Friday, December 4, 2009

Millenium Development Goals Achieved (October 17th - November 7th, 2009)

Two volunteers cared for 20 children for 840 hours, provided food for those children and salaries for 3 aides and the pre-school teacher. In addition to these precise numbers, there is always something that cannot be measured, but that has a major importance - LOVE!!!,
the dedication of the two ladies, the smiles, hugs and the kisses!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Team Journal October 17th-November 7th 2009

Tuesday, November 3 (Mary Beth)

Thought for the Day (Evan) “The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.” George C. Scott

Back to masks, the children don’t like them and neither do we. We understand the need for them thought, the kids don’t.
Mihaela and Ionela sitting potty chairs twice a day amid a lot of hoopla.
Evan sent her pictures of Andreea to Andreea’s family who have taken her home. It was her 4th birthday and they are a nice gift for the family. Evan, as usual went the extra mile.
I’m grateful for finding this microcosm of generosity and love.

Friday October 23 (Evan)

Thought for the Day (Mary Beth)“I, like most people, long to feel at home, wherever I go.” Maya Angelou

I can’t believe a week has almost passed. The babies continue to be mostly charming, sometimes cranky, and always keep us busy. The food continues to be surprisingly good after some of my previous experiences. And the company is congenial. So all in all, things are going well. Ion is close to taking his first steps. In fact, he may have although it is sometimes hard to tell what is accidental. Petre won’t look me in the eye but I’m working on it. And much to our dismay, sweet Ema Elena went to the hospital Wed. night for severe constipation. Mary Beth thinks it may be a side effect of her seizure medication. We hope she is better and back soon. The room is not the same without her. I’m dealing with not having “Big” Andreea here. I gave two pictures of Andreea with Nicoletta to Nicoletta and that made me happy. Too tired to walk at lunch yesterday. I’m hoping the babies given us enough exercise! Time to check email. Elizabeth sent me the Thoughts for the Day I had compiled so we’re in business.

Monday, October 19th (Mary Beth)

Thought for the Day (Evan) “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead)

We got to tour the hospital today courtesy of Dr. Delia. It’s efficient, clean and quite well equipped: I’m impressed. All the babies knock my socks off.

I wish:

  • I had extra arms.
  • We could go outside.
  • The world was peaceful and they all had loving homes.

But for now, I’ll use the arms I’ve got, stay inside, and hope for the best. How happy I am to have found Global Volunteers and what a good choice they made hiring Dan (and Mihaela I’m sure) and organizing everything well enough to bring Evan back for the 4th time. Here’s to the next 14 days with the princes and princesses of Tutova!

Sunday, October 18 (Evan)

Here we are – a team of two. Well, let’s say three counting Dan. Small, but mighty. I feel very fortunate to be on this team with Mary Beth. Not only is she a nurse with 30 years of experience, she reads the New Yorker just like me. And, just like me she was behind in her reading and brought several with her. After breakfast we had a lovely and not too chilly walk through the village. I was excited to see more foliage than in my previous visits during winter. Dan did orientation with us – which went remarkably quickly given our small numbers.

Our team goals:

  • To help the babies
  • To learn about the clinic and culture
  • To let the nurses and aides lead the way
  • And, my personal favorite To have fun

I am excited to be so close to the clinic. A 5-minute walk and we were scooping babies out of cribs. Lucky to have a bit of get to know you time with them. There are both familiar and new faces. And of course I am missing my little, also known as “Big” Andreea, who has gone home. All in all a good thing for her I hope. Here’s to 3 wonderful weeks!

Monday, August 24, 2009

United Nations Millennium Development Goals

As with every Global Volunteers team, our projects in Romania are geared toward meeting our commitment to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Our Romania Partnership addresses three of those goals: To Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger; To Reduce Child Mortality; and To Achieve Universal Primary Education.

Every volunteers works eight hours a day in project preparations and on-site work. We're committed to full-time assistance to the work project. During the July team:

19 children were fed and cared for
1720 Hours of childcare provided by volunteers
$800 USD in food was donated
20 students were taught English
8 Childcare workers salaries were provided
$1800 USD provided for childcare worker salaries

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wednesday, June 3rd

Hello again! This week has been going very fast and I can hardly believe that we only have 2 more days here! The weather has been chilly and rainy here, so we mostly stay inside with the children. Pretty much the only outside time has been taking walks. However, Cristi prefers to be on the floor rather than in a stroller or being held. Today I took him on a long walk and we got to the end and he started crying, he wanted to be on the floor. It was a long walk back trying to entertain and calm him! We also had a rough morning as Cristi's biting his lip upset him and the crying continued because he was constipated. Following this hour of crying, he slept for the rest of the morning:( After lunch though, he was ready to play and work on standing up.

I don't know if I said this earlier or not, but the kids have been slowly getting sick since we got here. (They were showing symptoms when we arrived.) Andre and Juan were both in isolation and got an IV today because they were sick. I hope no one else gets sick before we leave! We definitely miss them when they can't play! Not much more happened today.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday, June 1 - Free Time Summary.

This posting by a Global Volunteers team member describes an optional weekend activity during our standard service program. For a description of our service program work projects, please refer to previous posts available through the "older posts" link.

Hello! I have so much to write since I last blogged!

Saturday morning Erin (my roommate) and I hurredly got ready (because we both overslept for the first time since being here.) We met our driver and tour guide at 8:30 in the parking lot of the hotel and departed for our weekend. It was a VERY long trip to the painted monasteries, however watching the beautiful countryside of Romania was enjoyable along the way. There are hills here that are beautiful! It seemed as though we traveled through a valley most of the way, so there were hills all around us. The road was very windy and bumpy (2 lanes the entire way). I can't remember the names of the painted monasteries, but we arrived at one and got to look around at the little stands outside. The monasteries were incredible! Painted on the inside and outside of the monasteries where pictures that told biblical stories. Also, on the inside of one of the chambers were 365 pictures (each representing a day of the year). I could go on and on about the things we learned about these monasteries, but it is too much to type.

Next we had lunch at a Romanian home. We started out with a "shot" of plum brandy. Whew! That warmed my insides! We also had homemade wine that was good. The food was also good, but much like what we have had everywhere else. Then we shopped at their little stand. They have beautiful shirts that they sew. I saw one that I thought was cute (looked like a baby's dress). Apparently, it was a shirt. My team members urged my to try it on, and I did and then they talked me into buying it. It was 60 leu (translates into 20 bucks). I guess it will be my Romanian souvenir for myself. Next we went to the black pottery workshop. Again, many beautiful items for very good prices. Our last stop was at another painted monastery. It was a short stop because it was raining fairly hard. I think we were gonna stop at another monastery, but we opted not too because of the time. We went to Iasi ("yash") and spent the night. Most of the group stayed at a 2 star hotel, which according to American standards would probably be a 3 star hotel. Our tour guide, Radu, is my same age (24) and was kind enough to accompany the girls out to a local pub. He also brought his roommate with him and we all had a great time. I'm pretty sure that without their help, we would not have been able to order anything from the menu or find our way home! It was obvious that we were Americans, because when songs in English came on, we were the only ones going crazy on the dance floor! We got home pretty late, but Radu let us sleep in since we were on "vacation". We met Radu and the other women (who stayed in different, 4 star hotel) at 10 on Sunday and began our tour of "Iasi". It is a very beautiful city and there is much to do and see there . We saw many different places of worship including a Catholic church. We were not able to go inside though. We ate lunch at a nice place and souvenir shopped for a few minutes in the mall there. We arrived back in Tutova around 6:30 and had a relaxing evening.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday, May 29th

Hey everyone! I have so much to say, but little time. It is 10:30 here, and Bogdan (our hostess) wants to shut down the lobby I think. First, I just wanted to share our daily schedule. We really have it easy here:

8:00: Breakfast with the team in our hotel restaurant

8:50: Arrive at the clinic in time for the 9:00 feeding

9:00-12:30: feed the children at 9:00 and noon, play, take walks, etc.

12:30: lunch at the restaurant and break while the kids are napping

2:30: return to the clinic for another feeding and more play time

4:00: return to the hotel5:15-6:15: one group goes back to the clinic for another feeding time and more play

6:30: dinner

7:30-8:30: my favorite time!!! My group returns to the clinic for bedtime!

Today, Cristi laughed and smiled while standing which is a breakthrough considering he basically pouted every other time we work on standing. He was sooo happy today. He has been eating more by spoon, which is really great!! I am going to miss him so much, "mush" (boogers) and all! I swear that kid produces more snot in one day, than I have in a lifetime!

I also held Emma tonight (whom Erin usually cares for. She is 15 months and I'm not sure of her exact diagnosis, but it is something neurological. She has spasms that make her entire body stiff as a board. This is very painful for her.) She laughed and smiled which was great as I have not seen this before. I think Erin's "miracle hands" soothe her much better than mine, but I gave it my best shot!!!

We had a new arrival at the clinic today, a one month old little boy. I didn't get to have much time with him today, but I hope to next week because I miss being around all the little babies!!

I have had several "epiphanies" since being here. Most of them are while I'm playing with the kids and cannot write them down. I do my best to remember them though. One is regarding "love". I have realized that love and affection are truly a "universal language". We are separated by cultural, language, and other barriers regarding the condition of these children. However, the love we give and the affection they share with us overcomes any barrier between us. I feel so blessed that I had this opportunity. I miss everyone at home, cold milk, and beef (we always have chicken.....every night.), among other things, but I will be very sad to leave this experience behind me. I will have many great memories and new friends though! I definitely feel as I will have a healthier mind, body (I have never ate so many veggies in my life), and soul when I return!

Another thing that I love here is that everyone walks everywhere. The clinic and hotel is on a highway much like the one I live on at home (B). Everyone walks on this road, and I'm assuming it is safe. Yesterday morning ,we even saw a parade of school children walking somewhere. I will say, I get scared and almost jump in the ditch when a big truck zooms by.

Well, I should probably get to bed. I think my lack of sleep and time change keeps catching up with me. It probably doesn't help that my roommate and I (Erin) stay up and talk so late everynight! Tomorrow and Sunday we are visiting Iasi to see the painted monasteries! We will also have lunch in a Romanian home and will get to try their homemade wine and plum brandy. I am very excited, but sad about leaving the children for the weekend. (The clinic is much less staffed on the weekends.) Talk to you all soon!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday, May 27th

I don't even know where to start!! I guess I'll start with the most important part....the children!! Since my last post on Monday, we have gotten even more acquainted with the children. Most of them are not partial to people, but nonetheless soak up the love and attention we bring to them. I think it is official that we have all fallen in love with the children here!!! We are able to feed them, take them on walks, play outside as long as we wish, put them to bed at night, and much much more!! The children who are mobile are so funny. They are never with one person too long and share their love with everyone!

My favorite part of the day is after dinner. Our official day ends at 4:00. We take the short walk back to our hotel and one group of volunteers returns at 5:15 and stays until 6:15 for feeding time. After dinner, the other team (which I'm a part of) returns from 7:30-8:30 to play some more and get the babies ready for bed. This is the best time of the day. All of the children are in one room and the fun for them is non-stop. Some small milestones were made today. Sami, who is 4 (I think) overcame his fear of walking without help and was practically running across the room! Another cute moment came when Mihaela climbed in the bouncy chair on top of her twin sister, Gabriella. Both were laughing hysterically!!

I spend the most time with Cristi (as I have been "assigned" to him). We have been working on standing up and for longer periods of time. He is stubborn and doesn't do this when he doesn't want to. Tonight after dinner he stood for almost 5 minutes (with help) and is still hesitant to take any steps. Volunteers before me have said that he would stand for up to 10 minutes at one time. We are slowly working back up to this and also trying to take little steps. He is also letting me hold him more which I hope will eventually lead to him tolerating a more upright position during feeding. (Typically the only way he will eat is if he is lying flat on his back on the floor....not good as he almost always coughs during his feeding.)

I also held Maria for the first time today. She is less than 1 year old and has hydrocephaly. As a result, her head is very big. For some reason or another, she did not receive a shunt, so we just try to make her time left with us as comfortable as possible. Everyone takes turns throughout the day holding her and singing and speaking to her. Her breathing is labored when she is not being held, but quiets when she is being held.

That is all for now! I should have some other interesting stories later as we are going to Barlad again tomorrow night and taking a weekend trip to visit the painted monasteries!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

First Day with the Babies

Hello everyone, or in Romanian, "Buna". We arrived in Tutova Saturday night after our long trip from home. After arriving in the Bucharest airport, we traveled 4 hours to Tutova in a big van. We (12 volunteers) are staying at a very cute little hotel just a short walk from the Tutova Clinica where the babies live.

Yesterday, we met all of the children for the first time. They are all so cute and unique in their own way!! We fed and played with the babies. Let me tell you, feeding time is quite different than what I have experienced while working in preschools and the hospital back home! After dinner last night (btw, the food is GREAT!) we chose our child that we will primarily take care of. Of course ,we will switch and help each other when breaks are needed, but for the most part we are responsible for one child. (There are 18 children at the clinic currently.) My little guy, Christi Daniel, is a 3 year old with Down Syndrome. He is very cute and could probably entertain himself all day long! However, I want him to interact more and enjoy the presence of others, so mainly I hope to help develop his language skills (as much as I can in 2 weeks!)

Today, we had a tour of the entire Tutova hospital. Dr. Delia is the program director there.She is a very admirable woman. The hospital has about 70 beds (I think, can't quite remember.) They are able to do basic testing at the hospital and can deliver babies if absolutely needed. However, no surgeries are performed there. The hospital was very clean and everyone was very friendly. Dr. Delia told us that she has a M.D. and then got a Ph.D. in Minneapolis while working at their children's hospital. Originally she was to stay at the Tutova clinic for 6 months, but has been there for 18 years (I think). She is very knowledge and truly cares about the well-being of the hospital, the community and her patients as is evident by her hard work and small salary compared to American doctors. She truly seems to be an amazing individual!

Tonight we went to the "city" of Barlad. I think about 75,000 people live there. There were some very beautiful buildings there! We ate at a restaurant, and again, the food was delicious! I think we will be visiting there again later this week.

There is so much more to tell, but for now this is all I have.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Volunteers in Love with Babies!

No, I haven't been changing dirty diapers. This is the Romanian word for little kisses on a cheek. We have been giving the babies lots of "poops."

We arrived at the clinic today to find our little twins Mihaela and Gabriela off to the hospital in Barlad for tests. Hopefully they will be back soon. Maddy, the 6 week old in isolation is going to Iasi the big city for surgery. He was born with his rectum outside of his body. There is another baby in isolation who was born without most of her limbs. She is not expected to live. They are in isolation because they are new and are kept separate to ensure they don't get germs from the other kids.

Other clinic news: a cute moment yesterday when the pre-school teacher arrived at 2:00 and little Alexandra saw her and immediately stopped what she was doing to go with her. Alexandra is the little girl with dwarfism and brittle bone disease. She is 6 years old but quite small and doesn't walk. Another cute moment when 2 year old Alexandru called out "Anna" to another Anna Maria and motioned for her to walk with him down the hall. Most of the kids don't speak.

Read on...and view wonderful photos of "Evans" babies on her personal blog here: