The good, the bad and the ugly

Zana (Goddess) is, logically, in heaven. She has a new track suit. The girls that needed clothes the most are now dressed warmly and are bubbly happy with their colorful clothes.


Toto  and Adita ( it is going to be 5 years in March since I know both) organized the 57 boys that came for football – the discipline was much better than any gym class I saw in the school.

Adriana, Denisa, Nicoleta and Natalia (I know them for over 4 years now) helped with sorting and distributing clothes, shoes and boots for some other 16 very small children that came. All of them badly needed the help. Claudiu came also, he was on and off touch for the last 6 years- he is one of the first I started working with. He will be 17 this year, he looks at maximum 13-14. All things considered he is doing ok.  The life of the girls is also better.


From time to time there is a new child that comes and steals something – a ball, a pair of shoes, socks, T-shirts. The results at school are not that great. Some of the children and many of the parents try to take advantage of me. A few manage.  Some talk crap and imagine ugly things about my motivation to help. Failure is a good part of doing this – it feels crappy every time but I didn’t find a way without it.

Many of the children from the ghetto expect to be disappointed. Expect the worst. Some are rather gifted at forcing out your ugly side. Creating routines takes time and is awfully frustrating. But it works. Not great but it works. Expecting that all those you are trying to help will be thankful it is both stupid and arrogant. Some will. Most don’t.

I spent my afternoon on Saturday and Sunday distributing clothes, food , toys, shoes to those that needed the most in a village next to Bucharest. Some of the children were barefoot or almost barefoot in the snow.


The living conditions for many are appalling. Many of the children work long hours gathering metal scraps from a nearby dump.  I know that going once in a blue moon there doesn’t help and many of the children will end up uneducated, abused, violent and excluded. Will go again but I am not sure that I will manage to change anything fundamentally. I will try.


I am not sure that taking pictures of the children is a good idea. It makes me uncomfortable but many times I wished to see some evidence seeing people talking enthusiastically about reports that I knew were bullshit. Long term detailed photo referencing I was told was the only acceptable -good method. Maybe there are other ways that could avoid some of the ugly talks related to picture taking that I hear once in a while.

The ugly is not only about the violence, prostitution, drugs, theft, abuses, garbage and abject poverty many of these children live with every day with. It is also about the projectors and the way we continue to waste public money – especially EU money. About this and how we seem to be living in one of Gulliver’s adventures in a next posting.

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