A widow mother selling Methamphetamine that led her to cold rusty prison bars.
It was a dark afternoon of Thursday last August 10, 2016 around one o'clock. As I've walked through the sun-soaked road of the Provincial Rehabilitation Center of the North part of Tagum City. When I arrived at the gate, I became hesitant. Butterflies started to rumble inside me which almost pulled me from going .However, overwhelmed by the thought of interviewing someone inside the penal.
At first glance, I saw a police officer roaming around the premises while some inmates are exercising and some are having "videoke" together with their visitors in the lounge. Minutes later, I was led to a cell.
Inside, I saw a group of women (not dressed in the usual orange uniform with large P sign at the back) of different ages. To break the awkward atmosphere, I initiated the exchange of casual chitchats. After gaining enough confidence, I asked them about the reason of their detention. My neighboring aunt, 'Bing' her nickname responded, "All of us here are convicted of drug used except for one which is because of murder". Then, I approached her once again to answer my question, if I can have a dialogue with her. Without a hint of hesitation, she answered affirmatively. Bing, living in the prison for more than six months, was seized in Madaum during a buy-bust operation of the authorities. She was caught selling shabu.
I asked her twice, what is the reason why you vended shabu? She answered, "because of poverty". "My friend encouraged me to sell shabu", she added. What did you feel when you were apprehended by the police? I ask intently. Her answer was a long, deafening silence. As if words won't suffice. As I've looked at her face, my heart seemed crumpled as I saw the expression of pain and longing. I could not fathom how hard it is to be denied from the chance of hugging and kissing your love ones. Just like a caged bird, she lost her right of freedom.
Bing, a faithful mother of two, left her children unattended with maternal guidance. However, she's still hoping that time will come she can explain everything to them, to fill the gap created by the six long months of being away from each other. Her children are now living under the custody of DSWD. At first, she was haunted by the possible reality that her daughters are all by themselves and that they will soon forget her and will continue their lives without a piece of her involved. But later on, she was beyond relief knowing that they were both in good hands. She's also glad that her daughters visit her regularly.
"They must stop using illegal drugs. They don't need to be imprisoned just to change. It's not yet the end". These words of her made me pause and enlightened. Thus she uttered to encourage the ones outside prisons yet is using illegal drugs. Realizations then hit me. She has changed, I knew.
I've realized that not everyone caged inside the cold crowded prisons are the purest evil that we all see in the movies. Some of them were just pushed to the edge and were caught by its setbacks. I've appreciated my freedom more than ever. Out from the interview, I've learned that one's jet black feathers can transform into heavenly white just like doves prowess and possess.