You’re only a stranger
I started the day early, I wanted to get a gift for Doctor Sanders before she left to the airport. By the shops, I saw Grandma Lucica. Do you remember her? The lady who was selling flowers?
I bought half of her flowers and set up an appointment to meet with her and give her the donations you raised to fix her roof.
Doctor Sanders told me something that stayed with me one evening. She said: “Magda. You need to take some time to rest. These people are survivors. They will find a way without you. If you keep meeting every little need they have, they will lose their survivor skills. And what is going to happen when you die?”
That is the key. Balance.But I kind of skipped those lessons in life.
After the American team departed, I called Florentina to check on her. ( remember her, the girl with the bank payments?) . She answered crying desperately. Her 20 month old baby girl has been sick for 2 days, and the hospital keeps sending her back home telling her the baby is fine. But Daria hasn’t eaten in 2 days and sleeps all the time.I asked her what does she need. She told me she needs pajamas, in case they admit her daughter in the hospital and she needs to stay overnight with her. I took the bike and went to her house before she called the ambulance. I think only a parent can understand the desperation that sets in when your child is sick. Izabela her oldest daughter, stayed home to take care of her sibling Denisa.
From there, I went to the slums. They predict a heat wave coming, and I can’t do heat at all. Not sure what am I gonna do.
I stopped at Number 33. The electricity was shut off due to non payment. Also a court order from the Child Protective Services for the mother Dorina to show up on May 10th.
Dorina says she can’t go without me, she won’t know what to tell them. I am nervous about the verdict, and that she became so dependent on me in such a critical situation.
In the afternoon, I picked up Ro from school and we went towards the train station at Florentina’s house. We promised her kids something good to eat.
On our way back, as we admired the sunset I hear loud screaming. Three kids were running in a garden while their drunk father was throwing big rocks after them, threatening they are not allowed inside the house overnight.
Me, curious, I stop and stare at him.
He is yelling:
“What the heck are you starring at?”
“At this show you’re putting on. Why are you throwing rocks after these kids?”
“Go away lady. Shoo! I’l get my ax in a second and cut your throat.”
The guy was serious. He couldn’t find the ax so he grabbed a shovel. A few other people run from his way, probably his wife, some relatives.
Me and Ro started running. When we made it to the end of the street, Ro catching her breath started yelling at me.
“What has gotten into you? Are you crazy? Why are you interfering in his family?
“what do you mean why am I interfering ? Didn’t you see what was he about to do to the kids?”
( a girl crossing by, says: “that was nothing. you should see how he whips them”)
“So what? My mom threw rocks after me and I am fine” says Ro.
“But Ro that’s not normal. It’s not normal to turn your back on a child when they need help.”
“What help? Do you think this is Bucharest? We are in Negresti here.” And she walked away upset.
I called the police and send them at that man’s house. They came, they gave him a notice, and from here on now, God have mercy.
I walked back home burdened, just like these heavy rain clouds. I couldn’t see Ro in the horizon anymore.
Maybe she is right, Maybe I interfere in their family life, trying to apply city methods, when life here runs its course in its own way.
Maybe I’m just a nosy stranger.