|Photo by Judy Rand|
A little known fact...Because I moved out of my parents' home right into an apartment with my then-boyfriend-now-husband, the 11 days I spent on this trip was the longest I have spent on my own. I spent most of my time with my new sisterhood, eating, talking, reflecting on the stories we heard earlier in the day. But at night and early in the morning I spent in my head. And I needed that.
Despite the hassle the trip was in terms of my doctoral classes, it may be pivotal to them. Most of the challenges and problems I learned about on the trip are ones of policy failure. Some failed due to just plain ignorance to see beyond tomorrow and the consequences of the policy's actions. Some failed due to valuing a process or stance over human rights. As a student of bureaucracy and how the government works (or doesn't), I have a better sense of taking a moment to play out the chess match a few more moves down the line in order to hopefully anticipate trouble.
I miss my travel companions and the women we met, but knowing that we all continue the struggle for peace in our own corners of the world is comforting. Many of the women who I traveled with are currently in Liberia doing what we did in Mexico & Central America - Meeting and listening to women in order to forge peace in that part of the world.
I am still trying to figure out my role in forging peace, even in my own city. But the memories of women who have lost so much, yet still stand up and fight keep me going in my darkest moments. I do not weigh my issues with theirs. Rather I attempt to contextualize our battles and believe that we are doing what we need to do within our smaller worlds. This is why I will keep our delegation's button up on this blog under "Current Actions," as I hope to always be working on our goals.
We were lucky to have had two amazing film makers with us and they crafted this video to give others a peek into what we learned.