The company that I am working with along with the employees who decided to join up, gathered some gifts to share and to spread the spirit of Christmas to our chosen beneficiary which is the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Maa, Davao City.
The team decided to collect wishes and grant them from the chosen detainees from a specific cell provided to us by the officials of the BJMP which has 22 inmates and that includes a two years 19-year-old detainee. As the wishes were basically grocery items which was written on a piece of paper; were laundry detergents, basic daily needs such as shampoos, soap, toothpaste, coffee, sugar, noodles, slippers and TOILET bowl. Thinking, I realized how difficult it is to be in prison here in the Philippines as compared to other countries. I thought while collecting these wishes on the supermarket- they’ve received too little from the country. I’ve heard that each person in prison receives only Php15.00 a meal each day. The thing is that, never commit any crime to avoid being in jail especially if you are in the Philippines, well in any place that is. But seeing these people here, I can’t really define what to feel.
I was a little skeptical at first picturing in my mind to come and join the men in jail and was dumped with an absurd idea that they’d harassed us. It’s generally normal for a person to keep himself / herself safe from harm as I was thinking seeing us nearing the jail hall. To reach the assembly hall, which is the chapel, we have to cross a very narrow path bridge wrapped in barbed wire on each side and on to a building packed with detainees on yellow shirts. On the other side of the bridge, we went under the building using an eight stepped stair and walk through a bunch of prisoners which we consciously feel that all of their eyes are on us maybe because we were the only persons in white among the hundreds probably thousands of men wearing yellow shirts. But then again, we felt a little homage once inside the chapel for there were some of the trusted inmates who took care of us including the jail warden who happens to be one of my co-worker’s eye candies. The gift giving went fluent and the beneficiaries, who wrote us some letters, met their wishes and I bet they’ve at least felt a little happiness during the gift giving. It was a nice experience actually, but I still have no clue whether to visit here again or not. We left the city jail filled with a cacophony of voices inside our hearts.
I was almost influenced by a person to not to do this charity. I’ve heard someone said ‘why would we help them when they are already being punished by the law?” or something like that. He / she have a point. These people committed a crime which put them behind bars but that doesn’t mean they still don’t deserve to at least have a decent meal?
Well, hunger is the worst sensation there is. What more than being forgotten?
My lesson for the day and I would not have learned this if I decided to stay in the office: NO ONE really deserves to be alone in this world. Not you, definitely not me, and not them.
I posted some of the pictures here minus the faces of the inmates to pay respect with their identities.