virtual coffee

Welcome! Come on in and help yourself to a cookie (or two or three). I baked them fresh. They’re oatmeal but I tossed in some chocolate chips and a few chopped up Ferrero Rocher chocolates for some hazelnutty-crispy decadence. Do you love Ferrero Rocher as much as I do?

I’m pretty sure I need the chocolate after the past couple of days. If we were really meeting for coffee today, I would tell you about what’s really been going on in my heart. But because this blog is just so public, I’m just going to have to say I’ve been stuck in a bit of a moral grey zone the last little while and I don’t know what the better path is. The brunt of it seems to have passed, but the weight of the uncertainty in this particular instance has left me rather emotionally exhausted. I would also tell you all about a separate issue entirely that has been weighing on me, but for now I can only say it is a situation where a girl is at a crossroads between choosing what is right and what is easy. I worry for her immensely because there is a lot at stake. If you’re the type to pray, prayers that she chooses the higher path would be much appreciated. And for now, I’ll just have to say my heart is heavy and leave it at that.

Anyway, as I type this, my husband is crossing into Burma. The embassy in LA told us he has to check in with immigration periodically to keep his visa valid for one year. What they didn’t mention is that it’s not checking in with the immigration bureau in Chiang Mai. It’s an actual border crossing in and out of the country. When he went to Chiang Mai’s immigration bureau, they explained what he actually has to do (and said the embassy in LA isn’t very good), so he had to drop everything and ride up, on a motorcycle, over some gnarly roads, in the rain, to Burma and back. Things dealing with legal authorities always make me (perhaps irrationally) nervous. I feel about 70% better now that I just got a call from him saying it’s taken care of. But I won’t feel 100% better until he’s back home safe and dry.

Although, as a Californian, I never developed much of an affinity for rain (though most people I know like rain), I’m actually quite glad we’ve got some rainy weather now. It cooled down the heat considerably and cleared the air so it smells fresh and lovely outside. I never liked going outside in the rain before, so I thought I would hate riding a scooter in it. But it turns out, with a helmet, I’m perfectly fine. I discovered I don’t mind getting wet; it’s just getting rain in my eyes and the feel of raindrops on my head that I find annoying. So that’s good news because it’s supposed to rain the whole rest of the week.

I’m also excited to hold another creative writing workshop at SOLD this weekend. After watching the Women In the World summit last weekend, I have lots of ideas to play around with in terms of where I’d like to go with our education program and how to develop different aspects of it. After watching the summit, too, I think I have an even deeper understanding of the nature of the challenges we face. I realize even more deeply than I did before that what we do is not just a matter of giving children the tools they need to avoid being trafficked. It’s not just educating them so that they can have chances for a better life. There are deeper ramifications. If you educate a girl and financially empower her, she will be far more likely to change the power dynamic within the family and she will be far more likely to make different choices. She will send her children to school instead of to work (or to war). She will not accept a husband having a mistress or second wife. I realized this before and thought of it as a good thing; an end to be achieved. But now I also realize, or perhaps am more sensitive to the realization, that when you create those changes, you really do begin to mess with a whole cultural order. That can be good, when elements of a culture give rise to or perpetuate the use of children for sex. But we also have to realize how those same elements are linked to other aspects of the culture that can be forces for good (or at the very least, may just be a different way of doing things). If we really want to tackle the problem of child sex slavery, we have to attack the problem deeply. But the deeper we go, the more responsibility we carry in affecting a society and a culture. In the name of our goal, to what extent do we have a right to push? These are questions we must be aware of and try to answer as an organization. Not having clear answers is okay. It’s life. But it is critical that we are sensitive to and aware of the questions. Reducing the issues to black & white would be irresponsible.

In the meantime, we can empower individuals, one child, one woman, one man at a time. And they at least will be able to make choices for themselves. And if there are enough individuals together, they maybe they (not SOLD) can push a society to ask itself questions about what they want for themselves as a society. And then maybe the society can choose what values they want. But at least they might begin asking the questions.

Maybe it is not really for SOLD to have the answers. Maybe the role of SOLD is to just present the question and provide alternatives and the chance for individuals to choose for themselves. After all, isn’t that what empowerment really is about anyway? Having the freedom to choose.

Oooph. Heavy for a cup of coffee, eh? Anyway, how are you all doing? I’ll stop yammering away now and turn to your voices. How is your week going? Do you like rain too? What is written across your heart today? What is brewing in your mind?

- x -
Jade

P.S. I did make the crocodile last week. I sauteed it in olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper with bell peppers and pineapple. The flavor combinations worked quite well together. And crocodile is indeed a delicate flavored white meat. The hubby quite approved. However, I’m still not sure I’m sold on crocodile meat. It was a little bit like white fish that had been cooked too long – maybe because it was cooked from frozen? Whatever. I can now say I’ve tried it.

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6 thoughts on “virtual coffee

  1. Well, I have to say, if you and I had coffee together in person today, it would have been a heavy coffee conversation! lol. I will be praying for that particular young woman.

    Also, I've been craving oatmeal cookies. Oatmeal anything, actually! {Not pregnant, I swear!}

    And you made me crave that fresh rain smell. Oh, come quickly warmth and rain and sun. Thanks for coffee, Jade. :)

  2. Hey Jade – really heavy post that makes you think a little deeper than just skimming the surface. I've battled with the same question when volunteering, going on mission trips, etc., like is it really my place to be changing their culture? – But what you're doing is good and you are going to change so many girls' lives. You're right when you say that it will be up to them to tackle the broader issue of getting them to initiate broader changes in the culture.

    Burma is so near and dear to my heart and I wish your husband a safe trip back – I know they can be difficult to deal with. If you'd ever be interested in me doing a post on my my experience there – please let me know, I'd be more than willing.

    xoxo

    Jenna