Thousands of people risk crossing the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean Sea each year. But what happens if they make it to the other side?
On a hot July day, the Italian coast guard rescues five young Nigerian women in a battered boat. At the same time, Katja Meier is put in charge of a small refugee home in the Tuscan countryside. But a quaint hilltop town with an aged population wasn't exactly where the five young women had hoped to land.
Good intentions quickly get lost in cultural misunderstandings and the shadows of Italy's criminal underworld as an ingenuous improvised social worker confronts hard truths about disorganized charities, insurmountable bureaucracy and prostitution on cypress-lined roads. How can she make a difference when Nigerian girls keep disappearing?
In this searingly honest and thought-provoking memoir, leavened with just enough wry humor, Katja shares the hard lessons she discovered on the steepest of learning curves among Tuscany's seemingly idyllic golden hills.
Katja Meier was born in Switzerland and has lived in Italy for two decades. Trained as an actor, she worked as a travel writer, wedding planner and life coach before taking on an Italian refugee home.
Katja writes for travel publications and lives with her family in a little-known valley in the often-cited Tuscan countryside. She is currently working on the screenplay for the film adaptation of 'Across the Big Blue Sea'.