One of the things that our fellowship director told us at the very beginning has resonated with me on a day-to-day basis. She said, “It’s not about me, it’s about the cause.” I’ve learned that this statement holds true and is not something to be taken lightly. It’s not easy to comprehend and definitely not always a breeze to follow through with. We have grown up in a culture where we are trained to think, “Why do I need to give that person one minute of my time?”
The fellows now have four weeks of the fellowship under their belt. I know I’m not alone when I say that the past four weeks have not been a sunny walk on the beach—although I can’t complain about my runs past “Miramar Beach.” The work has been demanding, at times draining. There is so much to be done and just not enough time to do it all. Our stress comes from the fact that we can never really feel satisfied with our work, because there is always something else to be done. Most of us work past dinner – sweatpants on and with the laptop positioned just right in our beds.
Fighting modern-day slavery just doesn’t seem to end at 5PM.
The other weekend, I had the pleasure of driving around San Francisco on a Sunday afternoon to work and set up a Not For Sale booth at the Unlikely Heroes benefit. The weather could not have been more gorgeous. The cafes, brunch spots and parks around the city were all filled with people and their dogs. Katie and I, however, spent the day driving around Market St., sans working GPS. What should’ve been a ten minute drive ended up being ninety minutes. It’s a miracle that I made it out of the city without getting into an accident and running over a pedestrian and/or dog. I had the delight of driving the wrong way onto a couple one-way streets, beeped at numerous times, and yelled at by a random pedestrian for pulling over and crying. It was by far one of the most frustrating days of my life. I usually took pride in myself on having an “inner GPS” and a good sense of direction. The stereotype that pegged Asian women with being bad drivers didn’t apply to me. But that day, it indeed approved to be a reality. It took everything in me not to chuck my outdated “smart” phone out the window as it directed me around the same block over and over. I’ve had nightmares of the woman’s robotic voice saying, “recalculating, recalculating…”
We eventually made it to the event in one piece and the response that we got from the attendees made the frenzy of the day worth it. Those that knew of Not For Sale had only encouraging things to say and the people that had no knowledge of human trafficking were just blown away by our efforts. There was also a great feeling of synergy to be surrounded by others fighting the same cause. Erica Greve, founder of Unlikely Heroes, and Nola Brantley, co-founder of Misssey, amongst many others were in attendance.
To this day, I have no idea if I’m allowed to drive in those lanes designated for buses, taxis, and cyclists. I don’t know the purpose of those spikes and bumps on the road, along with the MUNI’S ugly overhead cables that just seem to dirty up the ever so gorgeous sky. [I haven’t gotten around to googling it.] So, what kept Katie and I from turning around and heading back to our sleepy and peaceful town of Half Moon Bay that day? “It’s not about us, it’s about the cause.”