Andrew Cziok, 2L
26 May 2012. Pune, India
Well, here I am. After two days of travel, I finally checked in at my hostel. It’s currently Saturday at 4pm. I left Minneapolis at 3pm on Thursday, flew to Amsterdam, then connected to Mumbai. I spent the night in Mumbai, then found my way to a bus station and took the longest (7hrs) three hour bus ride of my life. The bus dropped me at the train station, where I took a motorized rickshaw to the hostel. As soon as I got my backpacks open and found a dry shirt, I walked out to find a phone booth. India is hot. It’s been 100 degrees in Pune every day since February, when I started tracking the weather in anticipation of this trip. The phone booth was basically a solar oven. I had already soaked through my fresh shirt. After a few misdials, I reached my supervisor. “Hi. Can you meet me at the office? The address is ____________. See you in half an hour.” I wasn’t sure if this was hazing or just how things work here. Either way, I flagged another rickshaw and got in. So far this is definitely not the typical 1L summer legal internship.
We weaved through a maze of cars, trucks, scooters, motorcycles, bicycles, cows, goats, camels, and pedestrians toward the address I had given the driver. Of course, when I say address, I mean the name of a neighborhood, several landmarks, and a building that was not to be mistaken for our destination. Naturally we ended up at that building. From there, I found my way to the street in front of the office. Someone called out my name from behind, and I turned to find my supervisor and his wife, waiting at the curb in a compact car. I hopped in, and we drove around the corner and parked under the office, which was in an apartment building in a nondescript Indian neighborhood. That’s all I’ll say about that. There are certain things we don’t talk about, given that Freedom Firm’s main purpose is to rescue trafficking victims and make sure the people who buy and sell their fellow human beings end up behind bars and stay there.
We got up to the office, and I got a quick tour, followed by a breakdown of my assignment for week one. My supervisor was leaving town for the week, but wanted to orient me and give me some work before he left. He explained the basic processes of investigation, rescue, aftercare, and prosecution, and showed me a large whiteboard of active cases with real names of real people who were really rescued from the worst places imaginable. The whole experience was surreal. I never imagined this is where my first year of law school would lead. After all the time invested, all the late nights, all the drafting and revising and redrafting and revising, it all has a much more tangible quality. This is why I’m doing all this work. So when it comes time to serve, to open my mouth for the speechless and plead the cause of the needy (Prov. 31:8-9), I will know what to do and how to do it. That’s what brought me to the other side of the world this summer, and what’s kept me going all those late nights. I’m grateful to be a part of this work, and I look forward to growing in every direction through it.
– Drew Cziok, 5/26/12