Peru prisoners build chairs for papal visit

Peru prisoners build chairs for papal visit

Peru prisoners build chairs for papal visit

In this Jan. 12, 2018 photo, inmates build the chairs that will be used during events with Pope Francis in Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios province, Peru. Prisoners convicted of crimes like robbery and drug trafficking at the prison in the Peruvian Amazon are using their time behind bars to build simple wooden chairs that indigenous leaders will use while meeting with Pope Francis. (Credit: Rodrigo Abd/AP.)

Prisoners convicted of crimes like robbery and drug trafficking at a prison in the Peruvian Amazon are using their time behind bars to build simple wooden chairs that indigenous leaders will use while meeting with Pope Francis.

PUERTO MALDONADO, Peru — Prisoners convicted of crimes like robbery and drug trafficking at a prison in the Peruvian Amazon are using their time behind bars to build simple wooden chairs that indigenous leaders will use while meeting with Pope Francis.

More than a hundred inmates were commissioned by the Catholic Church to build 350 chairs that will be placed inside a coliseum in Puerto Maldonado, a gateway into the Amazon rainforest that Francis is scheduled to visit on Friday.

In this Jan. 12, 2018 photo, an inmate builds a chair to be used by guests who will attend events with Pope Francis in Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios province, Peru. (Credit: Rodrigo Abd/AP.)

 

In this Jan. 12, 2018 photo, an inmate builds a chair to be used by indigenous leaders who will attend events with Pope Francis in Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios province, Peru. The chairs have four thin legs and a back with an hourglass-shaped decoration. (Credit: Rodrigo Abd/AP.)

“We are paying for the bad we did,” said Sergio Curay, 48, who is serving nine years for aggravated robbery. “We hope the pope will forgive us.”

The chairs constructed in a prison woodworking shop have four thin legs and a back with an hourglass-shaped decoration. They’re made of wood from Amazon forests where illegal gold mining and deforestation threaten the delicate ecosystem.

In this Jan. 12, 2018 photo, inmate Roy Ruiz Flores, 44, sands wood as he helps build the chairs to be used by indigenous leaders during Pope Francis’s visit in Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios province, Peru. (Credit: Rodrigo Abd/AP.)

 

In this Jan. 12, 2018 photo, chairs built by inmates are stored ahead of the visit by Pope Francis, before being delivered to authorities for use by indigenous authorities attending events with the pope in Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios province, Peru. They’re made of wood from Amazon forests where illegal gold mining and deforestation threaten the delicate ecosystem. (Credit: Rodrigo Abd/AP.)

During his trip to the Amazon, Francis is expected to meet with indigenous leaders traveling from as far away as Brazil and Bolivia. The pontiff has spoken about the importance of protecting the Amazon in the past, referring to the world’s largest rainforest as one of the “lungs of our planet” in a letter to bishops.

In this Jan. 12, 2018 photo, inmate and member of the band “Sin Limites,” or Without Limits, rehearses the song “Esperanza y Amor,” or Hope and Love, created by the prison musical group especially for the visit by Pope Francis, at the jai’s chapel in Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios province, Peru. Prisoners convicted of crimes like robbery and drug trafficking at this prison in the Peruvian Amazon are also using their time behind bars to build simple wooden chairs that indigenous leaders will use while meeting with Pope Francis. (Credit: Rodrigo Abd/AP.)

 

In this Jan. 12, 2018 photo, writings and a drawing cover the wall of the carpentry workshop at a prison where inmates are building chairs that will be used by indigenous leaders during events with Pope Francis in Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios province, Peru. “We are paying for the bad we did,” said Sergio Curay, 48, who is serving nine years for aggravated robbery. “We hope the pope will forgive us.” (Credit: Rodrigo Abd/AP.)

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