November 17th, 2006 - Banca,
This week really flew by. Bob and I are alone at the Gianni
Motel for the weekend. Our four team mates have gone to Transylvania
for the weekend, but we have been there and to the other primary
tourist destinations so decided to stay here and work by ourselves.
The fact that we are only here for two weeks made that decision
had a really good week. Bob is working with nine Toddlers with
Mary, a 16 year old who is here with her grandparents, Walt
and Paula. They are doing really well together. The preschool
teacher comes in the afternoons so they get a break. That gives
Bob a break when he can do repairs and some of the kids can
go outside. It's been 70 degrees here and lovely, although many
of the kids have colds or are on medication that they aren't
allowed out. I took Octavian, Maia and Florin out today. You
can see how warm it is because I am not even wearing a jacket.
Those blue Scooby Doo scrubs are just my speed.
Maia and Florin playing in the playground. Quite a change from
January when it was always below zero!
ate at least two tablespoons of sand from the playground. He
compulsively finds it, even on the toys out there and puts it
in his mouth and then sticks out his tongue because he doesn't
like it. Duh! The fifth time I had to put him in the swing because
I couldn't focus on the other kids. But we all had a good time.
Florin, who is almost 4, is the mentor and actually shepherds
some of the kids to various activities like lunch. Today Ioanna
was in the corner and he went over to her, put his arm around
her and spoke to her and moved her toward the table where the
nine kids eat. Actually, when I saw that they were eating chopped
up boiled chicken liver with their fingers as if it were cheerios
I thought Ioanna was smart for standing away. Then I realized
if Florin could sell chopped boil chicken liver, he's going
to be the world's greatest salesman.
Octavian with residual sand on his mouth! What a mess. The minute
he puts it in his mouth he hates it…. I had to put him in a
swing to keep him from eating it.
Richey and I are working with the mobile infants so I'll update
you for those who know them. These are 7 kids who crawl or scoot,
or who are just learning to walk. Most were non-mobile infants
when we were here last year.
started walking today! She walked alone all across the big
playroom by herself. What a feat. She just was so proud and
we were too. When she was a baby she looked 70 years old -
wrinkly and a large head and lots of hair... but now she's
a charming, slim and pretty little girl who loves to make
like she's blowing air with her mouth. She also loves the
jumperoo as do most of the kids except chunky Sylvia who sinks
so far into it that she can't move. A funny sight.
Mirella on drums… not walking here but holding her own. She's
pie and purses her lips and says "Cuckoo!"
is a charmer who just loves to be held and kissed. She's chubby
and too lazy to walk or stand right now... but when she sees
a toy or wants to get in your lap she moves fast - a charmer.
Her parents came to visit this time. Several of the parents
do… and some want to even take the kids home. But the governmental
Child Protection Department and the doctor in charge of the
clinic have to decide when and if it's appropriate.
just loves to eat and smile…. Very loving and lots of fun to
The bad haircut gives her something to be concerned about in
The staff haircuts are not too terrific… and there is a propensity
for uneven bangs. Oh well. You can't have it all.
is our laughing child. She is always smiling, clapping her
hands and saying "uh oh". She learned that from Viorel who
went home to his parents. Mihaela won't eat solid foods yet
- not even the Cheerios that are thrown on the floor so the
kids are like pigeons picking them up. It's quite the sight.
I guess like the rest of us she'll do things when she is darned
good and ready.
has quite the set of pearly white teeth to go along with the
She loves the camera, as you can see.
(aka Dumi): For those of you who asked me to update you
on charming Dumi, you will be surprised to learn that his name
is really Marian. His parents came in with his birth certificate.
He had been called Sebastian (someone thought he looked like
that name) and then Dimitru, which got shorted to Dumi. So now
he's official Marian, although he answers to anything. Cute
as a button and starting to walk when you hold his hands. A
great eater and lots of fun to play with and hug.
(Dumi) gravitated to the little crocheted ball all of the time.
He's a charmer at the highest level and will be one year old
Just about ready to walk.
is 2 1/2 and still in the mobile room rather than with the
toddlers. For those of you who have been on my lists for the
past two years, you will remember her as the second girl triplet.
Her sister is Maia who is the boss of the toddler room after
Florin. Maia yells her own name so often that every toddler
knows it and shouts it too. Her sister, however, is fragile
and neurologically impaired. She sits in a corner... plays
with round toys or now a toy camera and sees the world through
anything with a hole in it. It seems to be about refraction
of light or who knows what. She often just shakes her head
up and down. She really screamed a lot the first two days
and went rigid with the screaming when we picked her up. Now
she will shake her head back and forth with a "no" but will
actually allow us to bring her into the room. Twice she refused
to get off my partner Walt's lap, and now she is demanding
to sit with him. She's fragile but growing. I am sure there
is something exceptional in her that will come out as she
grows. At least I hope so.
looking at the world through the toy camera - or any other item
with a round opening in it. She immediately scoots to these
and then crawls in the corner . She keeps to herself most of
day unless she is in need of being held. She won't eat any solid
either, in significant contrast to her sister, Maia, who is
first in line. What a difference
between these two sisters (part of a set of triplets).
you can see Maestra's face - and for once she isn't looking
through a toy with a hole in it - but rather is focused on a
"mirror" on one of the toys.
is our special fun boy. Last January's teammate, Phil Grannan,
named him "Abel the Explorer" because of his curiosity. He's
one of the kids scheduled to have his severely crossed eyes
fixed along with Sorin, who has neurological problems in addition
to the crossed eyes. They were supposed to go to the hospital
today but it was cancelled because of their respiratory infections.
The kids are, as you can imagine, always sick. They will either
have the immune systems of a horse when they get old or no immune
system at all because of so many antibiotics. Abel is scooting
and pretty much keeps to himself. He dominates the jumperoo
and you have to be sure he doesn't stay in it all day. He does
a lot of hitting himself in the head with hard toys or his hands...
is playing calmly here while sitting in the Jumperoo, one of
activities…. He's a real doll and the eye surgery should make
better in terms of seeing.
Abel is not as bad as Sorin who goes to a wall, gets on his
hands and knees and just bangs his head so hard you would think
the wall would break. It's hard to keep him from doing this
when he wants to... but mostly he wants to crawl under things
like chairs, tables and sinks. He has one room that he runs
to when he escapes from the mobile room and we find him under
a chair that is under the table. I wish I knew what went on
in that mind. Bob fixed the escape route today by putting a
bolt on the interior of the room door so we can keep him from
opening it and running out before we can get up from our chairs.
in a rare moment when he isn't hidden under a chair or table…
That's because there is yoghurt available. He is a big boy and
loves to eat.
Sometimes he gets two bottles because one is simply not enough
for him… and he's first
in line for the cheerios, yoghurt or oatmeal. Hopefully his
eyes will be fixed very soon.
that's the set of Mobile kids... More photos in the Mobiles
the usual set of Romania "go figure" stories:
percent of what Bob and I ordered for dinner from the menu
tonight wasn't available. Ingredients are bought in anticipation
of specific meals unless you order canned veggies. So no tomatoes,
no salad. Beets (with horseradish - that was the shock!),
pieces of steak, pasta carbonara - Bob also had chocolate
crepes. But if we want salad on Monday we have to order it
tonight. Our team leader orders several days in advance. That
food is quite good. This situation is more than just in time
inventory control. This is "don't order it until someone actually
orders the food" inventory management. Look at it this way:
there's no waste.
- The hotel
bought new colorful sheets.... yellow, blue and pink. Lovely
to look at. Tough to sleep in because they are polyester seersucker
with large puckers. The first time I went to get up during
the night I was in a tangle. I couldn't figure out why until
the next a.m. when I realized they had put two twin sheets
on a double bed and as I moved, so did the sheets. We've since
been given a regular sheet. We are lucky that the "apartment"
which is really a bedroom/bath with a sitting room wasn't
occupied. For $5 extra a night we get space. The room is nice
and large, probably 12 x 16 feet. That's the good news. The
bad news is that there is one recessed light in the middle
of the room. We got a floor lamp but it's a 60 watt bulb and
there is only one plug that works. The only other one isn't
functional... so we had to move the furniture in the room
around the light fixture. I am sure they will love us when
we leave. Barbara Marcus had this room last year!
night when we stopped so Bob could go to a hardware store
(a nightly stop that elicits groans from all on the bus!),
we heard an Oom Pah Pah band. Kim and I went and found out
that it was a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the
Barlad Library. Amazing and fun to see. Very formal and serious.
Of course I was wearing my scarlet scrub pants and Dora the
Explorer top so I was a hit. It's a good thing I left my bright
blue crocs plastic shoes at the clinic or they would have
thought the circus had come to town for sure.
tomorrow Bob and I go to work. Our team leader Mihaela's husband,
Dan, will bring us to and from the clinic. We will be two people
managing 27 kids. The toddler teacher doesn't come on the weekends
so it will be a sight and quite exhausting. But if we weren't
there they would pretty much be in their cribs all day so it's
worth it. Every minute here is worth it.
Serra (good night).