CHRISTMAS IN PRISON
Christmas is a season of joy, of exchanging gifts and pleasantries, of greeting one another, of renewing vows of love and friendship. In other words, it is a period when one embraces charity, kindness and compassion. This is the air that pervades in the free community.
In prison, there is no such air. How can a prisoner feel Christmas when he is serving time in a facility he cannot even call home? How can he rejoice the yuletide season when he is encircled by people he never knew from Adam. Try eating while people with hostile background are around you and you will get the point. You probably might feel that you are a tube where on one end something is introduced and in another it exits unceremoniously.
While it is true that during the season, prisoners are inspired to fashion out Christmas décor in various proportions, the holiday aura is definitely missing. Worst, it is at this point when thoughts of prisoners are focused on escaping! The prison community therefore is gripped with tension, enveloped with stress and strained with security restrictions. It is one stretch of a yearly break where prison administration is distressed with the weight of anxiety, hassled by endless stream of worry and anticipating the trauma of prison violence.
Christmas unfortunately, with its sacred significance is lost in the consciousness of prison life. Sometimes it is used as reference for soliciting gifts, at times made as template for indulging prison volunteers on their crusade for repentance but on the whole, it is just a passing period whence prisoner would base the length of their stay in prison.
Christmas in prison? Ask me about it—- once all prisons are empty.
As I was browsing on my facebook account I was amazed at one picture. It is about two dogs, sleeping soundly and wrapped in satin blanket. Naalala ko tuloy yung alaga kong monkey sa Iwahig when I was then its Superintendent.
Ganun din kung matulog, naka-kumot at naka-musketero pa. Marunong na rin kumain gamit ang kubyertos. Minsan nagulat ako kasi nagbabasa na at natiempuhan ko pa na nagsusulat. BINUGBOG KO NGA! Isipin mo gusto pa akong unahan mag enroll sa doctorate course.
Sometimes I cannot help but be tormented with the information about a friend who was sent on a critical evacuation to the nearest hospital. Well, not just one actually but several as if they have conspired to assault the serenity of the emergency room. Most of them my age and the rest are younger by several years. Their ailments are common for those in their mid life—high blood pressure, cardiac vein blockade, diabetes, liver cirrhosis, pancreatic defects, ulcer, cancer, lung trouble, etc., name it, and the catalogue is there, the list seemed endless. Looked like all my friends subdivided all ailments due those in our age range and now they all troop to the hospital for confirmation.
What staggered my friends is the cost of hospitalization. Admission is a shocker already. Add the laboratory and initial examination, the basic medical and related supplies, then one suspects already that he lived to earn that which he intends to pay in one day what for decades he scrimped for hard work.
Most if not all my friends are hearty eaters. The loved good foods: tasty, nutritious and everything included in the pamphlet for delicatessen. And they do not only pamper themselves with the flavor and tang, they literally empty everything that passes through their fancy. In other words, they eat not only a mouthful, but a lot. That for me is where the trouble begins. When the food ingested is not burned, it becomes toxic. Once it becomes poison, then the internal organs of the body suffers. The person gets sick and not only sick in a passing way, but treacherously sick. That explains why those who do not feel well would never walk slowly for check up; they are brought in a stretcher!
The Christmas season, its celebratory façade, may be blamed. Everything nutritious abound. Prosperity is artificially created to establish accomplishment and everyone is enjoined to partake. That is where ailments are triggered. Good food flows everywhere. Plus holidays and merry making. It is enough fuses to ignite an explosive period on one’s health. And usually, the explosion pushes one inside the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital!
I don’t know but this season, I intend to fast for my friends.