Reflecting on this past week, a couple things come to mind. The first…shipping. This week was a shipping week. Overstock is officially set up and surprisingly I was the one who was in charge of sending off and organizing the bought jewelry. Starfish couldn’t have their label on any of the Overstock boxes (apparently only those that pay x amount of money can include their label).
Because Starfish is a nonprofit, paying that x amount wasn’t an option…they would rather the money end up in with their women in Asia. So even though it’s a mini adventure trying to search for Starfish products, seeing the amount of product leave was a positive because the story is still there on the card and whenever anyone buys a piece, they are still helping.
The best part about this past week was that Elkhart was holding its 25th anniversary Jazz Festival. After much convincing they decided to open the store on Saturday to see if anyone would stop by in between shows. I was able to step in and help out around the store before heading off to work and it was incredible just how many people were there. Everyone was asking questions about Starfish and wanting to know about what all went on and how they could help. I was even able to talk with one woman who lives in Australia who owns her own show who is interested in selling products that raise awareness on exploitation and trafficking.
This internship has been a wonderful way for me to find my voice within sustainability. I’ve discovered there are so many people everywhere, including Elkhart Indiana that want to work toward a better place. Going back to “The Common Life” by Scott Russell Sanders, “on a crowded planet we had better learn how to live well together, or we will live miserably apart”; or looking back at Bridging the Green Divide, Van Jones states about changing our mentality and working towards change, that “the only way to solve these problems is to bring everyone together”. Or the sense of a better future in the form of a poem with the title A Vision by Wendell Berry that ends with the words, “the abundance of this place, the songs of its people and its birds, will be health and wisdom and indwelling light. There is no paradisal dream. Its hardship is its possibility”.
I never would have imagined an internship to mean so much to me, especially one that took place in the summer when everyone seems to be busy doing their own things at their own pace, but Starfish always made space for me. They didn’t mind my questions and embraced talking about various topics (with the exception of confidential stories about women who are currently in Asia). The women’s safety is a top priority with Starfish and withholding names and ensuring confidentiality is a way for them to protect the women. With only one week left, I hope that I have helped them to learn something new…because I know that the information I’ve obtained has been eye opening for me.