Sunday, May 23, 2010

Smoking Hiccups

This is my last week at my internship- back at the women's institution. I'm really glad to be back, its such a more relaxed and welcoming environment compared to the men's institution. I can't even really believe that I just said any prison was 'relaxed and welcoming'- but in comparison to the men's maximum, yes, it surely is more relaxed and welcoming.

Yesterday I did my first supervised visit; observing the family interaction for a client. It was interesting and draining- so mentally exhausting. On the surface, I enjoyed being a guest at a birthday party. However, I was trying very hard to make things feel relaxed for the family so that they could interact naturally, as is the point of a supervised visit. I listened in on and watched family interaction, but not only did I observe, but I was constantly analyzing everything- that was what was so draining.
What I observed was that the parents really and genuinely love their kids, but just don't understand how to care for their kids. Parenting skills are what they need, and if the love is there for their kids they are going to be motivated to learn those skills.
I went home, tired but happy. Contented with my job, that I am making a difference and helping kids. And glad that it wasn't a negative visit; but that there is alot of hope for this family to be reunited.

This morning I got the hiccups. Biruk heard me sqeaking from another room. He came in, with a strange grin on his face and announced: "Did I tell you that I smoked weed last night?"
My breathing halted and I glared at him, "You did WHAT?!"
Then he laughed and proudly stated "Your hiccups are gone!"
I laughed for nearly a minute straight. If my hiccups weren't gone from that, the laughing sure made them go away.
Now he just has to think of something more extreme next time I get the hiccups.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


The past few weeks have been a blur- so packed with activity and new surprises. There have been some struggles, plenty of rushing and busyness. Frustrations with work and changes because of the actions of clients, shifts with my internship and everything coming to such a quick close.
As I look forward to some rest after the next two weeks, I also feel very blessed. I love my husband a little more than I did yesterday. I have been blessed by having to 'carve' out time for God, instead of it being a convenience. And as I race to complete this or that in regards to school, I feel further ahead or more speedy at completing the task than I imagined.
The weather has become beautiful! It is inspiring me to find somewhere, and a group of someones to play soccer with. How I long to be drenched in sweat, with my legs ready to give out and bruises speckling my shins because of hours and hours of soccer!!!

My internship is closing more quickly than I thought. I was recording only the hours on-site, which most internships would say is the proper way to do so. However, my supervisors have said that I should have recorded the hours I spent journaling and reading, so therefore, I will be completed within the next week and a half! Rush, rush, rush as I finish up things, submit documents and say 'good bye'.
Partly, its a relief that I will be done and look forward to having some time to rest. However, I also feel rushed and that I'm not going to tie things up well. I have just taken a break from the women's institution and thought that I would be returning for another month, able to finish up the Bible study I was hosting, meet with the individuals I meet with one-on-one and end those in a positive direction, with appropriate resources. However, I feel that that will all be rushed. Also the week of the men's institution being locked down was a bummer, while it was educational, there was little interaction. Today the institution was open and there was lots of interaction and I really enjoyed getting to spend time with the men; however, it's going to be far too short, as I am done in two days.
Thankfully, I still have the opportunity to continue volunteering at either, or both institutions as I feel called and am able to do. So, while I feel things are coming too quickly to a close, it does not have to be the end of my invovlement at either institution.
However; now I look towards the future for a job. Thankfully, I already have one part-time job which I thoroughly enjoy and which will continue with. I still want another job, and would appreciate your prayers for direction.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

20 minutes North

It's Saturday morning and I could still be asleep, but the sun streaming through the curtains was sure to wake me soon, just the same.
I should have rushed off to my internship just as Biruk went off to work this morning, but the men's prison is in 'lock down' so everything has been cancelled until Monday.

So instead, I had a nice breakfast of french toast, determined that there was nothing interesting to watch and am now thinking of a good reason to not do my physical education home work.

I discovered that I don't have to continue into mid-June for my internship; apparently, unlike a job, I can count readings and paperwork towards my accumulated hours. I will be done towards the end of May, and then with one more course; a psychology class, I will be completed. I want to take a developmental psychology course, as I think it will be fitting with my job in youth work.
It's been a long journey, and I am VERY ready to be finished school.

Yesterday was my first day at the men's prison. It was very different from the women's prison. Dark and cold. Concrete walls. Quiet.
The prison was on lock-down because some of the emergency response team were away for training, so as a preventative measure movement was halted.
I had a tour of the facility and met plenty of people; psychologists, social workers, teachers and welding instructors. I saw the security intelligence area, with a wall displaying all the various discovered weapons inmates had created. Tooth brushes, plastic spoons, pens- very ingenious methods for making them into types of knives. I also saw the metal detector chair which can determine where in the body metal is, helping to reduce cavity searches.

I was only introduced to two of the inmates, both who were in segregation. One wanted a phone call to determine the health of a sick relative and had either used his phone call for the day, or was unable to contact the individual. The other was a man, who the guards suggested just wanted attention. He had this wild story about how a lawyer had given his file to another inmate, who had it in his cell and was reading his personal information out; including the address of his parents and was sending people to kill them. He also added that his Colombian drug cartel friends were going to get involved and he had asked a guard how to spell 'Glock' because he was writing a letter to his father telling him to purchase one to use to protect himself. He guard had upset him by laughing at him because he had spelled 'glue' instead of glock.
My first impression was that he was possibly schizophrenic- he was in the Special Handling Unit, meaning that he probably has a lot of issues and is known for throwing things (including the most disgusting imaginable) at guards, so probably has a list of mental disturbances. I guessed that he was hearing voices; perhaps his parent's exact address and believed that people were out to get his parents. However, the guards suggested he was just a really poor liar and wanted attention.
One of the guards slammed shut the small window the inmate was talking out of; understandably, as he was belligerently cussing at the guard and making comments about how he was a coward.

While I think that I will learn alot, this isn't where I see myself working.

My time at the women's prison also confirmed my preference to working with youth. For a number of reasons, one being that so many problems that these adult offenders face throughout their lives are rooted in their childhood, or began to develop while they were a youth. If those can be addressed and they focus on healing and wholeness while a youth, so much in their lives can be drastically changed. Also, I just like working with youth!

Biruk and I watched 'Lock Up' last night. It was interesting to see some of the same methods or instruments being used in jails or prisons in America. However, we went to sleep after watching the episode on the juvenile prison in Pendleton, Indiana. I was astonished by how adult-like the institution was run. One of the guards said that because of teen unpredictability, working with youth was much harder than working with adults. I'm not sure how I agree with that- adult men who had plotted and planned, have a criminal career that stretches 20 years being less dangerous than a 12 year old youth in Pendleton?
If I stay on this track, an essay will follow, so I will stop myself.

I think that I have exhausted all methods of procrastination and will return to my school. Only a few weeks left, anyway.