October 12, 2008

Whiplash

Yesterday we continued our adventure birthday tradition with Lovey and Dovey. Thus far we’ve done horseback riding/Monterray Bay cruise; bike ride/picnic in the Presidio; and rock climbing. Yesterday was Lovey’s call. Her latest dream adventure? Flying Trapeze Lessons.

They picked us up in the morning and we headed north to the city to Circus School. Once we all were changed, warmed up and supplied with safety belts, the instructor asked for a volunteer. Everyone shuffled their feet; I didn’t feel like wasting time, so I raised my hand. I had NO idea that meant I’d be first The Rest of The Lesson. First up the 25 foot ladder. First to step around the support truss and stand on the narrow board with my heart pounding in fear. First to get strapped into my harness. First to lean out hips first and grab the bar. First to crouch on “Ready” and drop on “Hup”. First to follow the directions:
“Legs up!”
“Hands off!”
“Look at the far wall!”
“Hands up!”
“Legs down!” and finally
“Hup” to drop into the net.

I loved it. I had a sugar crash after two rounds and wasn’t able to complete the catch with the pro at the end of the lesson. Lovey did it though! Happy Birthday to her.

For lunch we took them to the ‘best Chinese food in San Francisco’: San Tung at 11th and Irvine. After two servings of the incredibly addictive ‘dry fried Chicken Wings’, we exploited our membership at the de Young museum and all went in for free. After touring the galleries, we grabbed drinks at the café and sat out in the sculpture garden. While sipping our hot drinks and flavored waters, we heard a roar of jet engines and saw the Blue Angels swoop through as part of Fleet Week.

Overall if we’d stopped there, it would have been a beautiful, wonderful day. But, we didn’t.

They dropped us off at home and an hour later, Jrex and I went to the movies.

I’d heard about a movie and then actually got free tickets from someone at work. We knew it would be disturbing, but we had NO idea. The movie? Call + Response: “The first feature rockumentary to expose the world’s 27 million most terrifying secrets”. A local Oakland-based musician started to find out about the modern slave industry. The more he investigated, the more he wanted to do something about it. As he spoke with other musicians, they wanted to join him. In the end, the movie segues from black and white segments with songs responding to slavery back into color interviews with survivors and advocates. Julia Ormand, Ashley Judd, Madeline Albright, Moby, Switchfoot, Emmanual Jal. Other musicians I’ve never heard of and stories I can never forget.

The amazing thing was that the movie managed to convey the enormity of the issue without leaving one paralyzed in despair. By the end of the movie all I could do was pray, “Lord, show me what to do and I’ll do it.” Jrex was furious at the injustice, I was crying and heartbroken.

They took hidden cameras into brothels. To hear a white man saying, “You give ‘yum yum’?” (oral sex) “What about ‘bom bom’?” (intercourse) and to see a seven-year old girl smile and nod eagerly is one of the most horrifying echoes I carry from the movie. One of the musicians rapped a piece called “War Child” about his experience being abducted into an African child soldier war. Apparently right now there are more slaves worldwide than were exported from Africa in 400 years of the slave trade. Back then, a group of 12 abolitionists met in England and determined to end the British slave trade in their lifetime. They succeeded. “Lord, show me what to do and I’ll do it.”

I’m sure my prayer for action will have far reaching consequences, but in the short term we have the following action list:
  1. Give up chocolate (unless it’s guaranteed free-trade). 80 percent of world chocolate is a result of slave labor. No more chocolate chip ice cream or brownies or hot chocolate. Trade As One does carry free trade versions of much of that, so it won’t be total withdrawal, just nothing in a café or restaurant.
  2. For Jrex, he’ll be emailing Sweet Marias (his coffee bean supplier) to find out which of their beans they know are slave free.
  3. We’re going to sponsor additional Compassion girls. With education and options, the need to sell one’s daughter is diminished. I want to find out if they have any kids who have been rescued and specifically sponsor them.
  4. Look for volunteer options here in the Bay area. There are numerous sex and labour slaves in this area.
  5. Renewed commitment to buy clothes from resale stores. Cheap new clothes are often supplied by labor slaves.
If you want more ideas, click here.

My overall sense from the Lord was to love his broken children. That’s been my hearts cry for much of my life. I just don’t know how or when. It’s not something I can inflict on my husband in terms of what we do with our house. But it’s something I may be able to do as a volunteer. At the moment, I’m ready for him to get a job so I can be Lady Bountiful and volunteer time to make a difference in the world. Who knows what life has in store, but at the moment, we have to do what we can do here and now.

The movie was made with no financial backing and right now is only on a limited release. Check out the locations. If it’s near you, I highly recommend it. Disturbing? Undoubtedly. Worth seeing? Definitely.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Praise God!

Thanks for the info on "Call + Response".

And bless you for your reaction.

Yes, we have more slaves in the US today than we did in 1860. Newsweek featured that info five years ago.

You're determined to do something about it. I haven't lived out the moral implications of my knowledge. Shame on me.

You cited Wilberforce. Have you seen "Amazing Grace"? If not, do so right away. It's your training film.

Rachel said...

The birthday adventure sounds amazing.

Thanks for writing about the movie. I don't know if I could bear to watch it, but just reading what you wrote here is very thought-provoking, and makes me want to do something.

Mama Nabi said...

MY GOODNESS. Trapeze? Trapeze? Wow. Quite the birthday adventuresses you all are!

Thank you re: the movie. I think I will have a really hard time watching something like that... but I think it provides very important messages.

I usually go out of my way to buy fair trade coffee or local non-profit coffee (benefits local innercity kids) but had never thought about chocolate.

I agree with Rachel - I am very motivated by your post to do something, to change the way I live my life as a consumer. Thank you, thank you.

Aimee said...

Wow on all points. For the trapeze and the movie. I wish I could see it (sort of... I'd probably cry as much as I did with Schindler's List), but if the message is important enough, I should.

Thanks for the info, especially RE: chocolate and coffee. I had no idea. I'm ALL about getting clothes at resale shops. Would love to find out who sells clothes NOT manufactured by slave labor.

so-yun said...

I LOVE san tung! and I LOVE your reaction to that movie. Thank you for sharing it. I SO want to go see it. The one near me is sold out already... hmmmm. I learned about modern slavery recently too. Heart breaking. Have you heard of International Justic Mission? They seem to be doing wonderful work. I too was inspired recently to sponsor another Compassion child.. and to do more to help the oppressed.

Movies like this are hard to watch but hey, it's the truth. One thing I learned in the past has stuck with me. A pastor was pleading with his congregation to feel the pain. Because it is so very real. Because it is the pain God feels. Not to revel in it but to let it spur you into action. Looks like it did for you.

Inkling said...

Awesome post. You wrote it well and inspired me to get going. You also stated the case for Fair Trade even more clearly than most I know, and I'm ready to go searching for chocolate that is only fair trade. You're onto something here, and perhaps there are other William Wilburforce's of the world out there just itching to come together and do something.

Anonymous said...

Further thoughts --

Don't wait to become Lady Bountiful. Do it now. Most of the foot soldiers in the army of democracy have regular jobs. Many invest their vacations in the causes that heat their blood.

What can you do now? Suggestions:

Find out what bills are now before the California Legislature and the US Congress regarding slavery.

What pressure groups have initiated or back these bills?

Who in Sacramento specializes in the problems of slavery? Sacramento is not so far away. Take a vacation day to go interview the key people.

What Christians are ministering to slaves in San Francisco? Spend a day with them too.

Discover what causes your heart to burn. Then go do it.

Remember that it takes all kinds. Wilberforce campaigned in Parliament and throughout England for the abolition of slavery.
Peter Claver ministered to slaves in Cartegenia and over the years led over 300,000 to a saving relationship with Jesus.

Different strokes. As you discover you calling, please keep telling us all what you have found.

Anonymous said...

A week has passed since you saw "Call
+ Response". If your passion for
liberation still runs strong, there's
a web site for you:

www.freetheslaves.net