Discovering hope in others leads to hope in oneself. Like happiness, it is achieved from others.
Perhaps it’s only fair for society to imprison unlawful citizens. Most of them may deserve what they get. For some of them, though, change comes later through an awakening of conscience or perhaps from the depths of despair. In fact, they spend most of their time in agony. The majority of law-abiding citizens remains indifferent to their condition. Once they are locked up in bleak cells, they are forgotten.
One Saturday afternoon, I had a chance to walk around the unfamiliar grounds of the National Prison. Together with my family, and with some hospital Volunteers, we went to visit the ailing prisoners. I expected it to be like in the movies, only less high tech and probably polluted as well. But it wasn’t like that at all. I was surprised to find it much like a regular community. People were walking around freely, a church stood on one side and a few vendors were in sight. Yet even in this friendly atmosphere I could imagine the brutality and corruption under the surface. I took my first few steps in fear and curiosity. Not knowing what to say or do, I asked God’s guidance.
We reached the medical ward and to my surprise, it was right beside the psychiatric ward. The moment I stepped inside the room, my fear gave way to sadness. I tried to act normal because the last thing they needed was a look of pity. Here I saw men whose hopes are confided to their pillows. They only grasp at them when they dream. But even when these men awake they remain close to their dreams because they haven’t got much to do but sleep, eat and survive. Staying in the medical ward doesn’t really mean they will be cured. Patients are just separated to prevent their infecting the rest. The treatment they get is not enough for them to fully recover.