Encounter in a prison

My friend Danielle Mackey has long written passionately and with great insight about El Salvador.   She recently shared a new essay on her blog Grit and Grace, titled Sam in Sector Three, in which she takes us inside the El Salvador's prison for minors for a very personal encounter with tough, young gang members.  Here is an excerpt:
Sam is seated at a table, making long strokes with his paintbrush. Bright flowers slowly crop up on his Mother’s Day card. 
"You really have to enjoy a mother's love while you have it. Nothing in this world is like a mother's love, and once it's gone, it's gone," he murmurs, concentrating. "I regret not memorizing her advice while she was living." He turns his tattooed face toward me, "Is your mother still alive?" I feel a bit guilty admitting that she is. At six, his mother was killed. They murdered his father in front of him a few months later. Now fifteen, Sam will gift the card to his older sister. He doubts he will live past sixteen.
Be sure to read the rest here.