It’s been almost two months since I first arrived in the Philippines to join the Regional Internship Program of World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific. Despite the short period of time that I had been in this new country, I already gained a lot of amazing journeys, wonderful experiences and great friends. I also found a new home in the Philippines.
During my first few days in the Philippines, I felt mixed emotions. I was feeling a bit uncomfortable with the many changes in my daily lifestyle but at the same time I felt excited to experience something new.
There has been so much development in the Philippines. However, there are still a lot of things that needs to be done especially in decreasing the gap between the rich and the poor Filipino people.
I had random conversations with poor Filipinos during the past weeks that I stayed in Manila but one conversation remains very memorable to me. I usually go home in the evening from the office or from a restaurant where I had my dinner. And every time I arrive home, I notice a boy sitting in the stairs of the building. He never fails to catch my attention. One time, I talked to him. But since he doesn’t speak English, we hardly understood each other. I just got his name (Ricky) and learned that he lived far with his parents and younger sister.
After that conversation, I gained more determination to learn the Filipino language to tell him that he has a smart face, bright eyes and that he should just go home instead of beg for money. In our next meeting, I learned that even though he didn’t like what he’s doing, he is still begging for money just to provide food for his family. I bought him some snacks since I knew that he was hungry, then bade him goodbye. After that, I never saw him again.
World Youth Alliance has given me the opportunity to learn deeply the concepts of human dignity, solidarity and family. My experience in World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific has made a significant impact in my life knowing that I have inviolable human dignity and that each person in this world deserves to be loved and respected. We should never forget that we all have worth. Each person should be respected regardless of his or her circumstances.
In the past two months of my life, World Youth Alliance has given me a new pair of eyes to look at every person and the world that I live in. I do hope that each person and Filipino in this country will also see the beauty that I am seeing in the Filipino people. It is also my hope that even less privileged Filipinos will understand that they have intrinsic and inviolable human dignity that can never be taken away from them. If each person wears the pair of eyes of a Dignity Defender, we will create greater impact and fulfillment not just in our lives but in the lives of the people around us. Each one can create a positive impact. It all starts with the right attitude and a new pair of eyes.
By Dat Manh, a regional intern from Vietnam at World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific. If you are interested to apply to the Regional Internship Program of World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific, you may click here. Deadline of applications for the first batch of regional interns for 2015 is on October 24, 2015. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries.