Honestly, I don’t know how to begin this. Anyway, I’ll just say it: I have a new baby sister. My mother wasn’t pregnant and you didn’t hear about it and a child did not appear from I don’t know where.
Lately, we have forgotten to do good, to produce happiness for the ones who do not have this chance ; we have forgotten to thank God for all that we have and we want more and more, we would even wish to have the infinite if we could.
I had the chance to leave the country where I lived for almost 18 years; I luckily had the opportunity to study abroad, to break free from the Romanian way of thinking. I grew wings and I flew far away from home, alone, without any help except the support of my parents. My brother was more fortunate and he left the country at a younger age, 14 years old. I know, it sounds good: Geneva, school, friends, and money. But let’s put aside for a little bit the material things and think about the pain my parents felt when they were alone, let’s take into consideration all the risks my brother and I had taken when we found ourselves in big European cities, exposed to all kind of temptation. All these “stuff” , large or small, made us grow up every day, learn something new, appreciate more what we have and the most important thing – we learned to give more than we did before. This “giving” thing does not work in Romania. If we could take everything without having to give anything would be just perfect. Shortly: slob! Indeed, the poverty in this country makes you do some things.
I recently met her, Monica. Firstly my parents decided to help someone and secondly to replace the emptiness left by our leaving. So they decided on weekends, during holidays or for certain events to have a child in the family. Maybe “adoption” would be too much at the moment, because currently this is for a limited time but it means a lot. I went home last week and met her. I talked to her and honestly she made a good impression on me.
She has been living for 6 years in the Urziceni orphanage. She is the first in her class, a very clever and smart girl. She has a warm smile, a pure heart and she definitely didn’t have a childhood as well as I did, or as you did, (the one reading this) or your children did. She is 12 years old and she had the misfortune of being born in a family which I am not sure I can call family. She has two sisters who live in the same orphanage as she does. As far as I know, her younger sister (9 years old) also has the fortune to receive love and attention from a kind family in town. The older sister (18 years old) was the unlucky one. Being the first child of those “people” she received a less pleasant treatment which made her develop much slower. Too bad. I I would have liked to write in the evening I met her, I really tried to…but I couldn’t. While I was talking to her I had tears in my eyes. I can’t even put into words what I felt when I saw her picking up every lint on the bed – because „she must”, in order to maintain the cleaning in the orphanage. I asked her to let them as they were but she answered: “I got used to it”.
I stopped for a second. I was simply ashamed by the clothes I was wearing, the watch I had on my wrist, the idea of having a more expensive one, the desire of buying a new purse, the nerves that my laptop wasn’t running properly and the desire to buy a new one, the 3 phones I was holding…. On the other side, she was watching cartoons, laughing her heart out and she was holding a teddy-bear. I didn’t even remember the existence of that teddy- bear; I have no clue about cartoons these days.
She started to tell me a lot of things. Some of them I cannot make public because I don’t have the right to judge the Romanian system when I don’t act for changing it and I had never thought, in 24 years time, about that orphanage in my town. I feel ashamed. I felt more ashamed when she told me that they get juice and sweets only on holidays, that they receive an apple a day at lunch, that they do not have televisions in their rooms, that they receive clothes once in a blue moon from Slobozia, that they receive 28 lei a month … yes, 28 lei! With this money they have to buy medicines when necessary, sweets when they are craving, shoes when the old ones are stolen, underwear when the old one breaks … all these things (and many more) complying with the above mentioned amount.
Now stop for a little bit and look around. Is it so hard to sent some clothes there once a month, some food, medicines, money, toys and a TV you no longer use, a phone … you know … anything … I know, everyone is starving because of the financial crisis! But you have children to raise, to educate, to provide for them – and most importantly you give them love! You have got parents who love you, who would do everything for you. You are a lucky man! Every night there is a piece of cheese left in your fridge and you have 2 lei to buy a can of soda. You know about “Prigat”, “Nestea”, “Pepsi” – take a second to ask yourself – do they, the ones in the orphanage, know?!
I was once again ashamed when she told me they had only one sponsor – FOREIGN!!!! Not even a Romanian. From time to time, a person with a big heart sends them “a thing or two”. Do we, the ones who were born in a NORMAL, family know what it means to hide your clothes not to be stolen? Do we know how it feels when you go to school and you crave for a chocolate – a simple chocolate, the cheapest, at least once a week? Do we know how it feels to have no help at all? Do we know what it means not to see your parents for years, because they prefer to hold the bottle and not their children? Do we know what it means to give some of the toys of our children/ grandchildren to poor children who have no joy in life? Do we know how it feels to be beaten by other children just because they want to, because they are older and because this is what they had seen “at home”, before getting here? Do we know how it feels when people who replace your parents (orphanages employees) to do their job –army style? Short and simple: we have no clue!
I know, there are also good people, who adopt, who love other people’s children as their own. These people have all my appreciation and I wish that their number grew increasingly more. I personally know I was wrong. I didn’t spend a second to think of all these things, until I met Monica. I only thought of having more, buying more, taking more for myself. Maybe I thought of others too, but not enough. I have never thought of the right persons.
If you have a heart, if I woke up at least one feeling in it, do something. Anything. Maybe I was subjective when talking only about the children in Urziceni but I know these things happen all over the country. Do good – tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, it doesn’t matter when, just do it. Give these children some joy, make them happy in any way you can. The more possibilities you have, the more you should help them. If each of us gives a little: one kilo of tomatoes, a toy, a piece of clothing, a warm smile and a hug, we would be able to help them. We could make them feel better, loved and cared for. I am sure it can be done, I am sure that together we can change something – the “something” which can change the fate of a child – an innocent child, a child born in a family which does not deserve him.
Congratulations to my parents for what they did. Congratulations to the other families doing the same thing; congratulations to the people who fight for them – for less fortunate children.