VOLUNTEERING IN ROMANIA
I can’t believe that this was over 2 years ago now when I was raising money to volunteer with disadvantaged children in Romania. I still have so many fond memories of this day and really wanted to publish the diary that I made while spending time with the children. This was the best 3 weeks of my life and I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to go and see another culture and hopefully give something to other people by teaching them some English every day and helping these children try to use this so they can use it in their future. This experience really allowed me to see how blessed I am to live in the UK. While I was there I made a diary of the day to day events with these children, not only were they learning from us, it was a chance to learn about their culture and pick up some of their language and games that they play as well.
Dairy of Romania
After a stressful and tiring aeroplane and coach ride, we finally arrived in Romania. This beautiful country full of mountains and incredible scenery; disguised some saddening truths. Like all countries, there was some poverty, but I am not going to dwell on this too much; as this trip was an experience I'll never forget.
The first day, we got split into two groups; I was in the group who started renovating first. As someone who hadn't learnt to paint walls previously picked up a new skill as well as helping the children’s living situations. Obviously, there is not a lot I can write about painting… So I'm going to continue to talk about the lunch times we had with the children who lived in these care homes.
The children’s English language abilities were quite limited (although, still much better than my Hungarian!), so conversation was quite minimal. It was still clear how eager they were to try and communicate to you and learn new English words. They were very hospitable (puts some England staff to shame really), they served up our food; took our plates away and were always polite whenever we tried to speak Hungarian to them (who knows if what we were saying to them made any sense whatsoever!).
The care homes were like a working flat (which we also lived in throughout the 3 weeks we were staying there). I have never seen a hob and an oven where you have to light them by match before; so cooking pasta occasionally in the evening was eventful.
Started going to the camp site to see the children (they went to this campsite while their homes were being renovated). We had bought a ball with us beforehand to help break the ice between us and the children. The younger children were interested first and we just had a game of catch and learnt their names. Next, we bought out the colouring books and pens. This was popular with all ages in the camp site.
After lunch we had to go inside because a thunderstorm started, I was surprised to learn that they knew games such as wink murder and duck duck goose! We played games like this for the rest of the afternoon until tea!
In the morning a group of children went to play football. I stayed with some of the younger ones who were not able to join in and played catch with a ball with them!
Today we started our planned activity for the day which was a scavenger hunt! They seemed to really enjoy this (probably because there were sweeties for the winner)! This was also an opportunity for the children to practise their English because we had written the list in English and they had to work out what the object was.
The activity that was planned for today was a game of Sharad’s with a pile of cards with different animals and job roles. It was fun to watch the children act out the different cards. They also seemed to enjoy us, adults, trying to act them out as well!
It was another stormy day today, while we were inside, we taught some girls how to say Basic English questions (e.g. how are you?) and the English answers to these questions (e.g I am good thank you). It was lovely to see how eager they were to learn new words and phrases.
Bingo was today's planned activity to help the children with their number recognition! Their careers also joined in with this game and helped to translate the numbers to Hungarian for the younger children. Again, there were sweets involved, which is why it probably attracted most of the children in the camp.
We also did some egg painting as we knew it would be another inside day, because of storms, so we organised another activity.
As it was the last day of the week with the children we decided to have a pay dough competition. They all wanted to get involved and make their model of anything they wanted. We had some prizes for the first and second place. Then, we gave some 'well done' sweets to the rest of the children who took part (because we had some leftover from previous games). Not only were we teaching them English, one of the children started teaching me some animals in Hungarian, as we had brought doe animal flash cards in! (I'm annoyed that I have forgotten all the animal names he had told me, I should have written them down.)