children cutting shapes at the SOS Children's Village
How did bicycles bring joy to the children of SOS Children's Village Bucharest, and looking back to the exams in Ghana
- Oana, SOS Children, Romania
A few weeks ago something happened in our Village. That something changed the pulse of the Village. Suddenly the children are more joyful and happy than ever. I see them every day on my window smiling and riding on the alleys of the village.
What actually happened, you will wonder? Well, they now have BICYCLES. Yes, all this joy because of some bicycles. Every house in the Village has one or two bikes for the children and they are riding them every single day. Some of them even wake up earlier to ride the bike for a half an hour before they go to school. You can’t imagine what it's like, the enthusiasm they show.
This entire story started last summer, when after a trip in the mountains the kids told me the trip was so fun and they want to live every day like that because they are boring in the Village. It’s seems impossible to me, to be bored in such a beautiful Village, with lots and lots of things and games to do and play, but I’ve asked them how that is possible. Trying to convince them that all the things this Village has to offer are fun and they can invent games or play the one that they already know, they finally convinced me that all they want a new thing to do. I asked them if they have any idea of what this “thing” could be. Some said it would be nice to have a tepee in the Village; others came with the idea to build a climbing wall and so on. They had some very good ideas that sometime I hope will become real. In the middle of our discussion, from a corner, a shy voice said “What about bikes?” I asked him “What about them?” And then, the chatter started. They all said they would love to have bikes and that way they will never get bored and never ask for anything more and they only want one for each house and they will never argue about who is riding the bike.
Seeing all the interest for bikes I promised them I will hold that in my mind and when the opportunity comes I will convey their wish to the person that can help us.
In December, I received a call from the National Office, telling me that Mrs. Sucu, our new future Ambassador wished to know what could be the most ingenious present for our children for Christmas. Then I remembered about the discussion with our children. I said that bikes would be the perfect gift, at least one for a house.
At the 2010 Christmas Party, Mrs. Sucu announced to the children that she donated money for our Village, with the purpose of buying bikes for them. They were all thrilled when they heard that and immediately the questions started to fall: “Where are the bikes?”, “When the bikes will come?”, “Why didn’t she bring the bikes now?”,
In the meantime, the winter had ended and the spring has come. Everyone had forgotten about the bikes, but one day we received a call telling us: the bikes are coming!
That day was the most intense day! Children running around asking: “Which one is for our house?” “When will you give us the bikes?”. At the beginning there were a few fights and arguments about the bikes, but eventually they learned how to share and enjoy this new exciting “toy” they have.
Now they are all riding happily around the village. It’s almost a dizzying sight.
- Kiara, SOS Children, Ghana
A while back, I spoke about how students had to give oral presentations as part of their exams. I have some notes leftover which are worth posting now:
“So exams are upon us. With two days down and five to go, the students seem to be living in a haze of formulas and equations. They walk around campus clutching stacks of papers and mumbling factoids about the League of Nations or Shakespeare or microeconomics. They also leave things (keys, laptops, hair extensions) randomly strewn from one end of the compound to another.
Two of my Ethiopian students have already admitted to not following the instructions on various exams. Each one of them wrote an elaborate answer to every question in front of them when in fact they were only required to answer one. One student looked like his brain had been dry cleaned when he described trying to finish the International Baccalaureate Chemistry test only to realize that he had written much more than the assignment had required. I’ve not spoken to the other student, but his Amharic teacher reports that he did indeed write two essays when he was only expected to complete one. Ah, such is the life of an ambitious and over-eager teenager…who doesn’t read the instructions.”