Friday, 9 September 2011

Shopping in Prison

So one day in the Philippines, we went to visit a prison. 

An actual working prison, full of real inmates…so I say visit in the chaplaincy sense, rather than as a guided tour… :P

Anyway, so I gave a testimony, like, this is what has been happening in my life…learn a lesson from it. 

They were a good crowd.

My opening line - "I'm going to tell you about a fight I had" - received a hearty roar of approval, hahaha.

But alas for you, this is not the tale I'm going to tell. 

Instead, it is this:

In the prison, so the inmates have something to do and have a way to earn money*, they weave. Ok, it's not quite weaving…it's like decorative wall hangings made from coloured brush…things…I clearly can't describe properly, look at the picture:

 [ooh, niiice...]

And instead of simply saying, "we support you", we decided to demonstrate this sentiment, by browsing and buying some of their work, which was hanging outside their cells. At first it was a little intimidating, I don't lie, but the following conversation indicates it didn't stay that way for long:

Friend: Let me see your picture frame. Oh wow, yours has writing on. 

Me: Yeah, nice right? They did for me.

Friend: What? Who did? Just now?

Me: The guy who made it. He asked if I wanted my name on it, but I asked for Benguet instead [name of the province].

Friend: Oh cool, do you think he can write on mine too?

Me: Yeah. 

Friend: Really? Oh...which shop did you go to? Take me to that shop?

Me: … do you mean which cell..?

Take you to that shop??? Hahaha, such a nice mall we found….I wonder if the shopkeeper is inside for rape or murder…? 

[at the "shop"...]


* You, like I did, may wonder why one needs to earn money in prison…simple answer is that many still need to support their families on the outside, so send the money home, others save it so they have something to survive on when they get out. Although I don't deny there may be cigarettes in the meantime… :P

Also a side note, some of the inmates may well be proven not-guilty for their crimes, as many of them wait years, serving time, whilst their cases sit in the paperwork pile, until a court date is found for the hearing…boo. 

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