Red Refugee, HMP Sofitel, Heathrow
Well a combined blog today with very many mixed emotions with my day and stay here.
Mixed, not because there are some happy moments, because sadly there simply are none. The entire stay has been hypocritical and very much unprofessional from the hotel point of view and the “security” of the hotel.
The mixed emotions really is my sadness that we have left a country and people that looked after us from start to finish and could not have helped any more and have arrived “home” to a country that we work for, a country that we were born in and a country that we gave willingly to to find that we are treated as prisoners and criminals.
Yesterday, day 9 I spoke to a security guard who had just swapped a shift and is now sitting outside my door. He said that at least 80-90% of his shift is bringing takeaway food to the hotel rooms of guest, meaning most of his time is taken up with guests having to buy in additional food to live on, and to me that is shocking simply shocking that having been forced to pay £1750 you then have to supplement you shitty food with processed crap from McDonald’s/Subway/Dominos.
When Pete and I returned we both needed a specific regime to ensure our health and welfare was met and more importantly we needed good quality food to ensure we could build ourselves back up. But what we got was restricted exercise, restricted ability to get strong and shockingly bad food, where we both on many occasions if not daily just could not eat it or it was so bad it was inedible. Both Pete and I have had to supplement our daily food with outside orders and have paid in excess of £200 just to feed ourselves.
From day 1 of incarceration it has cost us additional money, from day 1 this quarantine has continued to drain both Pete and I rather than build us up which is what was so very much needed. But it feels we have just been thrown on a pile and left.
Pakistan and country with a history of unrest. Pakistan a country where poverty is everywhere. Pakistan where the monthly salary for a teacher is $70.
When Pete and I had to leave in a hurry our friend Sakhi and his brother done all they could for us. Why? Because we have money? because they want our money? Because we are special in some way? NO
Sakhi went out of his way to book us flights, time after time he tried getting us flights, to Europe or the UK.
When we had 12 hours notice of the shut down and we just had to go, Sakhi arranged everything. We left Pakistan having NOT paid for our hotel in Islamabad, not paid for flights out of the county and not finalised payments with Sakhi, when we hurriedly asked him what we owed he said “ Not now, not to worry, I have no worries now but you two still have many days to get home, we can sort it out later”……….
Later! He was happy that we would honour our debt and of course pay him back WOW! These people have so very little but give so very much, and the Uk literally has stuck their fingers up to us.
08:17 this morning, day 10 I was called by reception to be asked what my plans were when leaving, I was able to leave at 1minute past midnight tonight. I explained I was getting the train from terminal 5 and would leave 08:00 she then said the absolute worst thing she could have said to me…… “if you want breakfast you’ll have to pay for it now”