Security training in one word: Trust

Imagine you are a journalist, a photographer in my case, and are embedded with a guerrilla group who is fighting another armed group, in an imaginary country. You are in the middle of an attack: the guerrilla group is protecting their territory from the enemy. There is intense fighting and shots are being fired from both sides. Your job as a journalist is to photograph the guerrilla, bearing witness to their resistance. You also have to watch your back and make sure you are not in the line of fire: basically, take pictures and don’t get shot. Your life depends on where you stand to take photographs and having clear communication with the group. Your life also depends on that very same guerrilla who is protecting their lives, and yours. In other words, you have to trust yourself, and those working with you. If there is no trust, then … you would not be able to do your job, have the courage to take pictures, or let alone be embedded in a guerrilla group.

During four days, 12 strong and courageous female journalists (including myself) participated in an intense security and First Aid training as part of our 2019 Adelante Fellowship. During this specific simulation we worked as journalists embedded in the police, army or guerrilla group in a Paint Ball field. Even though this was one out of many other simulations, including kidnapping, it was with every paint ball fired that I was reminded of the importance, even life-saving act, of trust: trust in myself and trust in those I work with on the field.


Photo montage by Nastassia K. Torres