Wednesday, February 28, 2007

World of Good, Global Volunteers Style

Global Volunteers has so many great stories to tell that you could populate dozens of World of Good (WOG) entries with their work alone.

Welcome to another WOG here at The Scratching Post. Today we will look at the great work that Global Volunteers has been doing for at-risk children in Romania. First a word about Global Volunteers. Their slogan is "Peace Through Understanding; Understanding Through Service." They offer a wide range of service-based vacations that take you to places throughout the world that need your help. It's not the sort of vacation where you drink mai tais and lay on the beach, it's the kind that refreshes your soul.

Romania suffered for decades under communist rule. Their people and economy were beaten down and if the conditions there are anything like the ones I found in the orphanage in Astrakahn, Russia, they could really use some help. It sounds very similar.

With this many babies to take care of the workers must play a zone defense. There's no way they can play man-on-man.

The hospital nursery staff at the Tutova Hospital has is simply too small to provide adequate care and stimulation for these already vulnerable children. The staff is wonderful and very caring, but they can barely handle the feeding and diapering tasks they face.This is where you can really help. As a volunteer, you will be asked to help feed and care for these babies, giving them the stimulation, love, and nurturing that a parent would normally provide. Just playing with them will make a significant difference in their lives.

After a brief pit stop, Jeff Gordonovich is ready to re-enter the race.

A lot of brain development in children occurs in the first 15 months. During that time, many connections between the two hemispheres of the brain are made. Without personal stimulation and affection, those connections are not fully created and the child suffers as a result. Bascially, they need someone to hold them and play with them.

Don't worry, Lefty! We'll get you out of the Joint. We're talking to the DA right now.

The staff at the orphanages is loving and gentle and great to be with. There just aren't enough of them to give their little tykes the time and warmth they need. Global Volunteers doesn't shove the locals aside and barge in to take over.

The children in the Tutova hospital range in age from a few weeks to nearly 3 years. Some truly have special needs and medical problems, but for most the diagnosis is simply the poverty into which they were born. Families around here struggle to live and raise children on less money each month than my electric bill. These are not orphans or abandoned children. They're not even failure to thrive children. A more accurate description would be "ready to thrive", because they do so when given love, physical and mental stimulation and encouragement. I chose to spend two weeks vacation as a volunteer with Global Volunteers because I though their philosophy was right on; that is, that local people know best how to solve their problems and that outsiders serve best by serving under their direction. Thus, the hospital asked for help in providing love and nurturing to the children because they couldn't afford enough paid staff. We multiply the loving hearts and caring hands of the Tutova people.

Wild stories are exchanged over cookies and milk. Who knew these babies had such a vocabulary?

Since 1999, Global Volunteers has sent nearly one thousand people on service vacations to Romania alone. Here's the kind of feedback they get after the trips are over.

I've touched many lives, and many others have touched mine, and we've made the world a smaller place. I've worked elbow to elbow with local Romanians on something important to them, and they are now my friends and I have a place there. I've learned and I've served. It's what Global Volunteers calls waging peace. Our team followed 31 previous teams, and another will follow us in a week. The children of Tutova will be loved. That is all they asked of us.

Not a bad vacation, I'd say.

For a complete list of our WOGs and the reason why we WOG in the first place, please stop by this post.


Anonymous said...

What a good idea! Such a good way to "spread the love" and spread the word on available babies for adoption. Great post, KT :)

Heather in Beautiful BC said...

Nice - what a heartwarming story - thanks for sharing!