Guatemala City, Guatemala — On a recent Tuesday morning, Sr. Magdalena Pascual stood in front of an open black metal door and looked toward the woman inside. The woman wore red platform shoes, black leather hot pants, a red T-shirt and black vest. She was 30 years old but had the weary look of someone much older.
A bed behind her with one white sheet caught the pale glow of a bare lightbulb that hung from the warped ceiling. Cracks in the walls rivered toward a mirror hanging beside a calendar. A broom and a bucket stood in one corner.
"How are you?" Pascual asked the woman. "I haven't seen you for a while. I hope you're OK."
"I'm working another place one block down," the woman said and pointed. "I'm making my best effort to get by."
Pascual, a diminutive woman in sandals with long, dark hair, squinted above her glasses and handed the woman a slip of paper that said, "Make your best effort and be brave."
"The saying for the day," Pascual said.
The woman read it.
"Yes," she said after a moment. "I try to be brave."
Pascual, 33, is one of six Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer who does outreach work on La Línea, "The Line," Guatemala City's well-known, notorious red-light district.