June 28th, 2017

We've got a kid and a big problem

Moldova has a huge problem with 'abandoned children'. More than half of the adults of working age left to work abroad (the money they send back home is the biggest line in the country's budget) often leaving their kids with their old grandparents or some other relatives. Sometimes grandparents die and the kids just live alone and are looked after somewhat by the neighbours. A lot of bad shit often happens to those kids too.

Moldovan women usually go to the EU (Italy is the most popular choice because Italian is rather close to their language and they can learn Italian in no time) while Moscow's construction sites are the most popular choice for the men (most people here speak good or at least some Russian anyway). So, mum is in Italy, dad is in Moscow and the kids are looked after by their 70-year-old grandma is a usual thing here. Many families break down after a couple of years of this, the dad gets a new Russian girlfriend, the mum marries an Italian man and both have new lives, new families and often new kids. Sometimes neither side is in a rush to import their kids from their previous marriage into their new (and often fragile and tough) lives abroad and they just send the money to those old grandparents to look after those kids from their old life who they haven't seen for a couple of years. But there is only that much an 80-year-old woman can do looking after a 4-year-old on top of looking after the garden, the chickens, the cow, etc.

Now, during the school holidays all these kids from our and a couple of neighbouring villages have breakfast and lunch with us at our place (we have 108 volunteers at the moment so we pretty much have a full-blown canteen of our own here staffed by the local and volunteer cooks and volunteer support staff (all of us on rotation basis) cooking from the local ingredients) and dinner at our place as well but separately from (and earlier than) us because we have dinner late, it involves wine and a lot of adult joking and laughter that comes with the wine.

So there is this one kid that Helga got very attached to (and vice versa) and he somehow pretty much moved into our house here (before I even noticed). His mother is working in Italy, his dad left them a while ago and he lives with his very old grandmother who struggles to look after him. Last week Helga had to go to London but she invented some total bullshit reasons not to go just because she could not bear to be separated from the kid. Me telling her that we have a problem and that this is some crazy shit and that we cannot have other people's kid doesn't do much even though she agrees with all of that.

I have to admit that I secretly got really attached to the kid too, the little dude is just awesome. He now has a separate room at our house here and he sleeps with the truck I brought him from the city the last time I went there. Last night he came to our bedroom in the middle of the night (with his truck of course) climbed into our bed and slept between us. And I was like "Fuck. How did we get here? This crazy shit has "Michael Jackson kind of weird" written all over it." So we now have a door lock on our bedroom door, which we lock only when we have to and unlock right afterwards.

Talking to Helga has very little effect because all she is thinking about is reading books with the kid, etc. We will leave here late fall, and the kid will stay here obviously. We have to be responsible and not create some incredible mess that could get the kid hurt, what the fuck is this madness?

At this very moment though I am looking at tiny little t-shirts and shorts drying on the wire in front of our house and the little dude on our lawn colouring his new colouring book (which has just arrived from London) with Helga while eating raspberries (and his truck is nearby and he always checks that it is within his reach). Yesterday I taught the kid to do push ups.

We might have a big problem and potentially a big mess on our hands because we are stupid idiots basically.