For Those Who Are Weak

“I’ve seen video content of a child that’s the same age as mine being raped by an American man that was a sex tourist in Cambodia.

“And this child was so conditioned by her environment that she thought she was engaging in play.”

Consider him acting well or really convincing – the testimony that Ashton Kutcher gave at the Senate hearing this week was nerve wrecking. He spoke out on child trafficking and child prostitution which happens frequently, right under our eyes – online.

Human trafficking is a topic that has been on my heart for a while now (ever since I visited Vegas) and the more I read about it, the more I am horrified.
“How can people do that?” is a question I keep coming back to.
Children are weak and helpless. They can be manipulated in the most simple and horrible ways to do the most horrible things for adults. They can be abused and treated badly just because adults get a kick out of it. Most of all, they can’t speak up for themselves. If they ever make it out of it (many don’t) they are left traumatized and scared for life.

But the real problem is not far away.
It is as close as the ads we’re watching, the clothes we buy, the food we eat, or the electronic devices we use.
It is as close as the low prices we pay for cheap products and constant novelty.

Trafficking starts with all of us – whenever we allow other people to work for us. Trafficking starts when we care more for our own pleasure than other people’s lives.

Well, what can we do about, you may ask.
The solution is equally close to home.
We are solution. You are. I am.
You might feel weak. You might feel hopeless and helpless.
But you can do more than you think.

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Think about the people who made your clothes before you make a quick buy.
Consider other people’s lives before you buy a new phone every year.
Buy local food and cook seasonally.

Next Thursday (February 23) is Shine a Light on Slavery Day. Share about this topic on social media. Paint a red X on your hand and talk to the people you meet that day. Read up on the subject. Organize events together with others. It’s as easy as that.

Human Trafficking is real.
What are you going to do about it?


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.
And yes, this post took longer than five minutes – but sometimes you have to break the rules.

The Power of Food

Welcome to the first Five Minute Friday of 2017!
I hope you had a great start into the new year and are excited for everything that’s to come. Despite all the hardships and challenges, may you have always discover beauty in the ordinary around you.

A new year is often a good chance to start or try something new.
I have lived in my new apartment for three months now. Since I also started a new job, my life has mostly consisted of sleeping, working and eating. I know the way to the grocery store, to the underground station and back to my apartment. That sounds a little depressing, I know.

In the new year it might be time to connect more.

Connect with the place I live in. This last week I wandered through the city a little bit and discovered some amazing things. Cobbled stoned, tiny streets that remind me of my last home. Market places with food from all over the world. Cafés that invite you in for a hot chocolate on a cold winter day.

Connect with the people around me.
Beautiful houses and streets are wonderful, but people are the real adventure. Their stories are what makes life rich, messy, emotional, deep…life.
So I want to meet people and listen to their stories.
I want to invite them into my home and my life.
I want to gather people from different walks of life around my table.
I want to share a meal and more than that, a bit of myself. 

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Food has become one of the most underrated things in our culture. We buy more than we need and we wolf it down on our way to the next five appointments. We go out instead of taking the time to really prepare food and then enjoy what our hands have made. We don’t appreciate the different smells and tastes anymore because we don’t make time for it.

So we miss out on so much.
We miss the memories food can bring up of childhood days and all the fun we had.
We miss the blessing of fellowship around the table that food magically creates.
We miss the depth when people answer your gift of hospitality with their gift of honesty and authenticity. 
Never underestimate the power of food, y’all.

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We all have to eat at some point, so why not make more time to do so together? 

Where and how can you connect more with the people around you this year? 


Writing for Five Minute Friday today. A community of writers gathers every Friday to write on one prompt for five minutes. No editing, just sharing. Why don’t you join us for 2017?

The Terrible Difference of Now

Now.
Now we are in the final days before Christmas. Our houses are filled with candle light and the smell of Christmas cookies. We are rushing through the department stores in search of the perfect presents and let’s hope we don’t forget anyone. We spend hours planning the Christmas meal. After a long and busy year we just long for a few quiet days with family, rest and peace.
This is our now.

Now.
Now the people of Aleppo are in the final days of their war, their lives. Their houses are nothing but a pile of bricks and burned down structure, all they have left is what they can carry on their backs. They are running through the streets in search for some safe place, some last fortress against the terror going on outside. They spend hours waiting for help and support to come. After another year of war and suffering they long for a few more days, a bit more hope, change after all.
This is their now.

The difference is appaling, terrible, embarrassing.

I spent all Wednesday afternoon reading news on Aleppo, watching final messages, listening to pleas of help. After so many years of war in Syria, this seems to be it.
Is this the end?

The conflict is complicated and in our media-saturated world it’s not easy to figure out what is truth and what isn’t.
But this is no excuse.
No matter how much we know or don’t know – we can never say we didn’t know.
We knew.
I knew.

The more I read and watch, the more I have to admit how little I actually know. While I have been so busy with my life, they were fighting hard to not lose theirs.
The more I get to know what their NOW looks like, the less I feel like enjoying mine.

This is what leaves me so angry, confused, helpless, hopeless.
This is what makes me wonder how there can be such a difference of now.
This is what makes me cry out to the One who says he sees all of it, their now and our now. Do you really see?
Are you really there?
Have mercy.


Writing the last Five Minute Friday of 2016 today.
It’s not beautiful, it’s rough, messy and honest.
That’s life.

Our Father

I wrote this piece two weeks ago, not knowing how much more important its message would be just a few days later…

Last weekend I was in London. I spent Sunday afternoon walking along the South Bank and watching people as they enjoyed the unusually hot summer weather.
So many people from all kinds of backgrounds.
So many faces I’ve never seen before. I cannot help but wonder what their stories are.
Do they live in London or are they visiting? What has their week been like? What has brought them here today?
And how can this world be so diverse? Continue reading “Our Father”

Listen to the Little Things

It starts with the little things.
When I get up in the morning, but my body is still weary from the day before – I know it’s time to rest.
When my hair starts falling out and my wrists starts itching – I know it’s time to rest.
When I snap at people for no obvious reason – I know it’s time to rest.
When I forget about people because I am so focused on the product – I know it’s time to stop. Continue reading “Listen to the Little Things”

What I Want

What do I want?

I want to go back to when things seemed to be easier.
When I didn’t have to worry about food on the table, bills to pay, an appartment to clean.
When I could rely on others taking care of me.
When I could just go back to school after the summer instead of job hunting.
I want to grow in the challenges life sets before me. Continue reading “What I Want”

And Yet

Just one small candle, its flame hardly seen against the bright blue sky.
But it was there.
Shining.
Making a statement.

Twenty something students and I had just visited a concentration camp to get a first hand experience what our dark past had been like. The memories of torture, suffering, and death where looming over the hill. The lives of so many who had died here were still somehow present.
And now we were here to remember them.

It was an eerie feeling.
These people had died at the hands of those who no longer seemed to be people.
They were animals.
They had taken away whatever humanity had still been left in the victims and treated them like a piece of waste.
No dignity, no honor, just shame.


Silence.

We remember those who suffered in the past, but realize the suffering of today as well.
The people who are forced into slave labor.
The people who suffer in prostitution or the porn industry.
The many refugees who wait at the gates of Europe and are met with nothing but hatred and spite.
The people who don’t fit into our little view of the world and we so often judge.

People are still cruel today.
Humanity and dignity is lost in so many places.

And yet.

One small candle makes a difference.
As more and more people light candles we come closer together.
We are all individuals, but we are also all together.
And together we can make this dark world a little brighter, a little better.


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.