social justice

adventures

Kicked Out


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I’ve been in Hawaii for 5  or 6 days now, part of that time has been for vacation & travel, part has been to hangout with & do some film/photo/doco work around the homeless/houseless.

There are two reasons for this,

1) I hope to be able to put something together to raise a little awareness about the houseless & how we treat/interact with them,

and 2) I want to do it in such a way that it’s accessible for anyone to do. I’m by no means a talented editor, creative, film maker etc… I’m shooting everything on a GoPro. I guess I hope to provoke one or two others to ask,

what is it in your world that doesn’t sit right with you, what can you do about it, how can you engage with it & advocate for change

This was a beautiful moment I witnessed last night.

Last night after the sunset on the beach I spend some time hanging out with some houseless people. I take a few pics & do a little film work. I sit with one guy for a couple of hours & he just talks, he cries, he laughs, he shares his story, from the mundane to the comical & tragic.

I listen. I’m not filming, it stops being about what I need.

Unlike some of the other ‘houseless’ he doesn’t have a group he hangs with, the only time people stop to talk is to see if he can hook them up with weed.

I don’t know how to describe it other than it seemed to be a healing moment for him, he asks for me to pray for him, I’ll make a point of seeing him before I leave.

On the way back I stop by this really flash mall full of Prada, Armani etc… it’s a stark contrast to what I’ve seen in the last couple of hours, I decide to ask a couple of questions,

“Hey I’ve a couple of questions about Hawaii, can you answer for me”, yes. “How long have you been in Hawaii?”, insert answer. “Whats the deal with all the homeless people around?”.

“sorry sir I can’t answer that”. “ummm….”. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave”.

One lady called security. I start leaving, I’m on the 3rd story & it’s a little tricky to get out. Eventually I get asked to hand my camera over. I refuse, there is no way that’s happening. You’re not allowed to film or take photos in the mall without permission, I point out the dozen or around us that are filming right now.

It’s clear they don’t want a confrontation because of either my size or the scene it would create. I get asked to accompany them to their office, yep that’s not going to happen either. They inform me they can call the  police & have me charged, I’m sceptically but a little worried that this might jeopardize the rest of the trip (and judging by a few incidents I’ve witnessed, I have no confidence in the police). We reach a compromise were I agree to delete some footage off the camera under their supervision, I do so (in hindsight, something I would regret).

One of the guys tries to snatch it off me quickly, the GoPro is attached by a cord to my wrist, dick move, “I’m going, try & stop me”. We’re calling the cops…

Once I get out and around the corner I’m sure I’m shaking. I head back to the hostel & knock back a few local beers with people from around the world, there’s a really good group in tonight, it’s a shame I’m leaving tomorrow.

Great-beers-best-local-beer-hawaii-beer-longboard-lager-big-wave-golden-aleHigh: the “random” timing in witnessing a beautiful moment of kindness. The comradery of  travelers.

Low: indifference

adventures

My Live Below the Line Challenge: the who


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child-trafficking

The average sex traffic victim is a 12-year-old girl.

The average sex tourist is a male from a wealthy country.

He will visit a poor country.

Average flight to Bangkok $1,300.

$10-30 for a meal.

$10-30 for a child prostitute.

 

trafficking

 

As part of the Live Below the Line challenge you chose an organisation to benefit from the money you’ve raised.

It’s a brief dilemma as there are so many quality groups to choose from, World Vision, Oxfam, Global Poverty Project, Engineers Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army… & many more.

One of the consequences of extreme poverty is human trafficking, part of which is forced exploration in the sex industry. This often effects the poorest & most vulnerable people in our world. This is why I chose Tear Fund.

 

Maria’s Story

“Maria was only 13 years old when a family friend offered to find her a job working as a waitress in a neighbouring country. The woman promised to escort her across the border where she said Maria could make enough money to support her impoverished family. However after crossing the border, the woman took Maria straight to a brothel.

Maria was horrified and protested saying she wanted to go home. The manager told Maria that her freedom had been purchased from the woman who had delivered her. She now had a debt imposed on her and was told she could not leave until she had paid it back in full. Maria was told she must pay back the money she owed by selling her body.

A willing customer was found later that night and shaking with fear, Maria was led into a room where the man waited. When he began to rape her, Maria cried out so loudly in pain that the man complained.

The brothel manager then strapped tape over Maria’s mouth to silence her screams.

But the horror was not over as she was forced to have sex with seven more strangers that night.

Posing as a potential customer, one of our investigators was able to covertly infiltrate the criminal network responsible for Maria’s captivity. Working with trusted local authorities, Nvader facilitated the rescue of Maria and the prosecution of those responsible. Maria was placed with a secure professional aftercare provider where she was able to begin her journey of healing and restoration”.

 

I don’t think I need to say more, a week without the food, technology, car that I’m used to should be a walk in the park compared to this.

 

Maria was only 13 years old when a family friend offered to find her a job working as a waitress in a neighbouring country. The woman promised to escort her across the border where she said Maria could make enough money to support her impoverished family. However after crossing the border, the woman took Maria straight to a brothel. – See more at: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/nz-tearfund-about#sthash.BKuHlEIf.dpuf
Maria was only 13 years old when a family friend offered to find her a job working as a waitress in a neighbouring country. The woman promised to escort her across the border where she said Maria could make enough money to support her impoverished family. However after crossing the border, the woman took Maria straight to a brothel.Maria was horrified and protested saying she wanted to go home. The manager told Maria that her freedom had been purchased from the woman who had delivered her. She now had a debt imposed on her and was told she could not leave until she had paid it back in full. Maria was told she must pay back the money she owed by selling her body.A willing customer was found later that night and shaking with fear, Maria was led into a room where the man waited. When he began to rape her, Maria cried out so loudly in pain that the man complained. The brothel manager then strapped tape over Maria’s mouth to silence her screams. But the horror was not over as she was forced to have sex with seven more strangers that night.

Posing as a potential customer, one of our investigators was able to covertly infiltrate the criminal network responsible for Maria’s captivity. Working with trusted local authorities, Nvader facilitated the rescue of Maria and the prosecution of those responsible. Maria was placed with a secure professional aftercare provider where she was able to begin her journey of healing and restoration. – See more at: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/nz-tearfund-about#sthash.Xplx0NRB.dpuf

Maria was only 13 years old when a family friend offered to find her a job working as a waitress in a neighbouring country. The woman promised to escort her across the border where she said Maria could make enough money to support her impoverished family. However after crossing the border, the woman took Maria straight to a brothel.Maria was horrified and protested saying she wanted to go home. The manager told Maria that her freedom had been purchased from the woman who had delivered her. She now had a debt imposed on her and was told she could not leave until she had paid it back in full. Maria was told she must pay back the money she owed by selling her body.A willing customer was found later that night and shaking with fear, Maria was led into a room where the man waited. When he began to rape her, Maria cried out so loudly in pain that the man complained. The brothel manager then strapped tape over Maria’s mouth to silence her screams. But the horror was not over as she was forced to have sex with seven more strangers that night.

Posing as a potential customer, one of our investigators was able to covertly infiltrate the criminal network responsible for Maria’s captivity. Working with trusted local authorities, Nvader facilitated the rescue of Maria and the prosecution of those responsible. Maria was placed with a secure professional aftercare provider where she was able to begin her journey of healing and restoration. – See more at: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/nz-tearfund-about#sthash.Xplx0NRB.dpuf

Maria was only 13 years old when a family friend offered to find her a job working as a waitress in a neighbouring country. The woman promised to escort her across the border where she said Maria could make enough money to support her impoverished family. However after crossing the border, the woman took Maria straight to a brothel.Maria was horrified and protested saying she wanted to go home. The manager told Maria that her freedom had been purchased from the woman who had delivered her. She now had a debt imposed on her and was told she could not leave until she had paid it back in full. Maria was told she must pay back the money she owed by selling her body.A willing customer was found later that night and shaking with fear, Maria was led into a room where the man waited. When he began to rape her, Maria cried out so loudly in pain that the man complained. The brothel manager then strapped tape over Maria’s mouth to silence her screams. But the horror was not over as she was forced to have sex with seven more strangers that night.

Posing as a potential customer, one of our investigators was able to covertly infiltrate the criminal network responsible for Maria’s captivity. Working with trusted local authorities, Nvader facilitated the rescue of Maria and the prosecution of those responsible. Maria was placed with a secure professional aftercare provider where she was able to begin her journey of healing and restoration. – See more at: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/nz-tearfund-about#sthash.Xplx0NRB.dpuf

Maria was only 13 years old when a
adventures

My Live Below the Line Challenge: what & why


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So I’m doing the Live Below the Line Challenge but I’m going to try spice it up a bit (more to come).

The challenge is to feed yourself on $2.25 (aprx $1.80 US, $1.35 EUR) a day for 5 days, in an effort to raise money, awareness & to give me a little insight into the lives of the Billion-plus people who live below the extreme poverty line ($2.25) every day… and that $2.25, it covers everything for them, not just food.

Now I’ve had a half hearted attempt at this before (which prompted this reflection) & in a moment of weakness brought a bottle of Powerade for a game of basketball and blew out my budget.

So this time I know I’ll need a plan, I’ll need to scout out the supermarket, I’ll need some rules & some people to keep me accountable.

You can sponsor me here if you feel inclined, otherwise I encourage you to join in yourself or feel free to hang around as I blog this brief journey.

Why am I doing this?

Partly to get a little more insight into the lives of others, partly to gain a greater appreciation for what I have. But mostly because I believe that with all the wealth, technology & resources we have available world, that it’s criminal that people die because of poverty.

I often wonder – when looking back at our history – how Christians (others as well) stood so idly by during the civil rights movement & apartheid era, and advocated for, or remained silent against a clearly oppressive & inhumane way of treating people.

I often find myself thinking, “how can you even call yourself a follower of Jesus?”

Harsh, I know.

That’s the beauty of hindsight.

We can see something so clearly looking back, that we can’t when we are immersed in it or it is the acceptable norm. Which makes me wonder what they’ll say about us in the future…

Poverty – an accepted norm.

In 50 years time will the Christians of the future look back and question us? Will they say, “I can’t believe you had so much & did so little…”

This is why I’m doing the challenge, if nothing else it may change my heart & attitude a little. Hopefully it makes a small difference in some one else’s life.

With all the wealth, technology & resources we have available in the world it’s criminal that people die of poverty… one of the consequences of extreme poverty is Human Trafficking, the average victim is a 12yr old girl, that’s seriously messed up. So please please please donate as i go without coffee, chocolate, junk food & all things nice in an attempt to make a small difference in someone else’s life. – See more at: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/nzkiwi41#sthash.ghvwL7sT.dpuf
With all the wealth, technology & resources we have available in the world it’s criminal that people die of poverty… one of the consequences of extreme poverty is Human Trafficking, the average victim is a 12yr old girl, that’s seriously messed up. So please please please donate as i go without coffee, chocolate, junk food & all things nice in an attempt to make a small difference in someone else’s life. – See more at: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/nzkiwi41#sthash.ghvwL7sT.dpuf
blogosphere

living wage


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Bishop

 

The following is part of an article in The New Zealand Herald.

 

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of visiting the very inspiring Justin & his beautiful Ngatiawa community. It was a significant moment for me.

Bishop challenges high-income earners

Wellington’s Anglican bishop says he may cut his own salary to help fund a “living wage” for cleaners, caregivers and other low-paid workers in Anglican churches and social agencies.

Bishop Justin Duckworth, a dreadlocked, Jandal-wearing priest who was an upset choice as bishop last year, is also challenging other high-income earners to take less to fund higher wages for the 39 per cent of Kiwi workers who now earn less than the living wage, defined by union and church groups as $18.40 an hour.

His current salary is about $63,000, or $30 an hour, plus a house.

My personal response is in the future I have to look at what I am earning and say, what is appropriate for me to earn given that many people in our society don’t even have enough to participate meaningfully in our society

 

“I would ask that everyone else should be engaged in the moral conversation of when is too much too much.”

The bishop, who has lived his entire married life sharing his family home with people in need such as lost teenagers and ex-prisoners, said he and his wife, Jenny, were also considering how to make best use of the bishop’s official home across the road from Parliament when they move there later this year from the community for recovering addicts and others where they have lived for the past 10 years.

“We have always lived with people. We will do that again,” he said.

One of the things we don’t tell the next generation is that you can’t have it all. You have to choose which story you are going to fit

 

“If you want to choose the story of upward mobility, 2.3 kids, a white picket fence, a mortgage, a university education, a good career and superannuation, you can’t have that and come to this conference and expect to work for justice. You can’t do everything.

We have to tell our young people clearly that Jesus is not an app that we load onto our smartphones. He is the core operating system. If he is the core operating system, that influences everything in our lives

 

“We have to tell them how to live simply and to be happy with what you’ve got, realising that everyone else in society is screaming, ‘Have more, have more, have more!”‘

His comments came as an Auckland Council committee decided yesterday to keep investigating ways to pay the living wage to the 1623 council staff who now earn below $18.40 an hour. Officials said this would cost $3.75 million a year.

They also backed an amendment by councillor Cameron Brewer to find the cost within the existing $693 million wage bill, which includes 1500 people earning over $100,000 a year.

 

the full article from Simon Collins can be found here  

You can read more about Justin here

 

 

 

poetic, Uncategorized

a Franciscan blessing


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May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

poetic, Uncategorized

remedy


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I can help the poor,

only if i don’t have to walk in your shoes.

I can make ethical choices,

when i live in abundance.

Ethical choices make me feel good,

they do little to help you…

or my understanding of what you go through.

You don’t have enough money to fill your belly.

I overfill mine.

still i have money & energy left over, so much left over.

i’ll  remedy my excess at the gym.

 

what i really need is a remedy of the heart.

 

 

 

 

Some reflections after I successfully raised money for Oxfam by buying & consuming large quantities of brownies Mmmm… & failed miserably at the “live below the line challenge“.