Travel log 11: “Holding Up Half the Sky” by Kirsten Fraser. Broadbeach, Australia

I find it heartbreaking that an accident of birth grants me much more opportunities than those depicted in the documentary Half the Sky. I also find it quite frustrating how many take such opportunities for granted. I admit I am guilty of it as well. We often complain about school yet many are fighting around the world for the very thing we complain of. I think the overall message of this documentary was to share that even in gruesome hardship heroes prevail and to share the amazing stories of those like the Somaly Mam and John Wood. I also think it was to educate the public on issues that occur around the world and to inspire those who read or watched to help make a difference. I truly realized how lucky I am to be born to parents that value education and constantly support me when John Wood said “No child should ever be told you were born in the wrong place at the wrong time and you didn’t get educated”.

I found the story of the Somaly Mam to be truly inspiring. This woman does not known her age, name, nor her family; she watched one of the men who ran the brothel she was owned by kill her best friend. The age for those being sold to brothels is getting younger and younger and I was extremely surprised to learn that these young girls are often sold by their own families. However, when they are rescued they are often rejected by their families with no place to turn. Yet despite everything she has been through, Somaly is one of the most loving and caring women I have ever seen. She runs a safe heaven for girls who were also trafficked into sex slavery and believes the darkness can be healed through love. She even helps liberate many girls from brothels despite the extreme danger of this act. It was amazing to watch how much the girls love her; when she walks into the camp the girls greet her with hugs and kissing; there is one moment when she is walking across the grounds with a crowd of young girls walking with her holding her arms and hands. The girls express nothing but love and compassion for one another despite everything they have been through. They are even breaking social norms as they speak out about what has happened to them and help to educate others on safe sex. Somaly knows that trafficking will probably not be rid of within her lifetime but she hopes someone will continue her work after she is gone.

As a student aspiring to be a physician assistant I also found the Edna Adan’s story especially inspiring. I was astounded that many women do not have the right to seek healthcare; to do a cesarean section Edna must first receive permission from the husband even in emergency situations. Also do to the high frequency of genital cutting many women die in child birth. Genital cutting causing the formation of scar tissue which is much less elastic than healthy tissue; therefore, this tissue does not widen enough to let the baby out. This results in ripping and tearing which can cause damage to the surrounding organs. Mothers in Somaliland often die of complications that are preventative with the proper medication. Within the documentary Edna states that she turned her passion into a way to help others, which is exactly what I would like to do. I have looked into organizations such as “Doctors Without Boarders” that help provide healthcare to those who do not readily have access to it. Although this organization does not currently utilize PAs there are many other similar organizations that do. As a PA I hope to participate in such organizations. There is also a service trip offered in the master’s portion of our program where students travel to Haiti to provide healthcare to those in need. I hope to participate in this trip when I am in graduate school. The women of the documentary are an inspiration and as a PA I hope I can too make a difference.


One thought on “Travel log 11: “Holding Up Half the Sky” by Kirsten Fraser. Broadbeach, Australia

  1. Kirsten, first off I want to say that I really admire the passion and love that you have for becoming a PA. Just by reading your blog post, I can tell you are going to make a great PA. Just like you, I was also horrified that many women do not have the right to seek healthcare or receive an education. These seems like such basic rights that we often take for granted. However, what really stood out to me was when quotes John Wood saying, “No child should ever be told you were born in the wrong place at the wrong time and you didn’t get educated”. More people need to recognize that a child should never have to hear those words or live through that.

    I can’t wait to see you do amazing things because I know you will make a difference!



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