Sixth Christmas and New year in the Joint! And journeying into the sixth year of incarceration.

“Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor.” – Dr. Alexis Carrel #LifeExperience #Changes 

20:22:39 Sat, 3 Jan 2015 
Chaos was the natural law of the universe. Indifference was the engine of entropy. Man’s apathy was the fertile ground in which the dark spirits tended their seeds. Darkness feeds on apathy……. and conviction is our most potent antidote.  Perhaps the truth is not learned by us, but rather, the truth is re-called, remembered, recognised… as that which is already inside us.

My sixth Christmas and New year in the joint, came and gone. It hasn’t been an easy sail, a rough one which has given me strength to maneuver the rough sea and tough waves as they come daily. I guess life’s ordeals either makes or breaks one, and I refused to be broken by this one-time bitter experience, instead, I’m using it to build a very strong resolve and principle to guide me here and my post-prison life; what doesn’t kill you, make you stronger. 

The transition from 2014 to 2015 went smoothly despite all the intels of impending search by cops. It was relatively quiet and peaceful, well can’t say much about the local inmates who are like dormant and sleeping volcanoes waiting to explode at any moment. And that’s exactly what happened; the new director with his new team, set up military style rules to seal up all loopholes and stopped things from coming, not even our Christmas or New year’s food were allowed in. But whatever he put place to secure the prison perimeters were humans, and as all humans, they have wants and needs; money exchanged hands, blind eye turned, goods and good stuffs were allowed in, along the good stuffs are also the bad ones. It was one of the most meagre Christmas season since my incarceration, but it went down well as we improvised as we always do. Glad there was visit on the week of Christmas, thus, enough meats which I controlled and took us through Christmas day. Others did get to buy special-smuggled in turkeys and hams; and also at special over-the-top prices 😉 

Despite the noises made by the cops and all those involved in running the prisons on security and weeding the prisons system of all type of corruptions, loads of booze and whatever needed to keep the lads in check and happy flowed in like water through a broken dam’s wall. Somebody need those things, and someone gotta buy gifts for his kids, those business continues as usual.  

Many like me celebrated Christmas on a very low profile; no elaborate dining or special drinks, we just improvised on whatever we could lay our hands on. Others with proper contact had turkeys, ham brought in. I was fortunate enough to buy a Christmas fruit cake which we ate on the 25th evening, had mine with custard pudding 😉 

Though we had some meats leftovers from the visit that was on Monday; days before Christmas, since I was cooking, I was able to managed the meats and used the last pieces for a Christmas sauce with white rice. Served it purposes very well, others weren’t that fortunate and the prison food was absolute rubbish; in the past, we used to get pork chops (Chuletas) on Christmas and New year’s day, but not anymore since a Colombia firm was given contract to feed prisoners; apparently, they are feeding, but fats, carbs and rubbish which in most cases sends inmates to toilet with diarrhoea. 

Since cops and wardens were arrested on the run up to Christmas with lot of money, getting money in has been very hard, though many still find a way. But it left me broke and dependent or fallen as I went on credit. Couldn’t brew wine from welch’s grape juice, but decided to fix a tank of mash for a gallon of liquor. My mates has about twelve tanks full of mashes which were all distilled within three days; three or four tanks a night, and they also did mine. Had to infused mine during the distillation process with spices to give it a different taste and flavour. And finally infused the final product with extra spices to make it into dry gin. My end product wasn’t that bad, much better than what the lads are drinking; pure and straight as it’s distilled. 

Sun, 4 Jan 2015
Being our rest day, though some crazy ones can decide to make it noisy by hitting the botttle. Having slept a bit late, decided to just lie back as other went about their morning rituals, it’s so funny how we live; my mates tends to sleep until they hear the first man wakes up and then everyone began their day; as always, I always sit back or simply lie, watch and wait for them to round up before I take my turn, whereas they just stood behind eacch other hurrying the man infront without uttering a word. It will take a while for them to learn that mornings aren’t the right time to step on someone’s toes 😉 

The went quietly for me; spent my time deep into the novel I just picked up, after I finished writing an article for mmy facebook page 😉 

In-between reading, kept up with the world through my smartphone, quite a lot is happening and they are happening pretty fast, for someone locked away without access to technology as we do, he will be sturned upon re-entering into society on how far the world has gone and what he has missed by the time he spent in his time-capsule or vacuum.  This brings into mind; for proper rehabilitation and resocialisation of inmates, such process should start the moment one is incarcerated. But, in most cases, the authorities wait till time is done, then they start with such process, then, it’s too late to undo what incarceration has done; the scar! 

Having access to medium like our smartphones with internet access, one can keep up with world’s event, be in the now and access to educational materials which are enormous in the www! 

Despite our inhumane conditions, we are blessed that corruption here affords us the luxury of owning phones along with other undesirables. For some of us, the phone is a tool, a weapon and it has become one with us; most spend their day with heads bowed to the screens of their phones, tablets or laptops. Whatever they do with them, is left for them, as for me, I know the countless benefits of owning a smartphone with internet access in prison; faraway from my loved ones and with desire to learn new things. So far, so good, each phone I have owned here has really served their purposes. 

Mon, 5 Jan 2015 
The gym has been closed as the lads sleeping in the hall wouldn’t want to pack up and give us access to train. Thank God, the cop on duty throughout the holiday period wasn’t a difficult one, as he allowed us to train outside in the field. Well, he did it as he knows one good turn deserves another;  he will be going home smiling with his pocket stufffed with money from inmates for being nice to us. Any cop on duty that proves stubborn always go home empty-handed 😉 

The early group took the gym first and my group later called in around 10am, was thinking of an all-body #HIIT workout, but the lads just love chest, thus, they got all the stuffs ready. We went on to have a good chest and triceps workout. Being a visit day, and which was a quick one, one of my mate was able to join us after his visit, together we had a good workout; mixing cardio, abs with weights as we wait for turns. It was a good way to begin the year, while others were still drinking or sleeping over their hangovers from incessant revelling.

Being our visit, we will get to eat proper street-cooked or home-cooked food, not our prison type. 

Two of my cellmates went up and back with loads of things I wouldn’t ask anybody visiting me to bring for me; biscuits (sugary, would rather asked for rice cakes, or oats cookies or rye bread), uncooked rice (sells pretty cheap here, one can also buy from the locals who nicked from the kitchen….very cheap), vegetable oil, when one can bring in olive oil, white bread (would’ve preferred whole wheat), fried pork skin (what on earth will one want to pile up unhealthy fats, when he could get healthy steak; lean cut). Well, it just shows how unhealthy they eat back home. But then, what can I say, as I’m not the one buying; I did pass some of the meats. Can’t afford to spoil all my hard-earned workouts by eating something I know is unhealthy.  

Anyway, we did have a good meal, added raw carrots to my meal as my mates rarely cook with vegetables; can’t friggin believe that people who live right in the jungle of amazon and with vegetation all around them, don’t friggin know how to eat vegetables. I will friggin eat grasses if they weren’t any here 😉 

They rather prefer fried fishes or meats, fried onions and add some colouring, and top that on top of oil-fried rice (also half-cooked like the prison rice). That’s what I call a recipe to bomba, as the rice later ferments in their belly and going to toilet later on becomes suicidal 😉 

Tues, 6 Jan 2015 
Woke up and very eager to storm the gym as I really missed the feel of irons ;-), went through my morning rituals, one of my cellmates who went upstairs yesterday for the visit is cooking; thus, wouldn’t worry about my postworkout meal 😉 

Decided to hit back and biceps, went #HIIT and hardcore, didn’t spent much time as the door was kept open for those wanting to train outside. Went outside, did some stretching, sprint and yoga poses. Enjoyed the warmth of the afternoon sun. Sometimes we need that, thus, every little opportunity, one has to make use of it. 

After my badass workout today, sitting in the cell for a quick postworkout meal; 
Fight in the passage, lucho and lingote

Wed, 14 Jan 2015 
Making more presence on twitter than here, not that there aren’t interesting tales breakin up amongst us; we are tales and stories ourselves, we make things happen just like each day happens with its uncertainties.  

Lately I have been gradually doing all-night browsing, and barely get enough nap during the day; friggin noisy and it’s as hot as hell, well, that’s if there’s another hell after #Lockup. This is inferno and hell at its core, some will go to bed praying they don’t wake up to the next day with its ordeals, others will become masters of their souls and attempt to prove that by taking their lives by all means. This sort of hell is not for the faint hearted, but for those who knew what and why they are here and what they will achieve at the end if they remain to the end ‘of their prison time’. 

Our weekly census day; some prison does it daily, but our cops are too lazy to walk around the pavilions and make daily census as prisoner’s population is growing at the same rate as the country’s population, who knows, it might even be higher as the country is about 3.5 M inhabitants and prisoners population about 15000 inmates locked in overcrowded prison cells all over the country old depleted prisons. Most countries in Latin America are trying to reduce their prisoner’s population and numbers in their prison cells, but Panama is not ready for that now. They are still busy building up numbers as it matters most to them; money from donor countries. 

Back to my day, I think I slept for about 4 hours or less, not good for my health, but then what can I do? Nada! 

The noise by my cellmates woke me and had to use the loo around 7:30am, back to my bunk, thinking I can get an hour more of nap, nothing came forth as I tried every trick in the books to get my eyes close, gave up and had to wait for the lads to round up with their morning rituals before I get down with mine. It’s annoying having someone behind you hurrying you up, thus, my waiting for them to round up before I get down and about. 

Rushed through a breakfast of two fried eggs on bread and a cup of green tea. And got me ready for today’s workout; after sending some old tweets and setting up my phone to download some files. Apparently I found some old and the latest edition of #CharlieHebdo, would be nice to have a copy of that history in my hands, despite being digital, it’s still worth it. Set all my downloads and stuck the phone behind my mate’s grocery store 😉 nice spot for good signal reception. Some nights, when I have important things to download, I do leave the phone there overnight, but far from the reach of our night cowboys 😉 . When I came in from gym, some of the downloads were through, others were still busy.  

Left for the gym which was full to the brim with inmates doing whatever they feel like doing. Most are always doing the same task day in and day out; don’t they get bored of this monotonous routine, like my cellmate who does back almost everyday and only with the pull-down cable 😉 

I try keeping the lads with me guessing as to what I might be churning out next; we keep a format for two or three weeks and then we change to something else, that kills boredom. I have seen many take timeout as they got bored of doing the same thing every day. Probably they are burnt out 😉 

We got into our today’s routine; back and biceps, did shoulder yesterday. Started with normal warm up and then went straight to military press and finished all the heavy duty routines before hitting the delts with isolation workouts. We combines abs and incorporated a #HIIT format of workout to our routine; to save time and acts as our cardio as we weren’t going outside for special cardio. 

Vr 30 Jan. 2015 
22:55:05  in an hour or so, January will be over, there comes February, and the rest of the year will be rolling in adding to our #PrisonTime. Time does flies, but when one is occupied with keeping time and tiempo, then, time does the snail-race 😉 

The old man in my cell, still can’t understand how we are surviving prison, he had to put me up tonight with another mate as his subject of discussion; apparently, he told me. That he was wondering how I have survived so far; told him, he should learn to accept the reality of where he is, learn to live in the moment #CarpeDiem, seize the moment; toma el día, seize every opportunity available and don’t live in the past, but never forget the past as without it, there won’t be the present and the future! 

The lad is far older than me, but occasionally comes to me for advice, which I gladly give him for free ;-), he does know nothing is free in this #Lockup, not even our freedom, upon completion of one’s time, an inmate is still require to pay the sleazy fat and lazy ladies upstairs to get the paperwork done and also pay cops to take one out to immigration; now you know what I’m talking about. If an inmate is kind to you, he is, because he knows you have something he wants from you, it’s always favour for favour. Nobody comes to you, means you are of no use to anyone 😉 

It’s been a wonderful ride so far this year, no news from Den Haag through the embassy. Thus, we are on the wait, till whenever something comes out; if nothing happen, then we are left to finish our time, which is what most of us are gearing up for. 

I have been keeping myself busy like I have always done for the five years plus I’m here; daily workouts, reading, writing, tweeting and downloading anything and everything useful and important I could download online 😉 

My fitness has been paying off as many joined my group and more wants to join, since the beginning of the year, the number has been increasing as more inmates are looking for proper fitness group 😉 

Sat, 31 Jan. 2015 

Slept early last night, but woke up around 3am to use the loo and eventually got online, stayed up till 5am. Being saturday, and our general cleaning and washing day, the lads were about moving tanks when our alarm system went off. As always, the commotion and organised chaos was enough to get us moving, everyone to their hiding spot and stashes. Phones and whatsoever that’s is illegal were stashed and hidden away from prying eyes of cops who were taking their time to get in. 

The first set of inmates who went out were stripped down to their nudity and thoroughly search, told to squat as cops checked their behind for thing held-up down-under 😉 and they were all cuffed with plastics bands, which was later removed; friggin inhumane. 

When I finally went out, I was told to return my little bag containing my peripherals; blood pressure monitor, USB sticks of my early writings when I was at El Renacer and had access to computers. Finally out, stripped search, but a bit lessen and I made a terrible mistake by not taking my bag again as many went out with theirs; bags and containers with medication and other personal hygiene stuffs. 

Outside, we waited for hours as the cops and their dogs went plundering, searching, seizing and nicking tiny stuffs that couldn’t be reported. Our shemale refused being stripped search, she was sent in to change into something more appropriate and easier for the cops to search without getting to stripe down ;-), too bad as the lads didn’t get to see what they were waiting to see 😉 

Lots of personal items were taken during the search, my usb sticks and a universal adaptor, had to fight tooth and nail and finally got the adaptor sent back, but he usb sticks were gone for good. 

February 2015 

Spending more time tweeting and preoccupied with other issues, with little time left for my blog entries. 

The year started roughly, guess very rare to see anything good behind the walls of any prison; everything has a gloomily look, our faces and even the food, probably the only things that are happy and contented being here are our cats, as they have no knowledge of what the outside world look like outside the high-wire fences of the centre. 

Surviving prison depends on so many factors, of which few are personal; speed of adapting and adopting to the norms of life behind bars. Other factors are external ones which in most cases are beyond one’s own control. Going into my sixth year has seen me lived through all sort ills and provocation which many has failed to overcome. It takes a strong resilient willpower to wake up each day knowing where you are and what can happen at any moment of the day. 

I’m glad, the pressure of life here couldn’t bend me or reduce me to something else that I wouldn’t want to be; instead, it’s made me stronger and brought out a different man from the old me. With so much time in my hand, I have been able to advanced my quest for knowledge; reading and studying into diverse fields, and been able to use my knowledge to positively influence others. And also used my wits to avoid any negativity that should come my way. 

Meanwhile, our conditions hasn’t improved from what it has always been. Instead, with each new direction in place, newer and stricter rules are set in place to make life harder for us. Fruits and certain vegetables are no longer allowed inside the system, they have to be smuggled in like guns, drugs and knives. I have seen more pouches of marijuana and wraps of coke than I would see of fruits. Fruits and any healthy aren’t profitable, thus, those running the show won’t want trade in them. Notwithstanding, one definitely have to survive the odds. We wheel and deal through each day and survive the day, looking forward to the next day. 

This year has brought some good news with it, back home in The Netherlands, the government approved new #WOTS, repatriation plan for Dutch detainees in some Latin American countries went became effective as of 1st of January, from all I know, those with few months left into their sentences might not be elegible and my predicament with the Dutch law has always been their insisting that I’m not elegible due to the fact; at the time of my incarceration, I have written out of The Netherlands. Notwithstanding, wouldn’t mind giving it another shot, if I’m refused, then, I have to finish my time here in panama. 

Little did we know, one of our compatriots was busy with his repatriation process; apparently, he was the other Dutch detainee that got a lengthy sentence as me. In secrecy he went through the process, even at a time I asked him what he went upstairs for after his name was called; lied through his teeth, that he has liver problem; don’t wish him any ill, hope he sure knows how powerful words could be 😉 

When he was called out to be repatriated, he left another Dutch inmate in limbo, and many Colombians he owed money; which led to them rushing over his scanty properties if there was any. But the handicapped Dutch fella, just couldn’t know what to make of it; how his buddy treated him. He was left with the crumbs after the Colombians had taken everything that really matters; fan, television, telephone.  

One pained me most; he would arranged for the handicapped Dutch inmate to move into his cell and his bunk, since the fella sleeps on the floor of the gym; cold and rough. Lad can’t keep his personal stuffs around there as the young lads will steal from him; apparently, that’s how, my repatriated used up his money, he had always kept money with him, and the lad used them promising to pay back; and never did. 

Back to life here, kept doing what I have been doing to stay strong mentally and physically; daily workouts, reading, writing and trying to eat as much healthy stuffs as I can. No sugar and less processed carbs, feast more on lentils and beans which we have in abundance here and the locals inmates are keeping the smuggle line flooded with such from the kitchen; daily, tanks of rice, beans, milk, and sometimes mixed vegetables are brought in my the locals and are hawked around by their inside contacts at a price better than buying them here. 

Lately, I was able to buy two large packs of tuna, not a bad bargain, considering my workout goals and the need for protein 😉 , I also have a tank full of brown beans, which takes forever to finish. Whenever I want rice; mostly after my workouts, I always dip into the lunch cart and get a portion.  

Planned buying a tank of oats, but would love to share it with someone, for now, none is keen about oats, they rather stick to rice 😉 

On the other side of events making news in the centre; #PrisonViolence seems to be part of the locals, no day goes by without incidents ending with blood drawn or life taken. Within us, our unwritten rules has been able to hold and keep us in check, though there has been occasions when punches are thrown, but never went bloody as it does amongst the locals. After years here, something still baffles me; prisoners just love seeing each other fight themselves, whenever there’s a fight, majorities will like to see the fight continued with only a handful of us, calling or trying to put a stop to it. Well, I think it’s the kick and gush of testosterone running through us and nowhere to channel those energy to 😉 

Being locked up doesn’t stop the lads from living their lives the way they deemed fit. Drinking sessions has not changed, so long the distillers are willing to deal on credit, the buyers will always go for one more bottle, different types of weed/joint are showing up in the pavilion, with a little pouch of dried grass going up to $100, and someone will cough out that amount for his pleasure. Most will buy, repacked and sell in tiny portions to our incessant users who are sometimes 24/7 stoned. They don’t like to see themselves different, other the stoned look. Lately, there’s been the milk scam; the locals figured a way of milking us dry, they get the powder milk and mix them with white baking flour. I guess, we will fall back to buying the expensive version of powder milk from the pavilion’s groceries. 

With corruption giving us the chances to own all types of technology that money can buy (adding the cost of bringing them inside the pavilion, or the cop’s fee), and adding time which many just can’t figure out what to do with it, well,  sometimes they get to figure out, but then, it’s too late to redeem the lost ones. 

Without technology on the inside, I would have been living in the real dark age; #Lockup away from the outside world, away from sources of knowledge and the worst of all, away from my family and loved ones whom my strength has come from. Access to technology and all it offers has been more of a blessing to me and the few ones who knows what to do with it. 

Few lads are sourcing workout videos and routines from YouTube channels, new supplements from different sport nutrition websites. And most part of us are up to date with news from our different countries through our smartphones. Mobile signal has been blocked with industrial signal jammers, but we found a way around getting signal. It’s difficult, but we still get around the jammers. Making mobile phone calls requires patience; one virtue we have in abundance behind this concrete walls of ours ;-). One has to wait hours, dialling and redialling until connected. 

Along the positive influence from the use of smartphones and internet access, comes also the negative part, which seems to be turning many into porn addicts. Internet porn addiction has become one of our biggest woes here, some inmates will spend hours online, downloading porn video clips, naked photos of women, or have their friends sent some over. Others with several women or hired ladies had opportune to receive all sorts of pictures and videos, which helps the lads fulfil part of the manly duties; but through wanking. 

I have set up many twitter accounts for many here, but later found out they needed it to follow different porn twitter handles; where naked pictures of women are posted. Some can spend hours on these, others are also busy with facebook, trying to add friends of friends, people they don’t have any initial meeting or acquaintances, and this has caused many had their facebook account blocked; and back to me to help restore their accounts ;-).  

A young lad who has been here for few months jumped on the bandwagon, got few BBM Pins on his phone and numbers on whatsapp and they are porn contacts. The profile pictures are changed everyday, and some send messages requesting for phone top ups in exchange for a naked picture. Couldn’t help laughing when I read some of them as some were in English, others were in Thai and another in Indonesian. What surprised me! Was seeing photos of his little weiner on most of the convoy; lad is a tiny fella, and he friggin sent his little man to them, not knowing, those people behind the numbers and pins could be men and they are always men. There was lad who did that business here, scamming men with pictures of women, and it did paid him well; got few hundreds sent to him through western union;-)

I tried telling the lil fella, that all the messages I saw in his phone were nothing personal; whoever was sending the messages was broadcasting it to all their contacts. But the lad is not convinced, had to leave him to what makes him happy and keeps him going, or else he might fall apart someday 😉 

Anything thing that is becoming rampant in the centre is robbery; used to be more within and amongst the locals, but it’s spreading into our wings as our unwritten laws are seemingly becoming weaker. Inmates who broke these laws are never punished since they have contacts amongst the ruling council; petty thievery is on the increase, and soon it will become something like the locals in here; jungle where everyone is above the law! 

The latest incident involved one the loudest lads here, together with his gangs of night trawlers, they stole a friend’s modem; and modem is like diamond here, without it, there’s no signal. The lad later sold the modem, but as things would be, my mate has marked his modem, pictures of the serial numbers were taken and saved. When the modem was found, the inmate who bought it, was ready to return it, but wanted $120 which he paid for the modem. The case was later resolved in secrecy or behind closed doors as they were too many supposedly ‘high profile inmates’ in the pavilion that were involved in the petty crime and transaction of a modem 😉 friggin criminals!  I might be slammed up behind bars, but won’t stopped that low to nick a modem or anything at all. But these lads, they are like dogs that has gone back to its vomit; friggin no shame or whatsoever. Well, there’s never any honour among criminals! 

While my mates here are stealing modem, which on the outside is less than 10 bucks, the locals are doing break-in and robbing right under the noses of armed cops. 

Panama carnaval was barely over, and life returned to the centre on Tuesday, the 24th of Feb. The large grocery store under the admin building which was closed throughout the carnival was opened for business on that Tuesday. We placed our orders through our different grocery-runners who buys from upstairs and sell to us little interest. 

On the night of Tuesday 24th February and Wednesday, the 25th,  there was a ‘break-in’ into the grocery and the ‘supposedly thieves’ made away with a large sum of money, from all the intels and prison rumours coming in, we heard it was between $10,000 and $14,000 that was nicked in this #PrisonHeist. On hearing this, nobody would believe how inmates would break out from their cells, break into concrete walls or unlocked locks which cops would never forget locking and enter into the store and made away with such amount of money. Moreover, if I could break out of my cell, damn me if I’m not on my way for a new series of #PrisonBreak ;-), but not the locals; very comfortable on the inside than on the outside. Free food, free bunk or hammock, even those sleeping on the floor are just ok with it. And free occasionally rape of new young inmates. Talking of rape, just like it’s happening in the united of America, it’s also happening here; despite containing all the transvestites in one pavilion, there is still rape going on amongst and within the local inmate population. During the Christmas and the new year period; we heard of about three cases of forced sexual encounters amongst the locals. Such cases are nothing for the authorities, nothing was done about it. 

It also happened in our pavilion during the Christmas period; our shemale was invited to a den with young lads, they drank, smoked, and snorted all night and then the time came to relax and she wasn’t willing. We heard she was forced to do something and keep the lads happy and relaxed. After that incident she wouldn’t come out of her cell for days, as we heard she bruised and sore all over and behind. Guess it’s her fault for being the only one with DD cups on her chest, well, some men are growing men boobs also; growing fat, less testosterone, and their bodies producing more of female hormones. But the lads still prefer that of our Reina as she is willing to be touched and also ready to take the extra length 😉 

Santa Claus, the only Sikh in the village is very busy with his vegetable garden, but the lads won’t let him enjoy the fruits of his labour; his crops are dug up before he gets to do it. Lately, a prized ginger was dug up while he was napping on the edge of the garden. And a Jamaican who has spent a fortune ‘trying’ to fight an extradition request from Switzerland has just invaded his garden and seized part of the garden with all he planted. I spoke with one of the Jamaicans, and he said, it was a Jamaican who started working on the garden; on that he’s right. It was a wacko-psycho Jamaican who believed he was an adviser to Tony Blair, he could fly an aeroplane and he doesn’t need modern medicine; but always the first to line up for clinic visitation ;-)…. he was the first farmer here. He abandoned the job when he took to the bottles, damn our moonshine, a little is good and will do no harm, but if you allow it to take hold of you, it will waste you and turn you inside out. The lad is always getting a little from my distillers mate, glad he finally left after doing about seven years here. But he left incomplete as he head is messed up with all the shyte he believes in. 

Vr 27 Feb. 2015 

Earlier today, my handicapped compatriot handed me a handwritten letter which he wants me to email to a group back in The Netherlands to help with his case. It’s terrible here, and more harder and horrible for one who is handicapped. And the lad is gradually losing his sights, couldn’t see me in the cell from where he was standing. Our repatriated compatriot did very bad, leaving without arranging for the old lad to take over his bunk. And also scaming him and others off their money before leaving. Hope they don’t see him in this life again, wouldn’t be a nice #PrisonReunion 
If they ever meet again.  

It’s been a busy day for me, missed the gym as I was up all morning and had to cook a type of beans that takes forever to cook before leaving for today’s workout. Only to find out the catholic church were having a Friday’s mass. Pleaded with the cop who allowed me and others outside, had a good workout under the warmth of the sun, enjoyed the cool breeze and savoured the moment as it won’t be for long. The church was over when we got in, but with little time left, nothing could be done inside. 

Back in, food was ready, went for just beans and pumpkin which I cooked before leaving for gym; lately I have to cook my postworkout/lunch meals before leaving for gym.  Enough for my postworkout meal. Others had theirs with their oiled rice, don’t understand their food 😉 , any normal thinking person in our condition will be counting calories and watchful of whatever he eats, but not my fellow inmates. There are certain food one shouldn’t even think of; deep fried pork skin chicharrón,  and their cuisine revolves around fried and processed foods. We might not have the choice or luxury of choosing what we eat. Sometimes, plain lentils or beans does come on the cart, many ignored and indulge in the half-cooked rice. And we fortunate to have the locals steal from the kitchen and sell to us almost anything that is nickable 😉 meats, rice, beans, black-eye peas, milk, oats, packed tunas and even knives ;-).  

Today’s Friday was unlike others, it’s was graveyard-quiet in the pavilion, our beer tavern was shut, I believe their brew/mash is not ready to be sampled. Though others were doing their things, but keeping a low profile as not to disturb others, if everyone should be doing like them, it will be a very peaceful place here. But then, we are prisoners, and prisoners are very difficult misunderstood ones; most are walking volcanoes, waiting to erupt at any little upset. 

Have placed an order for a new battery for my phone; can’t use the phone without keeping it plugged, the battery doesn’t last an hour or two after fully changed. There’s just one lad with contact to bring in things and he’s very expensive. The cost of getting the battery and getting it would be enough to buy a simple phone, we pay through our teeth for everything that is of importance to the one in need. 

Took my third shower around 1am (saturday morning), it’s so hot that some might be sleeping sans clothes, took a while before nature took me from the reality into the dream world. 

Saturday, 28 February 2015 
Being our general cleaning day, had to wake up early and set my stuffs so the lad cleaning can get on with his work. The washing and cleaning went pretty fast; we try to stay clean, but our #1 problem is personal hygiene, not too many have a clue what personal hygiene is all about. And this has got me always lecturing my cellmates on personal hygiene; when I found out that my pharmacist-cellmate doesn’t wash his hands after using the loo, couldn’t hide it, told it to his face. Hope he does wash his hands now 😉 

Decided to hit the gym while others were busy in the cell with whatever they have to do to keep them looking busy and occupied.  

The gym hall was washed and cleaned; since inmates who couldn’t find space in the cells or on top of the cells or build extra beds on top of our toilets sleeps on the floor of the gym hall, they have to keep it clean. They don’t just sleep there, they live there; the hall is now divided into two parts. One part serves as a multi-purpose hall; both catholic and evangelical church services are held there, the gym works there from Monday to saturday, handball, basketball and indoor football sessions are held inside that small part of the gym hall. 

In diversity we have learned to accept each other, adapt and adopt to different type of life in prison. At first everything seem impossible, but with time, like they say “with time, everything takes shape and gets in place”, with time, everyone of us learn to live a new life on the inside; living by prison code of conduct and practice (the latter, which is cunningly by nature was probably acquired from outside ;-)). 

Had a very good workout today as many didn’t show up; focused more on Olympic lifts and then worked through an all-body routine. My training partners joined me, and we rounded our week on a very good note. Usually, Saturday and Sunday are our day off, but couldn’t resist today as we missed out yesterday because of the impromptu catholic mass that started during our workout time slot. 

Back in, the lads had rice like always, and beans from yesterday was still there, was too wasted to go those. Made cold cereals + peanut butter + cinnamon + raisins and that was what my body craved for then. Enough water to shower and wash my gym wears, wanted to clean and oil my fan, but was too knackered to do that today. I guess, that will be my task tomorrow sunday (1st of March 2015)

After shower, was lucky to get some ice as there was no ice today, enough to keep me cool, blood hot! 

A quick nap early in the evening was what I needed to recuperate a bit from the workout. Woke up around 8pm drench in sweat, had to rushed through another shower. 

Another quiet night, likely the taps are all dried out, shows how the lads can drink. Well, with nothing to do and not much is offered, someone gotta get busy keeping mind and body together 😉 

Knowledge is a tool, and like all tools, its impact is in the hands of the user. 

Sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes to see the light. And that little change could be from one’s point of view; quite a lot can be seen through the iron bars of prisons, either behind or from outside. 

Like tattoos over scars to cover up a reminder of an accident, one has to develop personal power and take back control of his/her life after setbacks.  

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” – Albert Pike


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