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While I'm on the subject...


Yes Monday. On Monday I planned to format the hard drive. I didn't. Instead I went with Jo, Ryan and Jemma to Villawood Detention Centre to visit some of the detainees there.

It's a weird place. When we got there we were told the guards would be really strict because there had been an "incident" the day before. We waited in line outside the outer fence for about ten minutes then were let into an inner fenced area. From there we were to go though a smaller brick building to be processed and searched and the like. It took us about half an hour to get in there. The only thing I was allowed to take with me was my drivers licence and that got kept by the guards. You could also bring food, but they had lots of rules about what sort of food you could take (I don't think they stopped you from taking cakes in so we could have hidden a file in there perhaps). After the metal detector they give you a stamp that you can't see but comes up in UV light. When Jo and I were through the metal detector (Ryan and Jem were still outside the gate) the guard looked through Jo's bag. Jo had some cake in a metal tin and so wouldn't be allowed to take the cake tin in and had to take the cake out of it. While Jo was doing that I, along with four other people, were directed into an airlock where they check you stamps and stuff. I asked if I could wait with Jo, but they wouldn't let me, so I got put through the air lock. On the otherside I got my name marked off and let through a locked gate and into a large grassy area surrounded by razor wire. There were lots of people in there but I had no idea what I was meant to do. I didn't know anyone there, and I had never been there before. I just had to find spot near the gate and wait for Jo to come through. For about 10 minutes (probably 5 but it felt like 10) I discovered a little of what it would be like to be put in jail. It was a really weird, bad dream, kind of sensation.

Eventually Jo came through and she took me off to meet her friends.

I met lots of people from Bangladesh and India (Jo like people from that area of the world). I met a guy from China who had been in Villawood for three years. I met a guy who looked, and sounded, and by most counts was, Australian. He had been born in Scotland and adopted by Australians when he was 18 months old. Now he's 21. He had permenant residency and had never bothered to become a legal Australian. He got convicted of a crime and sent to jail. Then after he was out he was told his residency was up for review. A few weeks later it was canceled and he was shipped off to Villawood. He had almost zero relatives in the UK and he had spent almost all his life in Australia, but the Government wants to deport him. He's a nice guy too.

There were a few other people who were visiting Villawood inmates there with us (there were lots there, but a few with us), and one of them started a game of hacky sack. We detainees and visitors were all appaling, but it was lots of fun. In the end the game decended into hacky sack with hands and we all did a little better.

At four thirty the detainees told us they had to go and get dinner. They offered to bring us back some. We said that would be good. When they arrived back they had three loaves of bread and 11 pieces of fish. It felt kind of Biblical except no-one wanted to eat this food. They also brought a chick pea concoction. I was the only non-vegetarian out of Ryan, Jo, Jem and I as so was given all the fish. The fish tasted pretty poor, a lot like camp food. The chick pea was alright. I had three pieces of fish and some of the other visitors had a little bit. We threw out the rest. I'm glad to say I've eaten Villawood food, but I don't really want to eat it any more. I wouldn't recommend it to people.

At around 6pm we said good bye (me to all my new friends, most of whom have funny names I can't remember) and headed for the airlock again. They checked our UV stamps to make sure we were genuine visitors and we went home.

It was a good day. A pleasant experience because I met some lovely people. But it was also interesting to actually experience what all this detention stuff is about. I hope to go back soon. I would like to see if I can do more for these people in detention.

Monday was a good day.

Now I am fully updated.

And I have posted many things today.