Choir concert

Our choir sang today at Santa Fu prison in Hamburg. We all met with smiles at the S-bahn (train) in Blankenese and made our way north about 45min. We stepped off the train in Ohlsdorf into a light slushy rain, randomly cursing the weather amongst ourselves. We walked 15 maybe 20 minutes in one large group to the facility. We stepped inside the first entrance, handed over our passports and placed all our possessions in lockers. We sang a few warm up notes while waiting to be led in small groups through the scanner to another room. Each time, the door closed and locked behind us. All but one of the choir were chatty and a little nervous, unaccustomed to visits to correctional facilities. The exception was Stephen, a defense attorney who works with some of these inmates. He set up the gig for us. I would say the majority of our conceptions of prisons had been provided by the media and movies. About 30 minutes later, after each of us had been separately taken behind a curtain to be searched, we walked back outside across an inner courtyard, up another set of stairs and locked doors to the hall and dining room. We were debriefed with a little history about the prison and inmates and the fact that these men were only allowed to see their children in an open setting once a year at Christmas. This is what struck my heart. Continue reading

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