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“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit”.
Nelson Henderson

Each of us knows what happiness means – it is difficult to obtain, and looking for it may become the lifetime goal for many of us. I thought the same way, but this is not true. We find happiness everyday in the little, simple things.

On Saturday I went as a volunteer AO Filocalia to Draguesni village, Straseni County. After a one-hour trip, I entered the classroom of the small village school. There, the little ones and their mothers were waiting for us. When I entered I felt the gaze of many impatient and curious eyes.

Together with the other volunteers we started distributing the donations. The unwrapping noise that started in that room! A little boy was loudly laughing for getting a small red car, while somewhere in the back you could hear the voice of a volunteer „Here are the packages for children between 7-10 years” or „try this one as well!” The girls were naming the dolls they just got amid steps and impatience all around.

Having more the role of a photographer I caught a few moments which, later, after I saw the pictures made me believe that making somebody happy does not require as much effort as it seems. I remembered how all children received the juice packs. I did not understand why they were not opening them, although I noticed they were curious.  A volunteer asked if we could go and help them to open the juice boxes and they answered with a timid „yes”. And then I understood that they were smiling and were happy because the had received the juice boxes, thinking that the boxes themselves were the final presents, not even suspecting that something tasty was waiting for them inside…

After we visited all the families on our list we were invited for a cup of compote at Ms. Victoria place, who lives in Draguseni. We were exhausted, since the high temperatures of the first summer days caught us unprepared for the heat. Even now I can feel in my hand the cold cup of the most deliciouscompote I have ever drank. Thank you.

It may sound banal to be so happy because of a juice box nowadays, in the modern times. But these very modern times altered the values and undermined the simple little joys of life. In the end, the lesson learnt on Saturday during the trip to Draguseni taught me that happiness is simple. You can be happy in the same way because of a new toy, a gift or a child’s smile, as well as because of a juice box, empty or full, or a cold cup of compote.

Viorica-Valeria Ciobanu

AO Filocalia Volunteer