2019 - Romania
We're just about at the midpoint of our expedition and so far this has been a truly unforgettable experience. One concern I had before this trip was the actual impact we can make in spending such short times at each location, but I'm happy to say that working at the 3 communities we did in Romania completely rid me of these concerns. This realisation came as a result of the vast difference in the sessions from the first day to the last day.
Leaving Bulgaria was hard for me, as I had been working with people with a common language in the majority of the locations and so formed very deep connections. I would arguably say I was scared that I would be unable to do this in Romania due to the lack of a shared language. Once again I was happy to be proved wrong and the international language of fun and game proved plenty sufficient for me to create many very powerful connections which left me in tears leaving Romania.
Every day in Romania was a joy, the living conditions in Bucharest were a bit challenging as we were split in two separate flats and more so in Constanta when we were in dorms with bunk beds nearly 40 minutes away from the location we would be working at. Regardless of these challenges I loved every single day which almost always began with a cup of tea on the way to the session.
The sessions were amazing but at the same time very difficult as this was easily the biggest groups we had worked with. In the first location we worked at we had a lot of support and this helped ease usa Into the challenge. We played the usual games of belt tag, football, frisbee, etcalong with the new additions of Sister tag which is now one of my favourites. One of the challenges I had to deal with was a few kids who did not involve themselves in any of our games. I took notice of this on the first day but was uncertain of what to do. The only game which they involved themselves in was volleyball and after that all they asked for was volleyball, I figured I wanted to involve them but also to make them try new games and so I promised them volleyball if they played the other games and so they started getting more and more involved in sessions, even at times no longer wanting to play volleyball and rather staying in the main session.
The second location was a lot of fun and allowed us to try a very different style of games such as acid river (which is my personal favourite). Other than that the sessions were smooth sailing.
The third location was our most challenging and had the most beneficiaries who were from probably the most disadvantaged backgrounds. I feel at this location the whole group shone it's brightest as even though the sessions did not run as smoothly as in other places it is where we rose to the occasion the most. Our first day there was what I would call controlled chaos (at times just chaos). In stark contrast to this on our third and final day we had improved so much that we were able to hold an organised sports session with the beneficiaries, in fact we taught them a completly new sport, rugby, and by no means is rugby easy to learn even of y'all spoke the same language.
All in all working in Romania was absolutely amazing and I loved working there a lot, I would absolutely love to visit and volunteer in Romania again especially considering how high the need is.