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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Visiting the womens prision in Buenos Aires

Later I will post some photos of our visit, and the article from "La Nacion", but for now I want to share with you some of the wonderful experience we had yesterday.

We met with a group of pregnant women in the prison. They listened with interest, some of them recognizing Isha from the television and all very enthusiastic: in November we will give the seminar to them all. They agreed to spread the word to the other inmates who couldn't join us, to encourage them to come in November. The prison administration received us and showed us the kindergarten for the children of the inmates: around 70 from newborns to four year olds, and they have a complete school with childcare facilities and playground. When we arrived, they were in the middle of a puppet show, and it was truly moving to witness the tenderness and care of their teachers. This was the general impression I got from all of the staff: it is an impressively modern institute, where even the cells have a homely feel, each one decorated with curtains and the babies cots. The inmates are with their children until they are four, then they are handed over to their families and come to visit their mothers for the rest of their term. They have a system to minimize the trauma of this situation, but of course, it is. It is very different to what you imagine a prison to be, you can feel the intention to create wellbeing.

We were told that there are many foreign inmates. Most were convicted for drug trafficking or sale, and they provide many programs to try and create alternatives, though the director told us that as most have fallen into this crime due to the scarcity of employment options, often upon leaving the prison the hardest thing for them is to find work.

Isha spoke about how this could change when they learn the system, and feel that they can really create, from a place of self love and love for their lives, whatever they desire, the best for themselves, for they often feel that they do not deserve, causing them to fall once and again in the same patterns, confirming that they are unworthy, incapable or whatever their mental limitations tell them.

The director told us that recently they were visited by a Spanish foundation that provides work for the prisoners who finish their term, training them before and the results are excellent: it is working very well in Spain and it would be wonderful it a similar foundation could be created in Argentina. Surely there will be people who will put their hearts into action to find the way to bring this into being.

Some of the staff will be with us this weekend learning, they are very excited and expressed deep gratitude. Isha told them how we function, and how we self finance all of the social service programs we that we offer to the community in so many different ways.

When we left, the reporters from “La Nacion” were waiting for us and write a beautiful article, then we had to return to BA, where the reporter of “Gente” magazine was waiting for us. We had a very connected and attentive interview with him

More soon



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