This trip included 10 volunteers and we are now familiar with the check-in procedure: Hand over driver’s license, obtain a locker key, put all belongings in locker, including wrist watches and any jewelry. The woman at the check-in desk knows me now, since I’m the one who can’t go through the metal detector due to having a pace maker. I do have to turn out my pockets so they can make sure I’m not carrying anything into the meeting room.
My first visit was with Gloria (not her real name) from Russia. Gloria sustained an injury when the woman in the upper bunk in the dorm jumped down just as Gloria was standing up and knocked her to the floor. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital with a concussion and bruising. Due to the concussion, she was moved to a different dorm with less noise and less bright light. Gloria and I met in a small room and spoke via a telephone. She was behind a glass panel, which made it difficult to communicate. I do have to say, however, it was a lot quieter than the main meeting room. The good news is that Gloria has a new attorney who is pursuing her case since she is a victim of human trafficking.
I then met with Emma (also not her real name), from Jamaica. Since we have visited before and we write back and forth, it was good to catch up on her news, which is mainly that detention life is so completely boring and hopeless that it can’t be described. We did talk about me sending a book to her; she requested something in the Christian fiction category. Since any books must be sent directly from a book store or Amazon and have to be preapproved by the detention center, it isn’t as easy as you might think. The staff at Barnes and Noble was very helpful —they provided a list of Christian fiction books so Gloria can get the one she selects approved before it is mailed. (Otherwise, the book would be returned.)
Karla H. Edwards