Your name is Savannah. You are twenty years old and have just ended your sophomore year at Duke, where you recently declared a double major in psychology and women’s studies. You intend on declaring an education minor, but haven’t actually gotten around to it yet. In your spare time, you devour books of all sorts and theatre of every kind. You practice taekwondo, knit, and interact with every animal you come across. You will be working with Sanctuary for Families at the Bronx Family Justice Center this summer, and you are effervescently looking forward to it.
(from Chopped: open your mystery baskets, folks!)
It is May 23rd, and you have come off of the end of your killer spring semester. You swallow a full two seasons of Chopped in entirely too short an amount of time, and once you feel suitably lazy and refreshed, you begin packing. Packing is something that you have always enjoyed, though for something as large as the Moxie Project, in NYC no less, it feels almost insurmountable. What clothes to bring, what accoutrements to include in the limited space of your suitcase? What will your apartment have or not have? What will you be willing to buy? You’re starting to envy the people on Chopped who are told exactly what they need to feature in the dishes they create for the judges. Even if Chef Alisha has to cook with bay scallops, braeburn apples, sorrel, and duck hearts, she knows that at the end of the round, a dish must be created that feature those four weird things.
You approach your packing like you might approach Chopped, regardless of your utter lack of professional chef experience. You lay out things that seem utterly opposed in juxtaposition to one another; your conservative button-down shirts, your favorite going-out dress, your huge rainbow wings for NY Pride. You are flying blind, but you know that you’ll get through.
(this is you, only with less property damage)
Still, you have been trying hard to sit with some ethical issues that were only enhanced in your mind through the well-intentioned but ultimately unfulfilling DukeEngage Academy (meant as a two-day training for students going all over the world on similar programs). Your program director said something that has stuck with you; she hopes that you will do the least harm possible and that you hopefully will do a bit of good.
You know that as a summer intern, your presence is valued but it is a sacrifice. You have never worked with children of survivors of intimate partner violence before. You have barely even worked with survivors of intimate partner violence before. You are equipped only with a background in developmental psychology, a history of childcare experience, and a passion for the work. You expect that you will be out of your comfort zone, and you are prepared to lean into that discomfort. Still, as with any similar fish-out-of-water experience, you feel apprehensive. Will you be able to relate to the children? Will you have a good relationship with your supervisor? When a child speaks to you in Spanish, will all your years of language classes fly out of your head? There are a thousand possibilities for things to go awry. Again, this is something you have to sit with.