Thursday, November 23, 2006

Stop the Traffik

Everyone should take note of my banner at the bottom of the page. It's for Stop the Traffik, an international organisation dedicated to stamping out the problem of people trafficking. People don't seem to realise that this is a problem, but it is - people are still being taken from their homes, whether through force or through coercion, and being forced to work in other countries. The most common thing is for women to be sold into prostitution, but this isn't the whole story - men can be sold to work as illegal labour, for example, or children into organised begging.

Let me tell you a story. There was once a young Moldovan girl who dreamed of living in the West. It would be fantastic, there was enough work for everyone and the standard of living was something she could only imagine. With her boyfriend of six months, she planned and planned and finally the boyfriend managed to get visas for them to work in Holland. She was so excited - finally all her dreams were coming true, she was going to make a better life for herself. Her parents were happy too, although her mother was cautious enough to give her daughter a leaflet on people trafficking. She didn't expect it to happen, she explained, but it was better to be safe. Needless to say, the girl got angry, accused her mother of not trusting her, why couldn't she just accept that she was finally out of this life?

The girl and her boyfriend took the train to Amsterdam from Moldova. She was so excited, looking around her in amazement, planning what she was going to do. He seemed quiet, but she just thought he was nervous. After all, they had left everything they knew behind them.

When they arrived in Amsterdam they were met on the platform by a man who knew the boyfriend. The two wandered off a short distance to chat, while the girl was taking in the atmosphere. She was finally here! And they already had a friend to show them around, show them what to do etc. After a short while the other man came over to her, introducing himself and saying that he'd get her settled in to the flat he'd organised. She asked after her boyfriend - he's following later, she was told, he has a few things to do. That was fine, she thought, she could start getting this flat in order for them. She followed the man.

They arrived at the flat and he opened the door. It wasn't until he pushed her inside that she realised something was wrong. "You've just been sold to me," he hissed. "You're going to work as a prostitute, and any money you earn is mine."

She'd been sold by her "boyfriend".

Fortunately, she managed to escape after six months. Others aren't so lucky.

This is why I want EVERYONE to take just two minutes and go to and sign the declaration there. This problem NEEDS to stop - estimates tell us that in our modern and equal world there are more people in slavery than there were when it was legal.

I've never cared about something as much as I care about this. Please help.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I dscovered the way to get me out of bed is to have the fire alarm go off at 8.30... I was dozing and I heard it go off in the next staircase, so I got up because I'd been told we were having drills this week, and then sure enough it started on this staircase too. Made me go to breakfast though! But then I wasn't hungry for lunch, so worked through it. I don't like having meals three hours apart, it's far too soon!

Also FF is still underlining everything I write. This is annoying me.

Did my French presentation (on Quebecois)today - people seemed vaguely interested, so that was good. Wasn't the best presentation ever, but that's ok. There's a French evening tonight up at St Aidan's college, so I think I'll head up there - otherwise I might have to face the subtle wrath of a snubbed lectrice :) (she reminded us in the lesson, so there really is no excuse, and I know a few people that are going anyway).

Now it's time to get on with the work, just picked up summative (ie it counts) essay questions so I need to start reading for that. It just never stops!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I went to see fireworks last night, up at the county hall in Durham. So good! I was impressed. On the way back we went for a detour through the park (there were three of us, and one is a cage-fighter - well, Mixed Martial Arts, but it's the same thing really - who's going into the army, so we felt safe enough) and stopped at the viewpoint over Durham. Oh my gods, Durham is pretty. I feel so lucky to have come back from my year abroad to live in such a pretty place. I got some pics of the cathedral and castle all lit up, since I had a stone wall to lean on smile lack of tripod means that a 1second shutter speed comes out all blurry otherwise!

Clicking will make the photos bigger, just thought these were easier to see!

Spot the train!

My hips were too big for the slide, how depressing is that?!

Our sparklers had died and we all pulled faces like kids.

This was me writing my name with the moon - quite a talent, I thought!

"I am..."

I love these - they're just too good, especially if you know Canadians or have a bit of experience with them. The random joual (Canadian French, usually involving cursing - colisse, tabernac, ostie...) in the second one is actually not too exaggerated, which is quite scary.

Now that those are out of the way, suppose I'd better say something about me. I'm egocentric, you see, and that's why I assume most people read this blog to find out more about me. I'm in for a horrible surprise one day, I feel!

I'm much less stressed than I have been, although for no good reason. I was ill, but now I'm better and inclined to blame my panic on getting sick. I still need to get a job, but am less worried (as long as I get some hours in the wall in Warrington). I have a lot of work to do, and am as procrastinatory as ever. That may not be a word. I'm annoyed that someone threw something (I think a banana) at my window for "fun" and that it's still there.I think this sounds like an Alcoholics Anonymous confession. I'm going to actually do some work now (once I've caught up on emails and stuff, of course).

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I'm alive!

I'm up and about again, after being confined to bed for the past three days with a nasty fever. Ages since I've had one of those, wasn't really fun to find out what I'd been missing... whatever

Now I'm just coughing a lot, and complaining a lot too smile which I think is allowed, but you can tell me to shut up and get over it. Also my knees don't belong to me any more. It's an... interesting experience, shall we say!

So from tomorrow it's back to the work and the finding of the money, because it's all been on hold. Ah well.

Oooh and I got a box o' stuff from my boy, which was nice smile including skype headsets and things so we can actually talk. We seem to be bad at that at the moment - time difference is affecting us more than usual, and we're busy with other things. Effort will need to be made! It's not like I'll be doing anything this weekend except going to fireworks... yay Guy Fawkes' Night and burning things and setting off fireworks because of that idiot!

Then I got another box, which turned out to be a bottle of absinth he got sent here in case his got seized by customs in the US. I feel like a PO box. Well, he knows I won't drink it except under duress, so it's perfectly safe!

Apart from that, people are now singing college songs in the bar. Oh yes. Well, it's better than yesterday when the rugby and rowing "initiations" were underway - by 8.15pm they'd had a quarter of a bottle of gin and 6 pints each, and by the time I came down from my friend's room (not near the bar, therefore a place of sanctuary) at about 8.45pm the security guys and captains of societies were sluicing off the steps at the bottom of the staircase I live on... it reeked of puke and since I wasn't feeling great to begin with, made me feel really sketchy as well...

Ah the perils of living in college.