We drove a few hours outside the city to reach this prison complex, which is the largest in Argentina. Because of Argentines past history in the prisons and due to security risk, only a smaller amount of prisoners were allowed to be together at once so we had to do multiply performances for groups of around a hundred. But it was cool with a smaller group because we were able to spend more time one on one with them. It is so beautiful to see how much these guys appreciate the things we do for them. Even simple things like magic and funny routines.
One of the things they really enjoy is when we have a dance competition where 7 or 8 guys will participate and everyone else will judge them. Everyone gets a prize and the winner gets an extra prize (usually extra blankets or clothes that we have). Allowing them to participate and have fun is just one more thing we do to help open them up and get them to let their guard down so we can put a seed inside. The director was so grateful, he asked to return and perform at all of the 50 something patios when we return which we plan to do.
Complex 9 Federal Women’s Prison, Argentina at 4:00pm
After we finished performing at the men’s complex we drove a short distance to reach the women’s section. The power was out and for security reasons we had to wait a while for the lights to come back on before we could start.
One young woman named Valentina, broke down at the end telling me that she was at the point of giving up because she had no one who visited her or was fighting for her. She told me we were there just for her and we brought her hope and answers. Another woman told us that when she watched the ballet butterfly dance that my mom, sisters and I do, that she understood what it meant to be new and have the hope of flying.