Monday was a good day. There’d been a whole weekend of disappointing football, but that was ok because of friends and tailgates and Mic Check. And then on Monday, IJM called.
Y’all. I have a job. It is in Manila in the Philippines, and I leave somewhat soonish.
I could not be more excited. Manila is huge and layered and everything I want in a new city, and I cannot wait to get to know the place.
I’ll be doing all the same communications work that I would have been in that other place too, which mainly consists of “storytelling.” I get to spend a lot of time interviewing survivors and making sure their stories are told. Oh, and isn’t it fun that I get to talk about the specific city and all that this round?
The work in Manila is more focused on sex trafficking of underage girls and sexual violence than forced labor, so it’s got an extra level of gut-wrenching to it. But things are actually happening there, changing there. I can’t wait to join the fight. According to IJM’s website: “We have secured the conviction of more than 100 traffickers, rapists and other criminals in the Philippines, in trials that have lasted as long as nine years.”
I’ll miss this of course. I’ve enjoyed being home and getting to spend so much time with my family, but I am so ready to go. There’s a lot more information on what International Justice Mission does in the Philippines below (not graphic, but also maybe not for sharing with my little cousins *cough* Aunt Christi).
My job (that I technically have but am still not yet doing, keep reading I explain I swear) involves some of the more repulsive parts of human interaction, what with one set of humans exploiting other humans for the first group’s own personal gain. So I’m sorry that I won’t always get to write an exciting travelogue that tells you where to get the best curry around.
Luckily, this post isn’t about human nature and how much we can suck at times! This one is more annoying than depressing. I still wish I didn’t have to write it. I do though, so here goes:
My visa was denied. I will not be working in South Asia next year.
I will definitely still be working for International Justice Mission, but I’ll be in a different office, probably either in Africa or Southeast Asia. I wasn’t given a reason for the denial. I was only told that the consulate is not legally obligated to explain their decision to me. They also lost my driver’s license. I’ll admit I’m uh just a little bit bitter at that entire country right now. So I’ll be starting the entire visa application process over for a different country, once IJM figures out where they’re sending me.
Anyways, for now here I am nannying and living at home, and I’m pretty sure that makes me a real writer right? I’ll admit that this whole shift made me angry. I’m leaving everything I’m familiar with, and that is actually one of my favorite things. I am possibly a little too addicted to new things. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there is an element of terror to the whole thing. I’d met and loved my team, knew my job, and was excited about the city. I had a certain amount of comfort. Now I’m starting over again.
There are positives! I get to spend more time with my family. I have almost exactly 0 responsibilities…
It is really disappointing that it isn’t working out like I wanted it to, but this is temporary! I just wanted to update everyone as to why the last time we said goodbye for a solid year probably wasn’t actually the last time you’ll see me.