Letters of Monika:
Letter of February 11, 2018 from Monika (received on March 9, 2018 – almost a month later)
Thank you for your second letter of January 14th. The letters arrive, I think, faster here than mine go out. Why I think this is because my …… (relative) has been here twice to visit, and the first time she had not received any of my letters – and I immediately started writing on the third day I was here, and it was almost a month later. And the second time she told me they had letters number 2 and 3 and not number 1. And in the first letter, I had almost only put in logistics – important things to be done around “house and yard”, matters that needed to be taken care of. That’s what stressed me out the most, at first, because I could not do anything from in here.
But in the meantime, I’m no longer stressed over it because I just have to believe that my friends and family will take care of things. Of course I’m a bit worried about ….. that it’s not all too much for her. I am sorry that you are not feeling well health wise. Of course, the emotional burden of the world situation does not help. As you say, these world problems can take their toll.
It may well be quite ironic, but my own situation makes me more positive than it brings me down. The letters I receive, from many countries, are so beautiful, so encouraging, so full of hope. I think there are unbelievably many now who recognize the truth. The light is burning brighter and brighter. And I have to say that I can really feel all those sweet thoughts and prayers right into my cell. I feel very strengthened. And I have to say that all they do here to humiliate us and to bring us down is a world where everything is upside down. That only makes me want to stand even more upright!
I do not remember exactly what I wrote in the first letter to you, about daily life, so I’ll just tell you.
At 6:00 [morning] we get hot water for tea (weekend at 7:30)
10-11 yard walk (on Sundays from 13:00 to 14:00 because at 10:00 you can go to church, if you want – of course it’s in prison.)
At 11:15 we get a hot lunch. Cell doors stay open until 11:45
At 14:00 to 15:30 doors are unlocked. Dinner comes at 14:00 hours. This food is to be divided up to have some for breakfast. During these 1.5 hours we can go into the hall – there is an office, mailbox, shower room, common room, small tea kitchen.
At 15:30 locked back into the cells until the next day at 10:00.
The food portions are generous and sometimes quite good (unfortunately not today). We can buy some things twice a month. I always order extra fruit (that’s something they do not give us much of), Yoghurt, coffee, stamps, of course! And you just have to buy everything you need – pens, toiletries (they give us soap, toothbrush, toothpaste), brush, comb, etc.
The weeks are punctuated with different “laundry change days”, and there are some extra activities. I participate in everything that’s available for change of scenery and contact with others. Church (beautifully smelling incense and a nice warm room – good atmosphere) does me good; Yoga once a week. Creative group every other week (arts & crafts).
A week ago there was something very special in the church. A baritone singer and piano accompanist gave us the most beautiful concert, ever! That does not happen often here; but I happened to be there! Yehudi Menuhin Foundation donates it for prisons! We know the son for his great book [Menuhin, Gerard – Tell the truth and shame the devil-463pg.pdf]!
I could write a book, but I must close now because right away we’ll have the yard walk… actually I’ll ad some more, half a sheet, because there is more to write …
You ask if there are books. Yes, there is a small library – actually, it’s a list. So you have to order from the list, and on Wednesdays you get the books in. It’s just a matter of luck if the books please you or not. And of course these are only the types of books that do not need to be censored.
We are not allowed to have glitter cards in the cell; e.g. they showed me the card that you sent me, but then took it away, added it to the storage. Luckily, your letter was separate, so I have the letter. Cards are less favorable for me than letters on ordinary paper, because one of their thousands of rules is that you can only have 20 pictures / cards / postcards – the officials themselves are not clear how it really stands. Now they said I’m allowed to have 20 pictures and 20 cards at the same time in the cell. They are generous here! Ha ha! Any of those above the limit then have to go into storage to be retrieved when I get out.
As much as I look forward to the beautiful cards, I regret that I have to part with most of them. I like to read the letters over and over again, but when they are written on cards and then they are gone, then I cannot do this. And I am not allowed blank cards in the room at all. Glitter cards, as I said, not either. Nothing glued on; in other words, no stickers. And they do not like padded or tissue-lined envelopes at all *[just regular simple envelopes]. One could smuggle something in! [*It appears to be their reasoning.] As I said, there are thousands of rules. And the rules seem to change all the time because the different officials all know them a little differently. I would also like to say very clearly, I am very happy about all the cards, post cards, letters…
I wish you all the best! I very much hope that your health will improve again. And please do not worry about how I am doing because I’m totally okay. You can, of course, pass on parts of my letter, as you see it fit. Now I need to close!