I first heard about Exile International when Freed-Hardeman University alumnus Bethany Haley came to speak in chapel at FHU. I remember that her presentation moved me in the same way that it’s moved a lot of you. Over a year later, I’m glad that the stories that Beth tells on behalf of African children who cannot share themselves still bring me to tears. I was blessed to hear Beth speak again at GO! camp back in June, and I was so excited that two causes I’m passionate about were coming together in the same place. Shortly after hearing Beth speak the second time, I began an exciting new chapter in my life, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Hi. My name is Amanda Adebambo, and I’m a recent graduate of FHU. I have decided to put any future career/education plans on hold for the next year to intern at as many nonprofits that will have me, and I am blessed that a media internship with Exile International is the first step on what will hopefully be a year long journey in the nonprofit world. I am living with a gracious host family so that I can be in Nashville for the summer, and I have met a lot of new people. When I explain to strangers that I’m interning at Exile, their first question is inevitably, “What does Exile do?” Fortunately for me, most people are familiar with Kony 2012 and Invisible Children, so I can then explain that Exile provides therapy and trauma care for the same beautiful war-affected children in Congo and Uganda. However, before people get this amazing idea that I am going to Africa to hold and play with these children, I like to explain that I am just a “lowly intern.” So, then, what does a media intern in Nashville do for children who are halfway across the world?
To put it simply, I do what I’m told. Ok. I’m just kidding…but really. And let me tell you why I’m ok with that. If I can do the non-glamorous, behind-the-scenes work here in Tennessee to make my Exile teammates’ jobs a little easier, I will gladly do so. (These teammates are the people who actually travel to Africa, and the work I do as an intern saves my teammates’ time to work on things more directly related to the children.) My day-to-day work has so far involved assignments like reorganizing Exile’s storage unit or getting lost in Nashville or setting up a month long display at Casablanca Coffee or getting lost in Nashville or running errands or getting lost in Nashville, all with my fellow intern Katelyn Collison. Have I mentioned that we get lost in Nashville? (We do, on a regular basis, but we’re getting better.) Along with my weekly assignments, I have larger summer projects to complete by the end of the internship. Currently, I’m editing our website content and will begin helping with Exile’s social media.
Being an intern isn’t the most glamorous job on the planet, but we have fun and make a difference! We have plenty of time for laughing during team meetings and teammate bonding over ice cream or food in our busy schedules. Sometimes, we do the jobs that other people don’t have time to do. We are away from home and our family and friends for the summer. We don’t get paid, unless you count the occasional free meal or an awesome gift from Africa or Italy from your generous teammates. However, the knowledge that I am doing my part in working towards a cause greater than myself is better than any paycheck I could receive. It’s worth missing my home, my job, my family, and my friends for a couple months. And yes, it even makes doing the odd “intern” jobs enjoyable. Knowing that I am doing my part to live out God’s love to people who have known a lot of hate is enough for me. Personally, the time I feel closest to God is not while I’m in a church building or a worship service or even in a singing; I have discovered that I can feel God’s presence in my life when I am helping other people, particularly when they do not know who I am or cannot repay me. Exile International simply gave me a means to serve other people with a cause that I’m passionate about.