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Five years ago Elena’s dream came true. She started to work as a nanny. She is 56 years old and she has her own grandchildren. More than twenty years ago she arrived to Balashikha from Tiraspol. She says: “I am a cook, a plumber and a nanny. When I was finishing my school, I was dreaming of being a nanny. However it was considered cool to become a cook on a ship. So I decided to do my studies for a cook qualification.”
Five years ago Elena had the opportunity to eventually fulfill her dream when she was invited to work as a hospital nanny. She takes care of children left without parental guardianship in a hospital in Balashikha. These children are orphans, or kids found on a street by police, or those whose parents lost their guardianship rights.
When Elena is in the hospital, she spends all her time with the kids – she attends doctor’s visits, treatments and tests with the children, helps them with hygiene, reassures if they are scared, hugs and feeds them. She is very happy with the friendly atmosphere and good conditions in the hospital. “We have everything we need in our ward. There is a boiler, a sink and drawers. There are many toys, a TV set and machines cleaning the air. I like the nurses here, our hospital team is very good. And we have a great kitchen. Some of our children are very hungry. They eat their dinner and ask whether there will be more food. And there is always food in the kitchen so that the children are not hungry”.
Elena thinks it is very important to create a personal connection with every child. “The goal is to see eye to eye with the children. Our work is about making them feel good and to take care of them. We go for a walk, we draw. Many kids like when I read to them, some also like board games. Little children require much attention which they never had at home. I have to find the right approach for each one.”
“All children are different and we need to love them all like our own” says Elena. For example, she remembers a girl who was saying “I do not want to lose you”. She was seven years old and her brother was eight months. “She behaved like a mother to him. And she was crying so much” says Elena. Another boy wanted to go home so that his mother stops drinking. But there are others who do not want to go home.
“When my workday is over, I leave and they tell me they are going to wait for me to return. And they always wait. I feel energised when I see the children, I want to live. And children love me. This is of course love when they wait for you, this is happiness, and I want to return there.”