Walls of Freedom
I recently visited the Suncity prison for a graduation ceremony to congratulate and celebrate some men who had been doing well during their time in prison. Basically, the prisoners who had completed their rehabilitation process were being awarded with certificates for their hard work, etc. So most of the prisoners who were there had been serving for 8 – 12 years and the correctional service believed that they were ready to be released into the outside world again.
Walking in there, being my first in a prison, was quite scary and unnerving. But then I had always promised myself – especially with being a criminology student, the first time I ever go to a prison, I would approach them as normal men who happened to make mistakes. Which is exactly what I did. *so proud of me :)*
I realised something throughout the day as we were interacting with the prisoners – all they want is to be treated like men. Normal men who were born to a mother. They just happened to set foot on the wrong path. Which we have all done, it just so happens that some paths have greater consequences such as going to prison.
Them being in prison does not take away any of their human qualities and I mention this because some people tend to disregard the fact that whether we would like to believe otherwise, they too have hearts. With that in mind, I ironically felt so free being in there. I figured that I would rather befriend a prisoner who has come clean rather then chat to an offender on the run. The prisoners inside who have “faced their demons” are more free than the men who continuously do wrong, constantly on the run.
I reckon G_d sent them in there for a purpose. We all have a purpose and we all have a tailored, custom made way of reaching our purpose and for those men who were graduating, it was through prison. Who knows where they’d be had they not gone on that path of wrong doing? Those walls are only a ‘prison’ because it is a dictionary term. But genuinely, I looked at it as a big healing block and all those men were men in orange uniform with a job of working towards refining themselves.
Its all choice at the end of the day. Its how you see that wall. It is either a wall that kills your freedom or a wall that builds your freedom. A wall that teaches you to appreciate freedom. A rehab centre. And the men who graduated that day chose the light. I was so unbelievably proud of them and I didn’t know a single one of them. There are people in prison smiling in through the worst conditions. Why should I wallow in sadness when I have the freedom of being in a car everyday, touching a tree when I want to, making coffee at my own time – simple things. It just teaches you to appreciate life. A street kid has more freedom than a prisoner yet look how far those men have come.
Ok, I’m preaching. My bad. 🙂 But its all a choice at the end of the day. A choice of turning everything into learning experience. A choice to smile. A choice to live. Confined or not. 🙂