Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Entering Pavon Prison (Pavon Prison Part 1)

We were told that it would be impossible to get into prisons without notifying people a week a head of time. We knew that God was bigger than the system so we prayed and decided to go to the prison directly to ask for permission. The guards told us that they could get us in the next day without any problems.

As we approached the prison the next day our 46 year old female translator told us that she had gotten her will in order the night before...just in case. We laughed on the outside, but wandered if we were really ready for what the day had in store for us.

When we entered the prison a sense of being FULLY ALIVE began to run through my veins. The words, "I was born for this" quietly uttered out my mouth as we entered through the gate. To my surprise we were quickly greeted by some Christian inmates. They welcome us to PRISON. As we entered deeper into this razor wired jungle I noticed that there are no guards, and apparently few rules inside the gates. The whole interior was ran by inmates. It was like walking into SONA on the TV series Prison Break. Inmates were making food, calling people on their cell phones, watching big screens, and making hammocks.

Read more on this SONA style prison in the New York Times here. I am not sure why Pavon has decided to let the inmates regain control again. You would think that 2006 would have changed everything.

It was no surprise to me that this prison had gotten out of control just two years prior with prostitution and the use of drugs for a currency. The prison next door, Pavoncito, also had a brutal recent history. Just three months ago inmates decapitated fellow inmates and placed their heads on sticks to make a statement. We had originally wanted to go to Pavoncito, but the Lord seemed to be paving the way for us to enter Pavon.

Now that we had made it into the gates we had to wrestle with the big question, "What now Lord?"