“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.” –Psalm 22:1-2
My second year is here! I have officially worked for two weeks at Eden House, and oh boy, it’s a lot! Eden House is a recovery home for victims of sex trafficking. It is a two year program where residents receive trauma therapy, health and dental care, and live in a community where love and support are emphasized. I will describe my experience of my first two weeks by “checking in” the way we do when we have meetings at Eden House.
Physically, I am exhausted. I am learning something new every day at Eden House, whether it’s how to manage our social media pages, write a news letter, handle petty cash, give jobs to give interns, or even check voicemail, it’s all coming at me and it’s coming fast. When I get home (after crawling through rush hour traffic that is both frustratingly slow and terrifyingly dangerous), I just want to lie down and sleep.
Emotionally, I am hanging on. The residents at Eden House are used to new interns coming into their home every semester and then leaving to pursue their own careers in other places. They don’t get attached because they know it won’t last long. I will be there a little longer than most of the interns, but the residents have applied that same mindset to me. They don’t really talk to me or ask me for help, even though I now handle their stipends and call for house maintenance, because they don’t know me and they know I won’t be staying forever. The counselor at Eden House told me that all employees go through a period of “hazing” with the residents, where they test to see if someone is really going to stick around and care for them. This time will pass and it will make me stronger. Eventually the residents will learn that I am here to serve them and take care of their home. And although I will be leaving in a year, that won’t affect how much I care about the residents and my job.
Spiritually, I am struggling. Sex trafficking is an awful, awful thing. I don’t know about any of the resident’s specific stories and struggles but every one of them goes to trauma therapy and their identities and location of their home is confidential to protect them from dangerous people they might know. But I enjoy getting to know these women. They are funny and kind (despite the “hazing” I am experiencing), and their trauma has obviously changed their lives forever. These women are good people, so why are they victims? Why do they have to feel on edge all the time and have trouble trusting people who are kind to them, and believe they don’t deserve anything good? It doesn’t make sense to me, especially as a Christian who believes that God is good and that God cares for people. Because if God cared, why is sex trafficking so prevalent in our society? Why is New Orleans a trafficking hub?
I am grateful for this new experience. I am ready to learn more about sex trafficking, social work, trauma, and nonprofits. I am grateful to my site coordinator, Layne, for believing in me enough to encourage me to do this job, even though it is difficult. I am grateful to my new community. They are already so kind an supportive and although we are still learning how to live together, I can tell it’s going to be a great year, and I am excited to build friendships with them.
I still need money for fundraising! I am required to raise $3,000 to support me this year and I still have a long way to go! Please consider donating to my year by clicking “support me” at the top of the page. Thank you!