Back in the Saddle!

Yesterday, I was underemployed, teaching English for Thai language centers that were awful at best. Before that, I was teaching KG.1 and that was really fun until the novelty wore off. Turns out working for conservative Turkish business men doesn’t bode well with my western feminism. But I’ve been stubborn, lingering around in Southeast Asia waiting for the right door to open. Waiting to get back into paid NGO work which I haven’t had since I left Mae Sai last May. The right door. Where is it?  Cambodia? Thailand? Indonesia? Burma? I’ve been knocking on them all. But the doors haven’t opened for months and months. So I was thinking it might be time to pack it in. I’ve given it a good run, but I know what I came here to do and doing anything less than that is, well, not doing what I came here to do.

And then something amazing happened.  I met with a small NGO I’ve known about for over a year.  We talked. We exchanged ideas and experiences.  It was very personable and informal. We met again and I toured the shelter, office and site. Within hours I was hired as Project Manager for the NGO, which runs a shelter for girls who’ve been trafficked or are at risk of being trafficked. The girls are ages 5 and up, all of them from the ethnic minority hill tribes of northern Thailand. The founder started out as a documentary photographer exposing the issue of human trafficking through his images, but telling the story wasn’t enough. Action was necessary and so he built a shelter.  That is where he differs from most documentary photographers and earns my admiration. Instead of exploiting peoples’ hardship for his own prestige, he decided to do something most documentary photographers don’t. He put down his lens.

This couldn’t be more perfect and it couldn’t come at a better time. Human rights and photography. My two loves together under one roof. There couldn’t be a bigger smile on my face right now. Tenacity and perseverance. Gratitude and faith.  Following your dreams at all costs.  Never giving up even when you’re on your knees. And trusting that it will all fall into place somehow even when that seems like the most unlikely reality. And so I’m back in the saddle! Doing what I came  here to do.  Oh Thailand.  Kop khun mak jow!

11 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle!

  1. Congratulations! I couldn’t be happier for you! Things may change for me soon–and then I’ll be coming your way. Let’s be in touch, I’ll keep you posted Kathy Fielding

  2. So freakin excited for you! I know it’ll be an amazing collaboration one of which will benefit those precious girls. love. it.

    1. Aw thanks babes!!!! This time I really thought it might not work out so it comes as a spectacular surprise. You can’t believe this place Dee! They have wireless printers for crissakes! This is going to be much different than Mae Sai and I wel-wel-welcome the change. I can finally exhale. Love you big time. xoxo N

  3. How wonderful for you. This is right where you hoped to be – right in the thick of those young girls tragic lives. You will do great things. I am very proud of you. It is people like you who are making the greatest difference in this world taking on this small group of girls to better their lives and the lives of those who can avoid this devastation. Thank you. Take good care of yourself – they need you. Joannie

    1. Thank you Joannie! This is why I came here so I am grateful to get more experience and see how this small NGO differs from the very large one I worked with in Mae Sai. To learn their strategy and approach. And to be a part of these girls believing in their own brilliance. And this will be my final chapter in N. Thailand! xoxo N

  4. Khun Noel, khun mi chok dii ti sut!! ( sorry not good with the words, but you have found the best of luck!)
    congrats to you! and I want you to know….get me the NGO name…and wherever you would like, your new job is probably best….I can start sending some $ however small….
    if paypal still okay, or another Thai bank account, also okay.

    so, stay in touch! I am so happy for you. All of your time has paid off, you are so blessed, and let us here stateside now help this great new endeavor.

    You have arrived. this new place….even more to come, but for sure, you have arrived.
    Good on ya girl.

    Praise for Girl Serves World!!!

    Chok dii ka
    Peace and Blessings,

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