The next morning, at eight o’clock, Dana arrived at the hotel to take us to Court.
The more I looked at her the more I realised how pretty she was.
If they are all so pretty I begin to understand why many Italians go to Romania with the excuse of business or holidays to catch two birds with a stone.
The Court, like all Courts was an austere building, just the sight of it was frightening, I cannot imagine going there as a defendant. A usher led us down to a long messy corridor, files were stacked everywhere, many of those documents were referred to dissidents who had been summarily tried by the regime. At the end of the corridor there was a hearing room with a group of people in.
I stopped for a moment and peeped in, a bit surprised I saw two handcuffed suspects wearing prisoners’ standard uniform, the one with vertical stripes and the registration number of the chest.
They didn’t seem to have many scruples there and, despite the change, the former regime atmosphere was still there.
Given such a situation I got worried and expected to wait for days to get the documentation to go to the orphanage. My expectations were glaringly wrong, as we got the orphanage papers we needed in about an hour.
We got closer to the day of the meeting, at night I could not sleep.
I had a pocket-sized dictionary and I tried to learn a sentence in Romanian, but words sounded all taken for granted, eventually I gave up, relying on Max’s help, my doggie, who was the only one trained to non-verbal communication.
“Have you got all the documents?” Yes I have “I would not like to drive for 500 km for nothing”.
We were ready in the hotel hall, waiting for Dana to arrive. It was early and there were not many people around, the main square was almost deserted, and it was easy to spot the grey Fiat 131 that was approaching.
"Good morning! Are we ready to leave?"
Yes we are!.
"My cousin is joining us, so she can get the chance to visit North-East Romania."
Dana, I’ll drive you can give me directions.
We left Bucharest and took the road to Pitesti, where we had to stop at a gas station.
"A very good friend of mine Joannina lives in Pitesti. We attended the same university and often we studied together at my tiny apartment in the new area of Bucharest. She is a good girl and she is married to a tall and skinny guy, Ovid. Her dream is to move to Germany and find a good job there, but at present she cannot get a visa to see how things are there. When we return from the orphanage I’ll introduce you to her, and given the fact that you’ll be coming here again, she can accompany you in case I am not here in Romania”.
I am glad to notice that Ovid, who is basically a fellow from my region, left his mark here. Ovid is a very common first name around here.
We passed by Pitesti and took the river Strejulu valley, we were surrounded by a beautiful green landscape. On the way we came across some nomads camps.
I wonder how they can survive here where people are not willing to spare anything for charity.
We travelled for two hours, my wife and Dana’s cousin took a nap.
Dana ..... according to the map we should be about 20 km from Deva and we should see the junction for Bretea where the orphanage is.
"It’s my first time here as well, so we just have to rely on the road signs”.
Wake up..... girls! The sun is up and the temperature is mild, in about twenty minutes we will be there.
"Why didn’t you wake me up earlier, let's stop for a moment because Max has to do a pee, poor little thing, he is so well trained that he would rather burst than pee in the car or at home."
There is the road for Bretea ....in 15 km we will get there.
The road was deserted, there were no houses, suddenly an old coal-powered factory appeared, it was all blackened and rusty, with two smoking chimneys.
It seemed like a wound on the surrounding nature teeming with greenery and wildlife. It was such a dramatic contrast that I thought to myself: if hell exists it must be something like this.
Black has always made me feel uneasy, probably due to my childhood reminiscence. When I attended catechism, nuns described the devil as a black, ugly being with horns, I must have taken the matter very seriously.
I remember something funny happened with my father. Despite the tears and my being averse, he used to take me to work in the field with him
That day he was cutting the grass with a scythe, and I followed him mimicking his movements. Sometimes he stopped to wipe the sweat off his forehead, and took the rock kept on the horn tied onto his belt, to sharpen the scythe blade. He was a giant to my eyes. A few hours later we sat down and he cleaned the scythe. I still remember his big shoes with large nails on the soles, twinkling in the sun (the famous Popoli shoes which basically had to last for a lifetime).
Scampering about the field I started screaming at some point: father father I’ve seen the devil.
My father sprang up on the spot and came towards me, thinking of some little snake, then I showed him the place and he burst out laughing. The devil was a big black beetle with horns. I felt bad because to me it was a very serious matter, but then I started laughing too. I believed that in the moment my little myth of heaven and hell cracked. Needless to say that if I had had to chose between a nun and my father I would have chosen my father.
We were all quiet. Turning round I cast a glance at my wife and looked at her in the eyes, she was a bit tense and she tried to console herself with Max….the clock was ticking and we were about to reach the orphanage!
We arrived at the village, we stopped and ask for directions to a passer-by. A man stopped, he was battered, with plastic slipper and black feet. He must have worked at the factory we saw before. He also looked drunk, but Dana managed to get the information we wanted.
The orphanage was a cottage in the countryside surrounded by a big courtyard, we could hear children voices and shouts, as we approached.
We got off the car and spotted a man at the gate, he was the director. We introduced ourselves and we followed him to his office. There were about eighty girls and boys, all colourfully dressed with clothes that often were not their size, they all had short hair and boys and girls looked the same. They looked at us with curiosity and they surely wondered who were. We must have looked odd to them. We got into a very modest room that was the director’s office. Dana handed over the papers, the director accurately went through them and asked for some explanations while taking Marco’s folder.
While he talked, Dana translated, whispering.
“Marco is a good boy, a bit exuberant, physically is in good health, here at the orphanage he attended the second grade at primary school. He was previously adopted by a Canadian family, but it did not work out”.
He explained Marco’s medical record, specifying he never had serious conditions and he asked his assistant to call the boy.
Marco came into the office, he was a bit embarrassed as if he were before the Court, but he looked rather self confident and he could hide his emotions very well.
“How cute whispered Dana..... and then speaking in Romanian Marco ..... these people are your new parents Antonio and Maria, are you happy?"
He did not know what to do and looking at the director, he smiled faintly
My wife with tears in her eyes got close to him giving him a kiss, while I played down the situation runing my fingers through his hair, winking at him….as to say…we are men and only girls get emotional in such situations
Nobody knew what went through my mind. I made a tremendous effort not to cry. I had just met my son and I could not talk to him, we kept gazing upon each other, making eye contact, with a feeling of benevolent challenge.
I just wanted to understand….he did not look down. I had the feeling he was tough, I had just met him and I was already proud to be his father.
How odd, “normal” people usually have children, instead I had just met and I felt his father 200%. The fact that I was not the biological father was completely irrelevant.
For a moment I had the feeling I was fooling myself, but I was not. I thought about it over and over again, even later on and without realising it I had overcome what is defined as tie of blood
A profound feeling of solidarity prevailed in me a special bond felt through the consciousness of being part of the same species, therefore another person is seen as part of yourself. Otherwise you would not explain the discomfort and annoyance you feel when another human being does something bad or make a fool of himself.
To churn out children or beastly procreate is not a good thing, those kids were a sad and apparent example of it: they were born and abandoned.
A tough life without affection, nobody to rely on expected many of them. They would have roamed with only one goal on their mind: surviving.
Conceive with love and do not procreate beastly. Nowadays it should be something taken for granted, but it is not. It is not for us desperate, destitute and ignorant people, with lots of financial problems, tormented by our male uterine spasms unable to control sexual impulses that mother nature gave us, therefore the more drunk we get,, the more we feel the need to reproduce ourselves. I think the same applies to scholars, spiritual fathers, and all kinds of Churches.
The Church true to its dogmas, conceives sex only if it is aimed at procreating, at conceiving a new life. Catholic moral teaching on sexuality (i.e. "every thought, word, desire or sexual activity outside marriage is defined as mortal sin and within marriage every sexual act which is not aimed at procreating is a mortal sin") is clearly based on false anthropology and it does not convey a credible idea referred to the relationship between a man and a woman.
Over the centuries the Church has inculcated the idea that sex is sin and that we need to practice abstinence. All his ministers take the vow of celibacy because they free themselves from their body slavery and they can get closer to God. Many of them succeed in this practice, but some do not! And as usual, when you go against the law of nature you commit the most brutal crimes transferring your own sexual impulses on the most vulnerable ones.
A study commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Bishops to NY JJ College study centre reports as follows: 4,392 priests were accused of abuse in the US between 1950 and 2002. The figure is around 4% of the 109,694 priests who served during the years in question.
People who experienced sexual harassment were 10,667. The victims age was: 5.8% of victims were under 7 years old, 16% of victims were between 8-10 years old 50.9% of victims were between 11-14 years old, 27.3% of victims were between 15-17 years old
Abuse went on for a year for 38.4% of victims, it lasted 2 to 4 years for 28% of victims and abuse went on for over 4 years for 11.8% of victims
Sexual abuse was caused by victim’s relative: 55.7% of relatives abused one person, 26.9% of relatives abused 2-3 three people, 13.9% of relatives abused 4-9 people.
The places of sexual abuse were: 40.9% priests’ residence, 16,3% the Church, 42.8% elsewhere.
Strange way to praise God by denying the physical nature and body functions that He has given us. If I am not mistaken He said grow and multiply, and what are they doing? They are not growing and multiplying. Well, they can object: you poor mortals can accomplish this task, we bishops, priests, ministers of religion, God’s delegates on earth cannot contaminate ourselves with these earthly practice!
I think that one of the main functions of celibacy is precisely to pretend to have a highly dubious moral superiority that is often completely non existing.
The corollary of the Church attitude referred to sex is as follows: every blow ..... a notch!
Frankly I am surprised that the CEI (Italian Conference of Bishops) considers the option of persuading 7 billion people to practice abstinence a realistic opportunity.
They have always been far too busy taking care of earthly matters than spiritual ones.
They are politicians, capable of sophisticated timely and accurate analyses. How can’t they see that the biggest problem with whom mankind has to deal is the demographic issue i.e. the world population geometrical growth.
Well the answer is simple: they cannot see beyond the dogma which bans birth control and the use of condoms. History repeats itself, just like at Galileo time, they were convinced that the earth was rotating around the sun, but they could not say it just to avoid the full collapse of theories built throughout centuries of reflections.
For professional reasons I often fly over Italy and other countries and it is impressive to see how available space have shrunk to the minimum. All you can see is a large quantity of houses and concrete, only the Alps and the Apennines are left.
Italy has zero population growth…! bishops and Buttiglione cry out!
You need to have more children, possibly Christians!
The Northern League shouts back….no…We have to double Padania (the Po Valley area) population to stop the Muslims’ invasion!
In Parliament zealous and obsequious altar boys (it is not funny… we did elect them) get ready to discuss and approve a bill which grants 1000 € incentive for the first child. Craziness! Instead of lighting a candle to St Antonio because we have zero population growth and suggest a birth control policy for underdeveloped countries they only focus on their own little yard.
How pathetic! If birth control policies are not carried out in the short term our children and grandchildren will not have any space left and the struggle for food resources and energy sources will be terrible and without truce. If you think that our needs are different from a pack of wolves’ in my Majella you are wrong. Wolves are lucky as nature guarantees their balance. Is there a severe winter or food scarcity or an epidemic? Two wolf cubbies out of four do not survive…it is a grim and necessary law, but He wanted it. We are smarter, we invented all sort of things, antibiotics, drugs etc . We intervened at the bottom of the reproductive system so heavily as to reduce children’s mortality to zero.
We are all happy about it. We claim to have the right to maintain a sustainable balance for our species replacing nature. I believe it is inevitable at this point to intervene at conceiving stage with a responsible birth plan and birth control policy. Whether you like it or not this is the situation. Either the Church modifies its attitude towards birth control problems or it issues a Papal Bull banning the use of drugs invented by men giving control back to nature
Likewise politicians are terrified by the figure zero.
GDP is at zero growth ....! We are ruined! If GDP does not reach a 4% growth rate p.a. we have to face starvation and recession. GDP is expected to register a never ending growth. Therefore with this trend we will reach a GDP that is 5 times as much as the present one, to what purpose?
You could think .....perhaps we could have three extra meals a day, or 3 cars per capita instead of one, or we could buy a pound of ham in a Valentino designed package. No…well GDP has to register an endless growth, because human beings have decided to grow ad infinitum. It does not matter if animals go extinct, forests disappear and so do energy resources, whilst dump yards increase; the fundamental thing - ethically and morally - is that condoms are not used for birth control.
Let’s foster the power of sperm’s life and condemn millions of people to death.
Nowadays it is clear that with technology improvement, few individuals are able to produce resources to sustain many others. Despite what we do this is an ongoing process and it is particularly manifest in government offices where many jobs are merely fictitious.
We could have, with appropriate adjustment more spare time to devote to our business, to thinking, but I have the impression that nobody cares about gross domestic knowledge!
In two million years, the human animal has reached one billion people, that the world population in 1830. In contrast, in 180 years, from 1830 to nowadays, we arrived at seven billion, and growing at a rate of 80 million people per year with only 25,000 lions left on earth. This attitude villain causes many problems, including the ‘mass migration from the countries of the third and fourth world, and beyond. Favorite Sport and sponsored by politicians and religious leaders, whether they be bishops or rabbis, mullahs, is to produce children, Muslims, of course, are at an advantage being able to have two, three, five wives … do some examples:
-Population: about 1,550,000 inhabitants
-Density: about 4150 inhabitants x square kilometer
-Favorite sport: the production of children … the 45×100 is under 15 years old with an estimated growth of 3.5 x100 year, and launching rockets in the blinding way
-Economy: a near total dependence on international aid
-Government: de facto Hamas that has as its point of reference the sample of Arab democracies Ahmedinejad with the common goal of wiping Israel
-Type of the Constitution: the Koran ….
I got to fly over often during firefighting operations in the pine forest around Mount Vesuvius, and it is impressive to see that from Castellammare to the north of Naples (Lago Patria), is a whole swarm of houses, in a few years will also build inside the crater of Vesuvius despite warnings of Prof. Aldo Loris Rossi president of the Greater Naples, Vesuvius and destruction to the problem of garbage post-war building.
Density per square Km -Portici 11,943 2. San Giorgio in C. 11,495. Casavatore 11,419. Melito di Napoli 10,259. Napoli 8,183. Frattaminore 7436. Arzano 7674. Cardito6741. Casoria 6147. Mugnano of Naples 6212. Casalnuovo of N.6.545 etc. … etc. ..
-Favorite Sport: production of garbage that are world leaders with purchase of precious samples abroad
- Economy: waste disposal and smuggling
-Government: non-existent, and replaced by tribal organizations of the Camorra.
-Type of establishment: that of San Gennaro!
But what is most unbearable are cheap humanitarians … we host all, provided, however, do not come in my house! Have you ever seen the Pope in the Vatican accommodate some refugee? Or a politician, a party secretary, a peace activist of the flotilla, their hospitality to a couple of political refugees for a couple of years? I will say … but there are refugee camps, yes … as long as they are not near my house, and that the Government did not raise taxes for their livelihood. It’s time to stop fooling giving for granted that almost all of the refugees are the victims of political persecution and entitled to asylum. The stark reality is that these hapless and helpless are the result of the absence, in the world, a serious and urgent policy of birth control.
The only consolation is that Nature with it laws will admonish the evil, rearrange and re-adjust the balance. Unfortunately for us and especially for our children and grandchildren, the price to pay will be extremely high.
We were out in the courtyard. Marco was holding Max and it seemed that they understood each other perfectly. Dana was arranging things with the director. My wife was meticulously surveying Marco tucking the shirt under the sweater.
"Tito ..... look at this! His upper teeth are protruding forward, as soon as he comes to Italy he’ll have to put a brace to straighten them.”
You're right, but I can not explain the reason for it. Pointing to my teeth and then to his I was trying to ask for an explanation. He immediately understood and smiling put his thumb in his mouth. The thumb shape corresponded exactly to the teeth deformation. With his eyes closed he showed me that he slept in that position.
How come you are six years old and you still suck your thumb?
He looked at me a bit surprised, thinking of being reproached.
Poor child! Who knows how many times he must have cried himself to sleep looking for something familiar and not finding anyone, he sucked his thumb thinking it was his mother’s nipple.
I can not imagine what a little kid can feel being abandoned, without his mom at that crucial stage of his life.
He certainly knew it and maybe one day I’ll ask him, but that day I hoped it was a good day for him.
"Maria ..... the director said we can all go out together, get to Deva and tonight we are his guests at his house”.
Dana, we don’t want to impose, it is really kind of him!
“No imposition at all, he insisted as in Deva is not easy to find an accommodation."
In the meantime a group of kids gathered around Marco and they were talking, the shortest, stocky reddish haired kid kept repeating gum gum, and Marco da da.
Only when we returned there I understood what they were arranging. Basically they ordered things, asking Marco what to buy.
For a number of them this was something previously experienced and perhaps they were wondering why Marco and not them.
Marco moved with ease and had the classic attitude of a leader of a kids’ gang, approving and denying claims in a very firm and harsh way.
Are we going? It is almost lunch time.
"Yes let’s go, look at him he is so exciting he cannot wait to get to Deva."
I bet it must be ages since he last left the orphanage!
Though… it is a torture to just talk to him through gestures, well, dear wife we need to study Romanian.
"Tito I do not think it is necessary, because sometimes I do not even understand him and I am Romanian, as he speaks a kind of local dialect but I do not think he will have great difficulties in learning Italian."
Well actually many words are similar to Italian, to me it even sounds like a Pescara dialect with lots of words ending in u'.
We arrived in Deva.
Look ..... there is a castle just like Dracula’s movies, do we need any garlic and crucifix?
"You are just impossible!
Dana, please ….you tell me what do, he never takes things seriously and he is more stubborn than a mule from Abruzzo.
"Not because he is here, but he looks nice and kind to me and he inspires confidence."
Thank you Dana, what are you doing tonight?
"You see …..he is even presumptuous and his head is always up in the clouds, do not be fooled by appearances is as subtle as a snake. He never says no, he says he does not need to and he is persuasive, but it is impossible to change his mind, you can endlessly try…
Walking along the main road, I stopped in front of a toy store, I wanted to buy a toy but Marco shook his head and started talking with Dana.
What is he saying?
"He does not want toys but a comb, soap bars, shampoo and lots of chewing gums."
Well I have a great kid, he is already a little buddy and does not beat about the bush.
Marco, it’s lunch time, how about finding a place to eat?
Crossing the square, I spotted a restaurant under the arcades, we went there with no hesitation…God help us
We spent a lovely afternoon, taking pictures and starting to communicate with him. He did not seem very emotional he behaved like an adult with many issues to sort out.
When we went back to the orphanage he diligently distributed the chewing gums that he had bought, taming little Jonica’s attacks as he wanted more gums.
I was surrounded by little kids, and some of them came close, like little puppies as to say: “Why don’t you take me as well? I am good and I also know the alphabet!” and a kid started to recite the ABC.
According to his stringent logic he was offering me everything he had, to get some love and protection in return.
I was not prepared for such a situation, I was broken hearted, how can you explain to a kid that it was impossible! I could do nothing else but shrug my shoulders and crack a smile and caress him.
He went back to talk to the other kids and perhaps thinking how odd these grown-ups are."
With an excuse I left, I had a lump in the throat and was about to cry and I was really mad. I cursed his parents, they must have been indigent people, forced by circumstances to live into a physically and morally degraded state ..... I could not understand.
"Tito, come here that Marco would like to show you the bedrooms and one of the operators”.
A slightly chubby girl showed us the dorms explaining that Marco was in charge of one of the dorms. Probably because the age criterion was applied and Marco had been there since birth.
The day was drawing to a close, we said goodbye to Marco and the other kids, we were tired but relieved by the fact that the meeting was – after all - ok.
The director took us to his house where his wife was waiting for us. I was a little embarrassed as they were such keen and hospitable people, considering that they had very modest means, but with great dignity they were trying to make us feel comfortable.
The ladies slept in a big bedroom, I slept on the couch in the living room. There was no water in the house, but outside they had a nice well with an old valuable winch. Even the toilet was outside in the back yard, where there was a kind of Roman well with a board of wood to sit on, with a canopy on top. It was surrounded by a high hedge which ensured privacy.
Have you ever tried an outdoor toilet? If you haven’t I would recommend it….it is ….different!
The hostess prepared pasta, it was a bit overcooked but nevertheless very welcome.
I slept all night, even if I was very uncomfortable and Count Dracula did not pay a visit.