First Note from Romania
to you all!
and I have been here in Romania from April 9th and I finally
got a minute to write. We had a terrible time finding a reliable
internet cafe.... they kept closing or had such bad lines that
we couldn't log on. We are in a different hotel than I stayed
at in December. We are in a very small rural town named Tecuci
(said Tay-kooch) and the hotel is much nicer than before...
have been at the Tutova Clinic every day. The children have
grown so much since December... many of the small ones I took
care of before are now walking or crawling and I am so happy
to be with them again! There are six or seven new children...
Little Michaela is only five pounds..... As before, all have
been abandoned by parents. Two have gone "home" and we're hoping
things are good. They are monitored by the Ministry of Child
Protection so here's hoping. I read tonight in the online Hartford
Courant that there are 892 Connecticut children who are in hospitals
or institutions, so things are the same everywhere. Of course
there are many more children than anyone could truly take care
of: reports are of up to 200,000 abandoned and orphaned in Romania,
a country of 22 million! If I thought about it I would see it
as hopeless… but we've all adopted an "all you can do is all
you can do" mindset and forge ahead to make a difference with
the children we interact with and love. The fact that there
are only 37 children here at Tutova - and that Global Volunteers
consistently provides resources for food, utilities, supplies,
equipment and both permanent and volunteer staffing makes me
hopeful. There is also an child sponsorship program (info available
that makes a big difference too. Teams come in every three weeks.
These kids are transformed because of it.
are a team of ten: eight of us at the clinic with the children
and two teaching English (conversational practice) at the local
middle school. It's an unusual team in that there are four couples
- one of which met on a Global Volunteers trip in Xian, China
several years ago. David and Kay are 65 and 70 and the rest
of us are in our 50's and 60's: Ken and Marge, Mary Ann and
Dennis, and Bob and I. Marnie is here for the second time this
year. She volunteered over Christmas 2004 and fell in love with
Lilliana, a special child. She is hoping to make a permanent
commitment to her and we all hope it works.
team members have been on other Global Volunteer vacations in
Haiti, Spain, Appalachia, etc. Mary Ann and Dennis also work
on Habitat projects. The team is very impressive - and Ramona,
our Global Volunteers' team leader, is amazing. I was so happy
to be working with her again. I grew fond of her in December
and my respect and affection grow daily.
is doing a great job with projects here. He has put up shelves
for all of the heaters.... measured the windows for new screening.
There are only screens on half the windows and just today a
yellow jacket zoomed in the tiny baby room I was in. I thought
it was a low flying plane the hum was so great. We killed it
with a shoe... but I must say it made me nervous. So Bob and
Dennis, one of our team mates who is an architect, will hang
the screening tomorrow. Bob has been truly challenged with the
tools -- or lack thereof. The only hammer they had for him was
8 inches long and looked like a child's hammer. Tonight he bought
a ruler, staple gun (but was challenged to find the staples
in another store). He has been putting brackets into solid concrete
walls and is mesmerizing the children with the drill. I took
a photo of him with one of the small babies holding a level
and another with a drill in his right hand that was bigger than
the baby in his left. He is fixing cribs and today hung new
swings in the play area. It was appalling to see the ladder
the staff had to use: home-made with two by four boards nailed
together. Ken, one of our team members, got on the second rung
and bounced a bit to "test" it, and it collapsed. We take sooooo
much for granted. Another case: the kids rock back and forth
so much in the cribs that the joints are starting to fall apart.
There were no screws available to fix them until we went out
and bought 250 screws. Of course we didn't have an electric
screw driver, so it will be a career to screw them all in by
hand. Even when we buy tools, the quality is poor. My description
of them is that it's like buying your industrial tools at the
"dollar store". It might look fine on the shelf, but it doesn't
work for long… We'll be bringing tools when we come in January
of 2006. I just wish tools didn't weigh so much!
we went to the Metro store in Brasov (five hours away by car)
and bought $700 worth of things including laundry soap in bags
as large as fertilizer bags, a microwave oven (all were thrilled!),
an iron and ironing board, a hot water heater for the room where
the staff pre-washes all the dirty diapers by hand and tons
of other things. We bought cleaning supplies, a six litre pot,
plastic bags, tons of pampers for the babies with really bad
bottoms, mop heads. The funny part was that we were returning
from a weekend touring in Transylvania (more later). Six of
us and a driver and a guide were in a small bus (or large van).
We split the list up and we were running around the store which
is a combination of Home Depot, Costco and Target. We were checking
with each other about what we bought and looked like "scrubbing
bubbles" trying to get everything together. We had five carts
at the check out and spent 19 million Romanian Lei. To get the
warranties on the electrical items a store manager opened each
box and plugged it in to be sure it worked. He signed the receipt
and then we had to go to a separate window where the warranty
for each item was found and then we had to get those filled
out and signed... another 30 minutes.
cab is outside.... More later.
for the delay! Miss you all but we are just great!
Glo and Bob