. And help calmed the worms 😉 

Showered and had my lunch, also had a banana and finally get to get some sleep; I was really knackered and really needed the sleep. Slept for a very long time; probably for 3 hours. When I woke up, the rest of the pavilion was up, alive and kicking. Business was on as usual. 

Went about my day like other days; reading, tweeting and retweeting, on and off chats with the lads as we argue over lousy subject; just about anything that makes us humans or makes us feel we are smart fellas. At least it all adds up to what keeps us busy and useful to ourselves, well, so we think. At the end of the day, everyone has made his points, either in sharing an information someone else just told him, or telling another’s secret or sharing new news on James Rodriguez (the new Real Madrid purchase), just because he’s Colombian, thus, he’s the talk of the month. The next best thing out of Colombia after coke or maybe El Malo Efe (#PabloEscobar). At the end of the day, everyone goes to his bunk satisfied for having contributed to what makes us laugh. 

Reading and writing as I’m working on a facebook page for a business line, I ‘d like and love to take on when I’m back on the streets. “God helping”

Spent all night brainstorming……until nature said no, time to get some snooze! 

Fri, 8 Aug 2014 
Having slept late, was bent on sleeping till 8am or 9ish, but around 6:30, our alarm system was set off as inmates whistled and catcalls after seeing cops rushing like a flood of water towards the pavilion, called my mates, who quickly knocked off their sleep and went about pulling and taking down what needed to be stashed. The cops thinking, they had gotten us, decided to flushed out with gas, but we were able to get all our stuffs stashed. 

Due to delay as most inmates were still struggling trying to get out, more cannisters of gases were shot into to pavilion, it was overwhelming as we rushed through the only small door that leads to the gym hall, but then, we were met with more gas. Many collapsed as they find it difficult to breathe, the lads couldn’t take it anymore, those outside, gathered enough stones and rocks, threw them at the cops. Who were then firing pellets of rubber bullets at us. The toll of the fracas was more evident outside; many inmates were laid out on the field as their buddies attended to them. One inmate that was badly hit was Dr. Arthur Porter, he was on laid on the grass with just his shorts, hooked unto his oxygen machine, lucky he had that. A lad who once suffered low blood pressure, passed out faeces in his short almost died as he struggled to breathe. I also made my way outside for a catch of fresh air; the air wasn’t fresh at all, as it was windless and thick with tear gas, despite being in the open, many were gasping for breathe of fresh air. 

The most affected by this brutality of Panamanian police were the elderly and sick inmates. Many were laid scattered in the field. But the younger inmates wouldn’t take it any longer, and nobody was taking it any longer, we’ve been pushed hard and harder against the wall. And this is what we can do in return. We ended up flushing the cops outside of the pavilion, many of the cops were physically attacked, gas mask taken from them, so they could experience what we are experience; drink from their own cup of tea. 

Having them outside the gate was locked and a blockade was set up behind the gate; nobody was going out or coming into the pavilion. Then it was time to take note of our loses, as we had many injured inmates clean and dress their bullet wounds. There was no casualty amongst the cops, lucky them! 

Them outside and we on the inside; apparently, that’s where we have always been, on the inside. Other high rianking officials were called in, the prison’s commissioner of police, and non government officials from the office of the Defensora de peuble, who happened to be in the centre at the moment of the mutiny.  

At the back of my mind, I know, none of them are and will do us any good; in the past, they had all been here, talk and talk and nothing was done to change our conditions. Promises after promises were made, but nothing changed once they finished and walked out on us. The puppet director finally came, made his long speech; about new government #Verela, changes that will take place, and also make sure his superiors will hear of our ordeals. At the end of the day, we know it’s all stories as it will go nowhere and will bring us nothing. 

Dr. Porter was later wheeled out in our grocer cart, to be taken to the unstaffed clinic. Well, as a Doctor himself, it beggars belief at what he seen and experienced at the hands of the so-called doctors here, how unhygienic the ccentre’s clinic is, inmates are brought in with stabbed wounds, left on the floor bleeding while the nurses and doctors contemplate if or wheter to send them to the city’s government hospital Santo Tomas. At the end of the day, cops reluctantly will take them and at the end the inmates dies; one mouth short! Best policing policy and it’s working so far! 

Whatever will become of Dr. Porter, we wouldn’t know, until inmates working upstairs return with message or news of his condition. But as of the moment he was wheeled out, he was barely breathing. Pray he survives this onslaught.  

Food was not allowed in, inmates contributed and bought what they can find, and soup was cooked outside with woods from pallets and crates which plantains are brought in. I heard the young lad who has paid fortunes to his lawyer to be brought here from the transitional jail foot most of the bill. The lad, as I heard is a big fish, more or less a shark, his boss is in America’s custody, thus, he was running things. And Panama now have him; since he was brought here, many had been going to him for favours, even the oldest staying pastor here, now takes his church to him; good news and also big favour. 

While outside and others chatting, gathering more stones and rock; I used the opportunity to workout under the warm sun. Using the monkey bars behind the pavilion, I did loads of body-weight exercises, torching and touching everybody parts. Lose one and gain another, the gym will be a no go area today as the lads sleeping there ain’t ready to move their beddings. And nobody under this conditions and situation will be ready to ask them to move. 

In the midst of the fracas, an inmate who has done time here twice was called out for his release. Hope he doesn’t return for the third time. Some don’t and won’t just learn, pray he does this time as age is not on his favour. 

Hours after the fracas, stench of CS gas was still in the air inside the pavilion, that shows how poor the ventilation system is here. Only at the top of the cells, do we have gush of fresh air, but downstairs, it’s all body odours and our bodies emitting heat. 

The team from Defensora de Pueblo were led inside the pavilion, they took pictures of our lives and everything about us. Deep inside me, I know, it’s all formalities to get us calmed, nothing will be done to change our conditions. 

Finally get to take a quick nap after having my first shower of the day. We also cooked soup of eggs and noodles; always the easiest and cheapest food here. 

The rest of the day was spent recounting what happened during the day. The lads were proud of themselves, that they fought back and fought off the police today. If we should unite, corporate and work as a team of sentenced men, we will achieve a lot. But many of us are sell-outs, and switches; one of the lad from Defensora de pueblo, after listening to my story, promised getting me to the clinic, I bluntly refused him; telling him, it’s ain’t just me, what about those who can’t talk for themselves, more sick than I am, those lazy ones who don’t know the million benefits of exercise and healthy eating, that are sleeping their lives away in sickness? Who will take them to the clinic. I refused his offer, will manage to stay healthy through my daily workout and try to eat as healthy as much as I can afford. For most of us the Europeans; our embassies try to make sure we get medication by buying for us, but with our own money, nothing is free. Other times, my consul goes all way out and send letters, make calls to correction and the hospital to see that we get medical attention if the need arises. 

Life in the pavilion should have been like “Espirit de corps” “One for all and all for one. But when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, it’s always every man for himself and God for us all. Everyone seems and tends to be hustling for his belly, even those who fell or dropped together, sometimes split, each man to himself. 

On this day, for once we united and fought together like band of brothers, guess, the cops were surprised as they weren’t expecting that from old, weak and fragile men. Well, they seemed to have forgotten that, this men are giving everything within and inside of them to survive the odds of going home alive from incarceration. It was a good and well fought fight, something the younger lads had been waiting for to vent out their anger at the injustice that comes with doing time and doing it the real hard way. 

We spent the night recounting the day’s event, other continued with drinking they started outside when the mutiny was on; the lads were busy drinking, as a mate had his birthday on that same day. Quite a handful of us are August people, mine is coming up soon. Will be my fifth birthday on the inside, quite a time, wasted years and hard to recovered. Glad time went pretty fast and have always kept myself busy, that I need extra hours each day to stay up. 

My friend lost his phone during the rumbles, guess nicked by another inmate whose phone fell from the stash they all had their phone. Have always use the stash, but seeing the sheer amount of inmates using it, decided to search for another stash. Who knows, one nitwit who is looking for favour from the cops will one day snitch about the stash and if it’s busted, many will be the cries of those stashing phones there. Thinking of something new and ingenious 😉 

Later in the evening, we picked up from where we stopped; all our routers and modem were blinking with green, blue and red leds as the machines fired up in search of signals. Everything were back to their spots, the skyline of the pavilion was like galaxy with spaceships 😉 and the lads were back to surfing, downloading and chatting. Those luddites who still stick to calling were up at the back of the cells, searching for signal to place calls, as instant messages and social media are still light years away and ahead of them. 

My old cellmate whose smartphone is an innovation to keep up and on with his many eLadies came to me with his phone. The phone was very slow, apps and programmes takes ages to open, not even folders will open. But then, he left something open; his media! Saw that he has been busy wanking and taking pictures of his mojo and his cum and sent them to his several eLadies. At his age, he should be a bit useful to himself. But then, with nothing else to do, we always keep ourselves busy; wanking, watching porn, reading, throwing dices or shuffling deck of cards, arguing over women menstrual cycle (some lads did make out time to debate one that). Something just gotta keep us busy. Helped him delete all the stuffs that he took with him after visiting porn sites, sent him AVG antivirus and a memory cleaner that I use. Also warmed him about the dangers of visiting porn websites to download stuffs, found that he uses torrents also, but got the whole thing messed up, the files he was downloading will take forever with the internet speed we have now to download. Told him to stick to tubidy.com 😉 Damn! He was downloading full HD resolution porn movies, some as large as 2GB, not even our fifteen days data gives us such amount fo data, for $8.99 we buy fifteen days data are given 1GB! So how the fcuk is he going to download all his porns? Wished good luck, but he should think of his high blood pressure and cholesterol as porn could be leading to something negative 😉 

Made oatmeal for the lads as we still needed to eat something. Food were not allowed in today! Guess many starved, but we definitely found a way around it; as it was visit week, there should be remnants of monday’s cereals, milk, chocolate, cookies and bread. 

Water actually came today; surprised, the cops probably forgot to turn off the pumps 😉 

Sat, 9 Aug 2014 
Woke early to removed my stuffs from the floor as it’s general cleaning in the cell. The lad cleaning, didn’t do it last Saturday as there was no water. Thus, with water from yesterday, he will be washing and cleaning the cell. 

Rushed through my morning rituals, made a hot cup of green tea and climbed upstairs to top of our cell, where I sat and enjoyed the signal. A drunk inmate who left the party down the passage was been led to his cells and bunk which is built on top of a cell, when he got to my cell, he stopped and started climbing, then I called his minders, and told them, he’s climbing the wrong ladder, he was taken down and guided to his cell and to his ladder, until he climbed and was safe in his own bunk. His next drinking session is probably not far from today as he and his group are always busy drinking. 

El gringo was all about, as he told me to send email to his embassy; The America embassy, about his deplorable conditions, guess all embassies know the truth of being lock up in the jungle. Left to rot and die slowly.  

But we will survive the odds, if only we’ll start working together and fight together again like we did on Friday. 

Stayed up till they were done, then went to my mate whose phone was nicked, lad was still sleeping, guess 

By 7:30am when they gym is supposed to be opened, I didn’t hear clanking sound of metals, wondered why! When I later asked, was told the lads in the gym hall refused taking out their cartons and whatever they have on the floor as mats. Didn’t worry as I wasn’t planning to train; had my last workout yesterday during the fracas and when it calmed. I used the open window of opportunity to hit my body.  

Back in the cell, the lad did wash, but barely touch the walls of the bathroom, my pharmacist-cellmate pointed it out to me, being the oldest staying inmate in the cell, he wanted me to say something. Told him to approach the lad and tell him, he didn’t, bloody coward. Later told the lad to always do his work properly, and it was our gayly dope-snorting mate. We were all worn out from yesterday’s war. 

Showered and had a breakfast of oatmeal, which I made for everyone. Then hit my bed again and took a long nap, which was disturbed twice by catcalls, as we expect the cops to return with a vengeance. But we are ready and prepared, even in our sleep. The only bad thing with the search, is what that sudden alarm and catcalls can do to very old and fragile at heart here; the shock can lead to cardiac arrest. Hope it doesn’t come to that. 

Life was picking up as our groceries men went upstairs to pick up orders and those reselling had new stocks for the hungry inmates, who are always buying, selling and eating. Our lives seems to be revolving around food and sleep. 

My new read; #TheDoorToDecember by #DeanKoontz is really keeping me busy, once I pick it up, hard to drop it, always eager for the next chains of actions; creepy, but love it! Kept me busy all night till nature called. 

Brief chat with schat who is preparing to take the kids for a week long holiday to Disneyland Paris. Pray they enjoy their holidays there. 

Sun, 10 Aug 2014 
Officially our rest day, and for me, a must to get a proper rest. Had to wake up as I was starving and also my day to clean. Went through my chores with a cup of tea, while others were still snoozing, showered and couldn’t get back to sleep, but climbed up for better signal; took a sit right in front of my router for a better signal reception. 

Chat with schat, but she was in a rush getting ready for church, spent the early morning chatting with my lil girl, much better. 

As the rest of the pavilion were getting up, I decided to hit my bunk for few hours of late morning nap, won’t be the same as nightly sleep, but the body need it, so also my mind. I don’t want to break down from the stress of doing time. 

Nothing special going on around the pavilion, life is picking up again; inmates drinking with music blasting from makeshift speakers and boom-boxes. The fiestas went all the way to the evening. 

But they rounded up around 11pm or mellowed down with their noise-making. That’s the bit of respect we all need here. 

Gotta try and get this online!  

Love to round this with some quotes on ‘Obstacles’, I see my #PrisonExperience as an obstacle in my life; something I need to overcome, and come out triumphantly and stronger than I was before my incarceration.  

“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.” – B C Forbes

If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere. – Frank A Clark

Stand up to your obstacles & do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have. – Norman Vincent Peale

Prison: Gangs warfare (Cats and Dogs), tension brewing as local top gang leader is gunned down. And Inmates frolicking while doing time!

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on August 3, 2014 by doingtimeabroad

“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaneda

“If you look for the bad in people, expecting to find it, you surely will.” – Abraham Lincoln

Wed, 16 Jul 2014
Up and about, went through my daily rituals. School today, seems it won’t hold as the wardens are still on strike of pay rise. Hope there won’t be, as I hate going up there.

Yesterday, traded or bartered some of my #ON #Amino to a mate for his #1RM #PreWorkout formula, which he feels doesn’t work; feels dizzy and weak after taken it. Took 5g of the stuff and had peanut butter sandwich with my green tea before storming the gym. Got in a bit late, but managed to pull out an excruciating #HIIT #Hardcore #Back and #Triceps, the lads were encouraging, but the new ones are a bit daft in learning. Managed to get them through the basics; so many crooks turned #FitnessInstructors in the gym, many interferred with my instructions, and these are same lads who always come to me for assistance, now they are professionals. Guess, that what prison does to people, make them believe that they are what they are not 😉

Adaptability and turning a deaf ear to everything being said are two of my many survival strategies on the inside.

Midway into my workout, I was called out, along with some of my compatriots and some Colombians who are due for repatriation for another round of medical evaluation. I have done and gone through the same process more than three times and nothing has happened or changed. Everything hangs on the Dutch government accepting us, but one can’t tell what will happen this time around. I hope and pray it work out well now.

The evaluation is a process to check if an inmate is 100% medically sound, something like a microphone check – – 1 2 3 ;-), doubt if many of us will leave here 100% sane, or sound! Many had crossed their thresholds and gone to LaLa-Lands or walkabouts and are still there; the last one is still here, some days, he’s good, other days, he just can’t figure out what to eat; either from the bin or from his bowl. Incarceration do break people down. But it takes adaptability to live through this life’s changing process. Like the butterfly larvae, going through stages of transformation and finally into that beautiful winged insect.

Cooked peanut butter sauce, a mate bought nicked chunks of beef, nicked from the kitchen. Thus, we will be having tiny chunks later tonight for dinner. Simple sauce, used garlic, onions and tomato paste, the lads ate it with white rice, also made a mix mass of oats and cornmeal; wasn’t a bad combo. Dinner finally came, chunks of beef, the leftover from what has been stolen and sold, added everything to my sauce.

Train hard, eat well and eat healthy. Down everything with a cup of green tea + lemon.

Later had a can of ginger ale, friggin hot, soon we will be walking around desnudo ;-), our queen will be happy to see that.

Staying up all night to backup my important files; eBooks, mp3’s, video collections 😉 (families, prison-made video clips, fitness, just for laugh, and most important ones; man videos 😉

Damn! Need more memory cards, two 16GB microSD cards are filled, two 32GB ones almost full and a 8GB corrupted and spoiled. Can’t be read by the phone, that’s money flushed away!

Stayed up till around 3am before finally succumbing to nature.

Thu, 17 Jul 2014
As of 3am, was struggling to sleep, but finally slept only to wake up around 6:30am, felt like not doing anything today.

Quickly went through my morning rituals, as the lad cleaning will be up and about. Pot of water on the stove for tea, others joined me, but the lad was already into his cleaning. Had to tell him to stop, ain’t going nowhere, why hurry to do the cleaning, when it can be done anytime after our headcount, which has just been announced. Phones and all weapons of warfare stashed; apparently many sleep with the weapons at arm’s reach, always on guard and alert.

Decided to hit the fields and use the few minutes outside and exercise. Outside many were walking, running, chatting and many were still mad at the cops for waking them that early; past 7am.

Did some few lapses on the field, inverted rows and dips on the monkey bars, push-ups, and finally stretched and added few sprints. Drenched in sweat and wanting more.

Another round of counting as we were herded inside, continued in the gym, but without weights, just body-weight exercises, body-weight squat, lunges, pull-ups and loads of hanging leg/knee raise. Did some lateral raise and finally called it quit and enough for the day. Gym was empty as many went back to continue with their sleep 😉

Lucky to have gotten ice that morning as there was no ice nor anything cold later in the day and all evening. Bought 75ct worth of ice, which was enough to make me a cold gatorade drink.

No water, we are using what we got yesterday and it never came all day, our aquaman is busy giving water to his paying clients. Since we are not paying, we come last in the line for water and after he’s done with his clients. But today was different, water came in the morning and that was it.

Enough to shower and wash my sweat-drenched clothes. Had the last of my peanut butter sauce with hardboiled eggs that came on yesterday’s breakfast; had prepared the eggs and warmed it with the sauce. Went well with white rice and water.

Now my turn to catch my much-needed sleep, hit my bunk and pray for sleep, but non came, finally had my nap, and that’s how it has been all day; in and outside of my bed.

Zero-movement declared, when I went to pick up my laundries and my trainers, everywhere was empty. Found out, a local inmate who was on his way to his fortnightly conjugal visit with his missus was stabbed and he died, despite walking with a warden escort. Got me wondering of what uses are the wardens and cops if they can’t stop or their presence can’t deterred gangs or inmates from killing each other at will?

This latest stabbing won’t be the first, neither the last, violence amongst inmates is so rampant, being called for consul, lawyer or family visit or even an appointment to the clinic, one is on his own as anything can happen, despite the police and warden’s presence. None them acts as deterrents, inmates are not scared of them, because they had all stooped very low, eating from the same plates with inmates. The cops and wardens are the ones smuggling in arms, knifes, drugs and all sorts of weapons to the warring gangs. Even when search is done, and these things are taken, the lads end up buying them back from the cops; thus, all back to square one!

#Breaking #News! #OMG! What’s going on in the world? Another #MalaysianAirlines crashed, not again! Apparently, from what I’m reading, it departed from #Amsterdam, too bad as there will be lots of Dutch holidaymakers.

More updates coming in about the crashed plane, apparently, it didn’t just crashed, but was shot down over the airspace of Eastern Ukraine (happens to be Pro-Russian rebels controlled area), did they took it to be an Ukrainian airforce fighter jet? Or purposely and intentionally shot it down as an act of terrorism to send a message to the world? And what will that message be, if not coming from Putin, who was in Cuba to reopen an old soviet-era listening post they shut down due to cost of running it. Guess they now have enough money and war heads for another standoff with #USA and #TheWest! Another #ColdWar brewing up, sooner or later it won’t be a coldwar, it will become a #HotWar!

Back to the lad that was stabbed, his missus could be seen sitting alongside others waiting to take their turns into the air conditioned rooms for their two-hours sex time. Some are paid for; man -women consensual bodily exchange, others are proper missus that are still sticking around by their men. I have been able to lock my mind and body away from that sort of pleasure since my incarceration. I believe many of us will need to go back to learning and studying how to be with a woman once our time are done.

After reading #NapoleonHill’s ‘THE MYSTERY OF SEX TRANSMUTATION’

[Sex transmutation is very powerful, proof of this….Dogs get mad running after each other for sex. Some people travel long distances for sex.
And on the internet …millions of people,get aroused with sexual activities… To reverse sexual transmutation into positive sexual power…to obtain goals and achieve challenges, you never would expect.]

I have made myself stealthy against such feelings and many other feelings. Seeing lots of violence has also affected my sense and feeling of empathy. One is getting used to those things that comes under watershed periods on television. But, in this part of the world, violence is part and parcel of every day’s affairs, they come and go, like sunrise and sunsets, day and night! Give and take, the lads here are used to violence on daily basis; many phones that had been brought to me are filled with videos of proper violence, not from war front, but of perpetrators recording themselves killing other people, or cctv cameras picking up scene of actual brutal murder in process. Many will watch those types of videos without any feelings, they see it as normal and taking another man’s life is like killing a rat; they always say, it’s the ‘ratas’ that are being killed!

More and more updates on the downed Malaysian airline over eastern Ukraine are coming on. I’m following on twitter.

Today is a black day in the history of Holland, Europe and the world; as the downed plane was carrying citizens that spread all over the world. It’s a blow to democracy, at the backyard of the best democracies in the world, anarchy is raging, the rule of law is lost and become a thing of the past. Guns are like stick of cigarettes, whoever want one, get it and does what it does. Europe is awakened to a new form of terrorism; superpower sponsored terrorism. One that will be difficult to fight and win, winning this sort will only be done without use of force as everyone has got what the other has.

For my fellow time-travellers or time-doers, whatever happens in Europe stays there, their world begin and end wherever they came from. Not me, having lived and with families, friends and loved one dotting every part of Europe, it will be heartbreaking if what happened is blown out of proportion and history repeats itself.

Fri, 18 Jul 2014
Another early day, much too early! The thoughts of being separated from my family downed on me. If anything should happen in Europe, what will become of them over there and me, here in latin america prison? God forbids…they are safe and hearty. Their wellbeing is my strength and what keeps me going.

Couldn’t help thinking of the downed #MalaysianAirline #MH17, majority of lost their lives were Dutch nationals and not just ordinary people, but people who the world will miss dearly; prominent scientist, who were on the forefront of fighting HIV/AIDS and finding cure to this disease that is like a time bomb, comes with stigma and has wiped generations of people off the earth.
The death toll from the plane crash to The Netherlands population is proportional to that of of 9/11 to The US population. The darkest day in world’s history, an event that will be written in our hearts forever.

Meanwhile, another day has just begun, whatever the day has in stock for us will come as surprise. Plans are made, but in prison, one’s plans are indirectly controlled by unforeseen circumstances beyond one’s control.

Through my morning rituals, and ready to hit the gym; last workout for the week. Taking Saturday and Sunday off to recuperate.

Rushed through a breakfast of Earl Grey tea + milk and avocado spread on bread.

The gym was scanty like yesterday, seems the lads are either worn out or taking a longer weekend break. My mates were busy on the bench, but the wrong bench, thus, I had to set up the proper bench for chest. It baffles me, and beggars belief, that many of these lads just can’t figure out what to do in the gym. I train with couple of lads, each time, I have to tell them what to do and also show them how to do it. Shows how rehabilitating inmates could be a very difficult task, despite their daftness, I still get on with them and they enjoy training with me.

Did chest, added some dumbbells squats, lunges and rounded up with abdominals.

Not enough water in the cell, had to tapped into my reserves, used aa tank, still got enough to take me through weekend if we fall back into drought.

Lunch, nothing special in the pavilion, been a while we had beef, glad there’s still eggs; main source of protein. Used to be 25ct per egg, now selling three for a dollar, shows typical prison inflation, and part of prison economy; overcrowded prison, higher demand for littlle or scarce commodity, few that is available are sold at cutthroat prices! Only those capable can afford and sustain the lifestyle here.

Had egg sandwich and a cup of cold gatorade, wasn’t bad after a tough day at the gym. Still hot and humid in the cell and pavilion. Loads of new faces around, my cell finally got one of them; the young lad sold the bed of our released mate for $400, enough money to either pay a lawyer to help with processing his papers for early release or send to one of his numerous cyrber girlfriends, whichever one is his top preference, suits him right.

The new man, is gently adjusting himself to life in what will become home for the time he’s spending here.

No breakthrough on the #MH17 downed flight, Putin is not helping matters, I believe he wants to be taken back to 1982, isolated by the rest of the civilised world. Another round of cold war is brewing. Hope justice is served and done swiftly.

Since I got hooked up on wifi with others, barely leave my cell to our signal spot. Also helps with minimising contacts with some folks who can’t keep their mouth shut for a few seconds. Once in a while I walk around to stretch my legs and allows circulation. Even the cell is packed with my mates and their crew; arguing whatever comes up in their head. I try keeping myself out of their arguments, even when I’m drawn to it, I refused to be part of it.

Lately their debate has been on football; Colombia managed to qualify after sixteen years absence from the world cup. Now, Colombia is the best, forgetting that, the best won the cup 😉

Cooking in the cell, which used to be a team work is falling apart as we are all doing our own things. But I still think of them when I make oatmeal in the morning, making enough for all. Seems the only day we eat together and proper food is on visit days, when fresh foods come in from outside. Well, when I have money, do buy meats or ox feet and make something for all. But, for now I’m solo, going solo as I’m alone here. Friendship in prison is sometime one sided, most will come and stick to you for what they will benefit from such relationship. Very rare to find aa friendship that is mutual, well, maybe within the lasses in Pavilion 2 and within those in our pavilion, give and take; pounds of flesh for food and well taken care of 😉

It’s #weekend, though still young, many are in it, some lads along the line as set up a little bar or canteen as they call it after what they call such joint back home in Colombia; chairs, table, music, booze, light soups, fried pastries, but minus one important thing; #Women! No real woman to keep them coming, maybe soon our shemale will join them. Though she is not that type, she prefers those who will spend proper money on her, buys her dope, fags and spent all-night with her, and then if they are lucky, she rewards them with a good-ass or blowjobs. And that’s what I call mutual relationship, everyone goes to his bunk smiling 😉

Spent the rest of the day between my books, twitter and friggin #CandyCrushSaga; some gave me tough times, but scaled through them, and it could be very addictive 😉

Sat, 19 Jul 2014
My turn for our small cleaning, or for my mate; his big cleaning and washing of the cell. Since there was no water yesterday, I woke up around 2am and had been up on my bed brainstorming, reading and tweeting of course. Can’t sleep, just one of those moments. #PrisonMoments

Around 5am, decided to do the cleaning; the two big blue tanks were empty, thus, decided to move them and washed all the spot around were they stood. Thus, I’m doing half of the general cleaning, finished before any of my cellmate woke up. Brewed me a cup of green tea, had an early shower and went back to bed.

Being my day off from the gym, I literally spend part of the day on my bed; despite the noises in and outside the cell, I was able to sleep through, in and out, but got enough sleep. Sleep, they say is the best cure, and it sure does work miracle. When I finally got out of my bed, movements were just to buy ice, it’s becoming extremely and unbearably hot in the pavilion. It’s supposed to be the rain season in panama, but we are yet to see rain like previous years.

Weekend before our fortnightly visit, many are preparing, grooming themselves, washing and cleaning up bowls that will be returned or exchanged for ones filled with home-cooked or bought food as some cases are.

For those of us without friends or families around, we are meant to watch, been doing that since my incarceration, thus, I’m used to it. What has helped many of us without visit; not seeing others while they are on visit, as the visit area is far from the pavilion.

The pavilion is blooming with life; music, booze, trades and all sorts of dealings going on. Our incessant gamblers are busy rolling dices or shuffling cards, and ain’t doing it for fun, money and cursing are involved. Things that keep prisoners going. Sometimes, one or two can’t take the heat or shame of losing, then comes the physical, punches thrown and once in a while, weapons are drawn, though yet to be used. Can’t say when one crazy inmate will decide to use his, everything is possible within this concrete walls.

Not much for the day, just basking in the heat of the day, it’s bloody hot, walking topless like many do, wouldn’t help. What will help, probably a swim in the ocean. But that’s a dream faraway.

Water is scanty in my cell, but we are managing. Within a month, we have two newbies in our cell, one is a paisano of the lads; Black Colombian, the new one who just bought the makeshift bed is a white Colombian, and they are both getting along, and adhering to our cell’s unwritten rules.

Some cells has got rules written on their metal-barred doors, most are about visitors to their cells. No entrance without permission, better as I rarely visit people in their cells, it’s the gym or they come to me and we can also meet on the passage, but very brief. The less appearance, the better for one safety and wellbeing; out of sight, out of mind, but not always so! Out sight is when tongues begin wagging, mens’s gossip!

Sun, 20th July 2014
Being my proper rest day, supposed to sleep till I’m tired of sleeping. But, out of habits of waking early, my body alarm clock got me up like it does every other day. Always the last to sleep, but the first to rise.

Went about my morning rituals before others started their day. Since I got connected to the wifi, ain’t bothered about climbing upstairs to search for signal, occasionally to activate data or something that need mobile signal. For now, I’m very much ok with the wifi signal, though not at its best, but at least, it helps get all my work done. Sometimes could be very slow, takes forever, like a dail-up connection. Time here, has thought me one of the best virtues; #Patience! Without it, many had fallen along this treacherous journey. Patience is needed in a truckload to live through the prison experience and to go through prison time, without it going through you.

Showered and back to my bed reading and tweeting, chatting and listening to music, think they call that multi-tasking 😉

Apart from the gym being closed and no sport activities in the pavilion, every other thing remain same; bustling and hustling, foods and whatever one has is on for sale or being bought by someone. The bakers are baking, steamy kitchens are churning out plates and bowls of assorted Latino cuisines. The hair salons are busy grooming those who are preparing for Monday’s visit and those who like looking good. Some are just into fashion, any new trainers or clothes on sale, they hustle, just to dress up and walk around the pavilion; the feel-good feeling of wearing something new or better than the rest.

Saw few lads walking at the back of the pavilion, since the murder of the local inmate, there’s been zero-movement declared. Fewer inmates are allowed in the front of the pavilion, inmates are not allowed to move around without cops or wardens walking them. Soon, it will get back to normal, everyone will go back to what they were doing; walking around with knives and guns, once these cops leave on Thursday, our lives will go back to the chaos that we are used to. Even the cops love it that way. The less inmates the better and easier for them.

A cellmate of mine started drinking this afternoon, a drinking session that will take him into another day. They rarely drink and let it go, they drink until they drop. Some lads set up a drinking spot upstairs with music, light soup and assorted booze locally sourced from the different brewers and distillers in the pavilion, and occasionally proper beer and liquor smuggled in from outside. The only thing missing in that tavern is a broad; have suggested, they should pay our queen to help give the joint a lively feeling. Hope they consider that.

Mon, 21 Jul. 2014
Another fortnightly visit day for those with families and friends that really care to braced all odds, weather and being ransacked by the cops to come down here. And also for those willing to pay some lasses for the less-than-hour visit; to this one, they just want the comfort of a woman, doesn’t matter how much it will cost them.

All set with empty bowls to exchange for filled ones with home-cooked or fast food bought on their way here.

Two of my mates went out, hopefully, we will be eating some proper food later on today.

Went about what matters most; my daily workout routine. Not much of a people in the gym, those that didn’t go out decided to sleep over their hangovers or extended their weekend into Monday.

Hit the weights, went hard on chest and triceps, added lunges, farmer’s walk and dumbbell squats for the legs as I’m off from barbell squat due to my bad legs. Rounded up with stretches and abs; hanging leg/knee raise.

Back in and the lads are back from visit with all they could bring or all that were allowed or smuggled in. Most are flogging some of their stuffs to raise much-needed dough to meet other important needs like habits that are hard to break, or pay debts before their creditors start hitting them with 2×4 and name-calling. All sorts of stuffs were been hawked around; underwear, flip-flops, trunks and shorts, boxers, t-shirts, bedsheets, cornflakes, bread, vegetable oil, biscuits, just about anything was up for sale. There was a lad selling sim cards and memory cards, those definitely were smuggled in, another had little vials of ginseng, that got me wondering how many of our conjugal lads will go for that. It’s an open market, free movement, no restrictions, got something to sell? Either you hawk around or make a deal for someone to do and he gets certain percentage. Things I sell, are mostly supplements, or partly exchange as I did with my #ON amino acids caplets, gave some to an older inmate who bought a preworkout supplement which wasn’t good for him, had to barter with me, wasn’t a bad trade. Used it and felt the effect, but will need to get some amino acids asap!

#water, we haven’t been having it often, the lad in charge has turned it into a money-making venture, he attends to those who are willing to pay him. We that have been on the line for ages are ignored. But, glad I always have my reserves, enough to shower and meet other importan water needs.

Enough food today, lately the lads have become wiser; they don’t bring cooked rice anymore, as it take up space in the bowl. Instead, fried assorted meats (pork, beef and chicken) and sometimes fishes are brought with prawns. We then cook rice and eat with whatever sauce and meats that comes in. With two of them bringing enough, it does take us through two or three days before we go back to what is normal, eating whatever comes in or what we can cook. And we always survive, we have been surviving for almost five years now or what meagre prison food we have.

With visit over, life continues as many dine like kings and a queen; our shemale does get something from her many patrons, I’m not one, but she wouldn’t return or pay me for a replay sunglasses I lend her. Maybe I pressed her, she might be willing to pay me naturally, nature’s own way of fleshy service ;-), not my thing though, will let that one passssss!

Took short a short nap, much-needed after the pounding in the gym with weights, gotta recover, glad I can sleep, despite noises around.

My mate who started drinking on Sunday, continued with his drinking. Hope he doesn’t get messed and mashed up. He’s drinking for a victory won on the other side of the world; seized assets by his government were all returned to his family, definitely worth celebrating, but not with our potent lethal liquor and that things has messed him before; well that was his initiation into drinking in prison, as it was his first real drink when he was newly hauled in. He suffered from that one-time experience, but it also prepared his body for what is to come. Everyone went through that phase, the change of bodily system; sickening experience, one’s body rejecting everything. But sooner than most thought, they soon get use to it, adopt and adapt.

After his drinking session, the lil gay lad cooked him noodles soup with eggs; enough to get him sleeping and prepare for the oncoming hangover; that one does come at its time.

Spent the rest of the day inside, reading, tweeting, browsing, brainstorming and of course #CandyCrushing 😉

#CandyCrushSaga is like an epidemic in the pavilion, everyone is busy with the game, once signal drops, the screens moves from chat interface to either Candy Crush or the latest; #ClashOfClans; got a mate bluetooth it to me, yet to play it. I’m ok with the annoying candy crush, where I’m on #165 😦 plays when I’m super bored!

Tues, 22 Jul 2014
Day after visit; many will still be feasting on what they brought in yesterday. What will be on sale today will likely be clothes, flip flops and other non-food items.

Began my day with my morning rituals, can’t get tired of it as it’s part of personal hygiene. The lil gay lad; (presumably, he’s supposed to be the cleanest, but lad is wack; wakes and starts his day either talking politics or whatever is on the news, and when the breakfast cart comes, he then remember to brush his teeth). Despite always being the last to hit bed, I tried to be up before others and go through my morning rituals; set a pot of water for #greentea on the stove, use the loo, brush my teeth and wash my face and change into #gymgear and my day just began!

Made it to the gym early, packed but ok to get started, after some shouting and screaming, got some lads working with me and we went into what will be one of their best workout; #HIIT #Hardcore #Back and #Biceps! We pushed ourselves through the grilling workout, each got something for the group; one got banana, I made gatorade and another added powder creatine to the gatorade and turned it into a power punch. We rounded up with abdominal exercises and stretching.

Back in, the lads cooked what is left of monday’s food that came in from the visit. But first thing first, made me a cold energy drink with gatorade + lemon, ate peanut butter sandwich. After my shower, later had rice and lentils with what fried dried meat; looked like pork chops or beef fillets, whatever it was, tasted good with the sauce that came with it.

Tried napping, but got alerted as we had another search scare, scrambled what shouldn’t be seen to our stashes as we wait for them. After hours of waiting, nothing happened. Then we know we are safe at that moment and we also prepared and ready.

Schat took my lil boy to his guitar lesson, had started the musical instrument lesson with my lil girl before my incarceration, and schat has kept up with it ever since. My lil girl, now grown up and being a little dodgy can play her piano and also read music. But she has gotten herself into trouble waters.

My boy, after schat questioned him how he got some candies as she didn’t buy for him, confessed that my girl took schat’s money to buy candies for her new friends she met in the park. When schat asked him to explain; he gave her the lowdown, or as we will say here, he sang and rat on his sister. But, it was a good thing he did, as he saved her from trading on the broad and wide way. My lil girl, who happened to be taller than her age mates, had met new and older friends at the park beside our home, and these ones kept telling her to go bring her mummy’s money so they can buy candies and chewing gums. She did all she did to please them and be part of the group #PeerPressure!

When Schat got home and had a heart to heart mother and daughter chat with her, she confessed to it and cried her heart out. She talked of how the older girls always tell her to go get money and buy them candies. She felt something was wrong with such friendship. And she ended her heart’s outpouring by saying, she doesn’t even like them, for always telling her to go get money. Pray she doesn’t do it again… my son turned her in! nice lad (johnny English) …. he’s mummy’s boy. I’m relieved, schat is doing her best to keep them on the right track and also busy with positive activities.

Talking of the right track or path; guess there’re still people trading on the wrong tracks as another batch of newbies were hauled in, and this time, we are seeing some #VIP’s, soon we will be having the Who’s Who of Prisons. Amongst our new tenants is a one-time senator from Ecuador, who has been living in panama for some years as a political refugee. Why he’s brought here, wouldn’t know, for now, he’s here with us and has become one of us, no class or difference in status; we are all prisoners of fortune!

Had a brief chat with the new man in my cell, seems to be a nice man, but the lads are having some ill feelings towards him as he’s a white Colombian and they are black Colombians. But it was one of their brothers who sold the bed to him, so they must learn to accept and live with him. The old man actually dropped with his son-inlaw, seems it’s a family thing. Hope they sort out their case and leave; by whatever means they can.

Bit tensed in the centre and in the pavilion, and the weather is not doing us any good, it’s supposed to be the rain season in Panama, but, all we’ve got is heat and more of it. Water is still our biggest problem here, but we manage to live through each day with whatever little water we have or that comes. The new lads will be learning this part of us and how we adapts and adopts to survive the joint.

With nothing much but quite a few to keep one busy, spent the rest of the day doing what keeps me going; reading, browsing, tweeting and responding to some crazy tweets, and of course candy crushing which is becoming boring. Might as well start playing clash of clans like others. But got enough books to keep me properly busy.

End the day on good note; my son gave her big sister in, and in return she confessed to what wrongs she did and forgiven. I know she won’t repeat it again. Proud of schat and her strength; #TheStrengthOfAWoman.

Wed, 23 Jul 2014
[War Between Rival Gangs Within The Prison]

Another day in paradise, up for the day and what it has in stock for me. Well, got mine for the day and to make it worth my waking up. Ready to braced whatever is coming my way.

Went through my morning rituals and prepared for today’s workout. Rarely take breakfast, well, shouldn’t be missing out on it as it’s the most important meal of the day. Some days, slapped a tablespoon of peanut butter on the bread roll that comes on the breakfast cart or make me a warm cereal.

Water; our lives and activities seems to revolve around it. The gym was scanty as many without water wouldn’t come out as there won’t be none to wash after sweating. Still have my reserves, untouched, waiting for moments that they will come in need.

Entered into the day’s workouts; shoulders and went a bit heavy for my traps. Added abs and did loads of cardio work, can’t jump rope because of my lower back, but improvised with some body-weight exercises and they did work my muscles well.

Had a chilled lemon drink with pressed cane sugar, something to boost my energy.

The gym. Being the only place I meet and socialise with others, as I hate inmates coming to my cell with flimsy issues, I’d rather like we finish all discussion in the gym.

The lad who trained with me today, is one of the new lads around, Colombian, but speaks fluent English and according to him, was a personal trainer in one of Panama’s popular gym, but got involved with the wrong sets; the gym is popular place to meet all sorts, the good, the bad and the crooked!

Well, the lad is very positive, but fine it hard to adopt and adapt, but with time, he will. He talked of what keeps me going, and that I’m always full of smiles, well, told him; my family is numero uno, then, I have adapted and adopted ‘my own way’ of survival on the inside. Made him understand, a prison experience is a personal soul-searching journey to find one’s redemption. Two brothers, in-laws, father and son could walk into the pavilion, but sooner or later they fall apart, each seeking his path to redemption. Prison time, is like religion, you search for what will take you through the time. Everyman to his calling, some will fail, but others will make it out; alive or broken!

We went out together for a brief cardio spin, but we were sent to the back of the pavilion as the cop won’t anybody to be seen outside in the front. Had a good workout with him.

Done and back in, water came a bit, but if we use it as we always do, then, we won’t be having none in the morning. Showered and had a postworkout meal of Beans which I cooked; filling and nutritious 😉

My local inmate pal who trains with me, but hasn’t been coming since a local was shot and killed, finally came today. Explained why he and other locals who train with us haven’t been coming; since the daylight execution, the cops on duty had set up zero-movement for all inmates, especially the locals. Every none essential movement are curtailed, inmates are not allowed to move around without a warden; the one that moved with the warden and got shot, what did the warden do to save him? Nada, even the warden will be running for his own sweet boring life.

He later told me what happened with the lad that got shot and what is happening that we the foreigners don’t know.

Within the prison system in panama, gangs rule the inside while cops and wardens are symbolic in whatever they do; the puppet masters are the warring gangs factions within the system. Cops and wardens know what these lads can do; they can go after anyone who doesn’t cooperate or dance to their manipulating music.

Of the numerous gangs are the two dangerous gangs; Cats and Dogs (Los Gatos y Los Perros), what a name they choose for their gangs, I would have gone for a more catchy name 😉

The name might sound funny and childish, but what these lads do ain’t childish and funny, they can bring the system to total standstill when they are ready; the system allows them to do all they want, just to keep the peace we so much desire; inside and outside the prison system.

The lad that was killed, well, not a lad as per age, he was about 45 years old and was in his 17th year of 20 years for multiple homicides. He was transferred from the now defunct prison island #Coiba to our centre, after years of threats and war with other gangs. According to my local mate, the lad has more than 15 murders to his name while in the island. When he came here, always armed as he knows what awaits him from the other gangs. But being armed didn’t help him on his day with fate, the thing with gun, the one that pulls his trigger first might win, all things working to his favour. His assassin pulled first, aiming on his neck, shattering his spine and sending him to the world beyond, he also pulled his, but fell by the shot of his assassin. He got back what he had doled out to many, and he was working to get an early release; can imagine such a lad on the street, but panama don’t bloody give a shit.

My mate talked about the lad, and how he saw him fell, trying to aim a shot at his assailant, but his piece got jammed and he fell to his death; and he said…. “He died like a warrior”, the last statement made me think twice about my local mate; he’s probably a member of a gang, as they all see the gang business as a warrio business.

Back to my life; it’s a national day of mourning in The Netherlands for the victims of the downed #MH17 Malaysia airline that embarked on the ill-fated journey. Dutch embassies worldwide has set up condolence register for many sympathisers who want to sympathise and mourn with the dutch people. I pray the good Lord strength to my fellow dutch compatriots and to the families of the deceased and victims of these heinous crime against humanity. Hope this incident will be classified as #WarCrime

Had some more of my hot brew; #greentea.

My new phone finally came in, had wanted a tablet, but hiding one is a major hurdle for me, so I went for a Galaxy S4 Active, think it’s the type of phone for a place like this, once spent over $200 dollars is buying screen for two blackberry phones that fell from my bed and another that just decided to die off on me. But S4 active as the name implies is a phone that suits our lifestyles in the joint, as we are always shoving and moving. The lad got in everything except the 64GB memory card; which I dearly need to store all my stuffs, important stuffs though!

The lad also brought in quite a handful of tablets, seems the lads prefer watching their porn stash in wide screen, good for them, ain’t got the heart to own one here.

We had some newbies hauled in today, well, not really new in the system as they were prisoners sent to the new prison; mega joya. When Martinelli was campaigning for his chosen man, he used the prison as one of his accomplishment, despite still under construction, they hurried and send some prisoners there. The lads were there without basic needs, well, neither do we have any, but we are used to it and ours is an old facility, but for them, and being in a newly built prison, everything should be there. But not in this case.

Amongst the newbies is an ex senator from Ecuador, sought asylum during Martinelli’s regime, but hauled in after his country demanded his extradition to face trial for corruption. Hope he wouldn’t mind his new residence, he’s a lucky one, didn’t get to sleep on the floor as someone who knew him outside offered him a bed. Don’t know if he will be buying the bed, whatever happens is their business.

Soon, they will all get use to our lives and what goes on in here, and each will choose what path to follow towards his personal redemption if there will be any. Anyway, they are welcome to the jungle, the joint, the slammer and to the belly of the beast which is never full and always ready for more.

Our pavilion is hosting vip’s of all sorts, doc wanted by the Canadians is here, and a young baby-face capo of a cartel who has got cops on 24/7 alert is here, same lad has drawn all the beggars to him, asking for one favour or another, even the so-called pastors are having breakfast at his makeshift Gaddafi’s like-tent every morning; pretending to give him the word of the Lord, but actually asking for favour.

Good for them!

Thu, 24 Jul 2014
Another early day, set and ready for our weekly headcount, and also prepared for any impromptu search. All stashed, dressed up to use the opportunity and workout under the weather and the early morning sun.

When the call came, many were still sleeping and these ones will definitely go back to complete their sleep; never heard, read or seen of prisoners being so lazy as some here.

Outside. The early morning sun was warm, and the same time cool, wasn’t cold neither hot, but just the right temperature to hit the tracks. Had a good stretches, inverted rows and dips at the monkey bars behind the pavilion, did some good push-ups and covered fews lapses before the count was over. Everyone accounted for and none missing, we were all hauled in. Like I said, majority went back to their sleep, but for the determined and dedicated to what they like doing; we went straight to the weights. Had a good all-body workout. Was done and through within an hour, when my training partners came calling later in the morning, told them, I had an early one, they were surprised.

Showered and had my postworkout meal, since I don’t have protein, I tried getting the best from what we have here; eggs, and whatever protein sources I can find and afford. Always lentils and beans 😉

Tried napping as I didn’t get much last night, but just for about 30 minutes before the lads became too noisy. Up and started familiarising myself with my new gadget, since phones or anything bought outside doesn’t come in with manuals, one has to use guess work, but had already read all I need to know about the phone online and also saved some articles for further reading. Compared to my S2, the phone is a monster, wicked and fast as rumours within the pavilion. Prays it survive the searches and thievery in the pavilion.

Inmates having pool party:
On the news today was a video of inmates in one of Panama’s prison in David city partying, drinking whisky from the bottles and playing in an inflatable swimming pool. What an irony, we and some part of the country are having water crisis and some inmates who are locked up and meant to do hard time are marrying around, splashing water and drinking whisky, who knows what else they don’t have there; they could be some hootie hidden inside their bunk to give them nightly carnal services. Anything and everything is possible when there’s corruption and corrupt cops and wardens. These ones will do anything to add to their $400 monthly salaries.

Good for the lads up north in city David, nothing to do, someone will always invent something to while away one’s bored time.

Being our headcount day, many are still sleeping and a bit quiet in the pavilion. Not much is happening in the centre, but always something to keep us busy; card and dice games, but with money as it would be boring without money. And of course, our telephones, still can’t do much with mine as I’m waiting for the memory card. And the lad who wants to buy my S2 isn’t ready for the amount we initially discussed. Just gotta do away with the phone, better sold than losed it to cops if there’s a search and it’s found. The lad is on my ass for the phone, but got so much saved in the phone’s memory, can’t afford to wipe them off, gotta save them!

Some days are like this; dull and quiet, much better than the others, noisy and tensed!

Fri, 25 Jul 2014
Slept late last night, and got woken by the lads. Someone spilled water all over the floor, but like always nobody will admit to doing it, probably it was one of the cats or a rat that did it. But waking up around 6am after sleeping late, literally spoiled my day.

Since we have enough water, the lad who suspended his general cleaning last week Saturday, decided to do it today, thus, we had all stuffs removed so he can get on with his cleaning. Set water for a cup of tea and left for the signal spot upstairs with a book to keep me busy.

Upstairs, decided to make an African beans delicacy, since we bought a nicked tankful of beans, we can eat beans as much as we want it. Got some washed and prepared for what will be my lunch and dinner.

Downstairs, the lad was through with washing and cleaning, others were busy with what food to eat. Brew another cuppa, but earl Grey with milk and had it with peanu butter sandwich.

I’m taking the day off workout. My training mates came calling, but sent them off as I’m off today. They did improvised and had a good workout on their own.

Spent the day in the cell, keeping myself busy with whatever I can do and cooking beans ;-), it will be sound of music all night as we will be farting from different corners and angles after consuming all these beans.

Chat at length with schat, she is busy as always, the kids are doing great, my smallest girl has graduated from nursery and will be starting primary school in September. The other two are doing pretty well academically, my big girl is above national average and my son is becoming a little geek; very good with computers and gadgets, guess it’s a man thing. Pray for strength for schat till I get back home and in one piece.

Back in the centre, Food is same, but kept improvising and getting what my body needs and not what is offered; thus, my beans meal today. One way or the other, one gotta survive.

Sat, 26 Jul 2014
Woke up from a bloodied dream; local inmates with bloodied knives were pursuing someone in our pavilion, never had such a dream since my incarceration. With news of stabbing being heard every day, one is definitely bound to dream such a thing, moreove one doesn’t need dreams to tell one of the dangers that lurks amongst and within us. But, having such a vivid dream and remembering every bit of it, got my wondering; said a prayer for God’s protection.

Prayers. Rarely write much of my spirituality, others prefer the hypocritically open type of religion, I rather do mine personally and quietly, seen many so-called bible-carrying inmates pull knives from their pants when the time came and many in the past have been accused of running guns and knives between warring gang. Even the so-call prisoners pastors who were gangs members still remain loyal to their old gangs, despite crossover to a new religious gang. Can’t teach an old dogs old tricks!

Little did I know the dream was coming to me; dressed up to catch up with workout that I missed yesterday. Armed with my water and about to leave the cell, then came two lads from cell A7, confronting me over my blog and writings. There and then the dream came back, total recalled, remembered every part of it. The lads weren’t happy about my blog, as I wrote about the incessant arguments and things that revolves around them. Guess a compatriot of mine showed them the url to my #Wordpress blog, as these lads are too daft to search for it, they are either busy arguing over women menstrual cycle or which sportman earn the most, they just argue about any thing that comes up in their mind. Just one of the ways to past and do time. The confrontation was hot, they had met with others, probably read loads. In annoyance left for the gym.

Then came one of their cellmate; the English lad who is close to me and more matured than most in the cell, he approached me in the gym politely and asked if I can take the blog offline; #HellNo!

I can password-protect for now, until the steam and angers calms. Glad I have geek for a wife, messaged schat to get the blog protected as signal was very slow here. With few minutes she wrote back, that all is done and not even urls or links from Google search can get it open; password is needed. Thus, from now, will be using twitter and other sites to send out my blogs. #Twitlonger 🙂

Went through my workout with intensity, letting out the steam and anger that was building up on the inside. At the end of my workout, I was relieved and refreshed. At least I have found a way of working on my anger; transfer and redirect all negative force and energy into those weights. Does help and also rewarding 😉

#MasterOfScience

Just after my workout, got in and pickeed up my phone to read what message has been waiting for me. Stopped taking my phone to the gym after a got a blackberry screen broken and had to pay $125 for a new screen. No more stupid risk, my phone stays in bed when I’m in the gym.

When I checked the phone, found out that schat has sent me an image, on opening, I was gobsmacked and over-the-moon; she has just received her certificate from the Uni. She has juggled and worked hard to earn this degree; Master of Science in Business Information Systems. I am so proud of her, upon my incarceration, she didn’t give up hope on life, she braced up against all odds and today she aren’t going backward, but forward. The kids are proud of her, my girl always confide in her, that she is her role model.

This news today, made my day, and all the anger I had inside melted off; setting me free from that unnecessary burden. Schat. She is a strong lady both outside and inside, an unusual inner strength, a toughness and resilience that I admires and praise. She and my kids are my strength, my focus and what’s keeping me waxing strong all these years behind bars.

Had a cup of my #Wine during dinner to celebrate schat’s success and strength. Graduation ceremony will be by end of the year, likely november.

Our water crisis is on again, and this time, we are not alone as certain parts of the country are also without portable water; for us, we don’t need portable water, they can send us the chocolate-coloured one, whatever they send us, we will survive on it. The lads who were sent here from the new prison, spoke of 24/7 water, the only thing they lack was phones, not even the public pay phones that we have here, though ours rarely work, but with our smartphones and routers hanging like spaceships in space, nobody really bothers about the public phones. Can’t imagine what life would have been here without our phones and keeping tap on what’s happening around the world. The phone has gradually become my gateway portal to the outside world, as panama television tragically are busy with panama news and repeating soaps and films. Majority of what comes up on news are flimsy news that shouldn’t make it to national news; someone nicking mobile phones recharge cards, such are the types of news we are made to watch and listen to daily.

Spent most of the day inside and on my bed, trying to stay and keep out of sight; better this way to avoid unnecessary attitudes.

Sun, 27 Jul 2014
My rest day or lazy day as I’m off from workout, well, still move around to keep the limbs and body active.

Also try eating well and more healthy as most pounds are added on weekends. Well, not when one is actively conscious of what he is doing. Despite our poor nutrition, I’m always working on eating something healthy, no matter how poor they look; but healthy.

Lately, we have been having new inmates hauled in, almost daily. Wondering what’s happening outside, if cops are cleaning up the streets. But then, nobody seems to stop and think, for a country of less than four million people, a prison population of fourteen thousand is much; and that was echoed in a news programme recently, which stated that panama has one of the highest incarceration rate in latin america. Soon panama will rival the USA for mass incarceration.

These new ones hauled in are busy trying to adjust and adapt to our lives or to their lives on the inside. It will take a while, but they will eventually get there. They will definitely go through the soul-searching phase, and many will try all that’s laid out on the platter for them; religion, gang-bonding, doping, alcohol and even the gym. When exhausted, they will find out what path they should trade on. Everyone always find a way out, some will resolve to stick to their bunk or hammock and sleep their time away.

Whichever way taken, it leads to one end! Doing your time!

Mon, 28 Jul 2014
#Weekend is always long for me, as I’m off from the gym. Thank God it’s Monday!

Woke up before others and rushed through my morning rituals; used the loo, lately I have a bottle of disinfectant (made with chloro – bleach and water), which I spray on the toilet seat and wipe clean with tissue before dressing it up). Doing my best to control any disease.

Brew my green tea and went upstairs for better signal, did some downloads; #Avicii #True and #HillsongUnited #LookToYou. Doing download early in the morning is the best as many are sleeping and internet is not congested. Also upgraded some apps.

Finally got down to get out for another round of proper exercise. The gym was busy with many; but got what I needed to begin on an intensive #Back and #Biceps workout.

My mates joined me, we started lightly; warming up with what little weights we could find. Finally went heavy and #HIIT #Hardcore when we had all the weights we needed; did more of pull-ups as I can’t go heavy on any lifting exercises due to my back.

Got some friends of friends joined my group, but the lads had never seen or experienced working with weights in their lives; they lift things as most are fishermen, but lacks lifting techniques. Back to basics, I’m taking them through all I have learned and still studying on fitness and mostly weight training.

Done and back in, the new man in the cell has been of great help; his partner and son-in-law who is in the same case with him, happen to live in a cell with en electric pump and run on a different line from the one my cell get its water. Thus, they do get water more than us and the old man is promised four tanks of water whenever water runs. And I also hustled for a tank or two which is what I will use after my workout. Since the water crisis began, I try to minimise my usage to one and half tank and also keep the dirty water to be use in the toilet afterwards.

Started on a new read; a #DeanKoontz novel #TheDoorToDecember. Thrilling and one I will love to round up asap! I gave the two remaining #FiftyShades 2nd and 3rd to my old Canadian pal, we both finished one, and he’s done with two, told me how the novel is causing his heart to race ;-), guess to hot for his old heart. He is a faster reader than I am. Well, he does nothing else other than reading, sleeping, eating and shitting. We look after his food, and the lads in the cell does every thing for him; he’s exempted from cleaning the cell, even water, we all help him. So he has enough time for his reading, smoking and drinking coffee. And occasionally walking the field when the door is thrown open. Hope Canada gets him home soon, he’s already five years in the slammer and he’s above sixty five years.

It’s Monday, but for some inmates, it’s one long vacation; drinking around the passages, with nothing to do, someone has decided to open and pour one or two shots, but one that will lead to an all-nighter.

My 64GB memory card finally came in, and will friggin set me back $55! That’s one hell of money to blow on memory card. But it’s worth it as what I’m storing on it is worth more than the card.

With the card in, it’s gonna be a long night, as I’m going to stay up all night moving things from old memory cards to the new one. Glad I found out about APK, easy to move all my apps without the hassle of downloading new ones, not viable option with the bad signal now.

Started working on the phone around midnight and finally get to sleep around 5am and with intention of taking the day off workout.

Tues, 29 Jul 2014
Plan was to take today off workout, but after three or four calls from my training disciples, I decided to dressed up and hit the gym.

We went for full chest workout; beginning with inclined and declined and rounding up on flat bench, we got exhausted as we added dips to our chest routines. Also top my day with some sets of triceps routines.

Still rationing water as we are yet to recover from the crisis and drought.

Another sets of newbies were hauled in today, screaming and catcalls as the lads welcome them into the joint. Some were quick to see old pals, and another lad who left almost a year ago is back and probably going back to his former cell with a compatriot of mine. Too bad, but he knows what he was still doing around after the initial release, should have left for good; he was sentenced in absentia and arrested at the airport on arrival after leaving briefly, hit with a eight years sentence!

Continued with setting up and getting my new phone to work and also prepare my old phone for sale, hope the lad buying it has got no stories to tell as we are all full of stories. I will make a good sale in the open market as there are many potential buyers amongst the newbies. Their first possession will be a phone even before thinking of proper sleepspace.

Wed, 30 Jul 2014
Up before 7am to clean as it was my turn, water on stove for my early morning brew of green tea.

Being my school day, showered and prepared for the roll-call, which later came. Filed out with others to what will be a three-hour class, not my best time as I loathes anything that should or will bring me in contact with the locals. They tend to see us foreigners as money breeding machine; they sell everything nicked amongst themselves to the foreigners in my pavilion or pavilion 8.

On getting to the gay police at the last check before entry the admin block, we were told there’s a total blackout, thus, class won’t hold. But if electricity should be restored within 30mins, the warden will come for us. What a big relief for me, had to get back and get my much-needed sleep.

On our way back, the man-mountain shemale in pavilion 2 was busy selling call cards and recharge cards; offered some to our lads, but we knowing them, refused, as same numbers could be sold to another person, then one can’t do nothing; money flushed in the drain. She is looking too much plumpy, guess she is been swallowing and not spitting it out; loads of protein and not exercising, ends up blowing her up, tall lass, but becoming round or maybe pregnant as some lads suggested. Wondering who the daddy will be 😉

Back into the pavilion, the lads were at it in the gym as it was full and busy, but also hot, the weather look arid like desert. My cell was hot as an oven, decided to climb upstairs to my mate bunk, being a while I went up there, as I now have signal from the comfort of my bunk, well, not mobile signal, which I really need now to reactivate my whatsapp on the new phone. Will have to wake up very early and do what I used to do years ago.

Did some reading until energy was restored, quickly left for my cell to catch a quick nap. But the air in the cell was fouled by the new old lad; if the man uses toilet, sometimes I will be sleeping and inhale his stinks, which wakes me up from my sleep. Everyone was standing in the front of the cell, waiting for the air to be refreshed before they get in. Finally got in and took some few hours long power nap. The lads know what to do if cops decide to storm us for a surprise search.

Almost through with my phone, got some memory cards and backup all my important files. And ready to path ways with my old phone; served me well, survived many brutal searches. Hope and pray the new one will be like that. We are just three in the pavilion that own the same type of phone. The lad is ready to pick up the old one and promised paying in three instalments. Hope he’s a man of his words, very rare to find men who keep and stick to their words in prison. Hope this one lad does, as I have listened to him preach several times on how he will pay me as soon as he gets his dough in from his families who are supporting him.

Thu, 31 Jul 2014
Month’s end! It’s been a tough one and every new day brings me closer to my fifth year in the slammer! #Sept25!

Our weekly headcount and end of the month! Woke up before others and went through my morning rituals. And also made oatmeal for the lads before we were herded out for the headcount. Managed to hustled a tank of water from a cell that had their pump on.

Took to the fields as others were also busy doing something under the early morning weather. Others were lazily waiting for the count to be over, so they could get back to their sleep. The most were busy chatting with their mates, something that doesn’t end, we are always talking, even when we are meant to shut the fuck up! Someone just wanna open his mouth and proved himself a fool.

Did some good lapses of brisk-walking, running and then went to the monkey bars and did some inverted rows and dips; #HIIT #Hardcore sets! Mixed up with body-weight lunges and stretches before the cops rounded up with their count.
There was an inmate missing, but was later rectified, the time spent doing that gave me extra time for my brief workout. But we were counted again upon reentry into the pavilion.

The gym was fully packed with the early birds, was able to get enough to start on an excruciating #HIIT #Hardcore shoulders and add some all-body movements to supplement for yesterday’s workout which I missed. Rounded up early even before my group came up.

Water came briefly, just enough for the day’s use. Hope we manage it well and make good use of it.

Rushed through a postworkout meal of the morning’s oatmeal, but with ice and added cinnamon and peanut butter. Showered and slumped in my bed for a quick nap.

The news of the inmates from David City prison who were bathing in an inflatable swimming pool, drinking whiskey is back on television. After the search, the new director of corrections is talking of being strict with prisoners; yeah right! Not when money talks and bullshit walks, wardens and cops will always want something to supplement their maegre wages. Many earn more working for and with inmates than working for their government. Thus, life goes on!

Fri, 1 Aug 2014
My fifth birthday in the joint is around the corner, and many inmates are also celebrating their birthdays, some will eventually get our queen to greased the occasion and spice things up for them.

Up and about….. went upstairs for an early mobile signal search, friggin need to get whatsapp working. Signal is very hard, surrounded and left to get ready for the gym. Though a bit late, but will managed to pull through.

Made it to the gym, not packed as I had thought it would be, but the Olympic bars were both in used. Had to start with legs; dumbbells squats, goblet squats, lunges and calves raise. Did some good sets, and used the cable to work some back and triceps, did some hanging leg raise and inclined push-ups. Finally got a bench, but too late as the priest was in for the Friday’s catholic mass; almost forgotten about that. Managed to pulled through five sets of ten reps on a 100 lbs dumbbells. Wanted more, but can’t help, had to pack up and leave.

Five more inmates were hauled in today; it’s definitely a clean up in the city or the rate of crime is soaring very high in panama; has always been that way.

Arranged all weights and back in the cell, showered, washed my clothes and took a quick shower, had a quick lunch; the lads cooked rice with beef, added a spoonful of peanut butter to mine; not a bad taste!

Retired to my bed; sitting at the edge and did some reading, until sleep finally took hold of me; only to be woken by the stench of the new cellmate shitting again. No matter how deep one is in his sleep, the stench of his faeces is bound to wake you up. Tried to stay back, but the stench was just too much, was like something decomposed in the cell; had to leav the cell briefly for a walk around the passge and breath our recycled air. When I returned, he was in the shower, definitely needed it, after excreting such thing, he definitely need a proper shower.

Earlier in the day, had bought a pack of ox feet to be cooked on Saturday, decided to get it prepared after the lads were done with distilling. Cleaned and cooked it briefly; since there was no food for dinner, decided to make soup, used the water from the cooked ox feet, got some eggs and some fresh parsely, cilantro and spring onions which we are lucky to get once in a while. But, bloody expensive! got some noodles, onions and made a wonderfully delicious soup.

The soup was our saviour as what began with a few cup of my brew lead to the lads drinking, and my cellmate whose birthday is tomorrow decided to begin his birthday celebration bit early. Lad decided to hit the bottles, guess his family had money sent to him.

We sat all night on the passage; chatting and reminiscing over our lives, lad sure got a lot to tell after some bottles. We rarely talk, but he did talk tonight after downing some good quantities of the distilled liquor, I stick to my moonshine! Once it’s finished, I’m not crossing over, that’s what messes the lads here; drinking everything at a sitting; liquor, moonshine and anything passed to them. With my moonshine, I will be able to wake up normal and get on with my activities.

We sat all night into Saturday….. and it’s his birthday! hope his released mate will be support while he do time after taking blame on their case. Guess that will be his birthday wish tonight; support from his partner who was released and escaped to his country.

There are other fiestas around the passages, lately inmate have stopped drinking upstairs, I guess after the last drunken fall, that got the lad spent weeks in hospital, many have learned from his experience. Sometimes, you don’t want to go through some bitter experience to learn the lessons that comes after such experience, better read or watch and learn from someone who went through it; and such is the prison experience.

Sat, 2 Aug 2014
Drinking into Saturday, what started with a cup of wine with my dinner has turned to a full blown night of binge drinking, the lads hijacked everything.

My mate who went upstairs to see his lawyer, decided to buy a bag of ice, took some and gave me the lot of it, decided to drink a cup of wine with my dinner on Friday night, then the drinking began as others wanted more than a cup.

Also used the opportunity to sell the rest of my wine #moonshine! Not all #PrisonBusiness are bad business. Profit in some, bankrupt and taken out of business in others. Since, I have carved out a niche for me in brewing wine from grape juice and other secret ingredients and nobody else does same. I do it perfectly and religiously. Those, who know good drink, prefers mine to the distilled liquor. Thus, I have been able to keep the biz to myself alone. This time, I only make a tank at a time, once it’s finished, I start on another tank. Making several tanks at the same time is a risky business as they could all be lost during search.

01:53:46…. one thing always lead to another; a bag of ice from my mate, and we all got into drinking session to mark a cellmate’s birthday. Rarely chat with the lad, despite leaving in the same cell, he does his things, and I do mine. His birthday is today; Saturday, but he decided for a head start on Friday, as of now, he’s pissed. I sticked on my wine, can’t do the distilled sh!t, that thing can mess up and delude somebody’s mind and actions and the after effect is the worst feeling anybody want to wish on his enemy.

Sold two gallons of my wine and we drank one; I’m out of stock, need to make a new one asap! But rumours of search as the prison in David City was searched yesterday and loads were found; knives (normal), phones (cops were lucky), bottles of whiskey (no fiestas this weekend for the lads there), tablets (mostly android, thus, no porn on large screen). Cops found what they could, who knows what more they couldn’t find and seized, as we didn’t see or hear of armas de fuego or mini uzi, guess those ones are well hidden. Even the ones taken will be replaced as soon as the wardens are back to work; smuggling things in.

02:01:09! Still sitting in the dark passage, illuminated by the screen of my phone. The birthday lad is in another world, lad is spitting and vomiting on the floor, hope the binmen clean up in the morning, have place newspapers over his vomits. But his compatriots are still giving him more, told them to stop as the lad is well beyond his limits.

In his drunken state, he did talked to me; about how we do things in the cell. Being the oldest serving inmate in the cell, he wants me to get him involved in whatever I do in the cell. He sort of felt alienated, not my fault, he’s always kept himself at distance from me. Can’t force friendship on anyone, and I much better alone. He has a cook whom he pays for a daily bowl of whatever the man churns out of kitchen. Hope our relation gets better after tonight.

The passage is dark, just felt something walked passed me as my head is buried in my phone (wrong thing to do in prison, lost oneself in whatever you are doing, but I have other lads sitting beside me; bit safe). First thought, the cat, but it was our vampire; lad walks slowly, or rather glides around like a cat, without any sound, with his head bow and phone torchlight on; searching for half smoked fags, or money fallen from people. Some days, he’s lucky, other days, he will walk all night and nothing.

My birthday mate had a bit too much, began spitting and vomiting on the passage. Had to get some newspapers and spread over the place, finally had him sent to his bunk; glad he doesn’t sleep on the top bunk like me, he would’ve slept on the floor today, many had done it in the past after night of binging, and many will still do it; drunk and passed out.

I also left to clean and wash up before hitting my bed. Finally get to sleep around 3:30am.

Supposed to be our general cleaning but there won’t be any as there isn’t enough water in the cell. Whatever water we are able to hustle is used up at the end of the day. We are at our critical point right now, living on the edge.

Not hitting the gym today, longer weekend and more time to recuperate and sleep over last night drink.

Guess won’t sleep now, as I have to cook soup with the ox feet we bought yesterday. Ox feet; price on tag is around $3.50, but sold in here for $8! Not bad, one can make a good sancocho colombian’s soup with it.

One of the lads cooked rice, while I made sancocho (Colombian soup), everyone had a bit and assumed they all enjoyed it as the birthday lad and the grocer decided to pay for all ingredients and vegetables I had credited for preparing the soup; thus, my energy and time are well compensated.

The drinking is still on, but not me; when I woke up, I rushed a chilled long cup of ice and fresh pressed lemon juice with water; refreshing and something my body really needed. The lad is still drinking and many of his pals are coming in and out congratulating him on his birthday. Even old pals who were kicked out to pavilion 8 came in to say hi. Some joined him for a cup or two. Invited me, but declined and got a bottle of powerade.

Took a quick power nap, up and dinner was salad that came on the dinner cart with chunks of beef; added some rice as I was starving.

22:35:39! My mate is not alone in marking his birthday, others around different cells in the pavilion are celebrating something. Too bad, no ice, but that wouldn’t stop them from drinking.

Decided to opt for green tea, brew me some and had two cups this evening; one after my dinner and another some minutes ago. Better than drinking warm powerade.

My old grocer-cellmate is having another round of high Blood pressure, one his eyes is bloodshot. Guess watching too much porn is causing a raise in his heart 😉 he hits his bed early before others. One good thing he has adopted; he now eats fresh garlic, after months of preaching the benefits of eating fresh garlic to him and others, he now believes it’s good. Hope it helps with lowering his bad cholesterol.

22:56:18 the fiesta is taking a different turn, our gayly cellmate has had a little too much and probably snorted some lines of el rey, guess since my last confrontation with him, he now does it in secret away from our prying eyes. He’s out of the cell, probably with his new fans around the passage. It’s gonna be a long night. Gotta shower and hit my bed and probably emailed this blog update out. Taken a while to round up writing. I will be using twitter to send links to where my blogs will be placed. @PoeticPrisoner and @Doingtimeabroad!

doingtimeabroad.wordpress.com is locked up for now, as tension amongst some inmates were getting to high. Soon, they will realise they can’t stop me from writing.

Someone need to keep time of our lives behind bars, at least someone might read and find some useful information before taking a step that might lead to this place!

“The only real failure is when you don’t learn from your mistakes, and you keep repeating them.” – Tim Storm.

“We want fewer young men in jail. We want more of them in college. We want fewer young men on the streets. We want more in the boardrooms.” – President Obama

Prison: Gangs warfare (Cats and Dogs), tension brewing as local top gang leader is gunned down. And Inmates frolicking while doing time! 

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on August 3, 2014 by doingtimeabroad

Prison: Gangs warfare (Cats and Dogs), tension brewing as local top gang leader is gunned down. And Inmates frolicking while doing time! 

“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaneda

“If you look for the bad in people, expecting to find it, you surely will.” – Abraham Lincoln 

Wed, 16 Jul 2014 
Up and about, went through my daily rituals. School today, seems it won’t hold as the wardens are still on strike of pay rise. Hope there won’t be, as I hate going up there. 

Yesterday, traded or bartered some of my #ON #Amino to a mate for his #1RM #PreWorkout formula, which he feels doesn’t work; feels dizzy and weak after taken it. Took 5g of the stuff and had peanut butter sandwich with my green tea before storming the gym. Got in a bit late, but managed to pull out an excruciating #HIIT #Hardcore #Back and #Triceps, the lads were encouraging, but the new ones are a bit daft in learning. Managed to get them through the basics; so many crooks turned #FitnessInstructors in the gym, many interferred with my instructions, and these are same lads who always come to me for assistance, now they are professionals. Guess, that what prison does to people, make them believe that they are what they are not 😉 

Adaptability and turning a deaf ear to everything being said are two of my many survival strategies on the inside. 

Midway into my workout, I was called out, along with some of my compatriots and some Colombians who are due for repatriation for another round of medical evaluation. I have done and gone through the same process more than three times and nothing has happened or changed. Everything hangs on the Dutch government accepting us, but one can’t tell what will happen this time around. I hope and pray it work out well now. 

The evaluation is a process to check if an inmate is 100% medically sound, something like a microphone check – – 1 2 3 ;-), doubt if many of us will leave here 100% sane, or sound! Many had crossed their thresholds and gone to LaLa-Lands or walkabouts and are still there; the last one is still here, some days, he’s good, other days, he just can’t figure out what to eat; either from the bin or from his bowl. Incarceration do break people down. But it takes adaptability to live through this life’s changing process. Like the butterfly larvae, going through stages of transformation and finally into that beautiful winged insect. 

Cooked peanut butter sauce, a mate bought nicked chunks of beef, nicked from the kitchen. Thus, we will be having tiny chunks later tonight for dinner. Simple sauce, used garlic, onions and tomato paste, the lads ate it with white rice, also made a mix mass of oats and cornmeal; wasn’t a bad combo. Dinner finally came, chunks of beef, the leftover from what has been stolen and sold, added everything to my sauce. 

Train hard, eat well and eat healthy. Down everything with a cup of green tea + lemon. 

Later had a can of ginger ale, friggin hot, soon we will be walking around desnudo ;-), our queen will be happy to see that. 

Staying up all night to backup my important files; eBooks, mp3’s, video collections 😉 (families, prison-made video clips, fitness, just for laugh, and most important ones; man videos 😉 

Damn! Need more memory cards, two 16GB microSD cards are filled, two 32GB ones almost full and a 8GB corrupted and spoiled. Can’t be read by the phone, that’s money flushed away! 

Stayed up till around 3am before finally succumbing to nature. 

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 
As of 3am, was struggling to sleep, but finally slept only to wake up around 6:30am, felt like not doing anything today. 

Quickly went through my morning rituals, as the lad cleaning will be up and about. Pot of water on the stove for tea, others joined me, but the lad was already into his cleaning. Had to tell him to stop, ain’t going nowhere, why hurry to do the cleaning, when it can be done anytime after our headcount, which has just been announced. Phones and all weapons of warfare stashed; apparently many sleep with the weapons at arm’s reach, always on guard and alert. 

Decided to hit the fields and use the few minutes outside and exercise. Outside many were walking, running, chatting and many were still mad at the cops for waking them that early; past 7am. 

Did some few lapses on the field, inverted rows and dips on the monkey bars, push-ups, and finally stretched and added few sprints. Drenched in sweat and wanting more. 

Another round of counting as we were herded inside, continued in the gym, but without weights, just body-weight exercises, body-weight squat, lunges, pull-ups and loads of hanging leg/knee raise. Did some lateral raise and finally called it quit and enough for the day.  Gym was empty as many went back to continue with their sleep 😉 

Lucky to have gotten ice that morning as there was no ice nor anything cold later in the day and all evening. Bought 75ct worth of ice, which was enough to make me a cold gatorade drink. 

No water, we are using what we got yesterday and it never came all day, our aquaman is busy giving water to his paying clients. Since we are not paying, we come last in the line for water and after he’s done with his clients. But today was different, water came in the morning and that was it. 

Enough to shower and wash my sweat-drenched clothes. Had the last of my peanut butter sauce with hardboiled eggs that came on yesterday’s breakfast; had prepared the eggs and warmed it with the sauce. Went well with white rice and water. 

Now my turn to catch my much-needed sleep, hit my bunk and pray for sleep, but non came, finally had my nap, and that’s how it has been all day; in and outside of my bed. 

Zero-movement declared, when I went to pick up my laundries and my trainers, everywhere was empty. Found out, a local inmate who was on his way to his fortnightly conjugal visit with his missus was stabbed and he died, despite walking with a warden escort. Got me wondering of what uses are the wardens and cops if they can’t stop or their presence can’t deterred gangs or inmates from killing each other at will?  

This latest stabbing won’t be the first, neither the last, violence amongst inmates is so rampant, being called for consul, lawyer or family visit or even an appointment to the clinic, one is on his own as anything can happen, despite the police and warden’s presence. None them acts as deterrents, inmates are not scared of them, because they had all stooped very low, eating from the same plates with inmates. The cops and wardens are the ones smuggling in arms, knifes, drugs and all sorts of weapons to the warring gangs. Even when search is done, and these things are taken, the lads end up buying them back from the cops; thus, all back to square one! 

#Breaking #News! #OMG! What’s going on in the world? Another #MalaysianAirlines crashed, not again! Apparently, from what I’m reading, it departed from #Amsterdam, too bad as there will be lots of Dutch holidaymakers. 

More updates coming in about the crashed plane, apparently, it didn’t just crashed, but was shot down over the airspace of Eastern Ukraine (happens to be Pro-Russian rebels controlled area), did they took it to be an Ukrainian airforce fighter jet? Or purposely and intentionally shot it down as an act of terrorism to send a message to the world? And what will that message be, if not coming from Putin, who was in Cuba to reopen an old soviet-era listening post they shut down due to cost of running it. Guess they now have enough money and war heads for another standoff with #USA and #TheWest! Another #ColdWar brewing up, sooner or later it won’t be a coldwar, it will become a #HotWar! 

Back to the lad that was stabbed, his missus could be seen sitting alongside others waiting to take their turns into the air conditioned rooms for their two-hours sex time. Some are paid for; man -women consensual bodily exchange, others are proper missus that are still sticking around by their men. I have been able to lock my mind and body away from that sort of pleasure since my incarceration. I believe many of us will need to go back to learning and studying how to be with a woman once our time are done. 

After reading #NapoleonHill’s ‘THE MYSTERY OF SEX TRANSMUTATION’

[Sex transmutation is very powerful, proof of this….Dogs get mad running after each other for sex. Some people travel long distances for sex.
And on the internet …millions of people,get aroused with sexual activities… To reverse sexual transmutation into positive sexual power…to obtain goals and achieve challenges, you never would expect.]

I have made myself stealthy against such feelings and many other feelings. Seeing lots of violence has also affected my sense and feeling of empathy. One is getting used to those things that comes under watershed periods on television. But, in this part of the world, violence is part and parcel of every day’s affairs, they come and go, like sunrise and sunsets, day and night! Give and take, the lads here are used to violence on daily basis; many phones that had been brought to me are filled with videos of proper violence, not from war front, but of perpetrators recording themselves killing other people, or cctv cameras picking up scene of actual brutal murder in process. Many will watch those types of videos without any feelings, they see it as normal and taking another man’s life is like killing a rat; they always say, it’s the ‘ratas’ that are being killed! 

More and more updates on the downed Malaysian airline over eastern Ukraine are coming on. I’m following on twitter.

Today is a black day in the history of Holland, Europe and the world; as the downed plane was carrying citizens that spread all over the world. It’s a blow to democracy, at the backyard of the best democracies in the world, anarchy is raging, the rule of law is lost and become a thing of the past. Guns are like stick of cigarettes, whoever want one, get it and does what it does. Europe is awakened to a new form of terrorism; superpower sponsored terrorism. One that will be difficult to fight and win, winning this sort will only be done without use of force as everyone has got what the other has.

For my fellow time-travellers or time-doers, whatever happens in Europe stays there, their world begin and end wherever they came from. Not me, having lived and with families, friends and loved one dotting every part of Europe, it will be heartbreaking if what happened is blown out of proportion and history repeats itself. 

Fri, 18 Jul 2014 
Another early day, much too early! The thoughts of being separated from my family downed on me. If anything should happen in Europe, what will become of them over there and me, here in latin america prison?  God forbids…they are safe and hearty.  Their wellbeing is my strength and what keeps me going. 

Couldn’t help thinking of the downed #MalaysianAirline #MH17, majority of lost their lives were Dutch nationals and not just ordinary people, but people who the world will miss dearly; prominent scientist, who were on the forefront of fighting HIV/AIDS and finding cure to this disease that is like a time bomb, comes with stigma and has wiped generations of people off the earth. 
The death toll from the plane crash to The Netherlands population is proportional to that of of 9/11 to The US population. The darkest day in world’s history, an event that will be written in our hearts forever. 

Meanwhile, another day has just begun, whatever the day has in stock for us will come as surprise. Plans are made, but in prison, one’s plans are indirectly controlled by unforeseen circumstances beyond one’s control. 

Through my morning rituals, and ready to hit the gym; last workout for the week. Taking Saturday and Sunday off to recuperate.  

Rushed through a breakfast of Earl Grey tea + milk and avocado spread on bread. 

The gym was scanty like yesterday, seems the lads are either worn out or taking a longer weekend break. My mates were busy on the bench, but the wrong bench, thus, I had to set up the proper bench for chest. It baffles me, and beggars belief, that many of these lads just can’t figure out what to do in the gym. I train with couple of lads, each time, I have to tell them what to do and also show them how to do it. Shows how rehabilitating inmates could be a very difficult task, despite their daftness, I still get on with them and they enjoy training with me. 

Did chest, added some dumbbells squats, lunges and rounded up with abdominals. 

Not enough water in the cell, had to tapped into my reserves, used aa tank, still got enough to take me through weekend if we fall back into drought. 

Lunch, nothing special in the pavilion, been a while we had beef, glad there’s still eggs; main source of protein. Used to be 25ct per egg, now selling three for a dollar, shows typical prison inflation, and part of prison economy; overcrowded prison, higher demand for littlle or scarce commodity, few that is available are sold at cutthroat prices! Only those capable can afford and sustain the lifestyle here. 

Had egg sandwich and a cup of cold gatorade, wasn’t bad after a tough day at the gym. Still hot and humid in the cell and pavilion. Loads of new faces around, my cell finally got one of them; the young lad sold the bed of our released mate for $400, enough money to either pay a lawyer to help with processing his papers for early release or send to one of his numerous cyrber girlfriends, whichever one is his top preference, suits him right. 

The new man, is gently adjusting himself to life in what will become home for the time he’s spending here. 

No breakthrough on the #MH17 downed flight, Putin is not helping matters, I believe he wants to be taken back to 1982, isolated by the rest of the civilised world. Another round of cold war is brewing. Hope justice is served and done swiftly.  

Since I got hooked up on wifi with others, barely leave my cell to our signal spot. Also helps with minimising contacts with some folks who can’t keep their mouth shut for a few seconds. Once in a while I walk around to stretch my legs and allows circulation. Even the cell is packed with my mates and their crew; arguing whatever comes up in their head. I try keeping myself out of their arguments, even when I’m drawn to it, I refused to be part of it. 

Lately their debate has been on football; Colombia managed to qualify after sixteen years absence from the world cup. Now, Colombia is the best, forgetting that, the best won the cup 😉 

Cooking in the cell, which used to be a team work is falling apart as we are all doing our own things. But I still think of them when I make oatmeal in the morning, making enough for all. Seems the only day we eat together and proper food is on visit days, when fresh foods come in from outside. Well, when I have money, do buy meats or ox feet and make something for all. But, for now I’m solo, going solo as I’m alone here.  Friendship in prison is sometime one sided, most will come and stick to you for what they will benefit from such relationship. Very rare to find aa friendship that is mutual, well, maybe within the lasses in Pavilion 2 and within those in our pavilion, give and take; pounds of flesh for food and well taken care of 😉 

It’s #weekend, though still young, many are in it, some lads along the line as set up a little bar or canteen as they call it after what they call such joint back home in Colombia; chairs, table, music, booze, light soups, fried pastries, but minus one important thing; #Women! No real woman to keep them coming, maybe soon our shemale will join them. Though she is not that type, she prefers those who will spend proper money on her, buys her dope, fags and spent all-night with her, and then if they are lucky, she rewards them with a good-ass or blowjobs. And that’s what I call mutual relationship, everyone goes to his bunk smiling 😉 

Spent the rest of the day between my books, twitter and friggin #CandyCrushSaga; some gave me tough times, but scaled through them, and it could be very addictive 😉 

Sat, 19 Jul 2014 
My turn for our small cleaning, or for my mate; his big cleaning and washing of the cell. Since there was no water yesterday, I woke up around 2am and had been up on my bed brainstorming, reading and tweeting of course. Can’t sleep, just one of those moments. #PrisonMoments 

Around 5am, decided to do the cleaning; the two big blue tanks were empty, thus, decided to move them and washed all the spot around were they stood. Thus, I’m doing half of the general cleaning, finished before any of my cellmate woke up. Brewed me a cup of green tea, had an early shower and went back to bed. 

Being my day off from the gym, I literally spend part of the day on my bed; despite the noises in and outside the cell, I was able to sleep through, in and out, but got enough sleep. Sleep, they say is the best cure, and it sure does work miracle. When I finally got out of my bed, movements were just to buy ice, it’s becoming extremely and unbearably hot in the pavilion. It’s supposed to be the rain season in panama, but we are yet to see rain like previous years. 

Weekend before our fortnightly visit, many are preparing, grooming themselves, washing and cleaning up bowls that will be returned or exchanged for ones filled with home-cooked or bought food as some cases are. 

For those of us without friends or families around, we are meant to watch, been doing that since my incarceration, thus, I’m used to it. What has helped many of us without visit; not seeing others while they are on visit, as the visit area is far from the pavilion.  

The pavilion is blooming with life; music, booze, trades and all sorts of dealings going on. Our incessant gamblers are busy rolling dices or shuffling cards, and ain’t doing it for fun, money and cursing are involved. Things that keep prisoners going. Sometimes, one or two can’t take the heat or shame of losing, then comes the physical, punches thrown and once in a while, weapons are drawn, though yet to be used. Can’t say when one crazy inmate will decide to use his, everything is possible within this concrete walls. 

Not much for the day, just basking in the heat of the day, it’s bloody hot, walking topless like many do, wouldn’t help. What will help, probably a swim in the ocean. But that’s a dream faraway.  

Water is scanty in my cell, but we are managing. Within a month, we have two newbies in our cell, one is a paisano of the lads; Black Colombian, the new one who just bought the makeshift bed is a white Colombian, and they are both getting along, and adhering to our cell’s unwritten rules. 

Some cells has got rules written on their metal-barred doors, most are about visitors to their cells. No entrance without permission, better as I rarely visit people in their cells, it’s the gym or they come to me and we can also meet on the passage, but very brief. The less appearance, the better for one safety and wellbeing; out of sight, out of mind, but not always so! Out sight is when tongues begin wagging, mens’s gossip! 

Sun, 20th July 2014
Being my proper rest day, supposed to sleep till I’m tired of sleeping. But, out of habits of waking early, my body alarm clock got me up like it does every other day. Always the last to sleep, but the first to rise. 

Went about my morning rituals before others started their day. Since I got connected to the wifi, ain’t bothered about climbing upstairs to search for signal, occasionally to activate data or something that need mobile signal. For now, I’m very much ok with the wifi signal, though not at its best, but at least, it helps get all my work done. Sometimes could be very slow, takes forever, like a dail-up connection. Time here, has thought me one of the best virtues; #Patience! Without it, many had fallen along this treacherous journey. Patience is needed in a truckload to live through the prison experience and to go through prison time, without it going through you. 

Showered and back to my bed reading and tweeting, chatting and listening to music, think they call that multi-tasking 😉 

Apart from the gym being closed and no sport activities in the pavilion, every other thing remain same; bustling and hustling, foods and whatever one has is on for sale or being bought by someone. The bakers are baking, steamy kitchens are churning out plates and bowls of assorted Latino cuisines. The hair salons are busy grooming those who are preparing for Monday’s visit and those who like looking good. Some are just into fashion, any new trainers or clothes on sale, they hustle, just to dress up and walk around the pavilion; the feel-good feeling of wearing something new or better than the rest. 

Saw few lads walking at the back of the pavilion, since the murder of the local inmate, there’s been zero-movement declared. Fewer inmates are allowed in the front of the pavilion, inmates are not allowed to move around without cops or wardens walking them. Soon, it will get back to normal, everyone will go back to what they were doing; walking around with knives and guns, once these cops leave on Thursday, our lives will go back to the chaos that we are used to. Even the cops love it that way. The less inmates the better and easier for them. 

A cellmate of mine started drinking this afternoon, a drinking session that will take him into another day. They rarely drink and let it go, they drink until they drop. Some lads set up a drinking spot upstairs with music, light soup and assorted booze locally sourced from the different brewers and distillers in the pavilion, and occasionally proper beer and liquor smuggled in from outside. The only thing missing in that tavern is a broad; have suggested, they should pay our queen to help give the joint a lively feeling. Hope they consider that.

Mon, 21 Jul. 2014
Another fortnightly visit day for those with families and friends that really care to braced all odds, weather and being ransacked by the cops to come down here. And also for those willing to pay some lasses for the less-than-hour visit; to this one, they just want the comfort of a woman, doesn’t matter how much it will cost them. 

All set with empty bowls to exchange for filled ones with home-cooked or fast food bought on their way here. 

Two of my mates went out, hopefully, we will be eating some proper food later on today. 

Went about what matters most; my daily workout routine. Not much of a people in the gym, those that didn’t go out decided to sleep over their hangovers or extended their weekend into Monday. 

Hit the weights, went hard on chest and triceps, added lunges, farmer’s walk and dumbbell squats for the legs as I’m off from barbell squat due to my bad legs. Rounded up with stretches and abs; hanging leg/knee raise. 

Back in and the lads are back from visit with all they could bring or all that were allowed or smuggled in. Most are flogging some of their stuffs to raise much-needed dough to meet other important needs like habits that are hard to break, or pay debts before their creditors start hitting them with 2×4 and name-calling. All sorts of stuffs were been hawked around; underwear, flip-flops, trunks and shorts, boxers, t-shirts, bedsheets, cornflakes, bread, vegetable oil, biscuits, just about anything was up for sale. There was a lad selling sim cards and memory cards, those definitely were smuggled in, another had little vials of ginseng, that got me wondering how many of our conjugal lads will go for that. It’s an open market, free movement, no restrictions, got something to sell? Either you hawk around or make a deal for someone to do and he gets certain percentage. Things I sell, are mostly supplements, or partly exchange as I did with my #ON amino acids caplets, gave some to an older inmate who bought a preworkout supplement which wasn’t good for him, had to barter with me, wasn’t a bad trade. Used it and felt the effect, but will need to get some amino acids asap! 

#water, we haven’t been having it often, the lad in charge has turned it into a money-making venture, he attends to those who are willing to pay him. We that have been on the line for ages are ignored. But, glad I always have my reserves, enough to shower and meet other importan water needs. 

Enough food today, lately the lads have become wiser; they don’t bring cooked rice anymore, as it take up space in the bowl. Instead, fried assorted meats (pork, beef and chicken) and sometimes fishes are brought with prawns. We then cook rice and eat with whatever sauce and meats that comes in. With two of them bringing enough, it does take us through two or three days before we go back to what is normal, eating whatever comes in or what we can cook. And we always survive, we have been surviving for almost five years now or what meagre prison food we have. 

With visit over, life continues as many dine like kings and a queen; our shemale does get something from her many patrons, I’m not one, but she wouldn’t return or pay me for a replay sunglasses I lend her. Maybe I pressed her, she might be willing to pay me naturally, nature’s own way of fleshy service ;-), not my thing though, will let that one passssss! 

Took short a short nap, much-needed after the pounding in the gym with weights, gotta recover, glad I can sleep, despite noises around. 

My mate who started drinking on Sunday, continued with his drinking. Hope he doesn’t get messed and mashed up. He’s drinking for a victory won on the other side of the world; seized assets by his government were all returned to his family, definitely worth celebrating, but not with our potent lethal liquor and that things has messed him before; well that was his initiation into drinking in prison, as it was his first real drink when he was newly hauled in. He suffered from that one-time experience, but it also prepared his body for what is to come. Everyone went through that phase, the change of bodily system; sickening experience, one’s body rejecting everything. But sooner than most thought, they soon get use to it, adopt and adapt. 

After his drinking session, the lil gay lad cooked him noodles soup with eggs; enough to get him sleeping and prepare for the oncoming hangover; that one does come at its time. 

Spent the rest of the day inside, reading, tweeting, browsing, brainstorming and of course #CandyCrushing 😉 

#CandyCrushSaga is like an epidemic in the pavilion, everyone is busy with the game, once signal drops, the screens moves from chat interface to either Candy Crush or the latest; #ClashOfClans; got a mate bluetooth it to me, yet to play it. I’m ok with the annoying candy crush, where I’m on #165 😦 plays when I’m super bored! 

Tues, 22 Jul 2014 
Day after visit; many will still be feasting on what they brought in yesterday. What will be on sale today will likely be clothes, flip flops and other non-food items. 

Began my day with my morning rituals, can’t get tired of it as it’s part of personal hygiene. The lil gay lad; (presumably, he’s supposed to be the cleanest, but lad is wack; wakes and starts his day either talking politics or whatever is on the news, and when the breakfast cart comes, he then remember to brush his teeth). Despite always being the last to hit bed, I tried to be up before others and go through my morning rituals; set a pot of water for #greentea on the stove, use the loo, brush my teeth and wash my face and change into #gymgear and my day just began! 

Made it to the gym early, packed but ok to get started, after some shouting and screaming, got some lads working with me and we went into what will be one of their best workout; #HIIT #Hardcore #Back and #Biceps! We pushed ourselves through the grilling workout, each got something for the group; one got banana, I made gatorade and another added powder creatine to the gatorade and turned it into a power punch. We rounded up with abdominal exercises and stretching.  

Back in, the lads cooked what is left of monday’s food that came in from the visit. But first thing first, made me a cold energy drink with gatorade + lemon, ate peanut butter sandwich. After my shower, later had rice and lentils with what fried dried meat; looked like pork chops or beef fillets, whatever it was, tasted good with the sauce that came with it. 

Tried napping, but got alerted as we had another search scare, scrambled what shouldn’t be seen to our stashes as we wait for them. After hours of waiting, nothing happened. Then we know we are safe at that moment and we also prepared and ready. 

Schat took my lil boy to his guitar lesson, had started the musical instrument lesson with my lil girl before my incarceration, and schat has kept up with it ever since. My lil girl, now grown up and being a little dodgy can play her piano and also read music. But she has gotten herself into trouble waters. 

My boy, after schat questioned him how he got some candies as she didn’t buy for him, confessed that my girl took schat’s money to buy candies for her new friends she met in the park. When schat asked him to explain; he gave her the lowdown, or as we will say here, he sang and rat on his sister. But, it was a good thing he did, as he saved her from trading on the broad and wide way. My lil girl, who happened to be taller than her age mates, had met new and older friends at the park beside our home, and these ones kept telling her to go bring her mummy’s money so they can buy candies and chewing gums. She did all she did to please them and be part of the group #PeerPressure! 

When Schat got home and had a heart to heart mother and daughter chat with her, she confessed to it and cried her heart out. She talked of how the older girls always tell her to go get money and buy them candies. She felt something was wrong with such friendship. And she ended her heart’s outpouring by saying, she doesn’t even like them, for always telling her to go get money. Pray she doesn’t do it again… my son turned her in! nice lad (johnny English) …. he’s mummy’s boy. I’m relieved, schat is doing her best to keep them on the right track and also busy with positive activities.  

Talking of the right track or path; guess there’re still people trading on the wrong tracks as another batch of newbies were hauled in, and this time, we are seeing some #VIP’s, soon we will be having the Who’s Who of Prisons. Amongst our new tenants is a one-time senator from Ecuador, who has been living in panama for some years as a political refugee. Why he’s brought here, wouldn’t know, for now, he’s here with us and has become one of us, no class or difference in status; we are all prisoners of fortune! 

Had a brief chat with the new man in my cell, seems to be a nice man, but the lads are having some ill feelings towards him as he’s a white Colombian and they are black Colombians. But it was one of their brothers who sold the bed to him, so they must learn to accept and live with him. The old man actually dropped with his son-inlaw, seems it’s a family thing. Hope they sort out their case and leave; by whatever means they can. 

Bit tensed in the centre and in the pavilion, and the weather is not doing us any good,  it’s supposed to be the rain season in Panama, but, all we’ve got is heat and more of it. Water is still our biggest problem here, but we manage to live through each day with whatever little water we have or that comes. The new lads will be learning this part of us and how we adapts and adopts to survive the joint. 

With nothing much but quite a few to keep one busy, spent the rest of the day doing what keeps me going; reading, browsing, tweeting and responding to some crazy tweets, and of course candy crushing which is becoming boring. Might as well start playing clash of clans like others. But got enough books to keep me properly busy. 

End the day on good note; my son gave her big sister in, and in return she confessed to what wrongs she did and forgiven. I know she won’t repeat it again. Proud of schat and her strength; #TheStrengthOfAWoman. 

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 
[War Between Rival Gangs Within The Prison]

Another day in paradise, up for the day and what it has in stock for me. Well, got mine for the day and to make it worth my waking up. Ready to braced whatever is coming my way. 

Went through my morning rituals and prepared for today’s workout. Rarely take breakfast, well, shouldn’t be missing out on it as it’s the most important meal of the day. Some days, slapped a tablespoon of peanut butter on the bread roll that comes on the breakfast cart or make me a warm cereal. 

Water; our lives and activities seems to revolve around it. The gym was scanty as many without water wouldn’t come out as there won’t be none to wash after sweating. Still have my reserves, untouched, waiting for moments that they will come in need. 

Entered into the day’s workouts; shoulders and went a bit heavy for my traps. Added abs and did loads of cardio work, can’t jump rope because of my lower back, but improvised with some body-weight exercises and they did work my muscles well. 

Had a chilled lemon drink with pressed cane sugar, something to boost my energy. 

The gym. Being the only place I meet and socialise with others, as I hate inmates coming to my cell with flimsy issues, I’d rather like we finish all discussion in the gym. 

The lad who trained with me today, is one of the new lads around, Colombian, but speaks fluent English and according to him, was a personal trainer in one of Panama’s popular gym, but got involved with the wrong sets; the gym is popular place to meet all sorts, the good, the bad and the crooked! 

Well, the lad is very positive, but fine it hard to adopt and adapt, but with time, he will. He talked of what keeps me going, and that I’m always full of smiles, well, told him; my family is numero uno, then, I have adapted and adopted ‘my own way’ of survival on the inside. Made him understand, a prison experience is a personal soul-searching journey to find one’s redemption. Two brothers, in-laws, father and son could walk into the pavilion, but sooner or later they fall apart, each seeking his path to redemption. Prison time, is like religion, you search for what will take you through the time. Everyman to his calling, some will fail, but others will make it out; alive or broken! 

We went out together for a brief cardio spin, but we were sent to the back of the pavilion as the cop won’t anybody to be seen outside in the front. Had a good workout with him. 

Done and back in, water came a bit, but if we use it as we always do, then, we won’t be having none in the morning. Showered and had a postworkout meal of Beans which I cooked; filling and nutritious 😉 

My local inmate pal who trains with me, but hasn’t been coming since a local was shot and killed, finally came today. Explained why he and other locals who train with us haven’t been coming; since the daylight execution, the cops on duty had set up zero-movement for all inmates, especially the locals. Every none essential movement are curtailed, inmates are not allowed to move around without a warden; the one that moved with the warden and got shot, what did the warden do to save him? Nada, even the warden will be running for his own sweet boring life. 

He later told me what happened with the lad that got shot and what is happening that we the foreigners don’t know. 

Within the prison system in panama, gangs rule the inside while cops and wardens are symbolic in whatever they do; the puppet masters are the warring gangs factions within the system. Cops and wardens know what these lads can do; they can go after anyone who doesn’t cooperate or dance to their manipulating music. 

Of the numerous gangs are the two dangerous gangs; Cats and Dogs (Los Gatos y Los Perros), what a name they choose for their gangs, I would have gone for a more catchy name 😉 

The name might sound funny and childish, but what these lads do ain’t childish and funny, they can bring the system to total standstill when they are ready; the system allows them to do all they want, just to keep the peace we so much desire; inside and outside the prison system. 

The lad that was killed, well, not a lad as per age, he was about 45 years old and was in his 17th year of 20 years for multiple homicides. He was transferred from the now defunct prison island #Coiba to our centre, after years of threats and war with other gangs. According to my local mate, the lad has more than 15 murders to his name while in the island. When he came here, always armed as he knows what awaits him from the other gangs. But being armed didn’t help him on his day with fate, the thing with gun, the one that pulls his trigger first might win, all things working to his favour. His assassin pulled first, aiming on his neck, shattering his spine and sending him to the world beyond, he also pulled his, but fell by the shot of his assassin. He got back what he had doled out to many, and he was working to get an early release; can imagine such a lad on the street, but panama don’t bloody give a shit. 

My mate talked about the lad, and how he saw him fell, trying to aim a shot at his assailant, but his piece got jammed and he fell to his death; and he said…. “He died like a warrior”, the last statement made me think twice about my local mate; he’s probably a member of a gang, as they all see the gang business as a warrio business. 

Back to my life; it’s a national day of mourning in The Netherlands for the victims of the downed #MH17 Malaysia airline that embarked on the ill-fated journey. Dutch embassies worldwide has set up condolence register for many sympathisers who want to sympathise and mourn with the dutch people. I pray the good Lord strength to my fellow dutch compatriots and to the families of the deceased and victims of these heinous crime against humanity. Hope this incident will be classified as #WarCrime 

Had some more of my hot brew; #greentea. 

My new phone finally came in, had wanted a tablet, but hiding one is a major hurdle for me, so I went for a Galaxy S4 Active, think it’s the type of phone for a place like this, once spent over $200 dollars is buying screen for two blackberry phones that fell from my bed and another that just decided to die off on me. But S4 active as the name implies is a phone that suits our lifestyles in the joint, as we are always shoving and moving. The lad got in everything except the 64GB memory card; which I dearly need to store all my stuffs, important stuffs though! 

The lad also brought in quite a handful of tablets, seems the lads prefer watching their porn stash in wide screen, good for them, ain’t got the heart to own one here. 

We had some newbies hauled in today, well, not really new in the system as they were prisoners sent to the new prison; mega joya. When Martinelli was campaigning for his chosen man, he used the prison as one of his accomplishment, despite still under construction, they hurried and send some prisoners there. The lads were there without basic needs, well, neither do we have any, but we are used to it and ours is an old facility, but for them, and being in a newly built prison, everything should be there. But not in this case. 

Amongst the newbies is an ex senator from Ecuador, sought asylum during Martinelli’s regime, but hauled in after his country demanded his extradition to face trial for corruption. Hope he wouldn’t mind his new residence, he’s a lucky one, didn’t get to sleep on the floor as someone who knew him outside offered him a bed. Don’t know if he will be buying the bed, whatever happens is their business.  

Soon, they will all get use to our lives and what goes on in here, and each will choose what path to follow towards his personal redemption if there will be any. Anyway, they are welcome to the jungle, the joint, the slammer and to the belly of the beast which is never full and always ready for more. 

Our pavilion is hosting vip’s of all sorts, doc wanted by the Canadians is here, and a young baby-face capo of a cartel who has got cops on 24/7 alert is here, same lad has drawn all the beggars to him, asking for one favour or another, even the so-called pastors are having breakfast at his makeshift Gaddafi’s like-tent every morning; pretending to give him the word of the Lord, but actually asking for favour. 

Good for them! 

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 
Another early day, set and ready for our weekly headcount, and also prepared for any impromptu search. All stashed, dressed up to use the opportunity and workout under the weather and the early morning sun. 

When the call came, many were still sleeping and these ones will definitely go back to complete their sleep; never heard, read or seen of prisoners being so lazy as some here. 

Outside. The early morning sun was warm, and the same time cool, wasn’t cold neither hot, but just the right temperature to hit the tracks. Had a good stretches, inverted rows and dips at the monkey bars behind the pavilion, did some good push-ups and covered fews lapses before the count was over. Everyone accounted for and none missing, we were all hauled in. Like I said, majority went back to their sleep, but for the determined and dedicated to what they like doing; we went straight to the weights. Had a good all-body workout. Was done and through within an hour, when my training partners came calling later in the morning, told them, I had an early one, they were surprised.  

Showered and had my postworkout meal, since I don’t have protein, I tried getting the best from what we have here; eggs, and whatever protein sources I can find and afford. Always lentils and beans 😉 

Tried napping as I didn’t get much last night, but just for about 30 minutes before the lads became too noisy. Up and started familiarising myself with my new gadget, since phones or anything bought outside doesn’t come in with manuals, one has to use guess work, but had already read all I need to know about the phone online and also saved some articles for further reading. Compared to my S2, the phone is a monster, wicked and fast as rumours within the pavilion. Prays it survive the searches and thievery in the pavilion.  

Inmates having pool party: 
On the news today was a video of inmates in one of Panama’s prison in David city partying, drinking whisky from the bottles and playing in an inflatable swimming pool. What an irony, we and some part of the country are having water crisis and some inmates who are locked up and meant to do hard time are marrying around, splashing water and drinking whisky, who knows what else they don’t have there; they could be some hootie hidden inside their bunk to give them nightly carnal services. Anything and everything is possible when there’s corruption and corrupt cops and wardens. These ones will do anything to add to their $400 monthly salaries.  

Good for the lads up north in city David, nothing to do, someone will always invent something to while away one’s bored time.

Being our headcount day, many are still sleeping and a bit quiet in the pavilion. Not much is happening in the centre, but always something to keep us busy; card and dice games, but with money as it would be boring without money. And of course, our telephones, still can’t do much with mine as I’m waiting for the memory card. And the lad who wants to buy my S2 isn’t ready for the amount we initially discussed. Just gotta do away with the phone, better sold than losed it to cops if there’s a search and it’s found. The lad is on my ass for the phone, but got so much saved in the phone’s memory, can’t afford to wipe them off, gotta save them! 

Some days are like this; dull and quiet, much better than the others, noisy and tensed! 

Fri, 25 Jul 2014
Slept late last night, and got woken by the lads. Someone spilled water all over the floor, but like always nobody will admit to doing it, probably it was one of the cats or a rat that did it. But waking up around 6am after sleeping late, literally spoiled my day. 

Since we have enough water, the lad who suspended his general cleaning last week Saturday, decided to do it today, thus, we had all stuffs removed so he can get on with his cleaning. Set water for a cup of tea and left for the signal spot upstairs with a book to keep me busy. 

Upstairs, decided to make an African beans delicacy, since we bought a nicked tankful of beans, we can eat beans as much as we want it. Got some washed and prepared for what will be my lunch and dinner. 

Downstairs, the lad was through with washing and cleaning, others were busy with what food to eat. Brew another cuppa, but earl Grey with milk and had it with peanu butter sandwich.  

I’m taking the day off workout. My training mates came calling, but sent them off as I’m off today. They did improvised and had a good workout on their own. 

Spent the day in the cell, keeping myself busy with whatever I can do and cooking beans ;-), it will be sound of music all night as we will be farting from different corners and angles after consuming all these beans. 

Chat at length with schat, she is busy as always, the kids are doing great, my smallest girl has graduated from nursery and will be starting primary school in September. The other two are doing pretty well academically, my big girl is above national average and my son is becoming a little geek; very good with computers and gadgets, guess it’s a man thing. Pray for strength for schat till I get back home and in one piece. 

Back in the centre, Food is same, but kept improvising and getting what my body needs and not what is offered; thus, my beans meal today. One way or the other, one gotta survive. 

Sat, 26 Jul 2014 
Woke up from a bloodied dream; local inmates with bloodied knives were pursuing someone in our pavilion, never had such a dream since my incarceration. With news of stabbing being heard every day, one is definitely bound to dream such a thing, moreove one doesn’t need dreams to tell one of the dangers that lurks amongst and within us. But, having such a vivid dream and remembering every bit of it, got my wondering; said a prayer for God’s protection.

Prayers. Rarely write much of my spirituality, others prefer the hypocritically open type of religion, I rather do mine personally and quietly, seen many so-called bible-carrying inmates pull knives from their pants when the time came and many in the past have been accused of running guns and knives between warring gang. Even the so-call prisoners pastors who were gangs members still remain loyal to their old gangs, despite crossover to a new religious gang. Can’t teach an old dogs old tricks! 

Little did I know the dream was coming to me; dressed up to catch up with workout that I missed yesterday. Armed with my water and about to leave the cell, then came two lads from cell A7, confronting me over my blog and writings. There and then the dream came back, total recalled, remembered every part of it. The lads weren’t happy about my blog, as I wrote about the incessant arguments and things that revolves around them. Guess a compatriot of mine showed them the url to my #Wordpress blog, as these lads are too daft to search for it, they are either busy arguing over women menstrual cycle or which sportman earn the most, they just argue about any thing that comes up in their mind. Just one of the ways to past and do time. The confrontation was hot, they had met with others, probably read loads. In annoyance left for the gym. 

Then came one of their cellmate; the English lad who is close to me and more matured than most in the cell, he approached me in the gym politely and asked if I can take the blog offline; #HellNo! 

I can password-protect for now, until the steam and angers calms. Glad I have geek for a wife, messaged schat to get the blog protected as signal was very slow here. With few minutes she wrote back, that all is done and not even urls or links from Google search can get it open; password is needed. Thus, from now, will be using twitter and other sites to send out my blogs. #Twitlonger 🙂 

Went through my workout with intensity, letting out the steam and anger that was building up on the inside. At the end of my workout, I was relieved and refreshed. At least I have found a way of working on my anger; transfer and redirect all negative force and energy into those weights. Does help and also rewarding 😉 

#MasterOfScience

Just after my workout, got in and pickeed up my phone to read what message has been waiting for me. Stopped taking my phone to the gym after a got a blackberry screen broken and had to pay $125 for a new screen. No more stupid risk, my phone stays in bed when I’m in the gym. 

When I checked the phone, found out that schat has sent me an image, on opening, I was gobsmacked and over-the-moon; she has just received her certificate from the Uni. She has juggled and worked hard to earn this degree; Master of Science in Business Information Systems. I am so proud of her, upon my incarceration, she didn’t give up hope on life, she braced up against all odds and today she aren’t going backward, but  forward. The kids are proud of her, my girl always confide in her, that she is her role model. 

This news today, made my day, and all the anger I had inside melted off; setting me free from that unnecessary burden. Schat. She is a strong lady both outside and inside, an unusual inner strength, a toughness and resilience that I admires and praise. She and my kids are my strength, my focus and what’s keeping me waxing strong all these years behind bars. 

Had a cup of my #Wine during dinner to celebrate schat’s success and strength.  Graduation ceremony will be by end of the year, likely november.  

Our water crisis is on again, and this time, we are not alone as certain parts of the country are also without portable water; for us, we don’t need portable water, they can send us the chocolate-coloured one, whatever they send us, we will survive on it. The lads who were sent here from the new prison, spoke of 24/7 water, the only thing they lack was phones, not even the public pay phones that we have here, though ours rarely work, but with our smartphones and routers hanging like spaceships in space, nobody really bothers about the public phones. Can’t imagine what life would have been here without our phones and keeping tap on what’s happening around the world. The phone has gradually become my gateway portal to the outside world, as panama television tragically are busy with panama news and repeating soaps and films. Majority of what comes up on news are flimsy news that shouldn’t make it to national news; someone nicking mobile phones recharge cards, such are the types of news we are made to watch and listen to daily. 

Spent most of the day inside and on my bed, trying to stay and keep out of sight; better this way to avoid unnecessary attitudes.  

Sun, 27 Jul 2014 
My rest day or lazy day as I’m off from workout, well, still move around to keep the limbs and body active. 

Also try eating well and more healthy as most pounds are added on weekends. Well, not when one is actively conscious of what he is doing. Despite our poor nutrition, I’m always working on eating something healthy, no matter how poor they look; but healthy. 

Lately, we have been having new inmates hauled in, almost daily. Wondering what’s happening outside, if cops are cleaning up the streets. But then, nobody seems to stop and think, for a country of less than four million people, a prison population of fourteen thousand is much; and that was echoed in a news programme recently, which stated that panama has one of the highest incarceration rate in latin america. Soon panama will rival the USA for mass incarceration.  

These new ones hauled in are busy trying to adjust and adapt to our lives or to their lives on the inside. It will take a while, but they will eventually get there. They will definitely go through the soul-searching phase, and many will try all that’s laid out on the platter for them; religion, gang-bonding, doping, alcohol and even the gym. When exhausted, they will find out what path they should trade on. Everyone always find a way out, some will resolve to stick to their bunk or hammock and sleep their time away. 

Whichever way taken, it leads to one end! Doing your time!

Mon, 28 Jul 2014 
#Weekend is always long for me, as I’m off from the gym. Thank God it’s Monday! 

Woke up before others and rushed through my morning rituals; used the loo, lately I have a bottle of disinfectant (made with chloro – bleach and water), which I spray on the toilet seat and wipe clean with tissue before dressing it up). Doing my best to control any disease. 

Brew my green tea and went upstairs for better signal, did some downloads; #Avicii #True and #HillsongUnited #LookToYou. Doing download early in the morning is the best as many are sleeping and internet is not congested. Also upgraded some apps. 

Finally got down to get out for another round of proper exercise. The gym was busy with many; but got what I needed to begin on an intensive #Back and #Biceps workout. 

My mates joined me, we started lightly; warming up with what little weights we could find. Finally went heavy and #HIIT #Hardcore when we had all the weights we needed; did more of pull-ups as I can’t go heavy on any lifting exercises due to my back. 

Got some friends of friends joined my group, but the lads had never seen or experienced working with weights in their lives; they lift things as most are fishermen, but lacks lifting techniques. Back to basics, I’m taking them through all I have learned and still studying on fitness and mostly weight training. 

Done and back in, the new man in the cell has been of great help; his partner and son-in-law who is in the same case with him, happen to live in a cell with en electric pump and run on a different line from the one my cell get its water. Thus, they do get water more than us and the old man is promised four tanks of water whenever water runs. And I also hustled for a tank or two which is what I will use after my workout. Since the water crisis began, I try to minimise my usage to one and half tank and also keep the dirty water to be use in the toilet afterwards.  

Started on a new read; a #DeanKoontz novel #TheDoorToDecember. Thrilling and one I will love to round up asap! I gave the two remaining #FiftyShades 2nd and 3rd to my old Canadian pal, we both finished one, and he’s done with two, told me how the novel is causing his heart to race ;-), guess to hot for his old heart. He is a faster reader than I am. Well, he does nothing else other than reading, sleeping, eating and shitting. We look after his food, and the lads in the cell does every thing for him; he’s exempted from cleaning the cell, even water, we all help him. So he has enough time for his reading, smoking and drinking coffee. And occasionally walking the field when the door is thrown open. Hope Canada gets him home soon, he’s already five years in the slammer and he’s above sixty five years. 

It’s Monday, but for some inmates, it’s one long vacation; drinking around the passages, with nothing to do, someone has decided to open and pour one or two shots, but one that will lead to an all-nighter.  

My 64GB memory card finally came in, and will friggin set me back $55! That’s one hell of money to blow on memory card. But it’s worth it as what I’m storing on it is worth more than the card. 

With the card in, it’s gonna be a long night, as I’m going to stay up all night moving things from old memory cards to the new one. Glad I found out about APK, easy to move all my apps without the hassle of downloading new ones, not viable option with the bad signal now. 

Started working on the phone around midnight and finally get to sleep around 5am and with intention of taking the day off workout. 

Tues, 29 Jul 2014 
Plan was to take today off workout, but after three or four calls from my training disciples, I decided to dressed up and hit the gym. 

We went for full chest workout; beginning with inclined and declined and rounding up on flat bench, we got exhausted as we added dips to our chest routines. Also top my day with some sets of triceps routines. 

Still rationing water as we are yet to recover from the crisis and drought. 

Another sets of newbies were hauled in today, screaming and catcalls as the lads welcome them into the joint. Some were quick to see old pals, and another lad who left almost a year ago is back and probably going back to his former cell with a compatriot of mine. Too bad, but he knows what he was still doing around after the initial release, should have left for good; he was sentenced in absentia and arrested at the airport on arrival after leaving briefly, hit with a eight years sentence!  

Continued with setting up and getting my new phone to work and also prepare my old phone for sale, hope the lad buying it has got no stories to tell as we are all full of stories. I will make a good sale in the open market as there are many potential buyers amongst the newbies. Their first possession will be a phone even before thinking of proper sleepspace. 

Wed, 30 Jul 2014 
Up before 7am to clean as it was my turn, water on stove for my early morning brew of green tea. 
 
Being my school day, showered and prepared for the roll-call, which later came. Filed out with others to what will be a three-hour class, not my best time as I loathes anything that should or will bring me in contact with the locals. They tend to see us foreigners as money breeding machine; they sell everything nicked amongst themselves to the foreigners in my pavilion or pavilion 8.  

On getting to the gay police at the last check before entry the admin block, we were told there’s a total blackout, thus, class won’t hold. But if electricity should be restored within 30mins, the warden will come for us. What a big relief for me, had to get back and get my much-needed sleep. 

On our way back, the man-mountain shemale in pavilion 2 was busy selling call cards and recharge cards; offered some to our lads, but we knowing them, refused, as same numbers could be sold to another person, then one can’t do nothing; money flushed in the drain. She is looking too much plumpy, guess she is been swallowing and not spitting it out; loads of protein and not exercising, ends up blowing her up, tall lass, but becoming round or maybe pregnant as some lads suggested. Wondering who the daddy will be 😉 

Back into the pavilion, the lads were at it in the gym as it was full and busy, but also hot, the weather look arid like desert. My cell was hot as an oven, decided to climb upstairs to my mate bunk, being a while I went up there, as I now have signal from the comfort of my bunk, well, not mobile signal, which I really need now to reactivate my whatsapp on the new phone. Will have to wake up very early and do what I used to do years ago. 

Did some reading until energy was restored, quickly left for my cell to catch a quick nap. But the air in the cell was fouled by the new old lad; if the man uses toilet, sometimes I will be sleeping and inhale his stinks, which wakes me up from my sleep. Everyone was standing in the front of the cell, waiting for the air to be refreshed before they get in. Finally got in and took some few hours long power nap. The lads know what to do if cops decide to storm us for a surprise search.

Almost through with my phone, got some memory cards and backup all my important files. And ready to path ways with my old phone; served me well, survived many brutal searches. Hope and pray the new one will be like that. We are just three in the pavilion that own the same type of phone. The lad is ready to pick up the old one and promised paying in three instalments. Hope he’s a man of his words, very rare to find men who keep and stick to their words in prison. Hope this one lad does, as I have listened to him preach several times on how he will pay me as soon as he gets his dough in from his families who are supporting him.

Thu, 31 Jul 2014 
Month’s end! It’s been a tough one and every new day brings me closer to my fifth year in the slammer! #Sept25!

Our weekly headcount and end of the month! Woke up before others and went through my morning rituals. And also made oatmeal for the lads before we were herded out for the headcount. Managed to hustled a tank of water from a cell that had their pump on. 

Took to the fields as others were also busy doing something under the early morning weather. Others were lazily waiting for the count to be over, so they could get back to their sleep. The most were busy chatting with their mates, something that doesn’t end, we are always talking, even when we are meant to shut the fuck up! Someone just wanna open his mouth and proved himself a fool. 

Did some good lapses of brisk-walking, running and then went to the monkey bars and did some inverted rows and dips; #HIIT #Hardcore sets! Mixed up with body-weight lunges and stretches before the cops rounded up with their count. 
There was an inmate missing, but was later rectified, the time spent doing that gave me extra time for my brief workout. But we were counted again upon reentry into the pavilion. 

The gym was fully packed with the early birds, was able to get enough to start on an excruciating #HIIT #Hardcore shoulders and add some all-body movements to supplement for yesterday’s workout which I missed. Rounded up early even before my group came up. 

Water came briefly, just enough for the day’s use. Hope we manage it well and make good use of it. 

Rushed through a postworkout meal of the morning’s oatmeal, but with ice and added cinnamon and peanut butter. Showered and slumped in my bed for a quick nap. 

The news of the inmates from David City prison who were bathing in an inflatable swimming pool, drinking whiskey is back on television. After the search, the new director of corrections is talking of being strict with prisoners; yeah right! Not when money talks and bullshit walks, wardens and cops will always want something to supplement their maegre wages. Many earn more working for and with inmates than working for their government. Thus, life goes on! 

Fri, 1 Aug 2014 
My fifth birthday in the joint is around the corner, and many inmates are also celebrating their birthdays, some will eventually get our queen to greased the occasion and spice things up for them. 

Up and about….. went upstairs for an early mobile signal search, friggin need to get whatsapp working. Signal is very hard, surrounded and left to get ready for the gym. Though a bit late, but will managed to pull through. 
 
Made it to the gym, not packed as I had thought it would be, but the Olympic bars were both in used. Had to start with legs; dumbbells squats, goblet squats, lunges and calves raise. Did some good sets, and used the cable to work some back and triceps, did some hanging leg raise and inclined push-ups. Finally got a bench, but too late as the priest was in for the Friday’s catholic mass; almost forgotten about that. Managed to pulled through five sets of ten reps on a 100 lbs dumbbells. Wanted more, but can’t help, had to pack up and leave. 

Five more inmates were hauled in today; it’s definitely a clean up in the city or the rate of crime is soaring very high in panama; has always been that way. 

Arranged all weights and back in the cell, showered, washed my clothes and took a quick shower, had a quick lunch; the lads cooked rice with beef, added a spoonful of peanut butter to mine; not a bad taste! 

Retired to my bed; sitting at the edge and did some reading, until sleep finally took hold of me; only to be woken by the stench of the new cellmate shitting again. No matter how deep one is in his sleep, the stench of his faeces is bound to wake you up. Tried to stay back, but the stench was just too much, was like something decomposed in the cell; had to leav the cell briefly for a walk around the passge and breath our recycled air. When I returned, he was in the shower, definitely needed it, after excreting such thing, he definitely need a proper shower. 

Earlier in the day, had bought a pack of ox feet to be cooked on Saturday, decided to get it prepared after the lads were done with distilling. Cleaned and cooked it briefly; since there was no food for dinner, decided to make soup, used the water from the cooked ox feet, got some eggs and some fresh parsely, cilantro and spring onions which we are lucky to get once in a while. But, bloody expensive! got some noodles, onions and made a wonderfully delicious soup. 

The soup was our saviour as what began with a few cup of my brew lead to the lads drinking, and my cellmate whose birthday is tomorrow decided to begin his birthday celebration bit early. Lad decided to hit the bottles, guess his family had money sent to him. 

We sat all night on the passage; chatting and reminiscing over our lives, lad sure got a lot to tell after some bottles. We rarely talk, but he did talk tonight after downing some good quantities of the distilled liquor, I stick to my moonshine! Once it’s finished, I’m not crossing over, that’s what messes the lads here; drinking everything at a sitting; liquor, moonshine and anything passed to them. With my moonshine, I will be able to wake up normal and get on with my activities.  

We sat all night into Saturday….. and it’s his birthday! hope his released mate will be support while he do time after taking blame on their case. Guess that will be his birthday wish tonight; support from his partner who was released and escaped to his country. 

There are other fiestas around the passages, lately inmate have stopped drinking upstairs, I guess after the last drunken fall, that got the lad spent weeks in hospital, many have learned from his experience. Sometimes, you don’t want to go through some bitter experience to learn the lessons that comes after such experience, better read or watch and learn from someone who went through it; and such is the prison experience. 

Sat, 2 Aug 2014 
Drinking into Saturday, what started with a cup of wine with my dinner has turned to a full blown night of binge drinking, the lads hijacked everything. 
 
My mate who went upstairs to see his lawyer, decided to buy a bag of ice, took some and gave me the lot of it, decided to drink a cup of wine with my dinner on Friday night, then the drinking began as others wanted more than a cup. 

Also used the opportunity to sell the rest of my wine #moonshine! Not all #PrisonBusiness are bad business. Profit in some, bankrupt and taken out of business in others. Since, I have carved out a niche for me in brewing wine from grape juice and other secret ingredients and nobody else does same. I do it perfectly and religiously. Those, who know good drink, prefers mine to the distilled liquor. Thus, I have been able to keep the biz to myself alone. This time, I only make a tank at a time, once it’s finished, I start on another tank. Making several tanks at the same time is a risky business as they could all be lost during search. 

01:53:46…. one thing always lead to another; a bag of ice from my mate, and we all got into drinking session to mark a cellmate’s birthday. Rarely chat with the lad, despite leaving in the same cell, he does his things, and I do mine. His birthday is today; Saturday, but he decided for a head start on Friday,  as of now, he’s pissed. I sticked on my wine, can’t do the distilled sh!t, that thing can mess up and delude somebody’s mind and actions and the after effect is the worst feeling anybody want to wish on his enemy. 

Sold two gallons of my wine and we drank one; I’m out of stock, need to make a new one asap! But rumours of search as the prison in David City was searched yesterday and loads were found; knives (normal), phones (cops were lucky), bottles of whiskey (no fiestas this weekend for the lads there), tablets (mostly android, thus, no porn on large screen). Cops found what they could, who knows what more they couldn’t find and seized, as we didn’t see or hear of armas de fuego or mini uzi, guess those ones are well hidden. Even the ones taken will be replaced as soon as the wardens are back to work; smuggling things in. 

02:01:09! Still sitting in the dark passage, illuminated by the screen of my phone. The birthday lad is in another world, lad is spitting and vomiting on the floor, hope the binmen clean up in the morning, have place newspapers over his vomits. But his compatriots are still giving him more, told them to stop as the lad is well beyond his limits. 

In his drunken state, he did talked to me; about how we do things in the cell. Being the oldest serving inmate in the cell, he wants me to get him involved in whatever I do in the cell. He sort of felt alienated, not my fault, he’s always kept himself at distance from me. Can’t force friendship on anyone, and I much better alone. He has a cook whom he pays for a daily bowl of whatever the man churns out of kitchen. Hope our relation gets better after tonight. 

The passage is dark, just felt something walked passed me as my head is buried in my phone (wrong thing to do in prison, lost oneself in whatever you are doing, but I have other lads sitting beside me; bit safe). First thought, the cat, but it was our vampire; lad walks slowly, or rather glides around like a cat, without any sound, with his head bow and phone torchlight on; searching for half smoked fags, or money fallen from people. Some days, he’s lucky, other days, he will walk all night and nothing.  

My birthday mate had a bit too much, began spitting and vomiting on the passage. Had to get some newspapers and spread over the place, finally had him sent to his bunk; glad he doesn’t sleep on the top bunk like me, he would’ve slept on the floor today, many had done it in the past after night of binging, and many will still do it; drunk and passed out. 

I also left to clean and wash up before hitting my bed. Finally get to sleep around 3:30am. 

Supposed to be our general cleaning but there won’t be any as there isn’t enough water in the cell. Whatever water we are able to hustle is used up at the end of the day. We are at our critical point right now, living on the edge. 

Not hitting the gym today, longer weekend and more time to recuperate and sleep over last night drink. 

Guess won’t sleep now, as I have to cook soup with the ox feet we bought yesterday. Ox feet; price on tag is around $3.50, but sold in here for $8! Not bad, one can make a good sancocho colombian’s soup with it. 

One of the lads cooked rice, while I made sancocho (Colombian soup), everyone had a bit and assumed they all enjoyed it as the birthday lad and the grocer decided to pay for all ingredients and vegetables I had credited for preparing the soup; thus, my energy and time are well compensated.  

The drinking is still on, but not me; when I woke up, I rushed a chilled long cup of ice and fresh pressed lemon juice with water; refreshing and something my body really needed. The lad is still drinking and many of his pals are coming in and out congratulating him on his birthday. Even old pals who were kicked out to pavilion 8 came in to say hi. Some joined him for a cup or two. Invited me, but declined and got a bottle of powerade. 

Took a quick power nap, up and dinner was salad that came on the dinner cart with chunks of beef; added some rice as I was starving. 

22:35:39! My mate is not alone in marking his birthday, others around different cells in the pavilion are celebrating something. Too bad, no ice, but that wouldn’t stop them from drinking. 

Decided to opt for green tea, brew me some and had two cups this evening; one after my dinner and another some minutes ago. Better than drinking warm powerade. 

My old grocer-cellmate is having another round of high Blood pressure, one his eyes is bloodshot. Guess watching too much porn is causing a raise in his heart 😉 he hits his bed early before others. One good thing he has adopted; he now eats fresh garlic, after months of preaching the benefits of eating fresh garlic to him and others, he now believes it’s good. Hope it helps with lowering his bad cholesterol.  

22:56:18 the fiesta is taking a different turn, our gayly cellmate has had a little too much and probably snorted some lines of el rey, guess since my last confrontation with him, he now does it in secret away from our prying eyes. He’s out of the cell, probably with his new fans around the passage. It’s gonna be a long night. Gotta shower and hit my bed and probably emailed this blog update out. Taken a while to round up writing. I will be using twitter to send links to where my blogs will be placed. @PoeticPrisoner and @Doingtimeabroad!  

doingtimeabroad.wordpress.com is locked up for now, as tension amongst some inmates were getting to high. Soon, they will realise they can’t stop me from writing. 

Someone need to keep time of our lives behind bars, at least someone might read and find some useful information before taking a step that might lead to this place! 

“The only real failure is when you don’t learn from your mistakes, and you keep repeating them.” – Tim Storm. 

“We want fewer young men in jail. We want more of them in college. We want fewer young men on the streets. We want more in the boardrooms.” – President Obama