Me being pushed on the swing by one of the little boys.
“Higher higher higher!” The little kids screamed with glee while simultaneously pulling on the swing’s chain that was catapulting me into the air.

“Oh no! Baka mahulog ako! Nakakatakot ito!” I jokingly yelled back. (Oh no! I might fall. This is scary!)

“Okay lang yan, Ate. Sasaluhin namin ikaw!” Came their witty reply. (It’s okay. We’ll catch you!)

With the wind in my hair, it was such a liberating feeling being on the swings. What made playtime even better were my companions.

There were constant sounds of laughter all around me. Little boys everywhere were chasing each other and every now and then were yelling, “Ikaw yung It!” (You're It!) A little boy even got on the swing next to me and tried to copy what I was doing. Instead of sitting down on the swing, I was standing up. When I told the boy that it was dangerous and only big kids should be doing it, he told me, “Matapang ako! Don’t worry,” which put a smile on my face. (I’m brave! Don’t worry)

I found myself surrounded in chaos once again but it was a wonderful kind of chaos.

Me teaching the boys how to do a flip on the monkey bars.
Me helping one of the boys do a flip.
Me on top of the playground with the boys.
Me about to go down the slide with one of the little boys.
For the next 30 minutes, my friend Reggie and I found our selves acting like little kids in the playground. Every time a kid went down the slide, we were sliding right behind them. Every time a kid climbed a ladder to the top of the playground, we were climbing right behind them. I even taught a kid how to do a flip on the monkey bars and he rewarded me with a delighted hug after he accomplished it.

When playtime came to a close, I talked to someone who was also visiting Boystown for the day.

The person I talked to was a woman named Marissa and she has been visiting Boystown for several years.

“These boys have come to mean a lot to me. It makes me happy spending time with them and seeing their smiles.” She fondly told me when I asked her why she has been visiting for such a long time.

When I told Marissa that one of the things that I remembered from my first visit 2 years ago was their genuine and vibrant smiles, she told me, “That’s the best part eh, knowing that they’re not faking them. They are genuinely glad to have your company.”

When I asked her if she finds it a little strange that they’re so happy despite their situations, Marissa replied, “I personally don’t find it strange. I find it extraordinary how they are able to find something positive in their surroundings no matter how horrible their situation is.”

After thanking Marissa for her time, I thought long and hard about her insights and came to the conclusion that she was right.

It was astonishing how optimistic the boys are despite their hardships in life.

It reminded me of the times in my own life where I felt like giving up because something got too difficult.

I then realized that I was being selfish. My problems suddenly seemed very insignificant compared to theirs. While I worried about how I was going to pass the next math long test, these boys worried about whether or not they were going to eat for the day.

If these boys could find happiness and positivity in their less than ideal life, why couldn’t I?

Someone that by most standards is living the ideal lifestyle.

This whole situation reminded of the quote, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

In translation, make something good out of something bad.

From this visit to Boystown, I learned how important it is to always find a silver lining in any situation.

There is hope in every situation and the boys of Boystown have taught me that.

For that, I will always be grateful.
1/4/2014 07:10:41 pm

Reading the posts was almost like being there myself. These posts not only taught me about the organization but also about the individuals they help. This gives it a more genuine feel to it. Being new to the country its nice to witness examples of communities offering refuge to those who have fallen on hard times. I am certainly curious to find out more for myself after having read these experiences.

1/5/2014 03:52:53 pm

I really love the vivid pictures that u put there! I agree with mike that your post did not just give us a clue of what or how the organization works but it also brought a bigger insight for us to think about :)


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