Krystal Sirman

Krystal Sirman (Survivor Corps in Jordan): Krystal is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she graduated from Louisiana State University in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in sociology. During her undergraduate student, Krystal served as director of Africa Initiative, a student organization, and led 12 university students to Ghana for three months during the summer of 2004 to volunteer. The same year, she participated in the Africa Initiative’s Ghana program for three weeks as a volunteer. Krystal received her Master’s degree in international development from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs in May 2008. As part of her studies, she travelled to Bangladesh for three weeks to conduct research for her Master’s Capstone Project. After her fellowship, Krystal wrote: "The best part of my fellowship was visiting the few survivors I had the opportunity to visit, as well as spending time with the youth during the summer camp. Every person I met was so positive and confident, and definitely taught me to appreciate what I have and who I am."

Story in the Baton Rouge, LA newspaper: part II

21 Jul

Well, the article in the Baton Rouge, LA newspaper, The Advocate, that I mentioned a few weeks ago finally came out. You can read it here.

I am not completely happy with the article. I feel that it is not a very good representation of the work that I am doing this summer and the work that LSN-JO does as an organization. While the article mentions general statistics about LSN as a whole, it merely skims through what LSN-JO is doing in Jordan. I would have loved for the article to mention the hard work that LSN-JO has put into the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Additionally, LSN-JO has done tremendous work in providing opportunities for survivors to reintegrate into their communities. Some examples of these opportunities include a national sitting volleyball team, annual summer camps, peer support groups, and workshops to which survivors are invited to share their personal experiences.

My job this summer has been (and continues to be) to work side-by-side with LSN-JO staff to creatively and effectively disseminate information about the work that they do. I am currently working on a wikipage, which is essentially a free website, for the organization. Although it is still “under construction,” you can visit it here . I have also been working with the staff on ways they can display the numerous photos they have accumulated over the years. Right now they are just sitting in computer files, unable to be viewed by anyone outside of the organization. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit 3 survivors (one of whom you will hear more about in an upcoming blog), and there are plans to visit the Iraqi refugees sometime next week. Other, less exciting, things I have been doing include editing some English-language documents, discussing nonprofit management issues, and attending meetings conducted entirely in Arabic.

While I have not been as productive this summer as I had hoped (largely due to the localization process), I am nonetheless happy with my decision to spend my entire summer here in Jordan. I have made many new friends (oh, that reminds me…while I am somewhat embarrassed by the journalist’s comment that I didn’t have many friends, I am not going to make any rash outbursts and try to defend myself. Those of you who know me know that while I was shy growing up, I had friends and had a very close network of loved ones.) and have thoroughly enjoyed being able to experience and learn about this beautiful country and its beautiful people.

If only I had more spare time so I could look for and obtain a job to be awaiting my return home!! Eek!

Posted By Krystal Sirman

Posted Jul 21st, 2008


  • Elaine Cherry

    July 21, 2008


    Hi Krystal! It’s Elaine Cherry, from way back in the day…I saw the Advocate article online and followed it over here. I just wanted to say hi, and thank you for all the work you do. I’m glad you’ve found something rewarding and are enjoying it! As for me, I’m still in the Coast Guard and stationed near San Francisco and enjoying it. Anyway, I hope all is well and I wish you the best!

  • Aunt Becky & Uncle Mike

    July 22, 2008


    Hey sweetie, we are so very proud of you and what you are doing.We loved the article even though it did not elaborate on what you are hoping to accomplish. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Hope you are having a great day! Wish you were here and we could celebrate with some of Nana’s and Gran’s desserts. We miss you but know your heart is there and with Howard,too, of course. Love you sweetie, be careful. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God bless, Aunt Becky and Uncle Mike

  • Mom

    July 23, 2008


    So many people have seen the article and have told us how wonderful this is for you and they are very proud of you! We wish we were still there with you in Jordan; we are rested now from our journey. Tell the LSN staff that if they ever come to America, we will be glad to put them up. Praying for you and Howard.

  • Heather Dolstra

    August 3, 2008


    Speaking of MIA, I have been following your progress in a very one-sided fashion and I don’t think that’s how this is supposed to work! I guess you just seem so in control of your work and, despite your self-confessed shyness, very much able to cope in strange situations that it is possible to read your commentaries and not feel that there is a single thing to add! You should take that as a compliment. I know you must feel a twinge of concern about what you will be doing in DC when you return, but I want to tell you to put that out of your head and just enjoy (an odd choice of words) the time you have. It is a luxury to be able to commit to one thing is what I mean.
    I particularly enjoyed reading about the camp experience that brought together able-bodied and survivor adolescents. I suffered along with you as you contemplated 4 days of not being able to communicate. You probably worked harder than anyone else there, at least emotionally!
    Meanwhile, we here at home are gearing up for the political conventions and are weary of the constant barrage of political ads. You should be glad to be out of the fray, as it were. I wonder what your compatriots have to say about the upcoming election? Perhaps that is too sensitive a discussion to have in your job…

    Looking forward to your next installment and bringing you the good wishes of the Zontians,

    Heather Dolstra

  • Krystal

    August 4, 2008



    Thanks for the encouraging words! While the need to obtain a job does weigh on my mind (sometimes considerably), I am still enjoying myself and trying to live my life here to its fullest.

    As for the question about the presidential race…I have actually had several people ask me about it and the candidates. Some of them even have their own (very strong) opinions on who should win. I found this to be the case in Ghana in 2004, as well. I find it very amusing, albeit somewhat embarassing, that people in developing countries halfway around the world know and care more about the presidential race in America than many Americans! What a world we live in.

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