Our journey from Bacau began early in the morning and took us, by bus, further west to Vaslui. Village after village lined the road,
unfolding rural scenes hardly changed by time: Flocks of
geese scattered in our wake; kittens scrambled over the wobbly
wooden fences around single story houses and smallholdings; older
ladies sat under head scarves by the side of the road, chatting as
they watched the day begin; smartly turned out younger people
emerged from unlikely houses to board our bus and head to work; a
whole family carried large baskets towards a field ready to fill
with crops; elsewhere a man strode out across a field with an axe
over his shoulder. At one point we overtook a struggling calf
travelling by horse and cart and it felt like every village cliche
was here to see. What was noticeable though was that plastic
windows had largely replaced wooden ones and new tiled or zinc
roofs were in evidence, as well as new houses being built.
Village life can’t be easy, but it is thriving in many

In Vaslui we were returning to visit a school for deaf children, although the school’s students also include increasing numbers of children with autism. It is eight years since these Local Partners received introductory training from us and over the last couple of
years the implementation of dedicated music sessions has
been slowing down, though several teachers who had received
training spoke with enthusiasm about the benefits their children
find from using music in their classes: ‘it calms hyperactive
children’ and ‘we achieve things that we don’t in other
activities’. The teachers spoke honestly about several factors that were making it difficult for them to continue such as a lack of appropriate space and timetable issues but the changing client group and staff turn over may also play a part. “Deaf children get bored easily.” said one teacher, who had run music sessions but found her children quickly tired of the repetitive activities. We discussed
whether the aims were appropriate. Perhaps the activities
were too easy and could be developed. It’s easy to make
suggestions when you aren’t doing the work, and the staff were
appreciative of our ideas. But an injection of energy is
needed, as the staff themselves said, “We want a new beginning.”

Our return felt a little hollow as we didn’t bring anything concrete to help the team and they had little to report to us, directly relating to
music. However they did show us a film of a sessions they had
run two years previously, where musical activities were being used
to create a very child-led experience that needed no words for the
children to enjoy. But, as we said our goodbyes and headed
for our next train, we do at least know what our Local Partners
here would like from us and we can see if we can work out a helpful
way to provide it.

Becca and Alexia