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This is the Way We Clean Our Town

de (10-10-2010)

The Clean-Up Crew From Grade Six

Last Saturday, there was a major event in Romania.  If you were noshing on some chips while watching TV, or maybe pulling weeds in the garden, well, you probably missed it.  Just so you put the chips’ bag and the inedibles from the yard work in their proper recycling or compost bin, thus you are forgiven.  But in case you didn’t, like some of the folks that we picked up after, here’s a run-down of what we did in Brusturoasa.

Scoala Ioana R. Rosetti staff and students showed up at 830 am to pitch in and clean up our village for the “Let’s Do It Romania!” countrywide push to pick up and dump all that trash that somehow and unfortunately finds its way in the wrong places.  Our project entailed sending out messages and talking face-to-face with our students about the importance of being aware of our delicate environment, even writing some slogans in class accompanied by artistic renditions. There was a meeting with the City Council, and an ensuing plea for some materials to store and then dispose of all of that junk we’d ultimately collect.  Soon we were good-to-go with the assistance of the mayor, the dedicated teachers here at school and the children themselves who care about our beautiful surroundings.

Let's Do It Romania Fourth Grade Poster Art

For a good three hours, we all set out in teams flanked by two teachers each to clear out all that trash and unwanted debris that accumulates in the rivers, on the roadside and over the fields.  While they were all donning their new heavy yellow rubber gloves for safety’s sake, I thought about how much they had to lose if this place were not kept up.  I thought about the education that we all needed to instill in our youth for the future of this village, and others like it, and how much pride I felt in these little guys and girls who could have stayed home today and not come to help, but didn’t.

They marched up the road, waded in the shallow brooks, leaned over the hillsides, searched in the grass, scoured under the footbridges, and picked up, cleaned up, spruced up and dumped anything and everything into large black and green bags (green for paper only) until the nearby  hillsides and the mountain spring waters were amazingly fresh and new.  Even the ducks and geese noticed the difference after all was said and done.

It's in the BAG

They never complained.  A few “yuck”s, “what’s that”s  and “oooh”s, of course, as they laughed, skipped, and worked just as hard as ever to be good citizens.  Even though many of them had never participated in a clean-up project before, there was no stopping their enthusiasm for a mission that had no reward other than the finished product. And what a happy ending it was. All over the country, there were both small and large groups of people, kids, teachers, and a variety of others acting as stewards of the land, cleaning up what doesn’t belong lying around and marring the landscape-not to mention harming the wildlife-over this fragile green earth.

I walked home afterward along the “Stream of the Bear” (yes, they are up there on the mountain) and the winding dirt road on the hillside by the house where I live after a tour of all the results of the day’s efforts throughout this part of the valley.

Teamwork!

The day turned out to be a huge success for us here and for other communities across Romania. We all learned something more about the spirit of cooperation and the respect of our environment. Going along in the early afternoon, looking at the scenery now refreshed, I could really see how much it all shined both on the outside and from the inside, as I smiled once again, marveling at the rural splendor, and thinking about how a little bit of effort on the part of the Peace Corps working within their respective communities, could in partnership with their Romanian neighbors, make such a world of difference.

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