What a week!

Wow, so lots has happened since the last time I posted!

Last Monday, I went and volunteered at Martha’s Closet where I have been volunteering most of the summer. I really like it there. They are currently remodeling their U Street location so there has been a lot to do there. And because I never did end up finding a part-time job, that keeps me busy on the days I don’t go into my internship. Then Tuesday, I usually don’t go into work but I did because I took off Wednesday so that I could attend The Make Progress Summit hosted by Generation Progress. It was at the J.W. Marriot down near the Metro Center metro stop. It was a GREAT experience that I’m really glad I took advantage of. I met a lot of really great people and got to listen to some really influential speakers including Vice President, Joe Biden, House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Thursday, I worked and had a visit from Darwin Kysor from the JC Career Services office in the morning and then had lunch at a great thai restaurant with him and two other interns from JC in the D.C. area. That night, I met up with my friend Cat for dinner so it was nice to catch up with her too!

I also forgot to mention in my last post that last week on Thursday I attended a film screening at Johns Hopkins SAIS Auditorium hosted by WorldAffairsDC. They showed a documentary entitled “Not My Life” which is a 2011 American independent documentary film about human trafficking and contemporary slavery. It was a great film, extremely moving. Afterwards, we had a discussion with a former CIA agent who had investigated human trafficking cases. I also made a good connection with a law student who was a Peace Corps member.

Anyways, Friday I went into work, but was actually able to leave early around 3:00 p.m. because not much was going on. I had been experiencing some issues with my eyes. They weren’t bad at the time and I just chalked it up to allergies because I have bad allergies that will randomly flare up. On Friday, when I got out early I decided to try to go to the Emergency Care doctor that accepted my insurance out in Vienna, Virginia. I took the metro out there, it was the absolute last stop on the orange line. So it took quite a bit and then I had a decent walk from the station to the office. Needless to say, with the normal office wait times and everything it took quite a while. I didn’t end up getting home home until about 8:30 when my friend Laura was supposed to be arriving to spend the night with me. I got back just in time and when I went outside to let her in, my two other friends Caitlyn and Arielle jumped out of the car! They had surprised me and I was so happy to have all of my best friends (minus a few) there for a night out in DC! It was a crazy, crazy night but I think we all had a lot of fun and got some IHOP in the morning on Saturday before they headed back home.

Side note, at my doctors appointment Friday they prescribed me some allergy eye drops which I picked up Saturday afternoon and proceeded to take as directed. That night, Jackson and I went down to Clarendon where we met up with our friend Nick and some of his other friends. We ended up spending the night at his place and when I woke up in the morning my eyes were SO swollen. They looked so horrible. Completely red, watery. So it turns out I had an ALLERGIC REACTION to the allergy eye drops I had been prescribed. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. So tomorrow, I am returning to an optimologist this time to get their opinion. My eyes are significantly less swollen now but still extremely red and irritated and I would like to figure out what exactly is going on. So Sunday, I had a pretty lazy day all day and same with today actually.

The other news is that I actually got a bomb dropped on me at my internship last week! My supervisor told me that we were going to conference call with her supervisor so that she could relay me some news. I was nervous at first but she said there was nothing to worry about. So when we finally called her she told me that DFN is going to be relocating their Washington, D.C. office to Virginia Beach. JULY 31. So I was like, uhmmmmm I’m supposed to be here until August 18? So Basically I am going to finish out my internship remotely and I am going to return home so I am not paying rent in D.C. for no reason. So this is not the most ideal situation, but it’s out of my control so I am trying to make the best of it. A lot of my work is via the computer anyways so it honestly shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. Plus they told me that I can probably take on some more social media responsibilities which I would really like. It’s actually sort of a blessing in disguise because I haven’t really been able to spend a lot of time with my family since I got back from my semester abroad and I was just going to go from here right back to school. So it will be good to spend some time with them before starting my senior year.

So I guess that’s all the updates for now! Happy Monday!

Life at DFN Last Week

First of all, what a fun weekend! I had friends from school come stay with me and we met up with other JC’ers Saturday night and all went out in Dupont Circle. Too much fun!

Tomorrow I’m going to wake up and go volunteer at Martha’s Outfitters on U Street. It’s a thrift store where I’ve been volunteering on Mondays and Tuesdays for something to do. I really like it actually, but I have a new appreciation for retail workers. I could see how it could get annoying to continually be straightening up the store only for shoppers to come in and leave everything in wrong places, etc.

Anyways! Work was good this past week. I worked on my same summer mailing project and also had to update a list of sponsored and unsponsored children from each different school in India and that took quite a while. Also, I created an inventory of all of the t-shirts and different Indian goods that we had in the office. The missing box mystery is still unsolved. Still so confused about that one! This past Friday, I actually didn’t have to go into work because there was administrative meetings all day and Liliya told me I could have the day off which was pretty cool! So I did some cleaning and took the dogs I was dog sitting to the dog park and went to the grocery store and then at night me, my housemate Jackson, our friend Seth, and Jackson’s friend from home, David, drove to Baltimore to see The Neon Trees live! I also really liked the openers which was a pretty new band called Smallpools.

This week I am working Tuesday, Thursday, Friday instead of my normal Wednesday, Thursday, Friday because on Wednesday I am attending Make Progress National Summit 2014 hosted by Generation Progress! I found out about it through an intern network group I am in on Facebook and I think it is going to be a really great experience. And it’s free so that’s a plus! Here’s a link to the website about the event.

http://genprogress.org/about/national-conference/make-progress-national-summit-2014/

Also, check out the list of speakers:

Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Filmmaker Andrew Rossi
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sec. of Labor Thomas Perez
Vice President of the United States Joe Biden
Sen. Chris Murphy(D-CT)
More to come…

Uhm, the vice president of the United States is going to be there! That’s kind of a big deal to me!! Plus Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren are badass women in power so it will be an honor to be in their presence.

And other unexspected awesome news is that, originally, my internship was supposed to be unpaid. Which, isn’t the best…but I dealt with it because I thought it would be a great experience and I really wanted to do an internship in DC this summer. But just last Thursday, my supervisor called me into her office to tell me that she had been telling her higher up about the great work I have been doing and her higher up told Liliya to tell me that they are going to cut me a check at the end of my time here. I don’t know how much it will be for, nor do I really care since even $1 would be more then the $0 I am making now! So that was pretty cool and it will help pay for my rent at the beginning of the year hopefully.

One last thing.

Check out this article recently posted on the New York Times website about a recent incident in India involving a young Dalit girl who was raped in retribution for her brother’s actions. Yet another example of why the work of DFN is so critical for Dalit justice.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/world/asia/indian-girls-rape-called-case-of-eye-for-eye-village-justice.html?_r=0

WATCH THIS!

>> Lucy Liu’s Directorial Debut on Human Trafficking <<

Oh, and I almost forgot! I watched a really, really good short film today directed by Lucy Liu called “Meena.” I encourage everyone to take just 20 minutes of your time to watch this short film, which is based on the first chapter of the book “Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” which I also recommend to read! This is exactly the kind of trafficking and oppression that the organization I am interning with this summer, Dalit Freedom Network USA, works to eliminate through promotion of education and social justice in India. It is a tough film to watch, but it touches on just one instance of a very prevalent issue going on still today in Indian society, and all over the world as well. In my opinion, human, and especially child, sexual trafficking is a serious issue that more people need to become aware of so it can be eliminated.

The film is embedded in NYT article written by Liu and one of my favorite paragraphs says, “We can’t back down when we hear “No, it’s too much.” We can’t give up when they say “Stop, it could be offensive.” We have to continually remind ourselves to push ahead for those who need a voice. Children need a voice when they can’t speak for themselves. Let’s not give up when meaningful change is possible and actually happening. Together we can help end violence, and protect children and their families.”

Educate yourself & spread the word!

 

Week 2 and 3 @ DFN

So I meant to do this Saturday afternoon and it completely slipped my mind! Today is the first day of my third week here at DFN and I am loving the experience!

So I’ve found out that summer mailings for sponsors is going to be one of the major projects I am going to be working on during my time here. It is a time consuming task and it seems like there should be a way to streamline the process but I understand that it would probably require an expensive software upgrade for that to be possible. So no complaints here! I have been using eTapestry to do that project. It is the main program through which everything for DFN is organized. It’s a pretty cool program and I think the knowledge of it will be helpful in the future. I have also been in charge of opening and cataloguing letters that are mailed through the post to the DFN office in D.C. I finished scanning all of the summer letters onto our shared drive and spent a whole afternoon sticking stickers on brochures that corrected the prices of sponsoring a child. Apparently they had printed a ton of these brochures and then the price went up from $28/month to $30/month and instead of reprinting they just printed stickers that I had to go through and stick to each one. So of course there is still some of the “menial” intern tasks to be done. But how I look at it, and the way I explained it to Kim, the pastor of the church I am attending this summer at after church lunch this past Sunday, there is limited staff here in the office. If I can take care of some of the menial, time consuming tasks that they would normally have to take care of, then that frees up these people, who are more skilled and/or knowledgeable than me to take care of “more important” or pressing issues.

There is actually a good amount of excitement going on in the DFN office at any given point in time. Last week, for instance, we had an issue with rats/mice that they had to call an exterminator in for. Apparently it had been a persistent problem but it seems to be fixed now! (Thank God) and then one day we had a new refrigerator delivered to the office and then a big issue has been that a box of letters coming from India to the U.S. has gone missing or has been misplaced. The postal service has receipt of delivery apparently, but we only received 4/5 boxes and online it says that they got someone at the front desk here to sign for the package. Except, we don’t have a front desk. So we’re kind of confused about what happened there, but it is pretty important that either way we find the box or we will have to have all of the letters rewritten and resent which will take quite a while.

Thursday was the USA v. Germany World Cup match and my supervisor said that the office was allowed to take an extended lunch to finish watching the game. So my and Bullaii who also works in the office walked to Chipotle and got lunch and then came back and watched the game with everyone. It was really cool! Yesterday was the USA v. Belgium game, which I didn’t take sides on because one is my home country and the other is where I recently got back from for study abroad. Belgium ended up winning.

This weekend is Independence Day and I’m pretty excited to be spending it in the nation’s capitol! I have a feeling it is an experience like no other. I plan on watching the fireworks from the Mall on Friday night. Last night, I met up with my friend and Juniata alum, Megan Russell at Bua Thai Restaurant in Dupont Circle. It was really great to catch up with her! Funny story actually, my first weekend here, my housemate Jackson and I went out on Saturday night on U Street and since we didn’t really know which bars were cool and not we just went to some random ones. So went into one and Jackson ordered a drink and I went to the bathroom. They only had one bathroom so there was a little line and I was waiting there and a random guy comes up beside me and says “Well while we’re waiting, might as well make small talk. Where are you from?” And I said “Western PA.” And he said, “Oh, I am actually about to meet a friend here, we go to school together now but she did her undergrad in PA. You probably have never heard of the school. It’s called Juniata College.” And I just stared and was like “No way, that’s my college.” And he was like, “Oh so maybe you know her, her name’s Megan Russell.” And I said, “Yes I know her! We went to El Salvador with Habitat for Humanity together!” So Megan showed up shortly thereafter and it was just a VERY “small world” moment. Crazy how things like that happen.

Also, in my spare time here I have been taking advantage of a lot of free fitness classed offered at Yard’s Park. It’s beautiful down there. I do Boot Camp classes on Monday and Wednesday, Yoga on Tuesday, Zumba on Thursday, and yoga in Georgetown on Saturday mornings. I have also gotten into doing a lot of yard work at the house I am staying at in College Park. I really enjoy it, but I have some serious mosquito bites covering my legs because of it. Anyways, that’s updates for now! Until next time… 🙂