DIARY 10 Monday Dec 19th 2011 and Reflections on the trip
The best laid plans! Alex planned that after a brief visit to the notary to do some paperwork which required my signature and then for me to quickly do some shopping and visit Kathy Langston and then 2 other visits to beneficiaries ... after that on the way to Budapest by 11 am or noon at the latest!
But the paperwork proved a major headache with about 5 visits to the notary but eventually all was sorted some time well after 4 pm. By then Alex was struggling with timing for an evening commitment and so I persuaded him to arrange for his taxi driver friend Mircea to take me to the airport (a 3-4 hour drive). On the way to the airport we went through patches of snow, hail, sleet.
Fortunately Mircea speaks Hungarian or I suspect we could still be looking for the hotel where I was staying as neither Alex’s directions nor his GPS seemed 100% accurate – the GPS took us 10 kilometers in the wrong direction!!
REFLECTIONS from Rose
I have come back quite encouraged, positively delighted about some things but deeply concerned about others:
The good things:
· The group from Beaulieu Convent School were a real asset and I believe this trip has opened their eyes to the ongoing need. For me personally it was such a pleasure to have them there and I know the Romanians so appreciated their help, interest and commitment.
· Funds raised by Beaulieu purchased over 100 food parcels for the needy and funds remain to send more money over for the remainder of the winter. Beneficiaries include pensioners, homeless, repatriated victims of people trafficking and poor families.
· Funds raised by Victoria College will provide a safe home for a vulnerable child, a holiday camp for needy gypsy children in the summer and hopefully food for needy children attending a youth club (details of the last are not yet worked out – but I know what I have in mind!) So wonderful to have that money available just when it was needed.
· The whole “feel” and love at Casa Mabel – it is a lovely crowd of ladies there and the staff are so caring also. (For me personally this being the first aid trip since Phil’s death I really found a huge amount of help from love I received especially from some of the residents at Casa Mabel).
· The shoebox distributions went well especially at Mustard Seed Romania’s own kindergarten, where the Beaulieu team commented on the sense of love there.
· The time spent with other charities was very positive and encouraging – with the Beaulieu team the time with Fundatia Increderea on the Saturday was excellent, also my time afterwards with Fundatia Vineyard and Agape.
· The way the timing worked out on a number of occasions so that we were in the right placed at the right time with the resources needed to provide what was needed. As always it seems God had gone before.
BUT I have come back really concerned at what I have observed of the increasing and deepening poverty. Obviously the time spent distributing to the homeless living by the hot heating pipes on the streets was very challenging, as I have never been there before, but it was not that that most disturbed me. Based on what I have seen over the years two things especially have contributed to this general sense of concern at the way things are going in Romania:
· Increase in obvious prostitution – I have not seen so many women openly available before. When I went walking along a new part of a road in what would be called a “good” area, I was surprised at the number of cars that flashed their head-lights at me! It was only when Alex returned and I told him where I had walked that he explained his wife and daughter never walk on that road for that reason, as it is a known place for prostitutes to be there by the roadside. Having had my eyes opened, I became aware that there are many other women hanging out on the sides of a number of the main roads approaching the city. That indicates that with increase in food prices, rent, utilities, etc and factories closing or reducing their hours, many more need money to survive and feel this is the solution.
· More people going through the garbage bins searching for food or saleable items. Although I have seen this many times before, I saw it in more places, places where I have not seen this before, quite openly in the daytime.