DIARY 9 Wednesday December 15th 2010

Another good day in fact a very good day. We spent the morning with FI (Fundatia Increderea) at a distribution they had organised at their office where they gave out the things we had sent over. There were queues waiting outside their office in spite of the fact that they had given people times to come but found everyone came early. This is the 3rd of 4 such distributions and they find it is the best way to get the aid to those who need it. For the house-bound they will visit and take items afterwards.

Most popular items were blankets, washing powder, shoes and toiletries and these had to be rationed to have enough for all, though Nelu explained what everyone wants most of all is food. We saw 2 people fighting over a blanket both claiming it (not a serious fight). Nelu and Cristina are helped by the young people from youth club and if they did not have that help I don’t see how they could do these distributions. Over the 4 days they expected to assist between 300 and 400 people. They ran out of blankets by the end of today but as I had just given them some more money for food were planning to buy food so tomorrow’s people would have no blankets but would have food – the basic foods such as pasta, oil and sugar.

Phil spent much of the time talking to Cipri one of the helpers, an intelligent young man who spoke good English. He was living in a container and had been for some time. He was obviously very cold when he arrived and sat close to the fire, so close he singed his trousers. Later he was over-joyed to find a warm jacket that fitted him.

During the morning the reporter from the Bihor county Jurnal came – this is the largest newspaper in the area to report on the distribution and to interview Phil and me. She spoke a little English but was fluent in French so Phil was fine though I struggled a bit as my French is not that fluent. She wanted to know why we had chosen to work in Romania and our impressions of the country and what we saw as the greatest need.

After lunch (a pizza from the nearby pizza bar) we went with Nelu to visit a couple of housebound pensioners while Cristina and the youth club members waited for more clients to come and choose clothes, etc.

We had a wonderful time with Maria who is in her late eighties and very disabled with arthritis. This must be the 4th time I have visited her over the years. Maria is one of the pensioners sponsored through Mustard Seed’s Adopt a Granny programme. She is a woman with a deep Christian faith and surprised me by how enthusiastically she greeted me. She explained that  when she had been praying this morning she had thought of me unexpectedly and then I arrived with the box from her sponsor. The box contents were a hit – she clutched the 3 pairs of cosy socks that her sponsor had packed and said “I needed these” and the hot water bottle too brought her great joy. She said she believed her life was coming to an end and that she would not be here next Christmas, but as a Christian believer she had no fear. She repeated it several times that she believed it was the last time she would see me, though we agreed if I did not see her on earth again I would see her in heaven.

Our evening ended with a meal at Kathy Langston’s which we really enjoyed. Christine joined us and so we heard from Christine about her time in the hospital and her distributions today and on Monday. She leaves for Budapest airport tomorrow and should be home tomorrow evening, we leave also tomorrow but by road not due home till Monday (we have allowed extra time for the weather and a day to chill out and relax on the way home).

Bob and Neil in the tractor unit have arrived safely in St Malo and are due home tomorrow morning.

I have just spoken to Flori who is now on her way back from Bucharest overnight to the Oradea hospital. Tomorrow before we leave we have promised we will go and see her all being well. Over the next few days it should become clear whether she can use peritoneal dialysis which would mean that her life is lengthened considerably, otherwise her life expectancy is very short.

The weather is warmer – still below freezing but the cold wind has gone and no fresh snow today. The main roads are clear and the pavements are not too slippery thankfully. But the locks on my poor car cannot cope with these temperatures and keep freezing so they will not shut! This evening we ended up tying the driver’s door shut with rope until it thawed out after about 10 minutes driving!!

We have got back earlier than expected so I should be able to send this diary to my brother to be uploaded this evening. I will also try to draw my thoughts together in final reflections and an overview of the trip. I must also start to pack ready to leave tomorrow morning.


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