Friday, December 21, 2012

Tiny Treasures

This past week, I have met some very special children and the wonderful people who care for them.  Two of the children were in isolation due to chicken pox, and that limited the number of children who could come from the placement center this week.  But I thoroughly enjoyed the children I did meet.

Alina is full of energy and joy.  I no sooner entered the room the first day than she stood on the top bar of her crib, and as soon as I got close enough, jumped and wrapped her arms and legs around me like a monkey.  She is active every minute.  She loves to sing.  The impact of previous volunteers is very evident.  She comes up to me and prompts me with "Twinkle, Twinkle" and "E I E I O" in perfect English. 

 Gabriela is quieter, and will play by herself, but her face lights up when I engage her one-on-one.  With her dark, deep eyes, it seems she is looking right into my soul.  The only problem is Alina gets very jealous if anyone else gets attention.  It's amazing how she can squirm her little body in between me and whoever else I am playing with.

 I will admit being a little nervous about meeting Delia, but I loved her from the first moment I saw her.  I discovered she likes to make funny faces and noises in the mirror.  It's fun to watch her mimic me.  I love playing on the floor with her, and watching her wiggle around, kick her leg and roll over.  When she laughs, her whole body laughs.

 Little Andre, just 11 months old seems so fragile.  When he cries, I want to cry too.  I watched Dan rub his back to comfort him, which seems all we can do for him right now. 

I felt awkward with Abel.  I didn't know how to relate to him.  I watched Dan help him walk, and he seemed to enjoy that, but I am a bit nervous about taking him out of his crib myself. 
Tiberiu joined us the last two days of the week.  He liked looking at the picture postcards and the pictures on the Memory game cards I brought.  On Friday, he had my undivided attention for awhile, sitting on my lap in the rocking chair.  He seemed very content, and to my amazement, Alina didn't even interrupt.

 All these children are wonderful, but it's little Cleo who has stolen my heart.  She has the most beautiful eyes and a genuine smile that lights up her whole face.  I think it is a smile of pure contentment when something delights her.   It is for her, that I selected this week's quote.  She cannot talk with words, but I can hear the song in her heart loud and clear.

I appreciate the opportunity to teach English in the middle school this week.  As much as I liked being with the children at the hospital, it is emotionally draining.  The afternoons at school were a good balance for me. 

 An added bonus of being here over the holidays is the pleasure of being invited to Christmas shows at school.  I attended one at the high school that showcased ALL the arts -- music, dancing, singing, acting, visual arts, origami, even culinary arts.  (OK, I will admit I snuck a few pastries in my purse which I enjoyed for breakfast the next day).

The show at the elementary school was delightful. I was amazed by the confidence of these young children to perform so well in front of family and friends.  I was especially impressed by 3rd graders performing a waltz and delightfully surprised by Mihaela's daughter's solo vocal in perfect English.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's Christmas party.  Now that I know the children a bit, it will be fun to pick out a special gift for each child. 

 I'm also very glad two more volunteers are arriving mid-week.  It will be so hard to leave these children.  Even just thinking about now makes me cry.  But it will be a bit easier knowing that there will be volunteers here to continue on, at least for a while. 

- Mary