Monday, October 3, 2016


When we arrived at Clark Air Base, The Philippines in late July 1974, we had to stay in a hotel for a couple weeks while searching for a home off base.  It was an unwritten policy to hire staff to work for you, and we actually hired a maid before we even had a home. She came highly recommended to us and she was a delight.  Ampharo (Amphy) taught us quite a bit about the culture and what we needed to know to survive well in her world.  She was a live-in maid, and she did most of the work.  I would try to help but she was not comfortable with that. We worked it out with me telling her I would clean and take care of the master bedroom, and she could do the rest of the house.  True to her culture, she highly respected the man in the family.  If I answered a question she asked,  she would always look to Joel to make sure he agreed!  When he came home from work she would insist on getting him something cold to drink right away. She was a tiny thing with a big personality.  We not only relied on her greatly, but grew to love her very quickly.

After almost a year of living with us, Amphy told us she had been raped by her cousin Pepito when home on a visit.  We were absolutely stunned. She went on to say she would "have to marry him now" and that she was expecting a baby.  Some may have wondered if she had just been "fooling around" and got into trouble, but in the coming days there was no doubt that she was indeed telling the truth.  She asked us to go with her when she told her parents so we agreed to do so.

Little did we know her reasoning behind such a request.  We drove her out to the barrio where her parents lived and Pepito met us there. The stick built two room house was up on stilts with the animals tethered underneath.  Her father and mother came into the room and we were introduced.  The rest of the conversation was in Tagalog so we did not understand what was going on, but we could certainly sense the tension in the air and see the tears flowing.

When we were leaving, Amphy's father came up to Joel and shook his hand.  He spoke to him in Tagalog and Amphy translated.  He had said, "Thank you for coming here today with my daughter. What has happened is a terrible thing, and if you were not here I would have killed Pepito for what he has done."   Well, then.  Now we understood why Amphy had wanted us there.

Beautiful Amphy with little Maria Louisa

We felt blessed to pay for her wedding and she chose to be married in a blue dress which we had made.  It was not a happy occasion with Amphy in tears and never smiling once.  Her family responded the same way.  Pepito was in love with Ampharo and wanted to marry her.  He had forced himself on her knowing that this is what would happen...she would have to marry him to save face in her family.  We were so sad for them all.  She continued to work for us until it was close to the time her baby would be born.  We were able to visit her after little Maria Louisa arrived and attended her baptism a few weeks later, paying the church "fee" for her to be baptized in the front of the church.  Then we went as a family and celebrated at her parents barrio home.   Our oldest daughter Bethany, then age 6, was one of her godmothers.  One side note was the the story that came from our dinner that day.  They had butchered a pig for this special occasion and the head of that pig was sitting on the table with garnishes around it.  As both Beth and Matt walked by to pick up food, Matt leaned over to Beth and said, "Did you see that?  The pig's eyes stared right at me, and his mouth and teeth chomped up and down as we passed."  I think our Matt had a vivid imagination!

We had a small cement house built for Pepito and Amphy at little cost, and we stayed in touch for several years before our letters came back "returned to sender".  We have often wondered what happened to them and pray they are doing well.  We are so grateful for having known Amphy and have her be a part of our "adventures in faithful living."  We were blessed by having her in our lives.


Anita Johnson said...

I love coming here...A new perspective for me.

Renee said...

Thank you