Monthly Archives: April 2012

First full day at St. Nicholas Pediatric Hospital


Whew! Slightly exhausted and certainly too much so to do much other than to post a few pictures of my day, rocking, holding, cuddling, whispering, singing, encouraging the wee ones who suffer from varying degrees of disability …. Delia who is without full limbs is the oldest at just over a year and a most charming little lady, Marion, (a boy) who is around six months old and is the smallest of them all .. a premature birth, resembles a little old man in features and a featherweight to hold, five month old Emanuela has just had a shunt of sorts put in to drain fluid from around her brain and is possibly a paraplegic as she also has endured spinal surgery recently, and the youngest is Ion at somewhere between two and three months, appears only mildly neurologically affected …. Not as emotionally drained as I thought I would be …. To say it feels good to help these munchkins is an understatement …. It is that and more, but too tired to articulate further. After a delicious lunch of ruccola salad at a nearby restaurant, Mihaela’s daughter joined us for the afternoon and was a big help, reading to Delia, who loves her books! Schools are closed for two days due to Romanian Labor Day weekend where most head to the countryside for a break. Off for an early dinner and bed …… Buna seara





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Day one in Barlad or Birlad … Both names acceptable


Great day overall enjoying unseasonably warm weather in Romania …. High twenties … Do not think I will need a polar fleece here, unlike Calgary in April! I have posted some pictures taken this morning around my hotel … views from my balcony as well. Mihaela and her charming 8 year old daughter, Delia, picked me up from the Occident late morning … We enjoyed an ice frappachino at a great Italian spot in town, cooling off before tootling around town, Mihaela pointing out local spots including the hospital where I will be working. Mentally I was not quite prepared to meet the babies and was not aware I would be, but meet them I did, albeit briefly, as well as the nurses I will be working alongside with Mihaela and Dan. They are all abandoned babies with varying disabilities … The mothers, too often young girls, some as young as twelve, with no where to turn for help with a pregnancy, never mind a new life to deal with. Sadly, poverty as always, is a mitigating factor with this situation in Romania, as it indeed can be anywhere. Little Delia (not Mihaela’s daughter) has only one leg and no other limbs … She has been with them since birth and is now exactly one year and one month!! I have no idea how this will pan out with me emotionally but I rarely walk away from a challenge, particularly when children are involved …. I think I am still reeling somewhat as I have never really spent time around babies with no mommies or daddies to love them ….. Must harness this sadness somehow and turn it into a positive experience for the wee ones ….. Mihaela joined me for quick dinner and we opted to call it an early night …. Tomorrow ….. A new day begins.







Bucuresti, Romania


Long travel day .. Arrived to a bustling Bucharest, home to three million souls and once also home to that marvel of a gymnast, Nadia Comaneci of the perfect Olympic score from the seventies! … Not a tourist in sight! Rare indeed … Hotel, charming little boutique style Époque … Less than fifty rooms … Full of local folk and near old town and peaceful parks, facilitating long walks to help ease into time zone … Feet sore today from hours of navigating the cobblestones … came across a construction site rebuilding the streets with new cobblestones … Back breaking labor! Communism and years living under the terror regime of Nicholae Ceausescu has left it’s mark on those forty and up … Rather a serious brooding look to the elders, the youth, not so much. I am near one of the many universities of Bucharest …. Love being in the midst of that delightful student energy … All so helpful with directions and friendly … Romanians a curious mix of Roman features (Rome did rule this area for a few centuries and it shows in the features and local architecture). Seems I have arrived in yet another country with it’s marginalized folk …. Here, as in Hungary last year, it is the formerly nomadic Roma, known also at one point as, gypsies (nomadic lifestyle was recently outlawed for the Roma, by the government ….. Strange for someone like me 🙂 …. Wondering if this can possibly be true ??! ) … Gypsy is a negative term for anyone in these parts … My blog name is not appreciated here 🙂 Today, Romania consists of those with heritage remnants from Hungary, Germany, Ukraine, Turkey, and of course the ubiquitous Roma gypsies but the majority, almost 90 percent, are known simply as Romanians … A real mixed cultural bag … I am finding the locals friendly, helpful and for the most part, kind. Tomorrow another long travel day ahead, via the local train system … Dan Cirjontu and his wife Mihaela, the Global hosts here, will meet me at the station for the five hour ride to the small town of Barlad, where I will be working at the hospital …. Posting a few random shots as I walked the streets of Bucuresti, as it is known in Romanian … Bought some aromatic Lilly of the valley from a street vendor … Could not resist …. Heavenly scent transported me straight to the fields of my childhood home in Pottsville, Ontario! … I inhaled deeply, savoring, carrying the bouquet for a long while, before gifting to a lovely lady along the way. Dan instead picked me up with the family car and we drove to Barlad … A long over four hour drive …. Stopped in a little town for a Macdonalds grilled chicken sandwich … Yes here in remote Romania … And one of the cleanest and most modern Mcd’s I have ever been inside ……. Go figure 🙂