A Passion for Peace

Responsibility, respect and a loving connection with all beings and for this Earth we share.

You Give, I Give, We All Give!

"Your life is all variables and no constants," a friend said to me today, appealing to the math major in me. Except for the lovely people in my life and idealistic area of work I am passionate about and determined to somehow earn a living doing, there are no constants here, it's true. I am very excited to be starting to use my brain productively, though! It's a bit hard to believe it took this long to even find suitable volunteer work. Oh, Australia and your delightfully slow pace. I'm beginning work on two projects this week, in talks for a few more after Christmas, and have my name on a temp agency list just in case. Money will follow, I have faith, and in the meantime I am blessed by Aussie generosity with free places to stay, and even some food and keys to local dumpsters, and positive sentiment, as in, "Wow, that's your line of work? Boy, the world really loses out when you're between jobs." (Photo: handmade chocolate-y window display)

Project #1 involves stopping child sex trafficking on the demand-side, through a documentary about the approximately 2 million children trafficked for sex work every year, mostly through Southeast Asia and Australia. The Advocate to Eliminate Team is producing & distributing Corridors of Children, watch the trailer here. I'm working to develop a training strategy and materials for educating the public and spreading the word through the tourism/hospitality industry, the legal/government prosecution/enforcement side, and critical mass/university/public forums angle. We are looking for 30,000 adult names to match the 30,000 child sex workers in the Thailand alone. Please add yourself to the list, take a stand & pass it on!

Project #2 involves advocacy work with In Good Faith, for victims abused by priests in the Melbourne diocese, where the church is not appropriately, nor legally, responding to perpetrators and compensating victims. Example: 300 substantiated allegations of sexual abuse since 1996, and only 1 defrocking. Stories of burning evidence, advising victims they don't need lawyers and forcing small settlements, not reporting crimes to police--in a word, appalling.

In sum, Australia, I really appreciate the hospitality and optimism about paid work opportunities, I appreciate the warm weather even though it doesn't feel to me like Christmas at 26C/80F, I appreciate the bike paths and lanes and lack of rain when pedaling around in a suit, I appreciate the hidden high-quality $5 lunch venues, and I appreciate all the kind people who meet with and call me offering an ear, share stories of their inspiring careers, as well as advice and contacts. I am not exaggerating when I say I have met roughly 100 people and emailed easily 300 in the month I've been here. "No one can say you're not enthusiastic," said one friend. "Do you go out at all?" asked another. No one can, and yes, I do a lot, though I can't be bothered to cycle half an hour away to first start salsa dance at 10 pm on a weeknight. Start something earlier, Melbourne, por favor. I am a healthier, happier me when I exercise a couple hours of cardio a day, do yoga regularly (slipping the past few days due to excess cycling, sorry shoulders!), and sleep with the sun. (Photo: street art attitude I'm aspiring not to have)

Sometimes one has to shift some of the variables into constants to promote stability and sanity, for reasons both sensible and silly, and even random. I've been asked so many times what I'm doing for Christmas, when I was concerned instead with sorting out where I would be sleeping the next night. Enjoying the journey, grasping at dreams, giving and humbly getting, and thankful for the ride. As Bette Davis said, "Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night." Yee-haw! (Photo credits to sneaky friend)

Posted byValerie at 1:45 PM  


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