On bouncing balls, week-ends and the end of a long year


Pisica(Cat) is happy with his new winter shoes, he tells everybody, individually, how cool he is as his boots are the only ones that are not black or white. Most of the boys ignore him – he is unfazed, his grin dangerously close to his ears.

Silviu is in a completely different class. He runs like a headless chicken all around the gym and yells that he has new boots. He couldn’t care less that there is a football game going on. He came again without socks – outside temperature is around 0 Celsius. He is the only child that regardless of how many socks we gave him he never has any. I put his new socks on – he is 10 but has problems to put his socks on. Mada helps me. Mada is a big shot and one of my main heroes; just a couple of weeks ago she organized an event full of national and international celebrities including the first dude that jumped from the space and his new and somewhat old parachute. We are lucky, this time Ionut- his cousin- made sure he washed his feet before coming. We didn’t have the same luck last week.

Everybody from the smaller children group eats fruit or cake but Dario and Gabi. Dario is happy. She has 2 bananas and sings to them.


Gabi doesn’t sing well – he is more into fashion -busy wearing his bananas as horns.


The older boys are playing football. There are around 60 children in the gym. Most of them I know them  for 4-5 years now. Feels weird that they are so well behaved. Just two years ago would have been impossible to have more than 20 children at the same time in the gym.

One of the boys’ mothers came to see me. She will go to prison together with his older brother. Drugs related felony. She wanted to make sure that we know in order to pay more attention to him as she wants him to stay and do well in school. Is not the first case and  as weird as that might sound I think this is a much better indicator of success than most EU reports about the awesome feats of heroic social inclusion that happen in the Roma communities, on Mars and in Euro-Narnia.


Bibi, the girl that can’t hear, is happy with her gifts – she is 8 today. Mitica (another Mitica) is almost 11 he doesn’t know how to read. He is smart, he learned fast what I showed him. I asked Dario and Alex to compete in a math test – multiplication tables- they did great. Stefan is ok with his math he is in the 7 grade despite the fact he is almost 15 y.o. Denisa is lazy but she did fine with her Romanian homework. Mario and Esmeralda worked with numbers. Their language skills are not that great.


The new trend among the boys at the center is rubber balls. I do not know what is wrong with boys/men but rubber balls seem to touch instantly our pleasure center. Only if you say rubber ball and we start drooling.  Give us one and our cognitive processes go into :

Rubberrrr Baaaaaall !!!

Let’s see does it bounce?

Yes it does! It bounces, it bounces, it bounces!

Let’s try again, let’s see maybe will bounce again !

It does it does, it does !

How about now, will it bounce now ?

Yeees it bounceeees !

How about now ? Can it bounce again ?

Yes it does, it does, it does !

Will it bounce against the door ? Yeeeey it does !

Does it still bounce the same against the floor ? Maybe it doesn’t ! Let’s check !

Yeeey it does, it bounces, it bounces !…

We can starve ourselves to death if we do not lose the ball or break something.

I think this explains also the process through which we become utter idiots when watching football, basketball and anything involving bouncing things. Women seem not to understand this at all. Their world must be terribly boring.

We cooked together – healthy cookies. Everybody loved them. Washing the dishes afterwards was fun as everybody wanted to help with it.


I talked to Alex’s grandmother – Alex’s story is even worst than I knew. Esmeralda ( she is the smallest at the center) didn’t want to let us go. It sucks whenever this happens – and it happened enough times to know there is no good way to deal with it.

I will be 44 this week.

There have been lots of struggles this year. I had my good share of frustrations. I still made lots more mistakes than I think reasonable. Still unhappy with my own discipline. Had my share of meeting crappy and stupid people and I behaved like a crappy and stupid one a number of times. I saw lots of unfair and painful things not just in the ghetto or at the centers for institutionalized children.

I met some great people. Experienced some pretty amazing things. I am very thankful for lots of things that happened to me and for the fact that I was able to help as much as I did. I think I am a better person than last year. Wish to be able to say the same next year.

What do I want for my birthday ? Everything that could help these children.  And I need advice about a tutorship scheme that could work for them and make the school better.

And Happy Holidays – no more posts at least until after the Christmas !

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