Saturday, May 1, 2010

Long Overdue Updates

Exactly one week ago, we were arriving in Tutova with a new team of volunteers after a long day of driving back and forth to Bucharest. We are a team of six women, four of us being returning volunteers. The other three returners were here in October of 2008. Four volunteers are here for two weeks, and the other two of us will be here for the full three weeks.

It is finally spring here! We have experienced mostly sunny days in the last week, and everything is in bloom, which is beautiful. The road from Tutova to Barlad is surrounded by fields of yellow grape seed flowers, which we are told are used to make oil for paints, cars, and planes. The high temperatures this past week were between 16-22 degrees celcius. Friday marked the first day that we were able to take the children outside without hats and coats, which was very exciting!

Our team of six is split into two groups of three to work in the two playrooms at the clinic. In total we have 20 children. Three children are above age three (3, 3, 7), 7 children are two years old, 4 children are one year old, and 6 children are under age one. I am in the group volunteering with the non-mobiles, which includes children from 5 months old up through 3.5 years old. The mobile group has mostly toddlers, but includes children from one year up through 7 years. Within the non-mobile group we have three children in isolation, so we split our time between the playroom and the isolation rooms to work with all the children.

In the last few weeks we have seen three children leave the clinic. Two children went home to live with their families (Andrei and Denisa), while one went to live in an institution for older children (Sammy). We have also seen the arrival of a new baby (Nicoleta the 5 month, 5 pound, wonder), and the return of another baby (Daria was away for a week for cleft lip surgery). I have been able to meet parts of the families of Andreea/Roxana, Roxana, Celine, Daniela, Andrei, Nicoleta, Daria, Petre, and Andreea.

I was also fortunate to be able to spend my 19th birthday here with the children. I was very happy to have my party at the clinic and to be able to share cake with the staff and the children. This weekend another volunteer is celebrating her birthday with a trip up to the painted monasteries. There is nothing better than celebrating surrounded by the Tutova babies! I have also been lucky enough to celebrate some of the children's birthdays with them. Since I arrived in March we have celebrated Marius, Gabriela, Mihaela, and Petre!

Seven weeks of my trip are now finished, and only two remain. I feel so lucky to have been able to spend an extended period of time here with the children. It really gives you the opportunity to get to know the children and staff, and to understand how the clinic and the community work. Three of us were joking last night about how we feel like the luckiest parents around; we have 20 children, yet we are off duty at night and not required to change diapers or do laundry! We have the chance to spend all our time and energy focusing on the happiness and development of the children, and with that we see growth.


Bradpetehoops said...

Very nice! Have a wonderful day!