Day 13

Another good day! Though this post might be brief as I’m very tired, but I want to get something down as blogging tomorrow might be tricky due to a very full day being planned. The temperature has been around 32 degrees today, definitely making working (and now thinking what to type) pretty exhausting.

When i arrived the group were cleaning up their courtyard, preparing for our celebrations for ‘The Day of the Watermelon’ tomorrow. I’ve noticed how keenly they engage in productive occupations like this, without complaint, and work together as a team – it’s great to see.

We then started the activities with our Latin dance exercise. I love watching other people enjoy dancing and music so it was fantastic to see some off the group continue to keep dancing once we’d stopped doing the ‘official’ activity (our CD player is positioned at an upstairs window, projecting its music down into our courtyard, so it takes us a while to turn it off). I got some lovely photos of the group enjoying themselves.

Then we moved back inside and did some colouring. We had templates of the Union Jack and Republic of Moldova flags, to align with our theme this week, as well as colouring for the watermelon celebrations tomorrow. This was a great chance for me to analyse their engagement with written work. I’d brought some different pencil grips with me and was able to assess a couple of the group that were finding holding a standard pencil difficult using the grips, in a very natural context. I hope they’ll find these types of task a bit easier from now on.

Before lunch I had a bit of time to pick my supervisor’s brains about the organisational structures that influence centres such as the one I’m working in. It was fascinating to hear about. The short version is that regulatory bodies are primarily concerned with the finances of centres, the number of staff employed and the number of children/young people that can fit into the physical space. There appear to be few safeguards for the quality of care, and unsurprisingly verbal and physical abuse occur in some institutions. I’m pleased to say I’ve seen no evidence of that at my centre. The staff are very patient and empowering; somehow providing a service that is ahead of the thinking of the rest of the country.

We finished off the day making some jewellery from kits I had brought with me. It was a higher level task than the one on Monday and definitely required me to be more creative in my communication. I was also slightly challenged by the fact that there were three types of kit being used, so I had to try and keep moving between each person to demonstrate and help where needed.

I had a nice, relaxing end to my day as the director of the company who organises the local placements invited me to his gym to use the swimming pool and spa. This is the second gym I’ve been into in Chișinău and it has struck me that in both places all the sign-age is only in Russian. This is quite rare as throughout Chișinău most written material either appears in both Romanian and Russian, or just Romanian. It then occurred to me that a very crude explanation of the political divide for Moldova means that alignment to Russia offers more potential wealth, especially for this already more wealthy (the words corruption have been used by this explaining to me), whereas alignment with Romania brings the prospect of becoming part of the European Union and better quality of life for all citizens. So, given that a gym membership is totally unaffordable for the ‘average’ citizen of Moldova, perhaps there is a link between Russian support and the type of people who can currently afford gym memberships. (*Disclaimer: I don’t fully understand the political situation here and this is purely guess work).

Anyway, not as brief as I planned, but nice to capture the main parts of my day.

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