Paying For These Travels
A recycled post from my former blog - written in Hawaii, USA
One of the most recurring questions we photojournalism ('Track') students are asked is how we are paying for this school. Usually, upon describing the around the world nature of Track, someone jokes saying, "Gosh that sounds expensive!" and we nod along with wide eyes and serious faces. Today I want to take the time to address that question to this larger audience, mainly because my answer is not a secret. I think my being here on this Track after a year of fees and flights is no short of a miracle, and surely a tale worth telling.
First things first, my wee team of four have all funded our Track slightly differently. We cover the spectrum of living from savings, to living from savings and additional support, to living from support alone and to living by faith and seeing the money come in from month to month. I like that God is helping us along in individual, tailor-made ways. I like that faith looks different for each of us, and that we each learn from the challenges of figuring out budgeting money for a 21 month stretch.
For me, I pay for these travels (on Track) from a combination of money that I saved (I worked for about a year and a half in a pub) as well as money that is given to me monthly by regular givers. In Christian circles we call this 'support,' and to non-Christians I describe this as being sponsored. In honesty, I have no idea if this combined flow of money will be enough to tide me over until the end of Track. Frankly, I think God's cool without me knowing. What I do know is that God has been so faithful to me in the past, that I've been able to do dauntingly priced things because He has always provided. He's good at that, and I know that He values me finishing what I've started. Something that I find both humbling and praise evoking is when I think back to life before Track. This school seemed like the most ridiculously impossible school to prepare for, mainly financially. It was almost comical telling people how much it costed, and I'd say that generally people responded without knowing how I/God would pull this off. How good is He that I've been able to pay for 13 months of studies and travel, 40 flights down the line!
My supporters are like my family. They're a group of people who know me well and who are unified in spurring me on within God's will. Last time I was in Hawaii (2012) God first told me that He would provide for me through supporters in the future. It was sure easier to listen to and agree with than to actually put into practice. I hosted a 'vision' evening where I invited friends and the curious to come and hear what I'm about. The fact that people even came was a big deal to me. I told my story of gaining passion for justice in the sex trade and described as best I could why I felt God wanted me to study photography and advocacy. Prayerfully, families and individuals committed to giving me varying amounts, the most common being on a monthly basis. For me, this family of supporters isn't full of financial figures, it is full of people who are impressively committed to me, who see something in me worth investing in and who are examples to me of faithfulness and generosity. I can't begin to enunciate how special it has been on this Track to know that I'm not doing it alone. There have been quiet moments in foreign corners of the world that I have felt weary and the encouragement of the presence of my supporters has motivated me. It continuously reminds me that there are reasons bigger than me for my being on this school.