The real Hotel Rwanda

The real Hotel Rwanda.

Some of you may know what it is we do Monday through Friday, but for those of you that don’t I thought I would attempt to briefly explain what our jobs are. I will try to make this as interesting as humanly possible…please bear with me.

There are certain rules I have to abide by when it comes to information about Don’s job, they call it force protection but it basically means that I can’t plaster details about military missions all over the internet where anybody can read them, this also includes emails. I can tell you however, that Don works as a Maintenance Specialist for C- 130 airplanes. This means in human terms that in order to be called the “Air” Force, they need guys like him that keep the force in the air. Pilots are important too you know because the actually fly the planes (that’s for Jim if he reads this thing)! It can be a high stress job at times, when there are real world events and they have to get 3 planes ready to fly with short notice, but his job has taken him to some interesting parts of the world. Recently he traveled to Kigali, Rwanda in support of a UN relief mission there. It was on CNN, so it’s not a secret or anything! Some of you may have seen the movie Hotel Rwanda- a film about true events that occured at a hotel called the Mille Collines. Here is a picture of Don taken in front of the real hotel sign on a day he was allowed to do some sight seeing. It was a humbling experience for him to say the least. In between all of his trips around the world and unpredictable work schedule here at home, he is also working hard to complete his bachelor’s degree. This is easier said than done, but he never gives up and I truly admire and love him for his committment.

Even though I am married to an Airman, I work for the Army. Hooah! My official job title is Victim Advocate Coordinator. I work with victims of sexual assault and/or domestic violence with an agency called Army Community Service. This is not easy work, in fact it has been very draining on me physically and emotionally this last year. Sometimes, at the end of the day there isn’t much of me left, but I have a peace knowing that people have not had to face the trauma of an assault alone. I have met true survivors and am humbled by their strength. In addition to offering advocacy services, I also provide prevention and awareness trainings for the 3,500 Soldiers that are stationed in the community I work in. This is the part of the job that I have found to be very interesting. In the last year all of the branches of service have implemented new policies about reporting sexual assault. The biggest victory in all of this is that the victims actually get to choose for themselves how they want the report of the assault to be handled- this is a big step for the military. I speak to various groups of people explaining the new policy, as well as attempt to dispell many of the myths that are so destructive for victims. It feels great to be helping promote changes in ways people think about the issue of sexual violence. This hasn’t been easy mind you, I have been verbally challenged by members of the audience when I have said something that touched a nerve for them, for one reason or another. This has also provided me with some practical experience while I am working on a masters degree in counseling psychology.
Although this has been an overall rewarding experience that I am greatful for, I am currently looking for other work. I commute 100 miles a day (50 each way) and me and my trusty Hyundai “Elaine” are running low on energy these days! I have commuted for work before, but driving on a freeway in the States and driving on the autobahn are very different…I have seen some crazy things!

If you are interested in reading more about my program here is the link to the Army Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program

’till next time, we hope this finds you well.

robin (and Don too, he’s just quiet)

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2 thoughts on “The real Hotel Rwanda

  1. Ahhh, thanks Jim. Don and I look forward to future adventures with you both while we are living in Europe..after all you are the closest neighboors we have!


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