Archive for November, 2014

Another Inmate Kicked The Bucket And More Tales From Panama’s Prison.

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on November 25, 2014 by doingtimeabroad

One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning. – James Russell Lowell

An excerpt from an article I read online; worth sharing;

‘In many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.

The way we traditionally conceive of ignorance—as an absence of knowledge—leads us to think of education as its natural antidote. But education can produce illusory confidence. An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled with the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge.’

A secret to happiness is letting every situation be what it is instead of what you think it should be, and then making the best of it #Lockup

Mon, 3 Nov 2014

Like every other Monday, up and ready for what I have planned out for the day and to overcome the odds of what the day will throw at me; most importantly, my daily workout and lousy disruption and provocation from the lads.

But today’s workout is seeing a new cellmate of mine hit the gym. Lad is tall and huge, but in my term, he’s likely overweight. But has experience of working out in the gym, but that was several years ago, and has been in a very long hiatus. Gave him a shirt and short to use, as I’m always glad to see someone make his first positive move.

Went through my morning rituals and finally set off to begin the day and week with my training partners.

Since we did chest on Friday, we opt for back/biceps, while my new cellmate got busy with his thing; jumped rope and also did barbell curls. He didn’t spent more than 30 minutes when he took time-out and left, saying he will be back the next day. Little did I or anybody know, there won’t ba a next day for him. He went in, showered had his oatmeal and went about the day’s activities.

We continued with our workout as we always do till we were done. Rounded up with more abs, stretching and then in.

Being a public holiday in Panama, the day went on on a snail speed, but doesn’t keep the lads from doing their things; gambling, talking or arguing of flimsiest issues. Everyone is always busy with something to keep or make them look busy or occupied or better said, usseful.

Having showered and washed my gym clothes, had a postworkout meal, tried napping, couldn’t as it was a bit noisy. Kept myself busy with #StiegLarsson novel ‘The girl with the dragon tattoo’, a good read and hard to drop once I’m on it. But, have to always take a break to fend for myself and tend to other things, or I will friggin starve. Heard there are some inmates who had taken their lifestyles from the street into prison; they friggin have others waiting on them, friggin butlers and chefs ;-), heard one even have bodyguards who marched behind him wherever he goes (if at all there’s any place, other than walking the passage length and back to his top shack on top of his cell), some will need even night watch; evil that men do friggin lives with them, some even haunts them.

Haven’t been doing late night browsing for a while, thus, decided to spend few hours tonight. Cold war in my cell with my boxer cellmate, distancing himself from helping with the food. Soon, I will turn my back on him.

Finally, as many are retreating to their fox holes, I picked up my spot outside my cell and went about my nightly business. The few people outside are the diehards nocturnal lads also browsing all night. Also were some potheads passing joints among themselves and few Mexicans brewers who are indulging in their prison-brew; #PrisonBeer; they brew the beer and end up drinking the lion share of their profits.

Like every other night, everything went on its course, cats are busy scavenging our rich bins for food leaving the rats to chew on my books and pee on my head, friggin lazy cats 😉

Then, and suddenly from upstairs above where I was sitting, heard the sound from my cellmate who trained with me today; lad snores very loud, I’m not a doctor, but being locked up and left to fend for myself medically and otherwise has turned me to be one; researching on everything that the internet will lay bare. At a time, I was forced to search on Google using this query “Google searching tips” ;-),  looking for a better way to harness my search results, thank God, I still have access to some educational databases where I can find more academic information on certain health and nutrition issues.

The lad has been here barely two months, and I think he’s suffering from sleep apnoea; Snores all night and barely get enough sleep. And from what I have been reading recently about people suffering from sleep apnoea, it’s not a good news as so many ills comes along with it.

Around 00:40 (Tuesday Morning)

From upstairs came a sound that was strange to my ears, not the usual snores, but one of a man having a terrible nightmare. Left my phone on the chair and climbed upstairs, at the same time, my other cellmate living in the behemoth shack above my bunk came out and another lad from the next cell. My mate said, that’s how he sleeps and sleeps very deep, we let him be, as he seemed relaxed.

Hurried back to my phone as the lads hanging around aren’t saints but thieves, who are ready and willing to steal from their own friends.

Rounded up and hit my bunk, struggled to sleep, but couldn’t not until around 4am; Tuesday morning.

Tues, 4 Nov 2014

But was awoken around 7:30am by one of my boxer cellmate who stays up late or wakes up early to play #ClashOfClans. He called out at me, saying, it seems my mate is dead.

On hearing that ‘Dead’, every iota of sleep left me for good. Rushed upstairs and reaching to check his pulse, the lad was cold as a board. There and then, it downed on me of what happened late in the night around 00:40, the strange screams and the sudden relaxation and calm on his face.

Oh Death where is thy sting? He was a man with loads of aspirations, brought in under investigation as someone implicated him. Been through a lot in life, trying to pick up his life together before disaster struck fatally, but didn’t leave him, instead took him along.

Called a mate who was very close to him, as they eat together and always chat together. In the past,  I used to sit up there with them, but my workouts, and being tired after workouts got me splitting to my ways, moreover I prefer reading than watching television. Just something to keep my busy and occupied as everyone else. Thus, for a very long while now, I have been keeping to myself and my cell after my workouts. It helps with my sanity and also I’m able to guard my privacy which we don’t have here; on daily basis with nothing to do, some inmates will sit and dissect and empty the entrails of other inmates, even their friends, once his back is turned on them. Thus, aftter my gym time, I’m off to my cell and bed.

I wasn’t planning of writing about this painful incident, but it will be like a burden on me if I don’t spill out the injustice prisoners undergo in Panama’s prison system; we are denied access to medical, inmates are left to rot and die, even when sick inmates try to get medication from outside  through their loved ones, the cops will either seized the medication or refused them inside the system. Thus, inmates will and pay anything to get their most needed medications.

Family of the deceased were contacted, as I know, the body has been taken to be buried in his home country, unlike many who kicked the bucket before him, whose families could not afford transporting their corpses to their home countries. They were left behind for Panama to do as they please. And anything done to a death inmate is always without dignity, dignity that they don’t get even while still breathing and hopeful. Many of the deaths could have been avoided if proper medical practice were followed by the so-called prison medicla staffs; Nurses, Doctors, Psychiatrists and the social workers, instead of them taking care of inmates, they are busy fucking inmates or being taken care of sexually by inmates.

Another scandal that has been swept under the carpet recently; one of the social worker got pregnant by a local inmate. She is not the first and neither will be the last, the former female PE teacher was fired after she was caught giving extra physical lessons to some inmates for few bucks. In my words, she was friggin selling what she has for money and that’s is called #Prostitution and the lads are ready and willing to pay to poke their shaft into proper holes 😉

Another Intel from La Joyita where their ongoing war is like Irag war, and wouldn’t end soon, another top female official was fired after she was caught helping the lads relieve themselves. Heard she was doing it well that she even took it online; sharing nude pictures with her various encounters.

Another female social worker in our prison was also sharing pictures with a lad in the kitchen for well cooked meal everyday, when phone was seized during search, the cops didn’t bothered to ask who she was as they see her every day. She was fired for helping an inmate live a full life behind bars. The lad probably needed the pictures to wank every night, nobody knows if they ever had time to be intimate. So much is going around, and those who want to know will know.

It beggars belief how the government could admit that #PrisonViolence in Panama’s prison is getting out of hand, they have promised to come down on #PrisonGangs with an iron fist, but they seems to forget that these lads ain’t got no bloody feelings; push them to the wall, they will remain there until you get tired of pushing, then they will recoil like a spring and bounce back with vengeance and bitter force to destroy.

Colon Prison #NuevoEsperanza (New Hope) was on the news after inmates were filmed running the roof of the newly built prison complex with rifles and handguns shooting at rival prison gangs. It was like a scene from a movie, but it was friggin real as inmates were shooting and being shot at. Even the new president was speechless when he was interviewed. Finally, their solution was to removed the heads of all the gangs and send them to mega Joya (the new mega prison); that will be another breeding ground for gangs, thinking of American Mega prisons!

Now, that the heads are dethrone, there will be power vacuum amongst the gangs, and there will also be internal struggle or war to fill in the vacated position; somebody mean and hardcore will step in to lead the gangs. The lads are so organised, that they could arrange assassination from inside and get it done on the outside with swiss-precision like movements; but, there always a snitch, who will always grass them. And they are making money right from the inside as they organise deals on the outside, prison gangs are like business corporations, they run their businesses effectively and with military-like manners; there’s hierarchies which goes vertically and horizonta and every man knows his job. Fail on your post, you will be dealt with!

After all the shootings and more shootings, searches were carried out in La Joyita and also on some pavilions in La Joya. Like always, guns, knives, crude weapons, phones and other prohibited items were taken. Doesn’t mean the lads won’t find ways to get them back, either through same cops or from outside through all the loopholes in the system; money talks, bullshit walks!

As for us; the foreigners doing time abroad, we live on the edge as we also awaits the due search from hungry cops. We know they will come, but when? Several times we had search scares, but it all turned out to be false alarms. One day, we will be crying wolf wolf and the wolf will be here for real 😉

While we are waiting, the lads are getting on with their lives; booze, joints rolled and passed hands, white lines are been snorted just about every corners, nobody is hiding it anymore, it’s like lighting up a stick of fags, lad unwraps their package, get their half razor blades and arrange their lines, head bows but not in prayers, but to get their noses right on the beginning of the line as they suck up anything white on that pouch 😉

Many are dishing our potent liquor for our newly discovered brew; #ElBeer ;-), the lads have perfected brewing proper beer from what we have here into something that could compete with anything brew with malt, yeast and hops! Many are going down with it, but the hardcores still prefer their strong stuffs and those with money or good credibility opts for proper rum which can be friggin expensive; enough to feed an inmate for days if not weeks.

The latest that got us catcalling; a lad whose been here about 6years+ went poking after having a little too much. They have all been drinking in groups, and the lad just wanted to relieve himself, couldn’t brace up to our shemale as she ain’t free, but went to a young lad whom many say he’s been touching his toes while some friends shove for a free pouch of whites. The young lad was sleeping when the lad attacked him, both drunk, he pulled the lad’s pants and tried shoving his shaft from behind, the lad still trying to figure out what was poking was about screaming, only to be met with a Shsssssssssssh! Which has now become our new slogan “Shssssssssssssh” ‘Solo una’!

For so many years, the lad hasn’t done anything peculiar, but this one incident has cemented and given him a star in the pavilion, and the funny thing that happen next. The young lad he was trying to poke got freed the next day. Which brings the new saying in the pavilion ‘if you need your freedom, meet the old lad’ ‘get poked and be free’ 😉

Well, that’s what alcohol and too much of it can do to a supposedly sane human; make him want to poke into anything that looks like a hole 😉

Then came another one; but this time with our shemale. It’s a shame, with so supposedly many men around here, our reina should go hungry. Got me wondering what she does with all the money she makes from her nightly services, or is she salvation army, doling out free services on her knees?

She was caught trying to steal from one of the grocery stores in a cell down the passage. That night, she has come to me and asked for $2 to buy a cup of soup, didn’t have to give her. Before I left to sleep, she walked passed me with a cup of soup, but I guess she needed more food. A lad in the cell, that around 3am, he saw her trying to nicked something in the cell through the net, but something fell and she quickly withdrew and left. 3am? She must have been working, but the old Mexican where she got the soup was still open at that time as he opens his business from 11pm till 4am, attending to the kerb crawlers and nocturnal inmates. So it’s either our shemale is giving her bodily services for free or for other favours (free pouches of white) or on credit, if on credit, she has her way of getting paid; she threatened her debtors of going public of what they did together in the dead of the night, that alone will get her debtors to pay up before being uncovered 😉

Friggin love the game here 😉 like a street theatre!

About me? It’s been hectic as I went under the weather, feverish, migraines and bodily pains, and chest pains, took about nine days off from the gym. Tried getting medications, couldn’t through the right source, finally had a local who works in the infirmary nicked something for me. I was also bedridden for most of the days. Eventually got better and back to workout, but felt very weak, had to start gradually and finally picked up my tempo and momentum 😉

Another thing that put some smiles on my lips; schat finally had her ceremony and award for Master of Science in Business Information Systems and my little girl passed her first exams on piano lessons she has been following intensively. My boy is also doing fine with his new football club. Their joy is my joy and peace of mind. They all give me the strength to carry on through the odds of life BehindBars.

Meanwhile, the new police commissioner in the prison has decided to stop fruits and vegetables from coming into the prison. His reasons; they are used for moonshine, he must be delusional, no inmates will want to spent money on expensive fruits to make stupid fruit ciders or wine, when they can add one and one and make mashes to be distilled into strong liquor and they can also brew beer from legal stuffs they buy from the prison grocers.

The new law has gotten us to hunt for vegetables from one place and one place alone; the prison kitchen.

The few lucky ones amongst us working in the kitchen are busy making good dough after the ban by bringing in vegetables to sell to their close pals. And for many of us, it has also sent us looking up to the locals for supplies. The local inmates are close to the kitchen and they tend to run all activities in the centre, so many are turning to them for all sorts of things that could come from the kitchen. My local training partner is helping me, as I was able to get some milk, half-tank of brown beans and a pack of tuna, but at a cutthroat price. It’s either you buy or you leave it as someone else will buy.

We don’t know how long the ban will last, but it has caused the prices of anything vegetable to hit sky high, plantain used to be 50ct wholesale, but now, they are demanding 80ct per piece at wholesale price, meaning the lads will be selling between $1 – $1.25. For now, we will wait and scavenge whatever the locals can nick from the kitchen.

Santa clause has been a blessing as he shares some of his produce from his vegetable garden with me, but have to pay him as they aren’t free.

The week of 17 November has seen more inmates released than any other time since my incarceration. About seven inmates went free, including the young lad that got his freedom after being poked 😉

One of the released happened to be one of the big shark and fat bully in the pavilion, but as always kept his distance from me and my group; we train together and we will lookout for each other.

The lad has spent about seven years in the joint for two cases; drugs and illegal gun possession. He was controlling all the whites that were coming in, when I arrived here back in 2009, he was the only one selling white, while a Jamaican who also did about seven years before released was doing joints but later got into dealing white as the market was growing. The former, was always selling on credit, mostly to the Spaniards whom he knows their embassy will come with money some day. At a time, a spaniard long repatriated was so much in debts that his family had to send a direct message ‘that nobdy should sell anything, not even food to him on credit’, still didn’t stop our shark from doling out his dope on credit as stocking them will bring another case if found by cops during search.  Thus, every dealer is always ready to sell on credit upon credit.

If he doesn’t get paid, then comes the beating, and threatening, sometimes with knives or even had the local come in to do the threatening as he once did to an old fella.

Despite his dealing, the lad was in deep debts from loans he got from people to fund his business, heard he was sending money home; robbing others to enriched himself, well, he knows where he comes from, he won’t last long on the street if his creditors are out to get him.

At a time, when his second case was raised, he became frustrated, started snorting on his product and drinking, that got him real wasted. And that was when became very erratic and his life was spiralling downwards into oblivion. Forced himself into the gym, but only to bully others, by keeping weights around him which he doesn’t use.

Finally, he worked his freedom in absolute silence, when he left on Thursday morning, he sneaked out, and had to send some locals to pick his stuffs. He knows what an angry creditor could do, he could be sent out with #PrisonScars on his body and the lads know where to always aim; the face!

Wish him and others good luck and hope they don’t come back here again. Who knows?

Finally, as of Friday, 21 November, there are rumours of search, but we seems relax as there are more hotter pavilions in the centre. If the cops will come on us, it will be for our phones and routers, they won’t be looking for guns or grenades here (the locals do sell grenades along with other types of guns, they are in warfare)

Also on the news, three wardens were arrested today as they tried bringing in money for some inmates. Few wardens make some few extra by bringing whatever inmates wants and they can risk bringing them in. The money as I learnt as money meant to pay inmates who had received money through money transfers through some lads doing the business here. Simple as ABC; they give you a name, your family send money and they take 10%. And as foreigners, we need money always on us to survive here; we buy medications, food and pay for whatever services needed, nothing is free here.

Sat, 22 Nov 2014

Having gone to bed early, woke up around 2am to use the loo, but decided to stay up and chat with schat, who was awake but still in bed meditating. Also used the time to start some new torrents downloads; The Economist Nov 22, 2014, #SuspendedSentences by Patrick Modiano, Auto Express UK, New Scientists Collection 3 and 4, GQ mag, Men’s health and two new Albums; Dame Shirley Bassey #HelloLikeBefore and #RickRoss #HoodBillionaire. Some of the downloads were completed, others had to stopped as it slowed down internet connection 😉

Exactly 5am, my gay cellmate walked to the door, fumbling with the lock as he opened the door; didn’t know he wasn’t in his hammock all the while I was sitting there. He almost scared me, but my sixth sense is always alert to my environs. He stank of alcohol, and was crying. Asked him what happened, in tears, he said, the young lad that he’s in love with punched him. Well, wasn’t happy, hope to have a word with the lad later in the day.  From what I make out with him and the young lad; the young lad doesn’t drink or snort, he only blows joint, but my gay cellmate does everything in the book; snorts, drinks, and blows both joints and shafts 😉

Finally left the phone close to the router on my mate’s groceries, hope when he opens up for the day, he will take care of the phone. Set up several downloads; and  I went back to sleep. Only to wake up to the lads cleaning and washing the cell, they failed to wake me or didn’t want to disturb as they knew I was up from 2am till 6am. Helped them put the things inside and also began cooking; curry chicken and white rice, thus, we will be having an early lunch.

As the breakfast cart was passing by, came the alarm that cops are heading this way, got us scrambling to our stash spots, as routers and chargers were flying  and thrown around from up in the signal spots, everyone was on the move; sort of an organised commotion, running around, but with one mission and purpose; to hide and stash whatever needed to be stashed and hidden.

No gas was used today, as the cops knows what will follow if they try it again, finally, we did our best and left the rest for God to watch over and also to the one man that will stay behind to watch the cops as they search; one man per cell will stay back to watch and that man will use his wits to outwits the cops 😉 and that one man behind in every cell will determine how the cops will go in their cells; use of words and being kind to them can be very effective than screaming at them. So long what they find is not in the weapon categories; knives, guns, rifles, grenades and drugs. With phones, they can accept handshakes and let you have the phone as they understand that we are foreigners and need to be in constant communication with our families.

We were striped-search as we were hauled out; pants down and everything was search, even the gym storage room. My two nailcutters were taken, they got confused when they saw my petty electricals. None could figure out what a bluetooth earphone was 😉 told them, it’s for my dvd player 😉 friggin dullards!

Outside, less than 5 minutes, the sky let loose heavy downpour that lasted about ten minutes, but enough rainfall that could flood some areas in the country. The cops thad to let in some inmates into the gym hall, mostly the elderly, while the rest of us remain outside crammed together under a shed outside the pavilion.

The search went on and on, one by one, tanks of moonshine and mashes were hauled out, plastic bottles of beer were also brought out, the Chinese had 7 tanks taken, bad business, all were supposed to be distilled for Christmas.  But we still have time before Christmas to run another batch of mashes and distil.

Then came the laptop that has been here for years and survived many searches, also from the same cell came two routers. The original owner of the laptop was free last week, guess the new owner couldn’t fine a better stash. Quite a handful of phones were taken, and a lot of chargers, also earphones and pouches for phones.

Bags and tanks of metals were brought out, all filled with knives; proper fight knives and ones hammered from pieces of metals which is in abundance in the pavilion, some even had broken weights from the gym in their cells as weapons. Seeing all these today has made me realised that, the pavilion is changing, people who were the keepers of peace are gradually leaving, and the new lads are still fresh from the streets and many are hot-tempered, ready for battle; thus, arming themselves in the best way possible and also, is the best way about surviving the slammer. It shows how the pavilion has changed from a one time tranquil place to a dormant volcano, sleeping and waiting to erupt.

Quite a lot were taken today, but my cell survived and my bunk was untouched as the cops who came in, barely move my books, but open my cans of tea and my food bank (tanks used to store food). Two bottles of rum were taken in the cell next to mine, the lad shook hands witht the cops to stop them from going deeper as they would have found more bottles of the proper juice 😉

The lad who stayed behind in my cell, said he did shook hands with the cops that came into the cell to search, that’s why they didn’t rough my cell, thus, we all contributed and reimbursed him. It’s business as usual.  It’s his words against no other as he was alone and we can’t friggin ask the cops, thus, we have to accept whatever he says and the most important thing, our phones are safe.

While outside during the search, I was terribly worried about what the state of my bunk and mini-library will be when I finally get in after the search.

The cops spent some good deal of time, but the first six cells took the blunt of the search as these cells were turned inside out.

On entering and seeing the first five or six cells and how they were roughly search, everything was thrown on the floor as cops search through every nooks and crannies of the cells. My heart skipped a beat, but was surprised when I came into the cell and found out that my bunk was untouched, just some lifting and touching around.

The newly old lad in my cell was overwhelmed with joy, that he had to embraced everyone of us. We didn’t catch why he was doing that. It was later I remembered that, this is his second search experience in the slammer. The first didn’t hold, but it was bitter experience for him; as cops threw canisters of gases and even shot at us with pellets. That incident has left the six yard mark on my mate, that he thought all searches are always like that. Today’s search was so calm and the cops were well organised and respectful. Thus, when we got in, he was so excited and overwhelmed with joy. Many thought he had probably gotten a message of his freedom, not knowing that the old lad was celebrating his survival of another search.

The pavilion gradually got back to life, as many counts their loses and others their survival or what the cops couldn’t take or find. Quite a handful of phones were taken, but many survived the search. We hope it will be the last search this year.

Many thought the search came as a result of the wardens that were arrested with large sums of money as they were bringing them in for some inmates; but little does the authorities know, that without foreign inmates having money, many of us would have been gone for long. We buy our medications, buy and cook our foods and also pay lawyers. Thus, we need money with us at all time, and the only means to get money is through other inmates running money transfer business and on commission.

Whatever will happen with the wardens, we will know later.

Just found out about the social worker who got pregnant for a local inmate; apparently she is supposed to be one of the prison psychiatrists, shows how fucked up the system is. Probably the inmate hypnotised her and got her laid. But she is walking around clumsily with her dirty face and with a protruding belly around the offices amidst the open-secret.

Late Saturday evening, had a few cups of our prison beer, and decided to hit my bed as the stress of the day was weighing down on me. Slept till around 1am, and woke up to get online. Stayed up for a while and finally return to bed.

Sun, 23 Nov 2014

It’s another fortnightly visit tomorrow, many will be grooming themselves for tomorrow. Woke up as one of my mates was cleaning, but stayed up stretching as others went through their morning rituals. Finally up and set up water for tea and also washed the bean I had soaked last night to be cooked. Then came breakfast; something that look like coffee and milk with the normal round bread. Had one with peanut butter and a cup of the coffee. And later a cup of green tea. Also started with the beans. And my mate cooked rice.

Bought the beans from my local pal, a full tank of brown beans nicked from the kitchen, many are turning to the kitchen for vegetables since the ban on fruits and vegetables is effective now. A tank full of mixed vegetables can go for $30 or more, a bag of vegetables will go for $20, guess doing time here in panama is becoming more expensive.

Gave some of the beans to Santa claus as he’s a vegetarian and the prison don’t give a fuck about one’s dietary lifestyle, not even the Muslims or the Jews amongst us get their food as they want it, everyone to himself.

Another batches of cops were seen walking towards us, the lads were not shaken as we know, they won’t repeat another search too soon. They went to pavilion 8, the other pavilion housing foreign inmates here; the population of foreign inmates in panama is growing with each new arrest, while processing them and getting them out is stagnant as most countries are not doing anything to get their citizens back home; exactly what #TheNetherlands #Nederland is doing. The Spaniards and other European countries are working pretty fast to get their citizens home once they are sentenced. I guess Spain changed after two Spaniards died within a year in panama prisons.

#Sunday seems to be quiet, apart from some lads drinking upstairs, they started early and are in it till now 20:50:36! Guess they will carry on through the night till there’s no more liquor to drink.

Sunday and weekend is almost over, but our lives goes on, and we live for the next moment, where none knows what is coming in front or behind.

Talking of that; there was a bloodied brawl today, went out to meet my local pal for the beans; the fight was over. Happened between a drunken inmate and a new lad, but one my training mate took over, delivering heavy punches on the new lad; gave him two cuts above his left eyes. Guess that alone sent the alcohol out of his system. The lad who did that, trains everyday; boxes and does weights with me, thus, he’s in good form, while the other will be more likely to use weapon if he finds any around. Wouldn’t know what will become of them, if anyone will be kicked out, it will be the new lad as he has gotten into several fights before and moreover the other is a compatriot of the ruling council of the pavilion #Dominican, thus nepotism will come into play! We are humans 😉

Meanwhile, the locals are sending all sort of medications nicked from the unstaffed clinic and sending them to us to be sold here. And the lads selling them have new clue of what they are selling. I have seen some medicines after running queries on Google, that were been hawked as antibiotics, but turned out to be medicines for diabetic patients with high blood pressure. There are also many diabetic drugs; which tells one that many inmates are suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure due to immobility and sedentary lifestyles that we are forced to live. Many are growing fatter and robust and their waistlines are increasing with each spoon of whatever they are eating. One of such is my pharmacist-cellmate; lad got conjugal visit with his missus every fortnight, also visit with food, pays a chef who gives him to warm meals every day. Thinks he’s living large, but doing himself lots of harm, and he doesn’t like exercise, too bad! Hope he realises that his health is in his hands. I’m always teasing him that, prison is good for him as he was skinny when he came in her two years ago. He’s not alone, many are like him. They wait till they have some months left before their freedom, then you see them in the gym or outside running trying to lose 100lbs in one week 😉

Guess they seems to forget that those pounds of fats didn’t get there in one week, thus, won’t be possible to lose them all in one week. Despite their efforts, they destroy it with their diet; fatty foods and more rice and rice, and loads of fried foods! They were born with those food, very hard to live without them.

Taken a while to round up this blog, still got one I’m yet to finish. So much to do when you have to do everything on your own; cook, laundries, cleaning and also watching once back constantly 😉

Hope to get the next one up as soon as possible.

Don’t do what everyone else is doing if you want something different.  In order to survive we have to continually upgrade our thinking. Change the way we think, ‘unset’ or ‘reset’ our minds and remove the barriers we have put around it. #SurvivingPrison

Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.  “You just keep pushing. You just keep pushing. I made every mistake that could be made. But I just kept pushing.” – Rene McPherson

“TOO many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law-enforcement reason.” – #EricHolder (Former US Attorney General)

Prison Life: A dark world with little rays of light.

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

Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.

“You just keep pushing. You just keep pushing. I made every mistake that could be made. But I just kept pushing.” – Rene McPherson

Mon, 13 Oct 2014

Stayed up all sunday night to work on my breached Google account, with schat’s help, finally had it sorted.

Hit my bed around 6am this morning, and napped till around 9ish, when I had to wake to use the loo. Awoke, but to the cell flooded with water; somebody has been very stupid to let our improvised tap running.

Had to hold my pee until the toilet was cleared. I knew the lad cleaning today has been very careless and stupid to have left the tap running. The slender lad, whose missus our gay-cellmate said, someone’s tapping her ass was the one cleaning today. Lad could be absent-minded sometimes, he could be cooking or doing something important, and just slipped off and goes walkabouts in his mind. I think what his missus did is doing him bad, he just can’t get over it. And it’s affecting every aspect of his life. When he wants to drink, the pains and aguish drives him to drink till he become sick and at the mercy of death.

While cleaning, he left the tap running to carry on with whoever he was chatting with, forgetting that he had the tap running. Others were also busy in the cell doing their things, even if they had seen, they will turn their eyes, just to punish him. But the new old lad saw it when the water was at the door of the cell and called out. Too late as under the beds were flooded, my dried trainers were all soaked, had to take them outside to dry them again. Everything was removed as if we are having a general cleaning and washing of the cell. He mopped and clean up the water.

Hit the gym for an all-body #HIIT #Hardcore workout; somedays, doing bits and bits for each body parts does make a difference and top up my conditioning.

My team mates joined me, but some were just too weak to keep up with my tempo; having drank all weekend, what will they expect on a Monday 😉

Done with workout and in, nothing special to eat, but made something from what I have around and had a good postworkout meal.

Spent the rest of the day in the cell; napping, reading and browsing and listening to music (helps with swing moods).

Tue, 14 Oct 2014

Up for another day and went through my morning rituals, an early cup of green tea + cinnamon to get me started. Breakfast of cornmeal cream (bought from the lads in the kitchen), others had a bit of it.

A cup of black coffee before hitting the gym; as we will be hitting chest and triceps today.

The gym was crowded with inmates piling up weights on the floor but not using them. Got my pissed as my training mates were out before me, but none picked up anything, they were all waiting for me to do the brawling, which I always do in order to get weights and start with our workout.

The lad who got on my nerves, has their own weights lying around, but piled up more from the gym’s weight, when I told him to give me some of the gym’s, he replied ‘they will be using them’ but had them lying around for hours with using them. Had to pick them up, and that’s how I went around picking all the weights from those not using them but having them lying around.

Told my mates off, as they are always waiting for me to go front line; what they are doing is exactly how they live, they drink and laugh with you, but when trouble comes, they withdraw. I drew the line that day, told them, if they are out before me and don’t pick up weights, they it’s better I train on my own.

Went about my workout; sometimes anger is good as it helps with workout 😉

Channelled mine into today’s workout, #Chest and #Triceps, did a good workout, went intensive and heavy. Rounding up with abs.

Water has been good to us for days now and the occasional rainfall is also helping as we are not short of water for any period longer than 24 hours.

After shower and washing my clothes, had a postworkout meal and later took a deep nap.

Up and spent the rest of the night till 4am on Wednesday morning 😉

Just did another all-night browsing!

Wed, 15 Oct 2014

Having done an all-night browsing, slept for a while. But had to get up and get ready for today’s workout.

Almost same as yesterday, the lads are hoarding weights around them and not using them and wouldn’t want to share with anybody. And like always, I made my way around and picked enough to use for my back and biceps routine today.

Most of the lads come out each day and all they do is what they did yesterday and what they have been doing every day since they got slammed and saw men lifting iron ;-). So many of them are new to whatever they are seeing in the gym hall; they had never been close to a gym before, the most they were to fitness was either football or lifting bags of el Polvo or lifting and walking around with firearms.  Thus, everything in the gym is just but a mystery and that’s why many of them are juicing after my now freed compatriot introduced many to juicing as the only way of getting ripped ;-), many are doing it without knowing anything about what they are doing. They just want the benefits that comes with juicing. Good for them.

Rounded up early as we will be having out weekly headcount later in the afternoon, phones and everything gotta be stash as it’s very hot in the centre now.

Just before rounding up in the gym, El gringo who just got back after months at the hospital for tuberculosis was taken out, on asking his cellmate, I learnt he’s having heart problems and he coughs all night. The lad is old and frail, wonder why The Americans neglecting a war veteran to rot away in Panama’s jail? They probably want him to die here!

Hope he makes it back again, strong lad but friggin mouthy!

Headcount went fine and no surprises from the cop, but we spent more hours outside as the cops came with an old list including names of inmates who had gone free, they just added new names and kept us out for about 3 hours, what usually takes 30 minutes or less than an hour became a day’s work.

Finally in and rush for an hour nap as I was longing for it.

Pick and select is how most of us feed here; you look at the prison food and choose what you feel you ‘d like to eat, only my gay cellmate picks all but end up not eating them.

Spent the rest of the evening on our signal spot, chatting with schat and exchanged one or two chats with my kids; guess they are too busy with their things to engage in endless convo with dad whom they have been waiting and expecting to return back home. It’s been a very long while.

I’m now helping some lads with their training routines; culled articles on training and always send to them via whatsapp or BBM, I have been seeing some of them use some of my tips in their workouts. It’s good when you see someone do the right thing, but for the many wannabes who are there repeating the same thing day in and day out, I’m friggin not bothered; waiting till injury strikes 😉

Thu, 16 Oct 2014

03:55:28 that was when I left my signal spot to my bed, to wake up around 8ish!

Waking up late doesn’t afford me the time to make proper breakfast; oatmeal with raisins and peanut butter. Instead I dived into the breakfast bowl for the bread and topped it up with peanut butter and a cup of tea, but for two days now, been having black coffee with cinnamon 😉 good fuel for my workouts.

Out to the gym, like my friend upstairs said; without the gym, we will be fucked, lad speaks out of experience, having done time in the states. He sure know what exercises does to inmates and their time! Well, in the states, there was no luxury of smartphones, here, he has every sports info at the tips of his fingers.

Went for a showdown with shoulders; started with the heavy, compound movements and rounded up with isolation movement. In-between our pauses, we went through cardio drills and abdominals. Found out today that one of my training partner who used to train with the old Canadian was juicing; now I know why he keeps bugging me to get some juice and asking me if I don’t want to use any. My fears with these lads juicing is their lack of knowledge of what they are doing or getting involved. My now freed compatriot introduced them to these; easy way to gains and many are now doing without proper education on the pros and cons of juicing. Wish them well! Anyway, when they start growing bitch tits, would be nice for many that are looking for things to touch since our shemale’s is becoming hard to reach now 😉

Rounded up and hit outside for another session of cardio and yoga, spent an hour under the blazing sun and also did some dips and inverted rows on the monkey bars behind the pavilion.  Done and a bottle of coca cola’s powerade for the cop on duty for being friggin nice to have allowed me outside, one good turn deserves another 😉

Inside, the last of the food or meats that came in on Monday was used to make mouthwatering sauce; guess I was starving to compare, thus, the mouthwatering 😉

Devoured my rice and shredded beef sauce, showered and did my laundry. We’ve been blessed as there hasn’t been any serious incident with our water in a while now. Thus, we enjoy while it last, for if it’s too good to be true, then it’s all an illusion.

Tried getting a quick nap, couldn’t do much due to the noise and have misplaced my earplugs, would have been very useful now; shutting all the noise off! But laid back for minutes to relax, felt better afterwards.

Dinner; nothing special, but had loads of beans I saved from the lunch cart earlier in the day, the lads should be prepare for war of gases later tonight 😉

We’ve so much gotten used to each other, that farting is nothing but melodious sound ;-), guess that’s what happens in overcrowded prisons; cell of 6 people, 12 are cramped in! Would have been extra inferno if we were still locked up as it used to be some years back.

Did some sitting out again, but no plans to do an all-night one. Managed to keep my eyes open till 3am, when I finally called it quit and hit my bunk.

Read some pages from Uriel Leon’s A God in Ruins! Spanning and intriguing, will love to finish it this weekend if nothing spectacular or out of the extraordinary happens 😉

Life behind bars is full of uncertainties and surprises!

Fri, 17 Oct 2014

The old lad cleaning today, if I hadn’t stopped him, he would be doing his cleaning as early as 5am 😉

As of 6:30am, I was up to use the loo, and he has finished cleaning. I do mine when I wake and before 8am, as life and noise in the pavilion begins by 8am!

Went back to bed to catch a few hours of nap, did get into the REM phase of my sleep, when the little lad who has given up his bunk for a so-called primo (cousin) who just got in (making us 12 in the cell) came down from his hammock on top of the cell and started with noise. His primo was supposed to change to pavilion 8, as he has more primos there, but declined the move after he was told he would be buying a bed for $800! Yeah….friggin $800 to buy a bed in Panama’s overcrowded prison, or be ready to do your time the hard way, sleeping on cold concrete floor until someone is ready to leave, which can be forever. Declining means, he will be in possession of my mate’s bed and my mate will permanently relocate to the hammock on top of the cell and left for the elements; can be friggin cold at night up there.

Finally got up around 8ish and set about the day’s business, the other new lad who was hoping his thieving-lawyer will spring him and his missus (she was at the right place at the wrong time), but got sentenced, bought my pharmacist-cellmate’s bed for $400 has been making coffee for two days now. Reheat it and added cinnamon to me for a quick energetic breakfast with peanut butter sandwich. By then my mates were out and calling.

Finally left for the day’s workout around 10am!

#Friday; we went into #Chest, and added some all-body routines to round up for the week. Well, my workouts is from Monday to Friday and the weekend to recuperate. But if the door is thrown open on saturday for few hours outside, wouldn’t resist the temptation of going outside and get some bouts of cardio sessions and enjoy some time under the sun for some doses of vitamin D, that’s if it’s not raining; we won’t even be allowed out if it’s raining! #PrisonBreak

Done and in, to a massive surprise, the lads bought beef and cooked something; Rice and beef sauce! My mates don’t like vegetables, so I got a handful of fresh parsley and chopped them, add to mine and my new chili sauce; friggin caliente but beautiful flavour; garlic, onions, dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, dried bay leaves and chillies + vegetable oil and vinegar to preserve it! With the hot sauce was able to devoured my rice 😉

We’ve been blessed with water lately, but for how long will it be, five years behind bars has taught me, when something comes so easy and looks good, it’s friggin good to be true and even it’s true, it won’t friggin last. But while its last, we will enjoy it. Got all my reserve tanks emptied; changed the water for fresh one, as the old was getting bad and some were rain water.

#TGIF and the pavilion will soon be set aflame by the lads; proper liquors has been finding their ways to the lads.

All evening and night began an endless fiestas as many took to the bottles. But the most loudest were the lads in two cells down the passage from mine. Heard the bought about six bottles of Colombian aguardiente and rum, with music and my gay cellmate keeping them company with his jokes and antics the lads were ready for the night.

One met me on the passage and invited me for a drink, turned him down, and changed position; went inside and closed the door, and sat behind the closed door. And still have better signal.

Stayed up till 3am!

Sat, 18 Oct 2014

Same lads woke us up with their music as they continued with what they started last night; drinking!

In my cell, it’s general cleaning, but would have love to carry on with my sleep, can’t as I have to move my things for the lad cleaning.

Being our porn-addicted cellmate turn to clean, he’s got our gay lad on his pay roll, who does cleaning for him. But this morning the lad broke the contract as he doesn’t want to do it anymore. He’s been drinking and snorting; thus, the old lad would have let him be and go about his cleaning without him. The lad took his stuffs out and went about his drinking business. This place is friggin doing him bad!

He did the cleaning alone with the new old lad helping him; the latter just like helping everybody,as he has nothing else other than chatting with his wife, brother and grown up kids.

After the cleaning, made tuna sauce with tuna I bought from the lads working in the kitchen. We had it with boiled rice. Had it both for lunch and dinner, at least something better than the prison food.

All over the pavilion, busy as a bee hive, businesses thriving as we deal and wheel; despite been an enclosed building with barely enough room to move around, the lads are constantly one the move.

Like the ads that we’re been constantly bombarded with on television, the hawkers are bombarding us with whatever they are selling. The same lad hawking his wares will make several rounds through the passage advertising his wares with his dynamic catch phrases. Lately, a young spaniard who was sent from pavilion 8 here, has a way off getting people’s attention to the fried pastries he sells. The lad starts by calling on everyone according to what they truly are; Narco Traficante, Violador de Niños, clonador de credit card, ladrones, asassinos, sapos (snitches) etc, etc! It might sound funny as we all laugh, but he’s right in a way, as that the make up of our population.

There was another lad who used to sell international call cards, he had his unique way of advertising his card while he makes rounds through the passage, he tells us a 1001 reasons why one should buy his call cards and make calls to home. The lad starts with ‘You have eaten, drank and listening to music, it’s time to know if the kids had done same’, that’s the light side. Then comes his dark and strong message why one must call home; ‘you are slammed up here away from home, away from your bed, maybe this call will unravel certain things about your missus, and you will know who is sleeping with her’. The last reason to call has always been reasons many are keeping serious tabs on their spouses.

Cleaning done, but without help from our gay mate as he’s broken all business relationship with his old boss.

My local training mate came around, and was approached by one of the lads who after much sipping on our #Moonshine will want to get laid; lad told my mate that’s he’s handsome, if they could exchange contacts. My mate was mad at him, just laughed and walked on, after he told me, I told him, at least someone does see the results of his working out 😉

More drinking by same lads down the passage, they are really make a huge feast; proper drinks in and mix with our brew. What more can a prisoner ask for.

I only pity my compatriot in the cell, too quiet and the oldest in the cell, but the lads has taken over the cell and sort of silenced him. The pavilion’s pastor lives there, but seems to turn a deaf ear and blind eye to what his fellow compatriots does every weekend. Glad they are far away from me.

Having another late night browsing….until

02:07:04 Sun, 19 Oct 2014 electricity gone, throwing us into total blackout again; all prison, about to rain.

Thank heavens for the blackout, forced a shutdown of the noisy fiesta; they are staggering around with mobile phones to light up the passage as they walk with hands on the wall to find their way to their cells.

The pastor and my compatriot in the cell will be the most happiest tonight as the blackout has shut down the noise that has been going in the cell for two days non-stop now!

Sun, 19 Oct 2014

Supposed to be a quiet day, but not in a place where men are dumped and left to rot or become animals.

Up to clean, and upstairs music and chattering as the group that had been drinking kept on with what they know best; getting pissed. And nobody is saying a thing to them about their noise.

The last few days has seen lots of proper liquor from outside flowing into the centre; outside, these are the cheapest stuffs, but on the inside, they are luxury, cost a fortune. A 1litre  bottle of Ron Abuelo (Panama’s Rum) goes for less than $20 outside, but inside, used to be $150, but price has dropped to $90, not bad and shows how porous the walls firewalls of the prison are; meant to keep such things out, but it’s now letting them in 😉

Just like the Rum, prices of everything illegal has dropped while prices of food and other things that are essential to our survival are on the rise every day; not a good economics 🙂

Went through the day like others exception of hitting the gym. But for many inmates, it’s not just a day of rest, but a day to party properly.

Scavenged whatever comes on the food cart; selecting and picking what’s best for my body’s need. Being slammed up and left without any choice of food; I’ve learned to pick food based on the body’s need than on the looks or taste which could be temporarily ;-), my mates don’t see it that way, they will never go near legumes, some prefer their own oily cooked white rice to the prison’s half-cooked white rice. I’ll rather go for the prison’s one as it’s not soak in half a litre of oil.

After seeing the way the white Colombians and black Colombians cooks; I’m made to believe that the black Colombians cooking with oil does it out of poverty; portion of the rice is fried till they turn brown in oil, then the others are added. When cooked, you can eat the rice on its own without any sauce, as it’s oily and salty. But the white Colombians cook theirs just plain white rice like the rest of the world does. Tells you the disparities of wealth, education and just about everything between two races of human in one country; #Colombia.

Thus, I don’t blame my mates when they cook rice the way they do. No matter how shitty it is, a pot of rice is always ready for each day. How you want to eat yours is your business; I sometimes do mine with peanut butter 😉 yummiest! Which they find very weird.

All day, it’s was puro rhumba in the pavilion, proper liquor passes hands as the lads drink in merriment to whatever cause or reason they find or have to drink. something they do that scares the shit out of me; drinking from one cup. In the age of our innumerable infectious diseases jumping and mutating. Can’t friggin do that after I have seen many taken out with tuberculosis and hearing the dry, wheezing cough every night.

While some stick to their bottles, others were rolling dice or shuffling cards as they bet their time away. Shouldn’t the system be cashing on the hard-to-die habits of inmates? Gamble with your time; you lose, you take some time from the winner’s sentence ;-), would be a good game; but the lads are okay with gambling with money, which we do hear lots of curses from the losers.

Those drinking, got my cellmates to work as they seemed to have finished the good stuffs and now wants the prison brew. My mates set to work, raising the temperature of the cell; bloody hot and everywhere in the building is hot and with stench of human odour; overcrowded!

Spent the night after a quick shower and a cup of hot chocolate + cinnamon in front of my cell where the signal is better. Doing another all-night browsing; the only time the signal is better and at its best, others are sleeping and the few who lurks through our dark passages are too stoned, high or too drunk to get online. Though few stay up all night on internet like I do.

Being sunday, many seems to show respect as they stopped drinking earlier tonight, except a new lad sleeping upstairs on the cell before mine. Lad did a wild bender on our prison distils and it fucked him up big time. He was dancing around dangling his balls and calling on our queen to come for a shag!

Spilled drinks down into their cells, the lads vowed throwing him out, but I doubt they will do that, he’s a nice fella, and this is his first time of drinking. We will see what becomes of him in the morning.

Finally left for my bunk, under the rats doing time and  sharing my space with me. Our cats are so lazy and the rats know that, thus their reign in pomp and glory and daring us to what we can 😉

Mon, 20 Oct 2014

A new week and loads awaits us as we wake up to this new day and new week.

Up and about, went through my morning rituals, which is normal for me and starts the day with a hot cup of green tea and cinnamon 😉

Ready to hit the gym, had a breakfast of cold cereal + oats, not much of a option here. Whatever available and affordable will do for me, won’t go into debts like most; always got my limits.

Wed, 22 Oct 2014

Had thought I was done with school, but was called up today, having prepared for the day’s workout. Fuck! I missed training yesterday as I have to sleep after a night of sitting out.

Made it to school and went through the odds of surviving those three gruesome hours with the locals, who believes we foreign inmates are ATM; churning money on demand. One did asked me for a fiver, ignored him; telling, I’m stint. Wanker!

Back from school and changed to hit the gym for a quick workout under an hour; and did very well. Going for #Tabata #HIIT type of workout, did well and felt very good afterwards.

Tried getting some nap as I will be up at night, since the signal is very bad during the day. I hate doing this, but have no choice; I get most of my reading materials online and also time-zone differences means I have to get Schat and the kids during that time when she just wake up. As she is busy during the day.

Thu, 23 Oct 2014

Having done another round of an all-night, went late to bed; early this morning, couldn’t sleep because of the rumours of an impending search. Most had their routers, phones, tablets and whatever need not be seen during search stashed before hitting their bunks, hammocks or floor. My cell didn’t but kept everything ready, I also slept with my curtains drawn open for easy movement if they stormed us early; going to bed around 4am, how early will it be 😉

Hit the gym and did a good shoulders, some days I set out what we will do and went about hitting my workout, ignoring my training mates as they are busy socialising with people they see at the turn of their eyes. Most that, I’m personally tired of seeing 😉

Deadly shooting in #LaJoyita prison; one killed and several injured including a cop who was shot on the head (good for him, as they are the ones arming the gangs to kill each other). The shooting happened in our sister prison, barely a month now  when 700 cops stormed there after a family of four were liquidated from orders of the Baghdad gang leadership inside the prison. During that search, guns, knives, drugs and all sorts of makeshift and crude weapons were seized. But wouldn’t stop more from coming.

Today’s shooting, like others are part of the ongoing prison gangs war. Anything possible could get them shooting, just for the fun or maintaining gang’s integrity 😉

The police seems to have learn something from past experiences, an impromptu search was conducted, giving the lads no time and chance to return their arms to their stash and hiding spots.

The search yielded seven different handguns of different calibre, with ammunition to go be; hollow, blunt and sharp, to cause real fatal damage.

Early to bed as I didn’t nap today, well, when I say early, finally slept around 1am ;-), that’s way too early for me, as I’m more of a nocturnal animal these days.

Fri, 24 Oct 2014

Since I slept early, and having ate loads of picante spiced food yesterday and drank loads of water as spicy food causes thirst, had to wake up to use the loo around 5:20am, and that ends my sleep.

Set water on the stove for tea, brew my first brew of the day; green tea and cinnamon. Made cornmeal cream (a mixture of what Panama’s ministry of health deemed fit for the poor Panamanians who can afford proper oatmeal and also sent to prison to feed the growing numbers of terminally ill inmates who can feed on the prison food that need proper chewing). The lads will wake up to breakfast curtsey of me.

My last shave for October as I will be partaking in next month’s #Movember movement 😉

Hit the gym for another pounding of #HIIT #Hardcore chest and triceps. Also did some variations of body-weight exercises during our breaks to keep up the #HIIT tempo. The lads were full of excuses 😉

On the mouths of inmates and on television; it’s all about the deadly shooting in #LaJoyita prison. Guess, the government is yet to understand that violence is more a cultural thing than a social one in panama and the rest of latin America. They should check back to #LaViolencia in Colombia; it didn’t start because of the narco trade, it was before the narcos came up. The narcos just added salt to injury and blew it up to extraordinary proportions. And that’s what’s happening in Mexico now.

We received and welcome six new inmates today. They will begin a third phase of this journey that will take and taste their resistance to pressures of all sorts. Hope they enjoy their stay while here and adhere to our unwritten codes of conduct 😉

Sat, 25 Oct 2014

Having gone to bed early again and for the second day, have to wake up early and get about my day’s activities.

My ex-boxer cellmate was up all night playing #ClashOfClans, saw his phone’s screen several times I opened my eyes and when I got up to use the loo. Well, we all have diverse ways of doing our times; for him and others, they prefer gaming, others will stay glued to their phone screens watching porns or scanning through facebook, the last is the new trend in the pavilion. Facebook has now become medium or channel of keeping tab on people’s life on the outside. There’s been several brawls involving inmates and fellow inmates, inmates and their spouses and all as results from facebook interactions. An inmate discovers a mate is checking on his woman after adding him as a friend, and others found out their missus or women are humping around; being Latinos, they just can’t accept the fact that their women are doing it, even when she wants out of the relationship, it’s a do or die thing. One macho society but full of cowards, who will cowered and betray friendship at the slightest sound 😉

Being the first to rise, set about warming up last night leftover (rice, peanut butter sauce, and ox-feet soup), should be having the rice and peanut butter sauce later with some hard boiled eggs from yesterday’s breakfast; have learned to preserve food for future usage.

Food; what most prisoners believe they need to stay alive is actually what is killing them. There’s so much abundant of it, but of the wrong type, and the lads are binged-eating as they come in, not thinking of the consequences of indulgences.

On our food carts are always fat laden everything, or saturated with salt; half-cooked rice, mincemeat but laden with animal fats, even the healthy options comes with what will make one lose his appetite. Beans and lentils which are my favourites always come in with fat laden pig tails, pig skins or pig feet and most of the lads are happy with that. Whenever beef is served, they come in as chunks or like cubes, so the lads are better off heaping more rice into their bowls to fill the spaces in their stomach, which is everyone main concern.

Many will be looking up to tomorrow’s visit day for better food!

Mon, 27 Oct 2014

Visit day; from today and for few more days this week, there will different food from outside as the lads will be out and back with whatever their loved ones brought them today.

Having slept late, waited for the three going out on visit and others to round before getting down from my bed to get about my morning rituals.

Then, came Intel of police operation in pavilion 1, earlier in the morning around 4am, I have heard three gunshots, being prison with tendencies for gun violence, I wasn’t worried as I know it wasn’t from our pavilion. Prison gangs and vendetta spilling into prison from the streets are most causes of violence amongst inmates.

As the lads were waiting for the visit roll call, cops were busy ransacking pavilion 1, which is home to some of the notorious local inmates and a Jamaican who was thrown out twice; from our pavilion and frm pavilion 8, hope he’s ok.

Because of the search, visit was cancelled, but not after families had waited from 6am to 12 noon, then were told to drop whatever food they brought but in two little containers and should come back on Wednesday for another visit but without food. The most had to go home with what food they had brought, leaving the lads in limbo.

Knowing we won’t be having fresh food today, I have my mind made up to make something from whatever comes on the food cart.

Left for my daily doses of vitamin iron; The Gym!

Scanty, as it’s Monday and many were prepared for today’s visit and not workout. We started the day and week with back and biceps; two of my training mates were supposed to go out on today’s visit, they had to changed back into the gym clothes and get about today’s business with me.

We did very well with the weights, and I was careful with my lower back as I’m not still 100 percent ok to do all forms of exercises that requires the use of lower back. Rounded up with abs and stretched out before hitting the cell.

Our lunch cart came with salads, rice and sausages chopped into bits and made into soup-like broth. Went for the salad; loads of it, made oatmeal + cinnamon + Banana + honey + peanut butter (power house) and filling. That’s good enough postworkout meal. Later had the salad with more salad that came on the dinner cart, added the hard boiled eggs that came on the breakfast cart (glad my cellmates aren’t so keen about boiled eggs, they prefer fish as they are from coastal area of Colombia 😉

Had more of the salad before hitting my bunk around 9pm, slept till 11pm and up to use the loo, and that ended my sleep. Stayed up with a cup of green tea and cinnamon tea until my #ClashOfClans gaming mate joined me to start his battles, by 3am his gaming partner joined him. Friggin baffles me how someone will leave his sleep and burn the night playing some friggin game that you ain’t paid a dime for. But then, to survive the dilemma of doing time in such a place like this, you definitely must have something to keep you busy; and for them it’s gaming, first it was candy crush, now it’s #ClashOfClans. Another cellmate is obsessed with porns; photos and videos, just bought a 32GB microSD card and he’s loading it with all sorts of porn; downloaded and ones sent by his many online women 😉

If anyone has told me, there’s no-one with porn of any sort in their phones in this pavilion, I won’t believe him. Even the so-called pastors are busy helping themselves; the one next door to my cell is huge collector of porn, guess a man is a man and must do what men does.

But, just one person is yet to become like us; my new and elderly cellmate, been here for over three months now and still finding hard to adapt and adopt; prison is no place to adopt, but when you have to do some long time, you definitely have to adapt and adopt for your good, safety and survival.

The old lad came up to me as I was about reading some pages from Stieg Larsson’s debut novel ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’, excused me and asked if he can ask me something. I told him to fire on, he asked, ‘what can he do to fit into the life in the system like I’m doing?, he said ‘he doesn’t feel good about himself, doesn’t talk to anyone except his in-law who happened to be in with him, but in a different cell. Talked about how his mind is doing him; having the 6-yard stares, can be lost in translation 😉 serious case, he’s got there! Need help asap! But Fcuk, he won’t get any help here.

Well, prison journey is always a personal one, as I have seen friends broke up upon entering here, everyone to his way. I shared with him the one secret that has kept me going for five odd years, but also years that I have learned from.

What I shared with him:

Always be positive, no matter what news you heard; from lawyers and even from home. None of those negative news will change your situation here. On hearing that, he showed me a whatsapp conversation he had with his kid brother, who happened to be psychologist/sociologist, on the message was the exact words I told him, but in spanish ;-).

Secondly, told him, to while away time, he must engage himself with something that gives him positive energy and at the same time uses the best part of his time. Explained to him, why I have become a gym addict, made him understand, it’s not just the look of being ripped and muscular, but also the health benefits and feelings that comes from working out or exercises. Told him, there are innumerable.

Thirdly, told him, he’s the only stranger in the cell, despite the fact that, I’m literally the only stranger in the cell as the others are Colombians with him, though they are two non-colombians upstairs, but inside the cell, it’s all Colombians, but we live like one dysfunctional family; eat together, share jokes, talk about women, sports, politics, food, we argue a lot, but no physical confrontation and we drink together when it calls for it. The old lad just couldn’t figure it out, but that’s our secret of #StayingAlive.

Also added; stay away from problems with people outside the cell, but if it comes, I for one will be at your back, there’s a reason I’m called #BigBlack 😉

With that, I invited him to join me in the gym, I will take him through routines for men his age; doubt if he’s ready to do that.

Finally, my porn-addicted cellmate chipped in, he has to spice up his phone experience by venturing into the other side, to where pleasures is attained but solo ;-), the old lad laughed, told us, he doesn’t have any of those and doesn’t want it. Got us all laughing, but then, it might be good for him, as the porn thing is not helping my porn-addicted cellmate; he ends his days with red high from high blood pressure after spending the day viewing countless bytes of porn but from know women and unknowns. He has tried all sort of remedies; prescribed, and now using garlic to help with both cholesterol and blood pressure, but it seems none is working. Our pharmacist-cellmate has suggested that we try a new cure for him; he should stop viewing naked women and fat pu**y for two weeks, while we monitor his blood pressure for the two weeks. If it goes down, then we know what the source of his problem is. But the old lad can’t do without his saucy caliente collections.

We only hope that, what he loves most doesn’t kill him. With that, we left our new cellmate to himself and his fate as he makes his journey to redemption like everyone here.

So much can happen in one day in the life of an inmate, if you only have the time to take note of all the happenings.

Finally, left the gamers and back to bed after an early morning chat with schat and the kids around 4am on Tue, 28 Oct 2014, but difficult to sleep.

Finally allowed nature to take hold of me as I snoozed off!

Tue, 28 Oct 2014

Sleeping that late doesn’t stop me from getting up to my daily activities.

Probably got four hours of good sleep, and up for the day. Still tensed in the pavilion as we await cops storming on us any moment.

But thank God for the weather, it’s been raining heavily lately and once it’s like that, we are sure the cops won’t risk coming down; escape risk.

Up and about my rituals, but no electricity as my cell is among some cells that has been thrown into an early morning blackout, and it was my fan that stopped working that actually woke me up.

No hot tea, but made lemonade with freshly pressed oranges and honey; guess something I will need in the gym, later on. Drank the lemonade with egg sandwich (using the hard boiled eggs from monday’s breakfast; my cellmates aren’t too keen about boiled eggs, thus, I always get the better part of them).

Don’t know if electricity  will be restored, but have my meal schedule for the day; after workout, will go for whatever comes on the lunch cart, would need white rice for fast carbs, which I can eat with peanut butter, if I’m lucky and gets some legumes, good, if not pick and select whatever comes.

Hit the gym, for chest and triceps; I try combing chest and triceps, Back and biceps and then one day for full arms both biceps and triceps and also add legs to the arm’s day routine.

The workout was great, my training partners are gradually adjusting to my methods of training; thanks to my incessant research and reading, my well of knowledge is growing and flowing like a spring 😉

I tried avoiding the weights hoarders as i’ve been brawling with them lately over their hoarding weights and not using them. And I got them staring at me with what I can do with little or not weights and I believe it’s called ‘improvisation’. I had expected them as prisoners to learn to adapt, adopt and improvised, but these ones are lazy-ass crooks who can’t do anything without guns or knives. Back in the days when were always locked up; we used our water tanks for weight training, push-ups on the floor, dips was done between two facing bunks beds, sit-ups was done in turns and at the end of an hour or two, one has gotten a badass monstrous workout.

These lads came when we had fought and had the authorities authorised our equipment; we jointly bought everything, now they are here trying to outsmart us. Sometimes, I just love to see them repeat the same routines day in and day out and expect results 😉

Back in after an excruciating workout, enough water both from the system and rainfall, but our new problem of electricity means we aren’t cooking; we managed to get things cooked in the cell of mate. Some cells have electricity, while most are in total blackout, but glad I bought a very long extension cable when I did; with that, we could connect from the next cell and use our fans at night and also charge our phones.

Spent the day reading until it got dark, then switched to reading saved articles on my phone. And later stayed up late to chat with schat and the kids as they are on their mid-term break.

Wed,  29 October 2014

Our weekly headcount and also the postponed visit of Monday will be held today; wonder which of the dope head cops decided to shift the visit to Wednesday when they know it’s the prison weekly headcount’s day. How they will get this done, friggin don’t know. Will wait and see as the day unfolds.

Got water boiled in a mate’s cell, had to drop our stove with him, so it will be much easier. Finally made me a pipping hot brew of green tea and cinnamon. That’s a good start for the day!

Had the tea with peanut butter sandwich, should give me enough fuel for today’s shoulders routine and some legs work.

Rushed through my workout; went heavy but watchful and careful with my lower back and the sciatica pain, which always give me painful sleepless night.

Rushed through the workout, and back in; had to hustled for food as I was starving. Salad came on the lunch cart, picked enough and also some white rice and chili con carne, but made with prisoners in their mind. Rushed through me meal and about to hit the shower, then the whistle went off; our weekly headcount.

Couldn’t take my shower, so I went out to do some few reps on the monkey bars behind the pavilion; did some sets of dips also, added lunges and push-ups to complete the routines.

The cops were very efficient today as it went smooth and everyone was accounted for. Back in, and went in for my much-needed shower. Then came the list for the visit that was supposed to be held on Monday. The lads were called, but had to wait as a second list was still on its way. Finally, the list came and the lads marched out for the much-needed visit to replenish their depleted provisions.

Just before the lads left for visit; the notorious pavilion 15, were having visit in pavilion 8. But the stupid cops out of sheer negligence forgot that, the lads from pavilion 15 are housed separately in wings which has concrete walls separating them. Thus, they can only utter curses at each other with any physical contact.

But their today’s visit; which was a massive blunder from the cops, had all the lads from the wings having visit come out together and mixed up with their enemies. A recipe for violence.

During the visit, one of the lads from the opposing gang was able to sneak and concealed a knife, which he used and stabbed another inmate from the other side, right in the presence of the stabbed lad’s sister who came to visit him.

From what we later heard and pictures taken by cops on their way to hospital, the lad died, as the stab was just one tiny incision to the heart. It was a fatal one that sent the lad off to the other side. The killer will definitely get more time added to whatever he has, for him, there’s much satisfaction in taking the other lad’s life.

The sister who witnessed the incident will be traumatised, probably for the rest of her life and Panama will never provide counselling to help her through the healing process.

Well, such is our lives and paths!

Sat, 1 Nov 2014

It’s #Movember month, and soon the year is over, time to start taking stock of what one has done, accomplished throughout the year; one’s inputs and outputs!

Most importantly for us #Lockup, it’s our survival that matters most, not many will survive the few days or weeks before the year ends. Like the lad that was stabbed and died from the stab wound; he’s probably had made plans for Christmas and next year, but won’t be here to fulfil those plans.

Slept late this morning, but have to wake up as the lads will be cleaning and washing the cell today.

Got up and moved my stuffs, left for Upstairs with a cup of green tea, stayed up till they finished, then I got down and got my stuffs in. Made oatmeal, ate and showered and friggin climbed back to get some sleep.

Slept, only wake to pick ‘n select what I deemed healthy on the lunch cart; shredded carrot, friggin look dirty, had to wash them before eating them with some rice.

Another cup of green tea, did some reading before heading back to bed. No workout for me on Saturdays and Sundays. But if the door is thrown open, I might go out for some bouts of open air workout.

A lad who upon getting here and full of life, but sooner than we thought developed depression. Once met me, trying to build a relationship. Seeing him train several times in the gym and after hearing all his lies that he was a personal trainer but got involved with the wrong lads; narcos!

And then, saw his training methods; he talks much about using machines, then I knew he was no personal trainer. Lad knows no shit about the body dynamics. Anybody who walks in here and not blind will know there’s no machines except the human ones churning lies and living those lies 😉

We adapt, adopt and improvised to survive and also to stay fit and healthy, well, for those of us who cares as many will rather have the gym hours taken from us, so they can sit all day gossiping and gambling.

A secret to happiness is letting every situation be what it is instead of what you think it should be, and then making the best of it #Lockup

Well, after several meetings with the lad; gave me his memory card to load it with my type of music. That was after he had asked me, how I stay happy in the midst of gloom and sorrow in this place. Well, told him, #1 is my family, they are my strength, once they are fine and happy, I’m good as gold. Secondly, I have found what to do that keeps me busy and I find passion and love in doing those things, namely; the gym (friggin addicted), reading (anything scribbled on papers, online, even cartons of cereals, writing (scribbling something down also helps relieves build up tensions), listening to music (Oh! God, what would life have been without access to #GoodMusic or good noise? Will be left to torments from the noises of the lads), and finally, I keep little or no companies; after gym, every fox to his own hole.

Told him, that’s how I have survived five odd years behind bars.

But the lad lost it, went mental; started like my compatriot who also went mental, large studio earphones on his ears, even in the gym; singing loud along with the songs he’s listening to. Then he switched to reading the bible (exactly what my compatriot did), and finally, he started hitting the bottle nights after nights, along with snorting. Then I knew he was done. Stopped training, but got his cellmates staying up all night as they were scare, he might do something crazily stupid.

Finally, two nights ago, after much drinking and snorting, he resorted to get indulged and satisfy his fleshy need or primal urge 😉

Seeking the service of our ladee; as we heard from Intel, it was meant to be a 50/50 affairs. He did his first, the shagging part, and our ladee demanded he gets on knees and bow to the reigning queen with a shaft; he went about gracefully but ended up being too excited about the whole royal affair and bit our queen’s shaft. Shd didn’t take it lightly, as she is beeing walking awkwardly 😉 bit crooked 😉

Out of shame, the lad decided to move out of the pavilion, but little does he know, wherever he goes, his stories goes with him; the lads got nothing doing than talk and talk, till it turns into verbal brawls 😉 and could escalate into physical #PrisonViolence.

“Fields can lie fallow, but we can’t; we have less time.” ~ Mignon McLaughlin, (The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966)

Well, I’ve got my sleep to do, wish him well with his time; hope he realise that we have so much time to do but little at or disposals to use and to make the change we all desire.

Bits of drinking here and there, but very hot in the pavilion and no water, but we have enough for the day. Hope there will be some tomorrow. Till then, we will use what we have now and survive the day.

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable. ~Sydney J. Harris

It is better to trust and be disappointed once in a while than it is to distrust and be miserable all the time. ~ Abraham Lincoln