a child like you and me

camera shy

I found these photos today while cleaning up an old flash drive.  Once upon a time, when I was fresh out of college and had big dreams to change the world, I worked as a therapist in a shelter for abandoned and street children in the Philippines. I worked there for about a year before I was accepted and went to grad school in Southern California. Seven years later, here I am.

Just thinking about those days makes my heart ache a little. It was more like volunteer work really, because we only got a monthly stipend that was not even enough to cover my basic expenses. Of course, I didn't know what the heck I was doing and there were times when I'd come home sobbing after hearing stories about a child's difficult life in the streets, but for the most part, we were happy.  It was a very simple life.

I still wonder about those kids. How are they now, what have they become, are they out of the streets? And sometimes, I still wonder about the girl that I once was, the girl who worked with those kids. A couple of days ago, I was so exhausted that I had to lie down and close my eyes for 10 minutes (working with children and adults who act like children does that to you), I started to question why I'm still doing what I'm doing. I still don't know and I suspect that it will be a long process of introspection. But I am grateful for these photos, for the gift of remembering. Its a good place to start.

aren't they beautiful?

street kids in mactan

Back stories
:: It was my first time meeting little boy in photo #1. He was very shy at first but eventually he introduced me to his siblings in photo #2. They were all part of our feeding program.

:: Boys in photo #3 lived in the streets in Mactan Island. I didn't work with them but they were so excited to have their photo taken and so jumpy I had to take it couple of times because all of them came out blurry, except for this one.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends. xo

7 comments:

  1. What beautiful pictures - as a child my parents worked in one of the large squatter areas in Manilla.

    Your pictures make me remember, remember, and sometimes I feel so far away from that life. I look around at my beautiful house and wonder how I got from there to here.

    It seems it is the requirement of the young to carry hope.

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  2. What an incredible experience and those children are so cute and precious! I hope they're all doing well all this time later. I still think about the children I've volunteered with throughout the city and wonder if they're as lively and rambunctious as I remember them to be.

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  3. ItadakimasUMay 02, 2011

    hi odessa, what a lovely post! Didn't know you did that kind of work in the Philippines!

    hope that it also gives you more strength right now!!

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  4. What an incredible and enriching life experience! Those children are beautiful, and they all look so joyful. Wherever they are, I hope they've carried that with them.

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  5. elizabeth: you were in the Philippines? wow. that must be quiet an experience, especially with your parents working in the squatter areas. and yes, i do understand what you mean. its almost like a completely different world over there. i really do miss it.

    sofia: thank you! :)

    dorkys: i hope they are all doing well too. we can only hope for the best, right?

    kit: thanks for your sweet words. yes, it does.

    heather: they are beautiful indeed. their lives were difficult but they were also very resilient, its quiet amazing.

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  6. i love and appreciate this glimpse into your stories, and theirs.

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