May 19, 2008 (Monday)
Today I felt much more energized than last week. I needed a day of rest – I’m not sure you could call yesterday a restful day, but I needed a day away from the kids to gather myself physically and emotionally. I woke up and did Tae-Bo which always starts my day off right, and had some fruit for breakfast. For one of our assignments all of us have to live on a middle income Romanian food budget for a week. We only have 50 lei which is equivalent to about $21 US dollars for a weeks worth of food…haha…nice huh? No wonder Romanians are so slender. All we are going to be eating this week is fruit, bread and cheese probably. We’ll see how it goes…it shall be quite interesting…no chocolate for me – that’s gonna be really really really hard!
The orphanage was good as normal. Sometimes it’s hard to see the workers be harsh with the kids though. When we came in from outside today one of the workers wanted Andrei to go somewhere and she kept following after him and yelling at him – but he can’t hear…so I was really confused. Whitney Scott and I were like, “what does she want him to do?” The poor thing couldn’t understand anything because he can’t hear – at least as far as I know. I WANT someone to adopt him so bad. He is so smart – oh and I was so excited because Andrei repeated some signs I taught him today. He did the sign for “more” and “please.” I’m not sure if he knows what they mean yet, but he will soon. Elisa and I were talking about him. I think he is above average in intellect for his age group.
I got some of the other kids I work with out of their chairs and stretched their legs. Sometimes I wonder what is going on in their minds. Although they can’t move much, they still smile when I smile at them which reminds me that although they aren’t all the way there – they still are. If they can smile in response to your smile then they can at least comprehend emotions and happiness…I think that’s amazing. Even children with disabilities still feel all the same emotions any normal human being feels. Sometimes we forget that people with disabilities are still a human being. It’s sad.
When I left the orphanage Andrei cried again. It breaks my heart every time I leave him. He just clings to me and reaches up screaming bloody murder. Then the workers get mad at him and scold him for being upset that I left. The women here are just not soft with their children. That little 3-year-old boy fully has my heart…not good…I’m going to be so so sad if he doesn’t find a home…I’m going to see what I can do while I’m here. I need to talk to Mario to see if he is even able to be adopted. Apparently parents can put their children in an orphanage, but not let anyone adopt them. That’s pretty much the most selfish thing I’ve ever heard of – it makes absolutely NO sense to me…but a lot of things the people do here don’t.
Today at the hospital was a grand time. Three of us girls played “Go Fish” with Alex. Then directly next to Alex’s bed is a mom and her little boy. The little boy always acts so shy, but I can tell that he likes me. When I was talking to Elisa she said the little boy (mind you he is about 2 years old) was desperately holding on to the stickers I had given him several days before. Then he was fascinated by a little “I Spy” toy that is like a bean bag but has different objects and trinkets you can find amidst the crystal beads. His mother is a sweetheart too – she seems very soft spoke and very sweet unlike most of the women in the hospital. You can tell she has a sweet spirit about her. We said goodbye to them all and that we would see them tomorrow. Before I left I asked Alex what kind of chocolate he likes, because he looked sad that we were leaving. It’s fun to buy the kids treats here – they don’t get them too often and the are very appreciative when they do.
Then us girls went to visit the babies. That was fun as usual. It was really strange though because when I went up to the floor the moms kept coming up to me and saying “posa, posa.” That means picture. I was really confused, but I thought maybe MacKenzie had taken some pictures of the moms and told them she would get them developed. I don’t even have a camera, but MacKenzie had taken a picture with some moms a couple days before and printed it out for them. Pictures are a HUGE deal here. I guess because not many people can afford a camera - let alone get a picture printed off. Then when we were about to leave the other girls came up to get us and all of a sudden I walked out of my room into the hall and some of the moms were talking to the other girls and they looked quite upset. Apparently what had happened was that the moms who MacKenzie had taken a picture of a few days before, had told some other moms on the same floor. All the moms wanted pictures. Then Elyse had come yesterday and had no idea that MacKenzie had taken pictures in the past and when she went to hold some of the babies some of the moms saw that she had a camera, took it away from Elyse and started taking a bunch of pictures of each mom in every room. It was a mess of a situation! Poor Elyse has to get a bunch of pictures developed now. Then no more. Elyse said one of the moms was so upset she didn’t have a picture developed for her today that she looked like she was gonna punch her. No more pics of the moms with their kids. They will try and take advantage if they can.
There was a new little girl in the hospital today named Florinta. She was beautiful and she was probably about one year old. I gave her a little bracelet that I bought in the states. She loved it. In the same room was a gypsey mom and some other ladies. I kept bringing out toys for her to play with and each time I brought out an object the moms would ask me how much it cost and where I got it from. It was funny…I was like I got it in America and then I would tell them how much it cost in dollars. They seemed amazed. I feel so special being an American.
We had Family Home Evening tonight, and we played a classic game of spoons. One of the girls in the branch that everyone calls J-Lo cornered me and asked me for help with a dance she is trying to make up. She knows that I did dance in high school…I gave her some ideas and showed her some moves, but she wanted me to choreograph the entire thing. I told her I didn’t have the time, but that I didn’t mind looking at it and giving her tips once she was done. People here don’t take “no” for an answer very well. I kept telling her that she could do it herself…she has good style and good moves. She just needs a little more confidence, experience and practice with placement. I have to be careful with her though, because we were warned that she gets clingy, and I think I am the preferred person she wants to attach to right now.