Change of direction
by Anumita Kaur
Sep 12, 2013 | 5785 views | 0 0 comments | 180 180 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bradley Watt (top left) and his wife, Autumn (top right), are preparing to move to Nepal with their two children, Carys (bottom left) and Atticus. The family will work with the Tiny Hands International organization. Courtesy of Penelope Fellows
Bradley Watt (top left) and his wife, Autumn (top right), are preparing to move to Nepal with their two children, Carys (bottom left) and Atticus. The family will work with the Tiny Hands International organization. Courtesy of Penelope Fellows
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Around this time last year, Bradley Watt was busy at West High School, dealing with the start of a new year as a guidance counselor.

This year, the 42-year-old is packing up with his wife and two children and preparing to move to Nepal.

Bradley Watt left West High, where he was a counselor for six years, at the end of the 2012-13 school year. The family is joining Tiny Hands International, a nonprofit organization aiming to help orphans and the poor and prevent sex trafficking across the Nepal-India border.

“I miss two things about my job. One is the kids — I love my kids — and the other is the check,” he said. “But I felt like something was missing.”

After achieving his self-described American dream — a family, a home, a dog and a career — he decided it was time to set different goals.

“One night I was walking my dog, Toby, and it hit me like a bullet. I just stopped in my tracks,” he said. “I realized with absolute clarity that I had reached and met every goal I had ever set for myself, and at that moment I should’ve been feeling a sense of accomplishment, a sense of joy. I felt nothing.”

His wife, Autumn Watt, 39, had taken part in Christian missions serving the needy before their marriage. She stopped traveling when they married and Bradley Watt said he would “never set foot in a third-world country.”

But then he approached her about traveling abroad.

“I was just excited, I was full of joy,” she said.

During a two-week trip to Bangkok in 2009, the couple saw firsthand evidence of the sex slavery industry, solidifying their resolve to leave their jobs and serve full time.

“I thought I truly knew human depravity, but I had no idea,” Bradley Watt said. “I knew I could never return to my life of normalcy; I knew that I couldn’t return to West High and pretend like that didn’t exist.”

After a thorough process of narrowing down service organizations, they picked Tiny Hands.

The family will live in Katmandu, the capital of Nepal, and Bradley Watt will be co-director of border monitoring, to prevent children from being smuggled across the border.

“We’re the first family within Tiny Hands,” Autumn Watt said.

The couple are confident they are making the right choice for Carys, 6, and Atticus, 3.

“We truly believe we’re doing our children a favor,” Bradley Watt said. “They’re going to have a deeper appreciation of what they have. It’s like a banana — you peel away what’s not important.”

The Watts are committed to serve the organization for two years, but they hope to stay much longer, possibly the rest of their lives.

“It’s not glamorous, it’s not this romantic idea of adventure,” Autumn Watt said. “It’s going to be hard.”

Their passion to help the estimated 27 million women and girls enslaved in the sex trade will keep them going, according to the couple.

“Every year, over 10,000 women and young girls are trafficked from Nepal into India and then sold into brothels,” Bradley Watt said. “Do we have it in our minds that we’re going to eradicate human trafficking? Nope. But do we have in our minds that we can save a thousand kids over the next 20 years? Yes.”

Autumn Watt nodded in agreement. “Or even saving just one.”

• Contact the Tracy Press at 835-3030 or tpnews@tracypress.com.

 
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