Not for the Faint of Heart
By Amanda Moxley
Amanda Moxley spent the last year as an intern at Extreme Response’s Manila Children’s Home, a newly launched project caring for 10 boys who were orphaned, abused, abandoned or neglected. She also volunteered for IT Tender, an ER partner. Amanda shares her experience in this Changing Lives Blog.
I have often thought working with children is like a marriage vow – “For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer”. I continue to believe that as I conclude my time in here at the Manila Children’s Home.
The boys are so full of love and laughter even in their unfortunate circumstances. These kids did not choose to be orphans living on the street. It was the hand they were dealt.
I often look at the boys and wonder what they think of their own circumstances. Are they grateful for the place they are at? Do they miss the lives they once lived? Or are they simply just done with the life they are living?
So many things run through my head every day, my hopes for them, along with my fears for them. In the last 12 months, I have grown to love these boys.
Actually I did not grow to love them. It happened the first day I laid eyes on them. And since that day they have wrapped me around each of their fingers. These boys, who came into my life as strangers, have been imprinted on my heart as the first boys to dramatically change my life.
A life was forever changed…mine.
Although a lot of my work in the Philippines revolves around the Children’s Home, I also work in other programs and organizations. I came to the Philippines with a commitment to work at IT Tender (an ER partner here in Manila) every Friday.
As the months went on, I began working with other IT Tender programs, such as Food for Life, where I now volunteer three times a week after my shift ends at the Children’s Home. Food for Life is a three-day-a-week feeding program in the town of Putatan, which happens to be where I live. The program feeds 50 kids using nutritious food packs supplied by Feed My Starving Children.
This was a really cool opportunity for me because, when I was home in California, I had the amazing opportunity to pack the bags that feed these children. It is amazing to see the fruit of the labor of so many amazing people who gave their time to help feed kids all around the world, including kids in the Philippines.
One lesson I’ve learned is that people who go on humanitarian trips or visit people living in extreme conditions don’t know what they are stepping into until they get there.
Many things led me to the Philippines. I could share with you how I felt led here, or how I saw a need and I wanted to contribute my part in helping out.
But what is hard to explain is why I stay. Being here in the Philippines alone, with no family, is hard. It’s hard to be on your own in a place that’s not home. It’s hard to remember cultural sensitivity, because we grew up a different way.
Every day is a battle in trying to remain sensitive to the Filipino people. We try to tip toe through this hallway we call another country, but then we end up trampling all over the feet of the people we came to serve, and bulldozing our way through.
I do have one saving grace. As a country and as a culture, Filipinos are the most gracious, loving, and forgiving people I have ever met!
This leads me to believe that whatever it was that brought me to this country and all the things that made me stay, even if I did not make a HUGE impact, I can take comfort in knowing I met people I never would of met, and did things I never would have of done.
And I changed in a way I never thought I could. This is where the big impact happens. You can feed, clothe, and house a child and feel great about that, because those things enhance people’s lives. But when you build a relationship, that’s where you see the big change in people’s lives. You impact them and in doing so you change your own life.
To learn more about volunteering, becoming an intern, or joining the ER staff visit www.extremeresponse.org/take-action.