Chris Wyatt - General Care Projects in Romania
On Wednesday the 8th of January I discovered a deceptively big country called Romania and a beautiful mountain town called Brasov. I had decided to do a care project as I thought it would be the most rewarding for me and Romania had been sold to me by one of my friend's mum who in fact is Romanian herself.
Brasov was to be my new home for three months. I was a little worried during the car journey from the airport to Brasov as most of the trip consisted of "untamed beauty" which I found quite an appropriate name for fields stretching for miles covered in snow. I kept myself busy in the car by chatting to two other volunteers who had arrived on the same day as me. I started my placement in the middle of winter and during that time things in Brasov tended to slow down until spring.
I wasn't sure whether I would be able to cope with seeing snow all day every day and getting excited when the temperature only rose to 2 or 3 degrees below zero. I settled in quickly and made good friends with my host family, work colleagues and the local people. The Romanian people are very friendly and extremely eager to practice their English with you.
I started work at the orphanage very soon after I got to Brasov. Working on the care placement in Romania is one of the best things I have ever done. As soon as I walked through the door of the classroom the kids ran over to me and threw their arms round my legs. When you think about how unfortunate they are you might think that it would be miserable and depressing working with them but every time I went to see them they had smiles from cheek to cheek. My host family was rather large (six altogether). Well that's with the two dogs included! They were a lovely family and full of laughs. They took me in as one of their own and as they already has two sons, the family made it easy for me to fit in.
When I was on my placement I found it very easy to spend money when I didn't need to. Having a spending plan and thinking about whether you actually need something before you buy it would be a very good idea. If you ever need help with anything then you should go to see your director. You must remember that they are there to help you and they are more understanding than you may think.
On my first day at the orphanage I found things very difficult and I started asking myself was I up to the task. The main reason for this was that initially the staff didn't speak to me. However as days went by I started to talk to the staff and ask them questions. To be honest it was very difficult because of the language barrier. As weeks went by the staff started to ask me questions and they started conversations with me instead of me making all the effort. By the end of my placement I had met some wonderful people who are now my friends.
From doing just three months in Romania I have gained so much. I've made so many new friends not just from Romania but from all round the world. I have become more responsible and understanding. Leaving Brasov, my new friends and the children was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.
This volunteer story may include references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.