My name is Nadia Manjovska. I am an 11-th grade student at Vocational School of Agriculture “Kliment Timiriazev” in Sandanski, Bulgaria. One of the tasks on the project “Magic Bricks” was to tell the story of one life. By correspondenting I had the opportunity to learn about all the difficulties a 19-year-old boy has gone through and ended up in prison. His story made me feel deeply upset but let me share it with you.
The letters of this young boy have the tittle “What prison took away and what it gave me”. He is serving a nine-year sentence for inflicting a grievous bodily harm. At the beginning he wrote to me that for him is difficult to start his story and it makes him feel embarrassed. He had studied martial arts in a sports school. He had had lots of friends. Along with training he had enjoyed painting. He had dreamt of becoming a professional in judo and sambo and one day to gain world recognition.
His life hadn’t been bad at all. He had won medals and he had been feeling closer and closer to reach his goal. But then it happened. A mistake that changed his life. His temper brought him in prison in Lovech town. He was broken and very confused. At a moment when he needed support from his close people, he remained alone. The four walls in the cell and the thick grids suppressed his spirit. He described the prison like a “turbid water” in which you gradually lose all and you stop feeling. As the time went by, the light for him appeared. He had no consideration for that and realized that the prison is a place for re-education where people are not only punished but they are given the chance to change.
The regular meetings with a psychologist helped him to find himself. There were teachers who helped him to continue his education. He finished a course for a stoker which lets him to perform useful work in prison and it provides him a job in his life. Now he is thankful to the people who gave him a hand when he felt the worst. Our correspondence finished with his last letter in which he told me that “What we do to ourselves, no one else can do us.”
After four years in prison, now the 23-year-old man has got the opportunity to be released earlier for good behaviour. Obviously this depressing place which in the beginning took away from him, afterwards it taught him much more. Soon he will go out from the prison like a man who is ready to start a new life.