Saturday, December 11, 2010

My One and Only Shower

Friday, December 10, 2010

I know I shouldn’t complain about being cold when there are over 100 orphans within a stones throw of where I am, but I think I may have just taken what will be my one and only shower while I’m here.

It took a while for the water to get hot but somehow the laundry room still managed to stay quite frigid. Like our friends in the military, maybe those personal hygiene wipes will do just fine for me while I’m here.

Zoltan did bring in a nice supply of wood for the stove and I may just set my alarm to keep that baby burning. I’m probably burning more wood than they use all winter.

I definitely feel like I’m in an impoverished community. You’d think the former Mayor’s kitchen would be decked out in granite and the latest high tech gadgets, but this humble kitchen has a miniscule stove top, a tiny sink, suitable for a wealthy toddlers play house and cloth material strung on drapery rods covering the shelving for a good portion of the small kitchen. I have been given the top shelf in the refrigerator and already my shelf has more items on it than in the rest of the fridge.

There are two grocery stores next to each other in the village and both carry plenty of canned and packaged goods, but I have not seen any fresh poultry, pork or beef. I bought a bag of pasta and what looked like tomato sauce to have at the house for dinner. I think I’m more likely to go to the restaurant where there is Wifi and a delicious mushroom pizza I had yesterday for lunch. The pizza and a mineral water was the equivalent of $4.00. Apparently, Zoltan has lapsed in paying the bill for the Internet, so there isn’t any at the house. I wonder if it’s from forgetfulness or lack of funds.

It’s strange how this village is home to the abandoned; the children, more stray dogs than I’ve ever seen, and me, an abandoned wife. Why we all find ourselves here in the Carpathian Mountains is a mystery but I already feel like this was a good decision for me, like strangely I belong here.

Peter from the St. Francis Foundation is leaving next Friday. There were some conflicts he’s had with the director, T.B. over the past year that has become too large to overlook.

Apparently, T.B. is quite judgmental of the people who want to volunteer; too many tattoos, too old, why would they volunteer over Christmas, etc. And, I suspect his attitude toward the children isn’t much better. Enco confirms this sentiment.

I already know it will be a sad send off next Friday at the train station. Peter has been with these boys for 2 years and it will be a difficult parting for all involved.

Saturday Afternoon –

Enco came by to get me this morning and we walked up the street to the house where the kids are. I met Lorika, Laci, Barni, Felix, Istavan, Judit and Mozes. They all gathered around their living room when I came in and I unwrapped the Jenga game I brought. They were interested in about 2-3 rounds before they decided to just grab pieces and do their own construction with them.

Barni was probably the most adept at not only the game, but also of creating his own variation on the game by placing the Jenga pieces in a cross-diagonal direction.

Judit, being the only girl, brought a pink string to tie in my hair and loved the furry collar on my coat. She sat near me and tried to get me to count in Hungarian and play the recorder.

Little Istavan is somewhat of a gymnast and holds my hands and then flips forwards and backwards. I motion to him that we can only do this over the rug, but he’s insistent.

We went outside for a little bit; the kids kicked around a soccer ball and Lorika had a makeshift snowboard he was navigating the hillside with, that is until a crazy neighbor walked into the yard yelling at him, grabbed the board and snapped it in half over his leg. Because of the language barrier I couldn’t ask Lorika what happened, but I got the feeling that the man is just a crazy neighbor they put up with. The property doesn’t belong to anyone but the kids, so I don’t really understand what happened, but it was sad to see this man break a plank of wood that Lorika was enjoying, I mean they have so little to begin with.

Individually they don’t really have any possessions to speak of. The rooms are sparse, painted brightly but nothing on the walls in the way of posters or pictures. Barni has a small keyboard that he plays very well, Judit has a recorder she doesn’t know how to play and Laci has a guitar that is missing 2 strings.

The living room has a TV and books line the shelves, but I don’t know if the books are for their age group or left over from the years of other kids who have lived in the home.

Tomorrow I’ll spend time with them at the home before walking them to Church in the afternoon. I’m trying to coordinate a good day to bake cookies with them.

In the meantime, I’m thinking I should develop a program where the orphaned children adopt stray dogs. Maybe that will be next December’s project.


  1. Patti - I wonder how hard it would be to send some lightly used toys and stuffed animals over there? Would that be something the kids could use? I am sure I could select a few things for your kids. My boys have too much.

  2. Darn - I looked at usps. Super expensive to send packages internationally. Definitely more than the value of the toys! There doesn't even appear to be a "slow boat" option. Bummer.