E te whānau, e ōku hoa, kia ora koutou katoa.
One of the hardest things to deal with in here is to receive a phone call about the death of someone you know and someone you love. To not be able to support the whānau pani in a physical sense at the time of the tangi is very hard. There have been a number of tangi I have missed over the past 16½ months, most recently, the sudden death of our much loved Ronnie, a wonderful, kind and gentle man whom we will all miss very much. E te rangatira, e te hoa, moe mai, moe mai i roto i ngā manaakitanga o ngā tūpuna, moe mai rā.
Spring is advancing rapidly although I’m not sure whether Argentina knows. Last week we had one day where the temperature reached 28 degrees. However the very next day it was back to a high of 12 degrees. August must be the rainy season here as it seems like we’ve had more rain in the past 2 weeks than we’ve had all year. Due to the rain, I’ve not been able to do as much walking in the area beside our pavilion. The ground has been too muddy so I am looking forward to the finer weather. I’m still keeping up with my exercise classes, although sometimes they don’t happen as timetabled due to other events that run at the same time.
Three more girls have left our pavilion this month and we are expecting another two to go in September. So heaps of changes within and new people to get used too, but generally everyone gets on ok and there remains a caring spirit amongst us.
I think at the end of last year or early this year, I wrote about assisting our Spanish teacher to translate into English all of the signage here at the prison. A couple of weeks ago, she excitedly showed me that the English signs had finally arrived. Now we just hope that we won’t have to wait as long, before we see them about the place.
There are many internal issues we are confronted with here that we are somewhat powerless to challenge. Not having the ability to articulate ourselves well in the language is a big barrier. Mind you, I even find sometimes that other English speakers don’t understand me, so I constantly have to remind myself to speak slowly. On a lighter note though, one of my friends in here only speaks German and Dutch, however we manage to communicate with each other by using the Spanish we both understand, lots of sign language and sometimes pictures. After 16 months, together we’ve managed to make ourselves understood, even if it is only with each other!
In bringing this update to a close, I want to wish all those girls who have returned to their own countries over the past few months much success and happiness as they adjust to life on the outside.
To all my whānau and friends, as always, thanks for your ongoing support, aroha and belief in me.
Ka nui te aroha,
PS Check out the Prevention page on this website for the link to a London Metro News article published in August about online dating scams and which highlights Sharon’s case.