Saturday, November 29, 2008

Behind Bars

Well, today was one of the more difficult days in my life as far as experiences go. My friends Jacob, Joel, and I visited a womens prison here in Quito. Things are much different here than in the US. We arrived at the prison with a bag of clothes to give to the prisoners there. We had no idea how bad things were, and I guess we were slightly unprepared for what we saw. The clothes were accepted with more gratitude than we could have imagined, but we sonn started to hear the stories of the women staying there. In Ecuadors prison system, you must pay for everything you have in the jail. If you have no money or no family to give you money, you have no bed, covers, soap, etc. NOTHING...the only thing you get for free is three bowls of rice a day, with a tiny portion of chicken. We talked to one girl who was from Estonia and was in there for 7 years, because her boyfriend planted a small amount of marijuana in her bag. Most of the women in there were in there because of drugs or prostitution, and were serving multiple years. If you have money, things are much easier, but those without money are left to basically fend for themselves. It´s a terrible balance that exists, but justice is a much different word here. The other problem is the massive corruption among the prison guards..Its even so bad that the poorer inmates often serve lengthier sententces just because they lack the funds to bribe the proper offiicials. We are taking a collection of money, clothes, and bathroom supplies at the hostel here, and are making a return trip next week to bring them some more items, hopefully to brighten there day if only a little. We are also planning a trip to the mens prison in the near future, and from what we here the conditions there are even worse. I just wish there was more that we could do. It really makes you appreciate the freedom you have, and the simple things in life that they may never get to experience again.


Anonymous said...

Need to keep testing my blog. Not working as I want it to yet. Thx for the theme. Maybe this will get mine to look better..

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