Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Run with It

Sometimes plans change quickly, but so often what ends up happening is way better than anything I originally planned.  My recent vacation to London, Paris and Cape Town afforded me the opportunity to meet with several individuals active in the anti-trafficking movement.  In London, I met with London ACTS which is a part of the group Stop the Traffik.  They are working to intervene with trafficking through research, advocacy, legislation, work in schools, churches and with law enforcement, etc., specifically leading up to the London Olympics next summer (note - more on this in an upcoming post, but trafficking invariably gets worse at large international gatherings like the Olympics, the World Cup, etc.). 

I also had the opportunity to meet with the organization with whom I had planned to work in Cape Town and realized it was not a good fit.  Just a difference in approaches and a high potential that the safe house, which is more of a shelter than a rehabilitation program, will no longer be occupied in the next few months.  I'm really grateful for the opportunity to find out in person rather than guessing over the internet, and it was lovely to meet the people doing this work there.

So, in short, there is an alternative opportunity for me in London to work doing church engagement, and in all sorts of other components of abolitionist work.  I'm working hard to be a good steward of all the financial and emotional support I've received from so many friends, family, and strangers, and this option seems like the best opportunity to work against trafficking for this leave of absence.  I'm very excited about the chance to work with London ACTS and Stop the Traffik, and appreciate your continued prayers and support!  And maybe some sympathy towards my immediate family as they try to keep track of me...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'm back!

Well hello friends, family, and the apparent strangers in Russia who stats claim read this little window into my brain.  I apologize for the absence, but I've been traveling!  Here's a rundown on some highlights from the last few weeks:

-       Just after celebrating Easter, I boarded a plane for London, one of my favorite places.  There were many, many wonderful things about seeing London again, including:  The Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Archives, rowing in Hyde Park, Hamlet at the Globe, catching the sights and chaos around the royal wedding, a trip up in the London Eye (thanks to new friends Martin and Phil), and getting to know the work and people with London ACTS (of Stop the Traffik fame)… in the middle of my London time, there was a daytrip to…

-       Paris!  It was my first visit to the City of Lights, and it was everything I hoped for and then some.  L’arc de triomphe, the Champs-Elysee, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, the Moulin Rouge, crepes, duck in xerxes sauce, wine, and crème brulee.  Also, catching up with one of the greats of Princeton Seminary, and missing the train back which led to new friends Ann, Claire and Nancy who saved me from sleeping on the floor of Gare du Nord.  People are amazing and true hospitality is beautiful thing!

-       After Paris and a few more days in London (including the Doctor Who exhibit, which made my inner nerd impossibly gleeful), I got on a plane for…

-       Cape Town!  It’s going to take some time to process the experience of my first trip to South Africa, but just a fraction of what I saw there…  the Victoria Waterfront, the Castle (including a great museum about the Cape Town equivalent of carnival), Stellenbosch (which is a beautiful wine country area and university town), a braai with the Reynolds family (oxtail and mulva pudding!), Kirstenbosch (the South African botanic garden which looks like it’s straight out of Jurassic Park … I kept waiting for raptors to pop out), Simonstown (where you can scrabble over boulders to get within a few short feet of lots and lots of penguins!), Robben Island (a terrifying boat ride, a chance to see Mandela’s jail cell, and to talk to former political prisoners), the Slave lodge museum (where slaves were kept by the Dutch East Trading Company), the natural history museum, and the company gardens.

Cape Town is a beautiful and heartbreaking place at the same time, and I’m grateful I had the opportunity to go and explore.  This trip was booked long before my upcoming leave of absence, and I’m so very glad.  Very, very thankful for a life of occasional globetrotting adventure!