why i'm going to india

it all started back in 1999, when i spent much of the year traveling in southeast asia. it bothered me when i learned that each year hundreds of young girls from poor rural villages in nepal were given the "opportunity to get a nice domestic job with a rich family india" only to be whisked across the border and sold to a brothel and raped twenty times a night. ya, that bothered me, but what was i to do about it? i was just me, and i had a plane ticket. time to move on to the next place. but even when i came back to the states and got busy with graduate school it still bothered me. years later when i got an igoogle page i personalized it with a quote from ray bradbury's farenheit 451: "we need to be really bothered once in a while. how long is it since you were really bothered? about something important, about something real?" and every time i read that quote i thought about those girls.

finally in 2008 i felt led to some how some way get involved. a few months later i was on my way to india to volunteer as communications coordinator for an organization that works for rescue, restoration, and justice for victims of sex trafficking. it was a short-term gig, but it was great to be able to use my writing to help make a difference. this time around i plan to volunteer with a number of organizations that advocate for women and girls who are survivors (i like that word better than victim, don't you?) of human trafficking. i hope to use my writing in new ways and maybe find a place to dig in for a longer-term endeavor.

i've been to india three times, and believe me, india is not for sissies. and leaving california is not easy. i love my life here. i love the weather. i love the view from my apartment. i love my friends, my church, my car, my guitar, my refrigerator, my stove, my flush toilet, and my hot and cold running water. i love my green street taqueria, my nonna's pizza, and my wednesday nights at brad colerick's mid-week soul-southing spirit-lifting hootenanny.

i don't know how all this is going to turn out.

and i don't have to know. that's part of the adventure.


to struggle used to be to grab with both hands and shake and twist and turn and push and shove and not give in but wrest an answer from it all as jacob did a blessing.

but there is another way to struggle with an issue, a question -- simply to jump off into the abyss and find ourselves floating falling tumbling being led slowly and gently but surely to the answers God has for us-- to watch the answers unfold before our eyes and still to be a part of the unfolding.

but, oh! the trust necessary for this new way! not to be always reaching out for the old hand-holds.

"a new way of struggling" -- by susan w. n. ruach