Friday, March 12, 2010

It's a Small World...of Volunteering

Now as I'm on my way with Global Volunteers to serve on a team in the Cook Islands, I remember when I was first inspired by Global Volunteers with a 2004 newspaper photo featuring a local woman, Kristina Flanagan, in Romania with twin babies sitting on her lap and her lovely story. It was definately something I wanted to do one day. I kept that story in my mind, and when I retired in 2008 I took the opportunity to go to Romania. I'm not related to Kristina (although we share the same last name) and I never met her, but I did communicate briefly with her by e-mail shortly before I left for Romania on my first Global Volunteers service program. While serving in Barlad, I also communicated by e-mail with Kristina's daughter who served with her mother in Romania when she was age 16. She shared some of her exciting experiences with me regarding her team and her work at Tutova clinic taking care of babies and toddlers.

I spent the majority of my time at the clinic in the infant room. There were seven babies (six girls and one boy) and the average age was seven months. Celine was forever smiling in spite of her congenital hip defect and our "little gymnast" Alina, who was very active, had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Our team of sixteen volunteers really bonded and we traveled together on the weekends to Transylvania to see Dracula's Castle and to Moldova to visit the painted monasteries. The time I spent in Romania was one of the best experiences of my life!

Last year, I had the great pleasure of serving at Caritas in Poland, and now I'm on my way to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands! I look forward to spending time with the elders at their day program, working with adults who are developmentally disabled or tutoring children in reading and writing. Please follow my blog entries beginning in Mid-March at:

- Grateful Global Volunteer Ellen Flanagan


Erica said...

Very inspiring! Can't wait to hear more! Such a cute pic of the baby too!