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All in a DC Day's Work

All in a DC Day's Work

Raechel Banks is a participant in the Religious Action Center's Machon Kaplan summer program for college students. She is a student at Brandeis University and an intern at Global Action for Children.

Sometimes it's when I'm walking in front of the White House on my way home from work, maybe it's when I've just stuffed myself on Tiger Bread from our Iron Chef competition, or when I'm shivering in the basement of the RAC learning about Just Congregations, but usually I'm sitting next to a new friend, doing nothing in particular, when I find myself saying, "Wow. I am loving Machon Kaplan."

I left class at the RAC this morning, as I do every morning, astounded and overwhelmed by the world's possibilities. I thought I would only get a taste of one job this summer, but between the other Machon Kaplan internships, the speakers I hear at the RAC, and the passionate people I meet, my eyes have been opened to more careers than I knew existed. I spend more time here than I have in my whole life reflecting on my life and what I'm going to do in it.

After a quick lunch in the park, I walked to my internship at Global Action for Children and helped write and update our policy page on Child Survival. In conjunction with Child Survival, GAC advocates for issues affecting orphans and vulnerable children in the developing world. I could try and tell you what a normal day for me is like, but as I found out shortly after arriving here, there is no "normal" day.

Today I rushed to the Hill for briefing on Maternal Health in Africa. After four weeks of frantically taking notes on an alphabet soup I didn't understand, for the first time I understood everything the panelists mentioned: PEPFAR, PMI, WHO, PMTCT, USAID, CARE. Now I can name drop with the best of them. (Okay, so maybe not yet the best of them, but I'm learning.)

Back at the office, I prepared for a briefing about a new bill, the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2009 (H.R. 2103). At the briefing, I will hear more about this bill, sponsored by Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN), and learn more fully about the awful situation girls as young as six years old face in being married off, often to strangers.

After a whirlwind day of class and work, I'm back in my dorm. My suitemates and I will probably cook pasta for dinner, followed by a trip to my new favorite ice cream place, Cone E Island.

Whew! If that was just one day in the Machon Kaplan program, can you even image six weeks?!

Published: 7/14/2009

Categories: Social Justice, Uncategorized
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