Today we went out to the communities to make the playgrounds a safer environment for children. We got down to cleaning and actually found cigarettes, condoms and even glass in areas that are designated for kids to play. To me, it was very interesting to see adults being “surprised” by our actions but my favorite part was having children come to us wanting to help us clean ❤ we definitely lead by example and even if the adults can’t see it, the next generation will see it, learn from it and appreciate it.
The morning volunteer work consisted of cleaning up playgrounds and their surroundings. We got our gloves and trash bags and started making our contribution to the local youth community. After a few hours of hard work, the places had changed significantly. This was particularly important, because right after we finished with the cleaning a lot of kids came to enjoy the brand-new playground. Initially we were supposed to clean a forest, but we couldn’t because it was all full of mud there. Nevertheless, I am really happy to be able to make a difference wherever it’s possible and set an example for the locals, who have actually been very interested in the foreigners cleaning their home.
Afterwards we took a short walk through the botanical garden, where plenty of people were out jogging, and the sunny weather accompanied us.
Monday! Which means that we need to start work. We’ve already finished the "meet each other” games.
Apparently, we need to go to a forest and clean it, which was a really exciting idea... but, as we have learnt on this journey with World Life Experience, plans can change according to circumstances. This time it was because of logistical problems... Instead the forest, which was deemed too muddy, we will be cleaning up a playground that is usually cleaned each week. Everybody felt a bit disappointed at the beginning... But, as we’re learning to expect lately, some nice surprises happened...
First it was the little Ana, who was around 3 years old and when she saw us cleaning, she stopped playing with her friends and came to help us for a long time (thinking in kids’ time :) )
Everybody thought that Ana was so cute but for me, the situation I’d experienced couple of minutes before when I was on my own was even better.
I was cleaning a bit separated from the group when I noticed that one man, around 50 years old, was looking at me as he smoked... First, he said something in Romanian, but as I didn't understand he switched to English:
- Hi! What are you doing? - he said.
- Hi! - i replied - Well...I'm cleaning...
He started thinking and looking around.
- Cleaning... Cleaning... - he repeated as he thought about it - This is stupid!
- Why!? - I asked smiling.
- Because in Romania nobody cares about it. Look, I'm smoking and when I finish I will throw my butt on the ground... And many other people will do the same... So, this park tomorrow will be dirty again...
- Well...- I kept smiling - It’s at least a small help... And maybe others will take example...
He was not really convinced, so we talked about many things. When he asked my name, he started calling me Hugo Sánchez (the former Mexican football player).
The conversation ended when he finished his cigarette and he told me.
- Well, Hugo Sánchez... Now I'm leaving. I need to deliver!
And he left, after throwing his cigarette in a bin...
All photos were taken by Aermoo M1 cellphone.