Friday, September 24, 2010

Smile Because It Happened

Friday, September 24, 2010

Written by: Evan

Message of the Day from Evan: “We should begin by ensuring that every child in the word is able to eat and go to school. Let us internationalize children, no matter where they are born, by treating them as a world heritage deserving of the entire world’s attention.” Critovam Buarque – former Brazilian Minister of Education

On Steve and Lorraine's last day, Steve quoted Dr. Seuss, "Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened." It has been a wonderful 3 weeks with many smiles. Somehow the leaking shower at the hotel and the overheated play rooms get forgotten and it is the time with the children that is most memorable. I did feel badly that I couldn't spend as much time with some of the babies this week but you just do what you can. I found out the next team member is in her mid-20s so I'm sure she'll have lots of energy compared to me. I am pleased to report that I stayed healthy all 3 weeks. If I get sick on the way home, who cares?

The weather today was not as warm as yesterday but we put jackets on the non-mobiles and took them outside with the mobiles for a little over an hour this afternoon. Miha made fewer escape attempts over the fence BUT later in the mobile room she did demonstrate that not only could she climb on to the windowsill she can open the window. I was in the room alone with the kids and I didn't know I could move that fast across a room.

Nicoletta is still in isolation but was all smiles whenever I went in to see her. She was making noises and would grab for my face and hair. Ana Maria and Costel are still in isolation as well and sleeping a lot but I did catch each of them awake once today. Ana Maria is quite the charmer - not only does she smile she practically laughs. I wasn't able to spend much time with Raul but I think Dan has been in with him some. Fortunately Maria Cleopatra is a regular visitor to the playroom so that is great. Except for this afternoon at 6:00 Mirella the aide seemed to think I could take Maria back to her room. I actually did try and lift her and there was no way I was going to be able to get her off the ground and me off my knees without doing major damage to both of us. So I went and got an aide.

We had our good-bye party as usual during afternoon naptime. Dr. Delia wasn't working today so I didn't get to say good-bye to her. Instead, we had Andreea, Ion and Miha as special guests. I'm surprised they didn't get tummy aches with all of the stuff they ate. Then when we were outside they were eating apples and then Jalina brought them cookies. I like that I'm getting to know the aides names better and talking to them a bit more. Mind you "talking" is their limited English and my limited Romanian but still we can get a few things across. I tried to take as many pictures of the aides with the children as I could so I can send copies after I get home.

I did go through all of the babies' journals and wrote an email to everyone whose email addresses I could find giving them this blog address and telling them that volunteer numbers are down. Whatever we can do to get more volunteers here is great, as the children will make more progress with more attention.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It actually crossed my mind to see if I could stay...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Written by: Evan

Message of the Day from Evan: “One hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, how big my house was or what kind of car I drove. But the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.” Forest Witcraft

It is hard to believe I only have two days left at the clinic. I found out today that there will be only one person on the next team, someone who hasn't been here before. It actually crossed my mind to see if I could stay for another week but I think I need to get home for multiple reasons. I am worried about these small teams, especially with new babies and others who need attention.

Mihaela was at the clinic today and picked up Delia at lunchtime and brought her back. I didn't see them during the afternoon but expect they were with the mobiles. Delia showed me her backpack with all of her schoolwork at lunch time. She had many papers that said "foarte bine" (very good) on them. In free time, they can draw and she had done some excellent drawings. She is probably the only child at her school that has drawn a picture of an orphanage and orphans. The good news is the orphans were happy. I asked Delia what her favorite thing was about school today and she said religion class. Romanian Orthodox is the state religion so religion is taught in the public schools. If a child isn't Romanian Orthodox, the priest or whoever at their church needs to write them a note to get them excused from the Romanian Orthodox religion class.

The 6:00 bottle came a bit early today so I went into the mobile room and hung out with Miha, Lea Celine, Alina and Andreea for a bit, and brought Gaby with me.I tried the singing and dancing routine to keep them amused and keep Miha from climbing up the radiator to the window sill and then tried bouncing them on my legs and then ran out of ideas. Plus it was time for dinner so I was ready to leave. Unfortunately, the aide had locked the door to keep the kids from escaping, as they are known to do. So I waited for about 5 min. or so until Jalina walked by and I got her attention. BTW, the aides have been really good about helping me feed the children at bottle and yogurt time.

I've started writing in the children’s' journals that we leave for the upcoming volunteers. It is always fun to read back, especially to entries I wrote when I was last here in February. Some children have made good progress and for others it is very slow. I was pleased to see Cristi Daniel who has Down's syndrome becoming more active and then I realized he is 4 years old and probably not even at 1 year developmentally. Still, as long as they are doing better that is the most important thing.

The day started out foggy and then became quite sunny and pleasant. The children are being dressed in their warmer clothes though so I don't expect any more outdoor time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

NEW Romania Winter Scholarship Fund!!

Global Volunteers needs your help to ensure that there are enough loving arms and caring hands throughout the year at Tutova Failure-to-Thrive Clinic in Barlad, Romania. For many volunteers, the idea of spending precious vacation time in the cold Romanian winter is not attractive. However, volunteers are as desperately needed in the winter as they are in spring, summer and fall.

Because Global Volunteers is able to recruit very few volunteers during the winter months, two of our volunteers suggested we create the Romania Winter Volunteer Fund. This fund will subsidize the service program fee of volunteers who are willing to spend two to three weeks on a winter Service Program.
Your generous contribution will help us provide the children at Tutova Clinic enough individual attention at all times of year, so that they may to reach their developmental milestones.

To contribute to the fund and learn more about the criteria please visit our Romania Winter Volunteer Fund site.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I have been looking forward to this day...

Monday and Tuesday, September 6 and 7, 2010

Written by: Steve

Message of the Day from Evan: “Each time someone stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.” (Robert F. Kennedy)

After breakfast, it was off to the clinic for our first day of work…Yea! I have been looking forward to this day for the past number of months.

We took with us our supplies of bottle liners, plastic diaper covers and diaper pins. Not only were these items in need at the clinic, I found out later the packs of pins were toys for the mobiles and kept them entertained for at least a few minutes.

It was so great to again see the children from last year and to see the new ones which have arrived since I was last here. I enjoyed my day with the toddlers and sneaking off to visit several times with Raul, Alina and Marius who were in isolation.

After lunch we visited with Dr. Delia who was excited to show us the new ultra sound machine and the new lab. It is great seeing the items Global Volunteers money has helped to purchase throughout the years. Dr. Delia also said a new baby was scheduled to be arriving soon at the clinic and she told us about the work being done to get Raul’s paperwork completed so he can go to the U.S. for treatment.

After a delicious dinner of chicken, grilled vegetables and chocolate crepes we retired to our rooms.

Tuesday morning before it rained we were able to take the older children outside. This usually seems to be a treat for them, and the staff.

The new baby arrived in the afternoon. This seems to cause excitement as the staff checks the newest resident of the clinic. Ana Maria is six months old and weighs about 9 pounds. Later in the afternoon, she was screaming up a storm so course as part of the welcoming committee I held her for awhile.

Dinner tonight was at the Da Vinci restaurant in Barlad.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

We are ready to get started!!

Saturday and Sunday, September 4 and 5, 2010

Written by: Evan Boido

Message of the Day from Dan: Once a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf's edge and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide.

The man was stuck by the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached the person continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.
As he came up to the person he said, "You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can't possibly make a difference." The person looked at the man. He then stooped down and pick up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, "It sure made a difference to that one!"

Here we are: Team 149 – few in numbers but I’m sure we will manage very well. There are three of us. Steve has come every September for the last 12 years! He was on one of the first few teams so has seen many changes. Steve’s mother, Lorraine, is here for the first time and I’m sure the children will love her. This is my 5th or 6th visit; I’ve kind of lost track.

We had a pleasant drive to Tutova on Saturday. I saw more of it in the light than I’ve seen before. There were lots of people selling fruits and vegetables on the side of the road in the villages and towns. Some had big tables and others had just a few items in front of their houses.

We spend most of Sunday with orientation interspersed by emails admiring the new tile floor in the hotel dining room. We did have a chance for a morning walk before our meeting started. The weather is just beautiful – warm but not too hot.

Steve and I restrained ourselves from sneaking over to the clinic before our meeting started. It was all I could do to wait until afternoon to see the children. We have an almost even number of mobiles and non-mobiles. Steve will go with the mobiles and Lorraine and I with the non-mobiles, although I’m sure I’ll need to pop in and visit the mobiles now and then. It’s amazing to hear how many of the children have learned to walk or are near walking since I was last here in February. From reading the journals, they are all making progress albeit some more slowly than others.

We are ready to get started!