Laura Marzaroli went to Romania in her Gap Year in 2006 and since then she returned several times to work with children from various Family Homes. After 4 years she is still looking for another opportunity to go back, to see the children and meet with her friends.
When asked to write a piece about my experience in Romania, I didn’t know where to begin. Pulling out my scrap book, it exploded with memories and whole days I had forgotten making it even harder to know how to start, so from the beginning it was.
Landing in Romania, I had no idea what to expect but we were made to feel at home right away and had a couple of days to find our way around before starting work. As soon as we started, each day rolled in to the next as they were packed full with travel, care, games, new ideas and projects. We learnt something new every day whether it was simply a new word or phrase or a better way of caring for a particular child. The weekends were filled either with day trips or a few extra hours at one of the placements.
After a couple of weeks, we were fully settled in our placements and knew what routines were in place and how everything ran. This allowed us to start putting projects in place and in turn, getting to know the staff much better. Through this, we were able to do a lot more with the children and each week seemed to become more and more productive. We each seemed to have one particular family home that we concentrated most of our efforts on and by the end of my stay, I still had ideas for what I wanted to do.
Returning to the UK, my mind didn’t wander far from Romania and I set about fund raising to make the project I had in mind possible. A few months later, I returned and spent a week in a whirlwind of paint, DIY shops, lawn mowers and garden toys. The children and staff got involved and once again, more friendships were made. However, a week wasn’t really long enough to complete what I had in mind and I really missed the kids and the whole way of life so by the summer, I was back. This time, I spent the mornings finishing what I had started and the afternoons at one of the placements I went to the first time round. I couldn’t believe how much things had changed in just one year and it was lovely to go back and be part of the routines once again.
My time in Romania taught me so much; I made new friends and learnt new life skills that have proved invaluable in new jobs and difficult situations. I will definitely be making every effort to return as soon as possible.
Thank you very much Laura for such a great article!
If you are keen to go on an placement with Oyster please contact Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org