Tenacity - not giving up; not taking the easy way out.
This is the word of the day. Ending this war has not been easy, nor will it be. We've waited days out in the rain, circled the globe five times...and now we're preparing to march down the halls of Congress to convince our representatives of the importance of this issue. The LRA and child soldiers are number 200 on a list of priorities of this administration--we need to be in the top ten for anything to happen. We can do this, but it won't be easy.
Today was such an amazing day. It was so good--so sweet--that I can't imagine better. And then I think about tomorrow and know I'm on the eve of possibly the best day of my life.
But today...after all, I'm enjoying every second of my time here...
Today started off early with breakfast and a trip to the convention center. It was good stuff, and I immediately made friends with people from around the country, including Suzanne and her brother Ramsey, Jessica, Emily, and Lindsay. Seriously, these are my kind of people--especially Jessica. She interned (on her own, not through a program) with the State Department this past fall. Just a very cool girl from California. Anyway, we waited in line for a while before the conference started, but then I was privileged to listen to Luis Moreno-Ocampo, lead prosecutor for the International Criminal Court. He was brilliant, and I really enjoyed listening to him.
Then there was a panel of Stephen Lewis (HILARIOUS!), John Prendergast, and the Ugandan Minister of State, whose name I will include in a later blog when I talk about what I learned. (I can't possibly include that here because I'm exhausted and it's extensive.) Anyway, really all of the presenters were fantastic.
There was no time for lunch; nor was I hungry. This was too EPIC. Now usually, that word doesn't just get thrown around, and I'm not about to use it just for the heck of it. Really, this was EPIC. Look it up.
Then this evening we got into groups based on what state we were from, and Wisconsin was quite a few of high school and college-aged people, so I pretty much immediately took charge. I introduced myself and didn't want to step on anyone's toes, but I do know a little about how Congress works, so I gave some pointers and delegated who should discuss what in our meeting. Then I changed around the agenda for Senator Feingold's meeting because he's already doing what we want him to...we just need to let him know why it's important to us that he keeps doing it. So I'm proud to say that I am LEADING WISCONSIN into the Congressional halls tomorrow.
As if this leadership weren't enough, I was about to be, quite literally, bumping elbows with some of my heroes. Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey, and Laren Poole, the founders of Invisible Children, threw a party for US, some of the top supporters through the TRI Campaign. Now, I'm not the type to go up and just start talking to any one person. Yes, I can definitely lead a whole group, but I have trouble making conversation with a new individual.
Next thing I know, I'm standing there at this party and Jolly Okot, one of the Ugandans who was instrumental in founding Invisible Children, was standing like 15 feet from me, and I went and said hello. No big deal.
THEN, I'm upstairs thinking about how I'd like to meet the founders and talk to them for a couple minutes and what I'd say to them if I ever got the chance. Not three seconds later, Laren is standing literally like 6 inches from me. So we say hello and go on our way. I turn around and Jason is right in front of me, so now is my chance. I introduced myself, told him where I'm from and that I admire their work. He thanked me for coming and I told him how I see something new each time I see the films and that the most recent time I saw "Rough Cut," I realized it was all about taking risks. Then I told him about how my life is changing and they've had a part in it. He was SO incredibly cool and proud and then ASKED IF I WANTED TO TAKE A PICTURE! That's right...HE asked ME! Seriously, coolest guy ever. So we did that and he asked me my name again (as if he really wanted to remember it) and then we parted.
THEN, Bobby isn't more than like 5 feet from me, so I decide, "What the heck?!" So I go and talk to him, and we shot the shit, too. Talked about all kinds of stuff and apologized for asking to have a picture as well, but he said he was flattered. Was just incredible.
So anyway, these are seriously the COOLEST GUYS in the ENTIRE WORLD. I will post the pictures later, but it was an amazing day.
This brings me back to TENACITY. No, it might not be easy for me to walk up and introduce myself. No, it might not be easy to end this war. But both are OH SO WORTH IT. <3