Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Prisons in Guatemala are not the same as the ones in the United States, at least the one I visited. When you walk into the prison you have your passport with you. Prison officials take your passport, look it over and then put a stamp on your hand saying that you are a visitor so that you can be let back out of the prison. Not to bad. Except they keep your passport.... and if your stamp wears off your hand you could possibly spend time in the prison while everything gets straightened out. So you walk in the prison following a guard carrying a sawed-off shot gun. You follow him into a room that they probably use to serve meals in or something that one side is open to the "outside" which is the courtyard in the middle of the prison. So everyone gets situated and we talk to our interpreter a little. I look around and our guard has disappeared. So we are with about 45 or so prisoners with no guard with us. Fun. I look across the court yard and spot two guards standing in the corners on top of the fence holding their shotguns. Great. Like they can make it over to this room in time if something breaks out. And I am the one who is suppose to be talking in front of these guys. Now, what is the last thing you think a prisoner wants to hear from a greengo? Hmm, you might have guessed it right. They don't want to hear that they are a guilty prisoner. Guess what. That is what I told them they were. I compared them to the prisoners on the cross next to Jesus. I asked which one they wanted to be. The one that died not acknowledging Christ or the one that accepted Christ during his last hour(s) on Earth.