So there’s this giant thank you card you should sign

I wasn’t always an optimist – quite the contrary. When I was 14, I wrote this poem about climate change: The earth heats up The sea rises And so we sink Deeper into ignorance It’s good, right? Yeah, well, as much as there was something satisfying about writing emo poetry and listening to Linkin Park – and I still do both occasionally, though never at … Continue reading So there’s this giant thank you card you should sign

Re-entering the darkness

I wasn’t procrastinating – I actually wasn’t planning on ever reading the book. It was going to be one for the mantelpiece, to adorn the bookshelf. After all, I spent a year working for the organisation founded by the author, so I didn’t just know the content – I was living right amongst it.

It was a surprise, then, how much the opening chapters of The Locust Effect moved me. Two months back on board with International Justice Mission (IJM), now in Australia, and we’ve talked on a number of occasions about vicarious trauma. I’ve shared with my colleagues some of what I went through that year in Bolivia. They’ve shared about how advocating against cybersex trafficking has had a toxic personal effect on them. Continue reading Re-entering the darkness

Misunderstood: artists, do-gooders and missionaries

The wrong question? As soon as the question escaped my lips I knew that I had become That Annoying Person Who Asks The Stupid Question That Misses The Point. My poorly articulated question spread across the auditorium like a bad taste on the palate. I was at the Justice Conference in Melbourne, and it was an “In conversation with…” session on the intersection of art and justice which ended up … Continue reading Misunderstood: artists, do-gooders and missionaries

Something about Mary

Apparently Margaret Thatcher was my hero. When I was in Year 6, each kid in our class had to nominate a female role model and I chose the Iron Lady. I don’t know why I didn’t pick Aung San Suu Kyi. Way cooler. And I mean, I’m possibly part-Burmese. Maybe.

Meanwhile, Alex – the boy I had a crush on – chose English nurse Florence Nightingale. My heart fluttered and sighed. This guy is beautiful and deep!

He chose a compassionate, determined, God-fearing woman. I chose a conservative politician (in)famous for being a hard-ass.

To this day, I think Alex had the right idea. And I’m starting to think I need to have better taste in women. Continue reading Something about Mary

Old people push up charity overheads

I spent all of Friday afternoon handwriting Christmas cards to people I don’t know. A regular day at work now involves, at some point, printing and folding receipt letters, stamping and manually addressing envelopes. To be honest, so much of what we do at my new job seems primitive. It’s not something we’re unaware of; we’ve spoken about the website and the way we process donations. Some of that … Continue reading Old people push up charity overheads

Next stop: Sydney

Tomorrow will be my first day in Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, paid employment in Sydney. There is so much “normal” in that one sentence it’s not even funny. Don’t pretend you’re not disappointed. I’m trying not to be. “So when are you going back to South America?” “What are you doing here? Just here for a break?” These are things people have actually, literally, … Continue reading Next stop: Sydney

Mission made possible

In honour of IJM Bolivia’s incredible month of July (4 convictions, a long-awaited arrest, 60 therapies completed, churches uniting for justice), our team went to see Tom Cruise hang off the side of a military plane, in a business suit, as it takes off into the chilly London air. During the week, our Field Office Director made a number of references to how our work … Continue reading Mission made possible