Boys Home Update

In September 2012 Mercy in Action took 4 boys from the streets of Tabunok and placed them in our new home. The boys are Dominic (17), Carl (17) and his two younger brothers, Peter (10) and Juan (8). Mercy in Action had known these boys for years – Dominic and Carl had been some of the first boys at the drop in centre when they were just 12 years old. They were both bright boys but had difficult family situations. Dominic was regularly in trouble with his mother and so he ran away to Cebu – a totally different island. When Carl’s mother was put in prison, he decided to drop out of school in order to look after Peter and Juan as there was no one else to watch out for them. For Peter and Juan a life on the streets was all they had ever known. Being hungry, dirty and often ill or injured with no adult to take care of them was just everyday life. For Carl, he had the responsibility of looking after two young children, caring for them and providing for them, when he was barely a teenager himself.

For years the boys would come to the drop in centre to be fed, taught and generally to have fun. They were well known to the staff and liked by everyone. Dominic and Carl are natural leaders and would act as big brothers to all of the street kids. They would make sure food was distributed evenly, break up fights and would always know the location of kids when staff asked.

In the last year both Dominic and Carl began ALS (Alternative Learning System) with Operation Mobilisation, through Mercy in Action. This meant they were able to attend school more tailored for their needs – they were able to catch up on important schooling they had missed, without having to sit in a class of 6 year olds. The changes that occurred were incredible. Despite spending the whole night on the street, they would arrive at the MiA office along with 4 other boys at 8am to shower, change and have breakfast. They would attend school all day, and then return to the office to get help from our Teacher with any assignments they might have. Peter and Juan were also doing really well at our drop in school. They would come to the office for class every day, and quickly learnt to read, write and do maths sums. Carl could also go to school knowing that Peter and Juan were safe and being looked after.

Peter and Juan at a Drop in outing before they moved into the new home

However, the MiA staff knew that this wasn’t enough. Although educating and feeding the boys was a significant step towards change, they were still street kids, addicted to drugs and living rough every day. They were at risk of abuse, injury or even death. Even if they could pass their education certificates, it would be hard to hold down a decent job when living on the streets.

Therefore when Mercy in Action became aware of a property to rent near to our current Spring Village Children’s home, they jumped at the chance. The house needed a fair amount of work to change it from a dark, gloomy house to a bright welcoming boys home. This work was very kindly funded and carried out by the team from Milton Keynes. They worked tirelessly in the heat sanding, painting, glossing and cleaning to make the home how it looks today. It looked so good that the girls from Spring Village said they’d rather live there instead!

One of the paintings at the house

After hiring and training new staff to run the home, the day finally came to inform the boys of the drastic changes to their lives. It was Carl and Dominic’s birthdays, and so the staff had taken them out for lunch and ice cream. The boys were stunned when they were told they were invited to live in the new home! The boys ran to the field they called home to collect up their few belongings and to tell their friends the exciting news. Once they arrived at the house, Peter and Juan were jumping on their new beds and shouting with excitement at all their new clothes and toys. Dominic and Carl just couldn’t believe it – they quietly went into their new room, sat on their new beds and cried. Dominic said that God had heard his birthday wish. He finally had a home. He had somewhere to belong. He had a family.

Despite having lived on the streets for most of their lives, never having parents or discipline and all having drug habits, the boys thrived. However the staff at MiA were prepared for all the struggles they could face after the ‘honeymoon’ period had worn off. It was thought that they might miss the streets, the drugs or their friends and run back to Tabunok. Perhaps rules, bedtimes and chores would be too much for them and they would want to escape back to ‘freedom’. Perhaps they could clash with the staff in the home and big arguments would occur. Everyone was ready for such things.

However, nothing of the sort happened. Week after week passed, and life continued on very peacefully. Dominic and Carl have carried on going to ALS and studying hard. Peter and Juan have home tuition and are doing incredibly well. If they are given chores to do, they do them. If they have studying or assignments to complete, they finish them. After playing games and having fun they tidy up after themselves. When asked how the little ones were getting on, the only slightly negative thing their house mother has to say is, ‘The younger brothers argue with each other occasionally’. Who doesn’t argue with their siblings??

It has now been five months since the boys moved into the home, and we are all very happy to say they are still doing fantastically well. They have never expressed an interest to go back to the streets, or shown any signs of missing their old lives. They are happily settled in a home, and most importantly, in a family. The MiA staff team is well aware of the fact that troubles could still be ahead, but we knew that taking on 4 street boys. For now they are impressing us more and more every day and we are so proud of them. We stand with them and support them as we look forward to their bright and exciting futures.

Peter and Juan at the Mercy in Action Christmas Party

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