Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happy Sunday

It's hard to write during the week! This week when I went to blog the internet wasn't working, so I will catch you up on what has been happening!

Ion's hair is starting to grow back, he had his hair cut last week due to lice. He also hasn't been feeling well and has been getting medicine from an IV.

The older toddlers, Andreea, Petre, Celine and Ion were allowed to take their fleeces off before having their diapers changed the other day. They danced around in their diapers and onsies. They loved it! I guess I haven't met a toddler that didn't like to be naked. They would have taken all their clothes off if they had enough time to figure it out.

When they want to sit on the window sill they will point to the window and say "Sus, mama?" Sus means up. The ones that can talk call all of the aides and nurses mama with their name after it. When they try to say my name, it comes out like Heada. Each day in the afternoon, they wave to Coca and Nicoletta. They knock on the window and say "pa!". This means goodbye.

I have been giving lots of "airplane" rides. (I lay on my back with my feet in the air. I put my feet on their tummy and hold their hands.) They all wait patiently, surprising I know, for their turn. I've learned I need to take my glasses off or they will be ripped off my face. They listen intently when I sing wheels on the bus, telling me by the actions what verse they want next.

Alina is getting funnier every day. She loves to mimic sounds. After I click my tongue or clap my hands, I whistle. She tries to do it, but ends up humming the notes back to be that I whistled. Sometimes she just comes and lays in front of me. She wants me to tickle her. She is light as a feather, it's like she weighs the same as a dumbell you might use at the gym.

When I was with the younger toddlers the other day, Daria crawled over Ionutz and he started laughing. He loved it. It startled Daria, but I just kept putting her on his tummy. He was laughing and laughing. It was a good day for him. Sometimes I can't tell if he is stressed or if he likes being with a lot of the other kids. One thing I do know, he likes to eat, especially yogurt!

Steve and Kellie left early yesterday morning. Yoko and I took the microbus into Barlad. We did some shopping and looked around the open market. We found some high school students who were happy to show us around and practice their English. It was cold and windy yesterday, like Fargo, if that means anything to any of you.

Today I visited some of the local "bars". This is what they call small stores. I think this may mean that they do have beer/alcohol for sale. They also sell other things, some prepackaged items, but also eggs, meat and cheese. This afternoon I built a snowman in front of the hotel. I used rocks for eyes, a carrot for a nose and a stick for a corn pipe. He is wearing my scarf and even one of the waiters, Alex, brought out a red bucket for his hat!

On my to do list for this week, milk a cow and take a horse and cart ride, along with going to the clinic of course. :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Volunteer Blog

Hi everyone, I just wanted to direct you to my blog site, if you're interested in some more photos and stories from Tutova!! It's

I have been blogging on both the Global Volunteers and my personal blog in recent weeks, and if you are interested, I invite you to check out my personal blogsite.

Thank you so much!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week 2 Day 2

Ok, so lots has happened since the last time I posted.

Bonnie left us, however last I heard she was "trapped" in Paris because MSP airport was closed.

Steve and I are battling colds. I have chai te rouge down pat. This means tea please.

Enough about us, you want to hear about the clinic.

Ion came back from Barlad Children's Hospital late last week and yesterday had a new hair cut, a buzz cut. He had lice. The aides have been checking all the other kids, but nothing has turned up so far. When I think about it, my head starts to itch. :)

Daria is getting better and better at walking. She can walk for quite a ways, but still needs help getting up or needs to crawl to something to pull herself up.

I have been chewing gum the past few days and the toddlers love to watch me try and blow bubbles, especially Roxanna, Andreea and Alina. You know how Gaby likes to feel different textures on her bottom lip? When she sees I have gum, she tries to touch that too with her bottom lip.

I met Cristi briefly last week, but he has been in his room battling a cold.

Alex continues to be a finicky eater, while the twins can't seem to get enough yogurt! They get mad at you when they have eaten it all. Daria tries to eat it, but can't quite seem to get the hang of it. I'm not sure if this is because of her cleft palate or if she just needs more practice.

Celine continues to be a language sponge. You can hear her practicing Romanian words with the aides and English with the volunteers.

I've been learning a few things about the aides too, how many kids they have and how old they are...etc...

That's all for now, I'm late to get back to clinic after naps.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Hi again, had such a great day at the clinic! I'm completely exhausted but I feel like I'm getting to know the few babies that I've been working with more and more each day. It was sad to hear Maria Cleopatra cry so hard as the lights were turned off and it was really difficult leaving all of them at night. With that said, I had another nice dinner with the team and now I'm ready for a hot shower and bed. Just wanted to post some more cute pics up so you can all see how the kids have all grown:)

A Bite Out in Barlad

Greetings from Romania! My name is Steve Broderick and I am a recent college graduate who is currently doing lung disease research in Chicago, Illinois. Not only is this my first Global Volunteers program, but this trip abroad is also my first European excursion!

Today was Round 2 of baby mania at the Pediatric Recovery Clinic. It was a very fun (yet exhausting!) day filled with silly games, reading time, some cries and mischief, as well as wide grins and infectious giggles. With Bonnie and myself working with the toddlers and Heather, Yoko, and Kelly taking care of the younger infants, we all now seem to be accustomed to the clinic's routine operations.

There is never a dull moment in the toddler playrooms. For instance, Daria, nicknamed "the jumping bean," will be bouncing nonstop, while a group of kids will be singing along to "Jay Jay the Jet Plane" DVD nearby or dancing to their favorite tune "Zoom Zoom" on the karoake machine. Meanwhile, Alexandra may take your hand and direct you to her favorite pink stroller for a scenic ride in the hallway. Seeing this, "Queen" Andreea will turn the carrying compartment below the stroller into an extra seat and come along for the ride, too. Bonnie even discovered today that the children are mesmerized by flashlights. It was such a funny sight to see a child shine the light beam and then have the others try to grab at it with their hands. Speaking of hands, I continue to have mine full with the twin toddlers Roxanna and Andreea. Where you find one of them, the other will probably be close by, most likely attached to my hip or asking to be swung in the air like a human pendulum. It's true - double the pleasure, double the fun!
The twins and Gabi

Alexandra lounging comfortably in the playroom

After our clinic visit, the team adventured out of Tutova for this first time to eat dinner. Being the minority outnumbered by four other female volunteers, I would not dare to prohibit the women from shopping upon arrival to Barlad. Fashionable footwear found new American owners, yummy chocolate goodies were bought, and cans of "crap" (known as "carp," the fish, in English) were discovered to actually exist at the Penny was even on sale!

While the language barrier and our American appearance may cause us to stick out like sore thumbs in Romania, resulting in some funny moments with locals, it definitely does not hinder any of us from filling our stomachs with good food. After being shown Barlad's Town Hall and notable churches by Mihaela, we walked to Trattoria da Vinci, a nice Italian restaurant, where we feasted on delicious pasta dishes and pizzas. And let's not forget the tasty desserts that were rotating in the display case near the front of the restaurant, just waiting for us to set our eyes on them! My mouth is starting to water just thinking about them again...

Barlad Town Hall
I can't wait to see which clinic visit happenings and food travels will have us telling stories next! For more of my pictures & additional experiences in Romania, check out my personal travel blog:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 3

Hello, my name is Yoko Masuda and this is my first Global Volunteers trip ever, first time in Romania. I work as a pediatric occupational therapist in Los Angeles. I had a little scare in the very beginning of my trip with my flight having to be switched at literally the very last minute, but I was luckily able to meet up with my team in time to be picked up in time by the very kind and friendly Dan and Dorel (sorry about the spelling!) Everything has been smooth sailing from then on and I am so grateful to be here.

Today was our first full day at the clinic and we had a tour with Dr. Dehlia. We jumped right into things as we could hear babies crying as we entered and before we even took off our shoes!!! I am assigned to the non-mobile group, along with Bonnie and Heather. Bonnie and I were in the non-mobile room and spent the entire day there, as the babies were not allowed out since they were taking antibiotics. It was a bit challenging working with so many babies in such a small space, but we made it work and for me, my day was off to a great start with Ana Maria's beautiful smile with the crinkly nose there to greet me as I picked her up from her crib. I also felt so happy to be here each time Maria Cleopatra laughed at my silly antics with that peaceful and joyous smile of hers.

Meeting Dr. Dehlia was truly inspiring and I was so impressed with how the hospital looked and how it was run with such limited resources for staff. For a professional who has accomplished so much, I was touched by how much she was still open to suggestions for improving her facility and programs, and was reminded that no matter how far we come, there is always room for all of us to grow and better ourselves.

Looking forward to another busy day with the kiddos tomorrow and my wonderful team members. Oh and apparently an amazing dessert menu at the Italian restaurant in Barlad tomorrow :)

Happy Valentines Day

On the news I hear that Romanians celebrate Valentines day with pillow fights in the street. Perhaps in the big cities - we certainly didn't see any of that here.

Mihaela did show up this morning with flowers for the females on the team and chocolate for our token male. :-)

It was a full day! Two adults in a small, hot room with 5 babies really can be described as work. Then there were the volunteers with the toddlers. I think they kept busy too.

I guess most things with kids are universal. For sure, babies everywhere like their thumbs and toddlers everywhere have great reserves of energy.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day 2

First I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Heather Johnson. I live in Minneapolis and work as a nanny. This is my second time coming to Romania with Global Volunteers. I was last here in 2004.

Last night, I asked if I could get a wake up call at 8am for Room 1. I didn't know if I was saying the right things because I don't know Romanian. It must have been ok because we had a loud knock at 8am. :)

We just finished lunch. Mihaela introduced herself and talked about the program, expectations, etc... We are heading over to the clinic shortly to meet children and staff.

The hotel we are staying at is on a "main road". There are lots of cars, but also the sounds of dogs barking, roosters crowing, and the clip clop of the horses feet on the pavement.

The landscape is greener than I expected, I thought it would be snow covered like at home in MN. Although, the trees don't have leaves yet.

That's all for now, headed to the clinic!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Arrival Day

Made it half way around the globe with my luggage and 2 Earth Boxes!

With team members connecting through various European airports, 4 of the 5 on our team met up with Dan at the Bucharest airport this afternoon. We spent stime waiting for the last flight, them embarked on the next leg of this long journey. Dan was with a driver in a nice mini van. Nothing like Africa last year - they actually had a trailer for the luggage!

One member of our team missed a connecting flight. These things happen. Dan was on the phone helping coordinate her late arrival and train trip to Tutova tomorrow.

As we drove off, I realized quickly that I was back in a land of round-a-bouts. Sure glad I don't have to drive. The drive brought us through a variety of small towns and cities, all looking very Eastern European. Dinner included fine dining at McDonalds. LOL - I don't even eat McDonalds at home, but it was on the way.

I was so pleased to learn that one of the women on the team has an international cell phone. Text messages are 50 cents each. I'm going to owe her some money by the end of the week.

We finally arrived at our nice little hotel in Tutova around 8. My room is small, but clean and cozy. The wind is howling like I have never heard before. I better keep my ruby slippers next to the bed!

Sleep is my next priority!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Romania Service Program

I leave tomorrow for Romania. There are 5 of us on this team - going to care for abandoned or disabled infants and toddlers at the Tutova Clinic. As a single mom myself, I can only stay for 1 week. Others on the team will stay for 2 or 3 weeks.

My travels will take me through Amsterdam to Bucharest. My Romanian colleague, Dan, will pick us up at the airport Saturday afternoon. Then we travel to Barlad, which I believe is a 4 to 5 hour drive. The actual service program begins with our evening meal on Saturday. I can't wait to see my other Romanian colleague, Mihaela, and meet the volunteers.

The Tutova Clinic cares for severely underweight babies who arrive shortly after birth to be nurtured back to health. The babies are generally scheduled to stay at the clinic for about a year, or until they can be reunited with their families. Unfortunately, in 25% of the cases, the parents never return.

Stay tuned for daily updates - that's the goal anyway!