Read the article “Without a family” (“Χωρίς οικογένεια”), from pitsirikos.net, in English.
You can feel the weariness all around you. And all over yourself. You can feel it in people’s gaze. In the talks that remain unfinished. In the “revolutionary” words for clashes and subversions that sound as if they were recorded; the speakers are gone. You can even feel the weariness in the government’s media. How many times can you tell the same lies? How many times can you pretend you are a winner in a country of losers?
From the state of “each man save himself”- the prevalent ideology in the country during the last years- we are passing slowly to the state of “dying in order to win some peace of mind”.
It is some kind of development.
Yesterday at the institution, the children were unstoppable.
They were happier than ever to see us but they were talking all together in the group. Totally understood.
A. told the group that her biggest wish is to be adopted by a family.
All of the children in the institution share the same wish, but they do not express it. They do not admit it, especially the boys.
When you have realised that years have passed by and it is unlikely for a family to adopt you, you pretend that you don’t care. Were I in their shoes, I would do the same thing. Like it’s such a big deal.
A. keeps expressing her wish to be adopted. Because she knows-as all children do- that she will soon find herself in another institution.
After a certain age, children are sent to other institutions, to nursing homes and other care centers. To leave their last breath there. Separated from their friends who they grew up with.
The children think we are rich. Rather, they are certain we are wealthy. Since we do not reside in an institution, since we are able to walk, since we have families, since we can still offer presents and go to the theatre every now and then, since we have the time to be volunteers in the institution, we must be filthy rich.
When you tell them that you are not rich, they look at you suspiciously. They don’t believe you.
“I am not dying as a country, the country is dead” says A. as we leave the institution.
She is sad, as well as P.
We are aware that someday we’ll go back there and a child will be missing. And we may never see him or her again. And then, there will be other children to follow.
We knew it from the beginning. I was the first one to have said “and what exactly are we supposed to be doing here, since we know it’s meaningless and there is nothing we can achieve, since it doesn’t depend on us and the children’s future is predetermined?”
However, the “reasonable” answer is that you do whatever you can for some moments of happiness and togetherness for the children. So that they have something to remember afterwards. On the other hand, I’m thinking that, if you have also experienced some pleasant moments in your life, it may be even worse to find yourself in an awful institution afterwards.
In a way, it is like the protagonist in the film “Twelve years a slave”. From a free man with dignity, family and home, he becomes a slave in the plantations in the American South.
Whoever wishes to see what the real face of Greece is at the moment, why not pay a visit in children’s institution?
The funding is cut, the staff is reduced- women who are like mothers to the children (who are already orphans) are fired-, and the children stay in chambers with lots of other children with various problems different from their own (a child that only has physical disabilities may stay in the same chamber with children with mental disabilities); and the abandonment is obvious.
In the evening, we talk with M. and A. We talk about everything. For the institution, movies, theatre etc.
At some point, M. tells us that an acquaintance of hers faced a health problem and had PSI.
“PSA” I tell her, and we burst into laughter.
After such overflow of economic news for so many years, it becomes reasonable to confuse PSA with PSI. From now on, we’ll talk about health issues with financial terms.
“Yes” says A., “we’ll say “cutting off” instead of “operation”. We burst into laughter again.
Afterwards, we arrange to meet the next day for a walk in the sun. If it’s sunny. Indeed, it is.
Personally, I’m looking forward for the spring to come. To dive into the sea. And lose myself in it.
Translated by eTranslation.gr