Mandolyn Orrell | Week Two

This has been a roller coaster of a week.  It ended up being a lot harder than I originally thought it would be.  We fellows got the chance to attend the Investigator Academy at the Clunie House in San Francisco.  Let’s get it straight right now- we were not trained to be like Liam Neeson or Chuck Norris and break down doors and raid brothels/homes/manufacturing facilities and rescue enslaved people.  We learned how to wisely document cases of slavery via the internet.  It went well, and I learned a lot at the academy.  I loved connecting to other people, from throughout the world, with a passion to end modern-day slavery.  Definitely made some connections I plan to keep up with.

Emotionally, the academy was tough.  Wednesday was the hardest day; it saw many tears, but also many laughs.  During the academy, we had to learn how to post cases onto the Slavery Map, and also how to wisely map out high probability areas in our own communities.  In a matter of 15 minutes, we had found 3 active brothels in San Francisco, 2 in Greenville, South Carolina (where I most recently lived in America before living in Korea), and 4 in Houston, Texas.  I became completely overwhelmed with knowing that there were women, quite probably children as well, enslaved in deplorable conditions.  Imagining what they were going through, at that very moment, I lost it.  It struck a cord in me, and I was just utterly spent.  After a good cry by myself at lunch, a bit of prayer, and going to a local restaurant for a drink and laughs with fellow academy attendees, I was ok.  Definitely been on edge most of this week.  I think most of the fellows thought the same thing, and were all in need of a defrag by Friday.  This great little clip gives a glimpse as to how 2 of my fellow Fellows (Luz and Natalie) defrag, which definitely helped Christy and I de-stress, as well.  :)

This week proved to me how much I need to remember the little things.  I need to remember to keep myself in check emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually… finding the balance is a tight rope I’m on right now.  People have always said to me, “You get so excited about everything.  Even little things.”  Knowing myself, if I don’t celebrate the little things, I’ll get down, and become ineffective.  That just can’t happen… I’m only in the 2nd week of the fellowship!  Celebrating and enjoying the little things from this week, such as Christy successfully driving through and navigating the city completely on her own by the end of the week; getting to go to the Symphony and Koreanm Market (WOOHOO!!!) with Gabe and the housemates; meeting some truly amazing abolitionists this week; getting to watch my first Harry Potter movie with new friends; or riding down the coast to a tiny little western town to buy freshly made goat cheese, and hear a new friend play his music- I’ve got to keep celebrating, and getting excited about, the little things –the little victories — to survive.  Also, having the fearless Keturah as a boss helps, too… you know, just a little.  ;)

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