18.09.2014 23 °C
We have decided to focus our blog tonight on the issues that we have noticed since our arrival in Romania, but have been truly highlighted today. Whilst playing outside this afternoon, 8 year olds Lotze and Andras were running after a pigeon, and we laughingly egged them on. However, upon glancing back moments later, we discovered to our horror that the boys had picked up the pigeon and were throwing it around, squeezing it and violently dropping it on the floor. Of-course, we immediately ran over and reproached them, whisking them inside to wash their hands and handing round the hand sanitiser. The events may sound harmless enough, but they left us shaken. This disregard for the bird as a living being, by both the boys and laughing onlookers, seemed barbaric to us, two middle-class British girls; perhaps our reaction actually reflects how sheltered and privileged we have been. Nevertheless, not only did the children not recognise the harm they were posing to themselves by playing with a dirty pigeon, but the moral sphere of the situation was also lost on them. Although easy enough to shout at the children for their cruelty, the question must be posed to what extent two 8 year olds can be blamed. As of yet, we know very little about the children's backgrounds, but can only assume that each story is an unhappy one. Knowing a bit about the children's background, often involving abuse and abandonment, it's not difficult to imagine why these kids struggle to feel empathy or compassion towards one another, never mind pigeons. We hope to go into further depth about the history of the care homes, orphanages and older generation of Romania in a later post, in order to understand the deeper problems within Romanian society.
On a lighter note, a major difference we have noticed between children in North-West London and children in Keresztur is the independence of the latter. Naturally, the kids here are given huge amounts of freedom, a privilege that many British parents don't allow their children until they are in their early teens. We do think that British children could learn a thing or two from here, such as taking responsibility for themselves and their younger siblings, getting themselves home safely and on time, and generally staying out of trouble. Similarly, spending the bulk of the day playing outside with children from the local community can also be admired, as the youngsters are forced to create their own entrainment together. However, can this independence be described as a 'privilege' when it comes solely from a lack of care or guidance?