journey of doing »

When I was in college, I was subjected to my first up close and personal experience with the abuse of civil rights (and thus began my crusade for social justice)… One night, I received an email of support from Noble Laureate Peter Agre. His message was simple: “His fight is our fight and it has just begun.”

 

Those words could NOT be more true today.

 

If you want to tell me that trump’s actions are in any possible way acceptable, I encourage you to read this essay, written by a minor child, about his experience as a refugee.  If you can’t bear to read the truth, then I ask you to consider (at least) this single sentence:

 People say “the truth never dies” but in the country and place where I am from, the truth is never revealed for the poor and lower castes.  The truth is buried with them.”  

If that doesn’t resonate with you, please try this one on for size:

“Poverty and diseases surrounded us like the air itself.  Children died of malaria and there were no hospitals nearby for medical treatment.  Contaminated water caused people to vomit and diarrhea, and there were no warm clothes to wear against the harsh winter winds. Hunger was everywhere, and everyone was hopeless and waiting for death.”

journey of doing - #GetWoke, #StayWokeP I N I T

I ran as fast as I could with my bare feet to see what was going on. A bunch of people were gathered in one of the community centers, and in the middle of the group a scared man was talking about a dead body he saw near the jungle. I was a little kid, so my friends and I hurried to see for ourselves. When we got there all we saw was a ton of people, so we decided to sneak in because we were small and could squeeze through the crowd.

 

When I got closer I smelled charcoal. All I could see was a burned and naked body. It was a girl. Elder people were standing around and crying. I felt sad and scared for the parents, and shortly after I arrived the police came and took the girl away. Rumors started a week later; some people said she was raped and then burned to destroy the evidence.  

 

Everybody in the community was talking about what happened. My mother used to work with the Women’s Forum, and she dealt a lot with raising awareness for women’s violence, child trafficking, and discrimination. Because of her job, she had good knowledge of the case. Many people came to our house to talk, and I heard them saying something about the caste. The girl was from a lower caste and she was having a relationship with a boy from a higher one. They wanted to get married but their unification was impossible. The boy’s parents refused to agree. 

 

In my community there were three different castes: the lower caste, the middle caste, and the high caste. The high caste was for rich people, and they did not allow members of the other castes to enter their houses. They refused to eat food someone from a lower caste touched.  They considered the lowest caste impure, and they never married with someone from either of the other two castes. Inter-caste marriage of any kind was forbidden. This tradition has been enforced for hundreds of years, and in our camp there was never a time that an arranged marriage happened out of caste. 

 

The caste was a serious problem, yet everybody believed and followed the custom begun by our first ancestors. The community people were extremely strict. They would do anything to stop a marriage between castes.Since the girl was known to be innocent, I wondered if the boy’s parents had found someone to kill her. Other people were saying the same, but like it was nothing. I started to worry that the same thing could happen to my younger sisters one day- and what would I do?

 

I asked my mother about situation because I was scared for my sisters. “What does it mean that the girl was murdered and the boy is fine?” I asked. “What if that girl was my sister?” I kept looking for answers and asking her if anyone would do anything. My mother explained that since the girl was burned, there couldn’t be any evidence for a court. To calm me down, she talked to the director of the Women’s Forum. He also said that there was no evidence and it would be a mistake to go against the higher caste family. In this country, the police and the law are very corrupt. Rich people and high caste people can get whatever they want.

 

People say “the truth never dies” but in the country and place where I am from, the truth is never revealed for the poor and lower castes. The truth is buried with them. There is nothing that I could have done, or my mother could have done, or anyone could have done even if there was evidence. Situations like this haven’t just happened in my camp, they are still happening in communities throughout this country today.  

 

Even after coming to America, there is still a sense of discrimination towards people from the lower caste in our community.  The older generation does not want it to end.  It is a tradition they grew up with, and since many are uneducated they believe it should not be forgotten. A few weeks ago, one of my friends decided to marry someone from a different caste and her parents would not allow it. In America though, parents do not have the right to stop a marriage for simple discrimination. The marriage happened, but now elder people in the community are gossiping. Whenever I hear them I remind them that we are in the United States now, and the old caste system with its discrimination is gone.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that generation will change. My constant comments cannot improve a lifetime of habit.  

 

Nelson Mandela once said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than it’s opposite.“The only way forward for our community is for my generationto begin teaching this tolerance to the next.  By continuing to speak out, I believe that younger people will slowly develop the mentality that the discrimination of the caste is unjust. Then, when this slow shift in thought happens, our community will grow in equality.

 

Essay #2

Being born as a refugee means a life full of challenges every single day. Some of the obstacles I faced in the camp were not only difficult;they were dangerous. I have many memories: running away from my hut because the river was about to flood our home, my body aching and shivering but still moving to safety. Losing all of our possessions and starting over. Eating once a day when rations were low so my sisters could have more. Although each event left me a little broken inside, I endured and I survived. I never stopped believing in the future.

 

Poverty and diseases surrounded us like the air itself.  Children died of malaria and there were no hospitals nearby for medical treatment.  Contaminated water caused people to vomit and diarrhea, and there were no warm clothes to wear against the harsh winter winds. Hunger was everywhere, and everyone was hopeless and waiting for death. My father worked day and night to provide my family with food, but he was never able to earn enough to fulfill our essential needs.  No matter how long he worked, we were as poor as before.  Despite the fact that I lived in darkness, I had family members beside me to support and encourage me to work hard.

 

Living in the camp taught me more than survival; it taught me to be smart and creative in solving my problems. When I had to give up school completely for a month to work, I never stopped learning. I read books and did math problems at night before allowing myself to sleep. Although we had limited education with inexperienced teachers, I never stopped dreaming about college. During summers I worked as a gravel maker: I carried and broke stones with a hammer in order to provide builders with materials. Payment was two rupees for one bucket of gravel, and I saved half of what I earned for school and gave the rest to my parents. Even though I realistically knew I would never have enough for higher education, I never stopped. 

 

I studied hard in school and often rose to the top of my classes. Somehow, I wanted to show the world that this refugee kid could become a great man. Finally, as Newton’s third law states, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” My hard work and dedication paid off. A group called the International Organization for Migration proposed a plan to allow refugees to resettle in seven different nations including the United States. After a discussion with my parents we decided that America was the best place to secure my sisters and me a better future. More than anything, my parents didn’t want us to have to survive the way that they did; poor and uneducated. We moved through the application process,identification checks, and medical exams until one day we were declared as legal immigrants.  From that moment I started dreaming and believing that my goal was not too far. I worried about moving to an unknown land and leaving my childhood friends. However, the promise of America called us onward. We walked away from the country where I was born.

 

My family and I arrived in the United States, and my goal of education could finally become reality. I had a dream in my eyes and hope filled my heart.  America is known as a land of freedom, inventors, and opportunities, and I knew that I would have to make the most of this new life. I didn’t realize that there would be so many obstacles to overcome. It was hard to adapt to the environment,learn a new language, confront a different standard of living, and face discrimination. With patience and resilience, I refused to give up my goal.  I worked hard to achieve academically and I realized that education is not a desire- it’s a need. My mindset is fully focused on the path of success because after thirteen years of living in darkness, I had finally found a light of opportunities.

 

When my parents moved from Texas to Massachusetts, I chose to remain behind with my grandparents -who wanted to stay. It seemed dishonorable to leave two older people without English skills to exist on their own. Now we survive on their social security income, and I am fulfilling their needs with the best support I can provide. My parents are unable to help us, so I have learned to be careful with our bills, payments, and expenses on our small income. 

 

Through my experiences, I have gained courage in myself and a belief in my path towards my future. My desire for success has been strengthened through the hardships I encountered throughout my life. I am now tough, smart, and resilient. My fight will continue until I become someone capable of leaving a great legacy behind.

#GetWoke.  #StayWoke.  This is not normal nor is it okay.  

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” — Martin Niemoller 

 

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journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails
journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trails

journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trailsP I N I T

journey of doing - cinque terre hike photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza photos, cinque terre trailsP I N I T

for more Cinque Terre hike photos (and tips + tricks):
why you need to stay in cinque terre, making pesto in cinque terre, cinque terre trip planning,
manarola cinque terre photos, riomaggiore cinque terre photos, monterosso al mare photos, vernazza cinque terre photos
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While we all know that I’m the worst at editing my photos in a timely fashion, I do get a lot of love on my photos (when I eventually post them), so I thought it would be fun to talk about what’s in my camera bag when I travel!  While I have a small mirrorless camera, today I’m talking about my Canon system.  For reference, I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II.

journey of doing - whatP I N I T

Photography is definitely one of my passions, but it’s not cheap. I was really excited when I found the Canon refurbished lens site.  I ordered one lens to try it out last year, and it was sharp as a tack and absolutely perfect.  I have no qualms about recommend that you use this site, particularly when they have the additional 15% off sales!

What’s In My Camera Bag – Prime Lenses

Canon 50mm, f/1.2

This is my go-to lens.  It’s never what’s in my camera bag, it’s what’s on my camera almost all the time.  Before I upgraded to the f/1.2 version, I used the nifty fifty, upgraded to the slightly better version, and eventually bought the bullet and purchased the real thing.  This lens does a great job in any and all lighting conditions, but it is particularly powerful in low light situations.  I love the way that I can make the colors pop or fade into bright sunlight.  I’ve gotten so much mileage out of this lens that it’s the first thing I recommend to people who want to take their photography to the next level.

journey of doing - whatP I N I T

Canon 85mm, f/1.8 USM

When I did wedding photography, I absolutely loved the 85mm for candid shots during the reception.  It has beautiful bokeh when you shoot wide open, it’s sharp, and the price is fairly budget-friendly.  It’s a great addition to the 50mm (once you master it).  I’ve never shot with the (much) more expensive version, but I’ve heard it’s really heavy.  Personally, with the lens, I’ve never thought I needed to upgrade what’s in my camera bag.  This is an awesome lens for portraits and AND travel.  I just LOVE it.

Canon 200mm, f/2.8L II USM

Guys.  This lens is heavy.  Really heavy.  I’m thinking about buying the 135mm to see if it’s any lighter, but the 200mm is tough to travel with.  I haven’t used the 200mm too often – in fact, this is the first picture I’ve downloaded from it – but it is very, very sharp.  I have had a hard time using it with a tripod (because of the weight), but if you’ve got strong arm muscles, this would be a great option if you want to shoot long-range distances or detail shots.  This picture is a close up of the details of the astronomical clock in Prague.  I can’t wait to edit more pictures from this lens though – I think I’ve got some keepers to share!
journey of doing - whatP I N I T

Canon 35mm, f/1.4L

My mom just got me this lens for Christmas and I can’t wait to try it out!!  My friend Erin says it will change my life… so I’m super excited to get out and shoot with it.

Canon 24mm, f/1.4L II USM

Tom got me this lens for Christmas… and I’m excited to try it out.  While my wide angle lens covers both of these focal lengths, I’m excited to have the additional aperture range similar to what I have on the 50mm.  I’m excited to see how both of these perform in low light situations.

What’s in My Camera Bag – Wide Angle Lens

journey of doing - whatP I N I T

Canon 16-35mm, f/2.8L

My wide angle lens is my second most used lens!  It’s fairly lightweight for L-glass and it’s extremely versatile.  I LOVE it for travel photography, but there can be a little bit of distortion when you shoot extremely wide.  It also doesn’t have the same aperture range as the prime lenses, but it does really well in low light.  This lens did an awesome job shooting fireworks when we were at the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain for the 4th of July.  One of the reasons I really love this lens is because of the different ways you can frame shots.  Believe it or not, the picture below was shot using the my wide lens, not a zoom lens!

journey of doing - whatP I N I T

What’s in your camera bag when you travel?  Do you have a favorite lens??  Are there any gems that I’ve missed?

 

Wanderful WednesdayP I N I T

Isabel, Marcella, Vanessa, Lauren

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  • Katie - Oh my gosh, lens envy! I have the Canon 6D and shoot the 50 mm, f/1.2 but now you’ve made me want MANY MANY more!

    Katie | Willow and WhiteReplyCancel

  • Kelli {A Deeper Joy} - You really do take amazing photos, Sara! I’d love to actually pour time into my camera. They’d never be that great, but I’d like to at least get a better lens than the one that I have.ReplyCancel

  • Van - Love this! I just got my first DSLR a couple of months ago and already know that I need a telezoom lens – Norwegian mountains and wildlife kinda require one. Haven’t decided what other lens I’m going to buy though so I’ll bookmark this 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Katie Elizabeth - I had no idea lenses were so expensive!!! Holy cowwww! I need to start saving my money 😉 How nice that there is a refurbished website though!ReplyCancel

  • Olya @ The Siberian American - I love this post! I have used a Nikon all my life, but Chris got me a Canon for Christmas, so I’ve been researching new lenses. I think I want the 85mm or the 135mm. Can’t decide yet!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah CC - So many lenses!! I’m jealous – believe it or not, I mostly just travel with my trusty lil iphone! I used to have an amazing DSLR (Nikon) that I loved, but I left it on a ferry boat in San Fran :'( and since then I haven’t gotten the courage/funds up to purchase another one. Someday the time will be right! I still love reading about other peoples’ photography, though… keep those lenses safe!ReplyCancel

  • Kate @ Green Fashionista - I know absolutely nothing about cameras, settings, lenses, and editing which is truly embarrassing as a blogger lol. You would be the best teacher ever! Your photos are always stunning <3
    Green FashionistaReplyCancel

  • Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld - Such a helpful post! 🙂 I really have no idea when it comes to lenses so this is so so helpful. And, what beautiful photos you take!!ReplyCancel

  • Pamela - Your pictures are so gorgeous! I am definitely going to have to check out some of your lenses.I’m still majorly learning how to use my camera haha!ReplyCancel

Welcome back to another 10 on Tuesday… where I’m happy to share the most random things on my mind and what’s going on in my world/head in a quick bullet point format.  It’s almost like a stream of consciousness inside my mind, which is admittedly, a very dangerous place to go.

P I N I T

  • It doesn’t matter what you do, there’s always going to be haters.  Case and point?  The Women’s March.  I saw all kinds of people that I love and respect marching for various reasons… and yet, people want to say that they were excluded.  Not a single thing I saw excluded anyone.  They did say not to hijack the event and make it about a single issue… but they didn’t say that you couldn’t participate in the way you wanted to.  Please stop playing the victim.  Here are two posts on the Women’s March that I loved:  Steph ‘s Women’s March on Washington and To Christy on Facebook who doesn’t need the Women’s March.
  • People who are using religion to attack people who are trying to stand up for the rights of others… I have one scripture for you:  “”The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”-Matthew 25:40.  I may be a heathen in your eyes… but I know this book.
  • I have a renewed sense of urgency in my work.  I spent Friday in training with my staff all day.  We need to start creating leaders and going after our underclassmen.  We need to start (re)focusing on what’s going to move the ball forward for our kiddos.
  • People who work in the non-profit sector and don’t have the same sense of urgency that I do.  Why do we just assume that because we did SOMETHING we did enough?  Don’t we want to be effective?  Isn’t that why we got into this work?  Why doesn’t anyone else feel like their neighbor’s house is on fire?  And better yet, WHY ISN’T ANYONE ELSE GRABBING A HOSE?
  • Being productive?  I have all these ideas and things I want to do… and then I come home and want to do absolutely nothing.  How can I motivate myself to do more?  Suggestions?
  • Legislating on my body.  I don’t need men OR women judging what I do with my body.  Go back to your Bible and worry about your own body.  See that log in your eye?  You’re supposed to remove it before you try and take the one out of my eye.  Pray for my soul if you must.  But quit with the judging already.  If you want to know, I believe in a woman’s and family’s right to choose what works for their situation.  I see dozens of unwanted children every day and none of you are lining up to adopt them…. with the exception of Kelli.  She’s my hero.  Side note:  do you also try and legislate on the people who drink heavily, don’t exercise, eat foods that aren’t good for them?  Because I’m pretty sure that’s not respecting the vessel either…
  • Needing a hair cut.  I am so overdue for one it’s not even funny.  Why?  Why is it so hard for me to get this one?  Does anyone else struggle with this the way I do?
  • Amazon same day delivery?  This is SO cool yet so crazy.  How is it a thing??  How do they do it?  How is it cost effective?  Will it ever replace the behemoth that is Walmart?  Do people think of it like Target?  (I just came here for one thing…. but oooooh, look at this!)
  • The debate about when to dress up and when to wear make up?  How do you make your decisions?  I feel like I arbitrarily make these decisions.  Is there a method to the madness?  Is there a flow chart?  Does anyone else analyze things the way that I do?
  • What’s going to be the tipping point for America?  Will we know it when we see it?
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  • Katie Elizabeth - Do you really have Amazon same day delivery?! Now I really need to move to Dallas 😉ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin - So cool that you work in the nonprofit sector! xx

    Caitlin, Beauty & ColourReplyCancel

  • Sarah Elizabeth - Nonprofit work is so interesting in that some organizations I worked for every day was treated with intense urgency to the mission and other organizations it was a “we’re doing well, we’re doing enough. Let’s move slower.” Such an interesting comparison between missions and work that the different organizations did.

    In regards to the makeup/dressing up question, I judge it by how much time I have to get ready in the morning, how tired I am and what I’ll be doing that day. I spend most of my day in my office on my computer, so if I choose to not wear makeup, not many people will see!ReplyCancel

  • Kelli {A Deeper Joy} - Awww…Sara, you’re so sweet. Oh gosh…the non profit world. The hubs and I have been talking about this a lot lately because of where he works and with both of us having business backgrounds, the people who aren’t urgent about anything drive us bonkers. On a different note, but somewhat similar, the type of work that he does (prison, human trafficking, foster/adopt ministries) requires investing in people, showing them Jesus by developing a relationship with them over time. His authorities constantly want numbers/metrics to show what he’s doing, but that’s almost impossible with what he does. One individual taking 2 hours to paint a wall should not equal a couple who fosters kids 24/7.ReplyCancel

  • cara - I work in non-profit and get so irritated with the lack of urgency by other people and partner agencies. It’s like really, get on board so we can help people! lolReplyCancel

  • Mandy - Thank you for this post! And especially for the scripture. I’m getting so tired of being told I’m obviously against God if I’m against Trump. And don’t even get me started on abortion rights. Because I attended the march I obviously marched against pro-life stances and, according to Trump, didn’t vote. Just. No. 🙁 I’m just waiting for the US to wake up and realize what a nightmare this all is.ReplyCancel

  • SMD @ Life According to Steph - Thanks for the mention!

    I am very arbitrary about when I wear makeup.

    Lots of Christians out there being not so Christian-y.ReplyCancel

  • Lauren @ Bookmark Lit - Man, I totally feel nearly all of these bullet points (especially involving religion, the marches, the tipping point, etc.). It’s so disheartening to be on the internet every day and see what’s happening.ReplyCancel

journey of doing - monterosso al mare photos

journey of doing - monterosso al mare photos

journey of doing - monterosso al mare photos

journey of doing - monterosso al mare photos

journey of doing - monterosso al mare photos
journey of doing - monterosso al mare photos
journey of doing - monterosso al mare photos
journey of doing - monterosso al mare photos

for more Monterosso al Mare photos (and tips + tricks):
why you need to stay in cinque terre, making pesto in cinque terre, cinque terre trip planning,
manarola cinque terre photos, riomaggiore cinque terre photos, cinque terre hike photos, monterroso al mare photosvernazza cinque terre photos
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