Courtney kept a blog chronicling her experiences delivering medical care to refugees and migrants rescued from failing smugglers' boats in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. The piece below is an excerpt from a blog post she wrote last December, in which she describes meeting a young woman fleeing violence and poverty and the deep and lasting impact sexual and gender-based violence can have. It feels a bit vulnerable admitting this to strangers who will come across it, but I always cry after a rescue. Even though my predominant feeling about the work we do is positive.
Between Death and the Unknown
Between Death and the Unknown | Compass Cultura
Across the courtyard and at the far end of the empty basketball court, I see the diminutive figure of a drenched Honduran man standing in the rain on the roof of the three-story male dormitory. The rain pounds down on the aluminum roof above our heads, clattering like the hooves of charging horses before it drains off, forming curtains of falling water splashing the concrete floor and pooling at our feet. Men and women around me, including Elias, jump up, hesitate. Only Oscar remains seated, a desolate, worried look on his face. But the others shake with anticipation and indecision. They consider whether they should chance it and run out the front gate, down a dirt road to the highway, cross it and zig-zag through alleys until they reach the tracks and catch the train. After a long moment, most sit down.
Ten swats of the cane. He lost count of the whippings. Strained muscles left more after-pain than corporal punishment. He struggled to clinch his sphincter muscles in synch with his movement.
Faith was my best friend since kindergarten. I wanted to go out with Faith and she knew it. One unusual swimming lesson.