We are so excited to announce that our friend Grace Pfeffer is going to Pedal the Pacific with us! She is currently an intern for The Refuge (one of the organizations that we are donating to) and is playing a crucial role in acting as a liaison between us and them. Read her story below to get a little glimpse of her heart and why she’s choosing to ride.
For two months I lived just two blocks from the red lights district in Chiang Mai, Thailand – a street lined with bars on both sides where girls stood on the sidewalk in their high heels and low cut body suits dancing and calling at anyone who walked by. They were always smiling and laughing and drinking and playing pool and dancing and seeming to have a better time than whoever was passing by.
Each night I went into these bars and got to know a few of the girls on a really personal level – specifically a girl named Olive. She told me of her life growing up in a village a couple hours away and how she came to Chiang Mai to find work so that she could support her parents and pay for her little sister’s college education. All she wanted was her family to be happy, even if that cost her own.
Some nights we would have great conversations about her dreams and her fears and her desires to be loved, but other nights our conversations would be interrupted by customers coming in to take her away for the night. Right before my very eyes I watched men walk inside, grope my new friend, ask how much she cost for a couple hours, and lead her down the street and around the corner.
I had read about these things before. I knew the statistics, but now it was happening right before my very eyes. The numbers behind the realities of sex trafficking both around the world and here in the States are overwhelming. And since I’ve been back I’ve spent a lot of time feeling paralyzed, wondering what a small little human like me could ever do to make a difference. I spent a lot of time not making any moves because I was waiting for that one BIG thing to come to me. That thing that would hit me in the head and say “here it is! This is how YOU Grace Pfeffer are going to single handedly solve the issue of human trafficking!” I convinced myself that anything less than that was not worth my time.
But recently I’ve come to realize that while I was waiting for this non-existent, huge aha moment, I wasn’t moving anywhere. I wasn't doing a single thing to put myself in this fight against this injustice. I was so crippled by the fear of not making a big enough difference that I wasn’t letting myself do anything at all. But what I’ve realized since then is that all I have to do is do something. I have to be willing to say yes. No matter how big or how small, I just have to go. I can’t sit back and grow numb to the numbers that I am constantly reading about. Because behind every single number there is a face – a face with a story, with a family, with hopes and dreams and fears. Behind every single number there’s a face just like Olive’s.
So that’s why I’m Pedaling the Pacific this summer. Because this is me saying yes joining the fight in whatever way I can and no longer being paralyzed by the false fear of not making a big enough difference.
If you are also passionate about this issue and have considered riding along, we would love to chat with you, so please feel free to contact us!