Friday, September 27, 2013

Goodbye, Barlad

It was our last day of working with the children. Gabi and Alexandra left in the morning. Gabi will apparently be going to a foster family and Alexandra was going back to the placement center. 

As the afternoon drew to a close, we said our goodbyes to the children who have made such a special impression on my heart. It was very meaningful to receive big hugs and kisses from the staff as we were leaving. It has been a great two weeks that, as usual, makes a deep impression on my life. The dear children and the staff are in my thoughts and prayers. It is at this time that I tell myself that quote attributed to Dr. Seuss, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”  Goodbye, Barlad.

Entry submitted by: Steve
Message of the Day - Lorraine: “The heart that gives, gathers.”  - Marianne Moore                 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bringing toys to the children

The day started with breakfast and a quote from Steve about how one should never forget a kindness bestowed upon them but one who bestows a kindness should never remember. The day was filled with lots of activity. The children were very active. Alina put a hoodie sweatshirt on her head and acted like it was long hair. It was hilarious. She tossed her “hair” from side to side and it was quite the sight. She would show me her “hair” and I would exclaim how beautiful she looked. It is a reminder that every little girl, no matter her circumstances, wants to feel beautiful. Emma, Luca, Alexandra, and Ionut loved being held today. Alexandra and Alina loved being walked up and down the halls.

At dinner we had delicious Italian food, but the highlight of the evening was delivering toys that we had bought earlier in the evening to the hospital after dinner. Steve bought the children a rocking horse, an easel, and a walker while I bought a push cart which encourages children to walk. Bringing them to the hospital was met with squeals of delight and it felt like Christmas morning. It was a wonderful day.

Entry submitted by: Cher

Message of the Day - Steve: “He who receives a benefit should never forget it; he who bestows a benefit should not remember it.”  - Pierre Charrin

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Greeted with smiles

After breakfast at the hotel we again headed to the hospital. We were greeted by Delia’s smile and some other smiles but some other sounds as well. At 10 a.m. when the bottles came, they were greeted by some – others turned their heads. Luciana had her IV moved again and does not want to eat. Ionut also has a red throat now but he eats anyway – his appetite over powers his sore throat. Alina is still wearing her surgical mask and Alexandra carrying her chair to a good place to sit. Delia was sure to let anyone know if they had a toy she thinks is hers.

After lunch at the Hotel Moldova, Mihaela took us to the hospital and played dolls with Alexandra, Luciana, and Delia. I spent late afternoon with sweet Emma whose temperature was normal today. As Cher lovingly rocked Dan, I’m sure he thought he was in heaven. As we left, we were again serenaded so we need not wonder if they enjoy our presence. Another day is history at the Barlad Children’s Hospital.

Entry submitted by: Lorraine
Message of the Day - Cher: “I am but one drop in the ocean, but without me the ocean would be less.” - Mother Teresa

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

In great spirits to see the children

The day started out rainy, but that didn’t dampen our spirits to see the children. We are kind of in our routine in terms of giving the children bottles, yogurt, cereal, mashed bananas, and other food. If we get out of the routine, Ionut is there to let us know.  Emma seems to be feeling better and today Cher held Dan for a while. Delia put on a show for the doctor by tapping her toy to light it up and get the music playing. Alina was playing doctor by walking around with her face mask. Sammy and Luca went for walks. Alexandra was being her usual good self. Luciana had her IV stuck in her foot, so we watched her closely. Gabby was being good and our dear Andrei again ate yogurt. We think the children were sad to see us leave at the end of the day because they seemed to almost cause a riot with their screaming after we put them back in their cribs. We ended the day with a good dinner at Alona.  The executive chef, when he found out Americans were in the restaurant, introduced himself to us explaining that he worked in the States for a number of years.  

Entry submitted by: Steve  

Message of the Day - Steve: “To the world you might just be one person, but to one person, you just might be the world.”

Monday, September 23, 2013

Keep moving or you'll get run over!

With the departure of three volunteers over the weekend and the addition of myself, the team now consists of three volunteers. The morning began with a breakfast and the message of the day regarding the need to stay moving or you will get run over.

The children at the hospital were a bit more fussy than usual. We believe it is because of the fact that there are only three of us to pay attention to eleven children. Delia was particularly fussy in the morning, but calmed in the afternoon. She is using her partial limb to turn cardboard book pages, which is quite impressive. Alina was accessorizing all day with costume jewelry, scarves, and a surgical mask. She is quite the crack-up. Ionut was a speed racer up and down the hall in his walker and quite hard to keep up with! I got plenty of exercise keeping up with him, which illustrates the quote of the day, to keep moving or you will get run over!

Entry submitted by: Cher

Message of the Day - Lorraine: "Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there." - Will Rogers

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Each special child with unique personality

The end of the first week has arrived…already. We are getting to know the children and they seem to be getting to know us. The children, each with their unique personalities, are so special and have a special place in my heart.

Emma is still in isolation, so I spent some time holding her. She still seems to have a fever, but she still talks and gives that special Emma smile.

Saturday we said our goodbyes to Mary Ann and Sunday we said goodbye to Barbara and Tracey. We are sad to see them leave, as are the children I am sure, but happy to have made three new friends. Sunday evening we reunited with Cher who is joining us for the second week. On Saturday and Sunday my mother and I went to the hospital for the mornings to hang out with “our” kids. We had a great time each morning, and we certainly appreciated the big job the two aides have taking care of all the children over the weekends. On Sunday we witnessed bath time and noticed another child in the isolation room with Emma…thinking it might be Dan, who we met two years ago.

The first week has flown by, and I eagerly await the joys and surprises of this upcoming second week.

Entry submitted by: Steve

Message of the Day - Steve: “You never stand so tall as when you stoop to help a child.”

Thursday, September 19, 2013

An amazing little mimic

After our breakfast at the hotel we headed to the hospital again. We were greeted by eager faces and smiles. I was able to share a book with Alina after which she grabbed my glasses and decided it was time to get started. Alexandra is new – she was sick and recovered and is now a part of our children. She is a sweet little blue-eyed girl. It took a bit for her to get to know us after which she was active and happy. Sweet little Emma is still in the sick room with possibly an infection. Luciana had to have an IV put into her foot for her cold, which she did not like. Delia was her happy self – repeating motions and words more than I realized she was able to do. It is just amazing all that she can do – she is a little mimic. We finished our day there. We enjoyed delicious food and wonderful fellowship at Dan, Mihaela, and Delia’s home in the evening. I wonder where these little people will be in ten to twenty years from now in their life’s journey.  I pray to God that somehow they will each have a pleasant journey.

Entry submitted by: Lorraine
Messages of the Day - Barbara:  “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” - Maya Angelou

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Impressed by the Romanian people

Today was our third day at the clinic. I think that both the children and volunteers have found our groove together. We have learned which children need a little extra encouragement and those who need a little bit more discipline. I think today, I was only pinched once by Alina! However, today Sammy did pull my hair once or maybe three times.

I am constantly impressed by the Romanian people. During one of my walks with Sammy down the hall, a generous woman offered Sammy a bunch of grapes and muffin. I tried to explain that the grapes were no good because of Sammy’s developmental stage, which she seemed to understand and then brought an extra muffin for him! It amazes me that someone with nothing could be so thoughtful in trying to bring a smile to his face. All of the patients and families on the floor have been very kind and the children always offer a smile and buna ziua every time we pass by.

Emma is not feeling well. She ran a high fever and was placed in another room on our floor. Her fever went down a little today and we hope that by tomorrow she will rejoin our group. We miss her smiling face.

The children enjoyed treats of bananas, yogurt, and cereal. Ionut especially enjoyed his treats as well as everyone else’s.

We are all feeling a bit tired; however, seeing the smiling beautiful faces of the children makes it all worthwhile.

Entry submitted by: Tracey
Message of the Day - Mary Ann: “A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows your strengths, feels your fears but frees your spirit, recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities.”  -  William Arthur Ward

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Children who need and deserve continual nurturing

Today was our second day at the hospital. It’s amazing how fast time is flying. I am almost halfway through my time with the team and children. We were surprised to see the difference in some of the children from yesterday to today. Yesterday, they were full of energy and wore us out. Today, they seemed more subdued. I think we wore them out as well. I spent some time with Ionut and encouraged walking. We walked down the hall and back and I found his confidence to be increasing. I hope that when I leave, others will continue to encourage his walking skills. I also spent time with Alina. She is a most engaging child. Her antics are precious and she is quite bright. Her social skills with her peers need some improvement, but hopefully she will learn to be more cooperative.

I am sad to know that the teams are no longer as consistent as they were in the past. These children need and deserve continual nurturing and support if they are to thrive.

On a lighter note, we ended our day with a wonderful Italian dinner and a culturally informative walk home. Maryanne got to see the Gypsy King’s castle!

Entry submitted by: Barbara
Message of the Day - Tracey: “There is nothing more blessed than a young Soul and we, as Humans, have a responsibility to do what we can to help that Soul not just survive – but to thrive – with whatever power we have.”  - Misdeb

Monday, September 16, 2013

A day of firsts

Monday was a day of “firsts”:
1) School was re-opened with a wonderful program featuring a number of very talented boys and girls singing songs about school and friends – very upbeat. It was great to see all the children dressed in their new school clothes and carrying flowers for their teachers. Lots of proud parents accompanied them. We were very happy to be included in this event.
2) The hospital where we met the staff and children. It was my first time here, as everyone was new to me. Barb and Tracey had been to Romania before but not this location. Lorraine and Steve knew everyone, including many of the children. 

I found myself watching each child carefully to learn as much as possible about their conditions and abilities. There are nine children, each with very special needs. There was so much energy in the children’s rooms, and almost all of them responded joyfully to the individual attention we were able to give them. It was a wonderful and rewarding first day and we returned to the hotel exhausted from and filled with our day with Alina, Gabby, Ionut, Luca, Luciana, Emma, Sammy, Andrei, and Delia.

Entry submitted by: Mary Ann

Message of the Day - Dan: “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreased by being shared.” - Buddha

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Reunited with friends in Romania

Today was our first full day in Barlad. We had a pretty relaxing day, which was much needed before we begin working with the babies at the hospital. This day was dedicated to learning about our team, the Romanian language and customs as well as what our routine will be for our time in Barlad. 

This being my third visit to Romania, the events today were a nice refresher to what I had learned on my previous trips. During my down time, my mother and I went for a walk around town. We went to the local market and grocery store, but were unable to find our beloved Cappy and Poiana! 

While I have been to Romania before and had prepared myself for what I was going to experience, I still found some of the things I saw to be emotional. Being an animal lover, it is very hard to see so many stray dogs and cats and unable to offer them the support I would if I were home. 

I was very happy to be reunited with my friends, Mihaela and Dan. It has been quite a few years since I have seen them. Most enjoyable was seeing Delia and how she has grown into such a beautiful and personable young lady. She delighted our group with her singing a version of the song “Apa”. I look forward to tomorrow, where we will first be guests at the opening day ceremony of the local middle school and, of course, meeting the wonderful children and staff at the hospital.   

Entry submitted by: Tracey