As we were saying at the beginning of July, between the 23rd of June and the 25th of August, Vodafone Romania employees were the trusty helpers of the Little People Association volunteers, who everyday read stories to children in the pediatric oncology section of the “Marie Curie” Hospital in Bucharest.
Our colleague Andreea Moldovan, who works for Vodafone Romania and has volunteered for this project, answered a few questions for us, detailing her experience among the little ones.
What made you get involved in this project?
I absolutely adore children, spending time with them and, at the same time, I love reading. This initiative seemed like the perfect opportunity to do two things that I like. I take part in the Vodafone Romania Foundation activities whenever I get the chance, and this was my first time “story-telling”, as we call it.
What were your expectations and how was your first encounter with the little ones?
Here, I’ll admit, I fell victim to clichés. I was expecting a bunch of apathetic, discouraged children and a lot of suffering. Instead, I saw courage, determination, an incredible zest for life and the desire to try new things. Story time is like a breath of fresh air to them, a moment where their disease, even though it’s still there, isn’t the main focus anymore. It was like, for an hour, they could be whatever they wanted to be, something we ourselves have perhaps lost. We have so much to learn from these children.
Was it hard? What was the most difficult moment you had to overcome during the story readings?
The most difficult moment was the first time I entered the ward, and I didn’t know how to react when I saw all that medical equipment some of the children were connected to. I also felt helpless seeing how different they looked from one visit to another.
There were no difficult moments during the actual reading. I learned that age, disease and other obstacles are of no consequence in the magical world of fairy tales.
What questions did the children ask you? What stories did you read them?
I read many stories, of which I recall: The Light of Day and Master Owl and The Turtle. Their questions were about books, they told us they liked the time we spent together and that they couldn’t wait to see us again.
Would you go through the experience again? Why?
Yes, I would love to do it again, because I still have a lot to learn from these kids and I want to help them, if only for an hour, overcome the hardships of their disease, I want to make them smile and forget about the pain they go through.
When you leave the Marie Curie Hospital, after reading stories to children suffering from cancer, how do you feel: sad or happy?
The feeling I had every time I left the hospital was a bittersweet mix of happiness and sadness, hard to separate. I find it unfair what these children go through at such an early age, captives in their sick little bodies, afflicted with a disease they often don’t understand and for which they are not responsible. It’s hard for anyone to understand why these things happen. The happiness, on the other hand, comes from the fact that I’ve become aware of the things truly important to me, as a human being.