The grandmothers were made. It was time to start the long drive to deliver them to the people with direct access to the children; grassroots not-for-profits doing good and trying to minimize the damage that was ongoing.

I had addressed my own personal fears about the trip as well as I could.

  • Although I couldn’t speak any of the languages, I had met with native language speakers for translations of the grandmothers’ voice.
  • My husband and I had decided the continuing cash outlay was something we were willing to do.
  • I was one person, but friends had given me moral support, for which I was deeply grateful. These individuals also gave me strength at critical times during the trip when fear nearly won out.
  • I was still afraid of being arrested simply for trying to help. I had spoken to others and was aware of the possible consequences and penalties if this happened to me.
  • I knew I was a target of violence from people who looked like me simply because I was acting as an advocate for the marginalized. I made a plan and followed it all during the trip in an effort to keep myself safe.
  • I still hated to drive; but personal preference really wasn’t appropriate given the circumstances, so I decided to just get over myself. (Which actually was the key to all of the fears—putting my own issues aside to serve another.)
  • The locations of the detention centers were still secret, but I was starting with a crowd-sourced interactive location map, and then hoped that proximity and questioning like an investigative reporter would get me the information I needed when I needed it. (In other words, other than “South,” to begin, most days I did not know where I was going.)
  • I was still terrified of immersing myself in the suffering of another, but this, too, I knew I just needed to put aside. I had done the preparation to the best of my ability, I would just have to trust that I could process appropriately during and after the trip.

Although I had confronted my fears and was aware that “fearlessness” is a misnomer, no sense of courage replaced the fear. I had dealt with the negative emotion in a reasonable way, from my mind, which did not overrule the very real trepidation, distress, and vulnerability I felt. Facing those things allowed me to act despite my fear, and to prepare for the journey without being attached to the outcome. It was, in fact, time to begin.

Share your thoughts in meaningful dialogue

Name ways fear can be both an asset and a liability.

Please tell about a time when you knew it was simply time to begin.

When you feel afraid, how do you express it?