Final Thoughts and reflections on trip December 2010

Without doubt a “good” and memorable trip. The aid has been safely delivered, shoe boxes and food parcels distributed and SO MUCH MORE.

To begin with Casa Mabel and Mustard Seed Romania:

It was disappointing to see Flori for only a couple of hours before she had to leave for surgery in Bucharest – our plans had been to spend the weekend with her as well as Tuesday after we arrived. But we are SO PLEASED we have seen her for a short time. By the sound of it all has gone well, her only criticism of the hospital there was that it is cold but she was well treated which is amazing as she is a gypsy. To hear her talk of being alone “just God and me” was moving and brought tears to our eyes, but when on Sunday she spoke so joyfully and positively of her dream or vision of angels and her friends that was awesome – and by awesome I mean inspiring awe and wonder.

Casa Mabel has such a good feel. The dynamics of ten elderly ladies living together and the young women living next door but very much “en famille” really works. The young ones help the older more frail ones so tenderly and well. For the older ones it gives the chance to give love and share their wealth of experience. One older woman has very much taken one of the younger ones under her wing emotionally, calling her “my daughter” and this young woman has blossomed and matured; the bond between them is mutually beneficial. Phil and I have acquired another Romanian daughter I think as one put her arms round me and hugged me long and hard saying “I am your daughter” adding with a little catch in  her voice “please”. Of course I hugged her back and agreed. And throughout our time there she kept checking with me that “I am your daughter”? I was especially sad for her when we said Goodbye. Being needed and loved is so important.

It was great to hear Bob’s positive comments on progress since his last trip to Romania. His co-driver Neil endeared himself to all by sitting holding the old ladies hands as they talked in Romanian. All were sad when the drivers left.

The Christmas shoebox distribution to the children and pensioners went well. What most encouraged me was the comment of the Mayor’s secretary as I took the Jersey calendar for him. She said that she knew all about Mustard Seed Jersey (or Mootard Seeed ) not only from the Mayor but her mother is a teacher in the school and she had told her of the children’s joy when the shoeboxes were distributed. That sort of feed back – along with the obvious joy on the faces - makes it all so very worth while.

And the distribution of shoeboxes and food parcels to pensioners as always that was excellent. I was thoroughly kissed and hugged and blessed – but the gratitude was very real and obviously so.

It is challenging to see the long hours worked by people here – one of the young women gets up at 4 am to catch a bus to the factory she works at, not getting back home again till 4 pm and sometimes she has to work extra hours when no factory bus is provided.

To hear that state employees have effectively had their salaries reduced by 50% is shocking – the 25% cut in June and the enforced one day a week unpaid leave make a huge impact on the pay packets of the employees, but their work load remains the same.

We would say that the state of the roads in Romania in some cases has improved with some of the poorest roads near the border being greatly improved and the layout altered. But the lack of maintenance and resulting state of many of the roads with atrocious potholes is alarming. We understand cars are sometimes damaged through pot-holes on one particular main road. After one trip along this road we decided to avoid possible damage to our car so after that we went the long way round.

With FI I was well pleased to see the success of the distribution that we witnessed – as always it is SO REWARDING to see the goods we have sent being given to those in genuine need. Certainly for next winter we need to try to source many more blankets for them – I would estimate 800 – 1000 blankets would be placed very easily, as they are so well positioned in the centre of town where there are so very many impoverished families and pensioners living nearby. My one regret is that we did not receive very much food money this year so we cannot help as much with food as I would like us to.

But what will remain with me most was the visit to the disabled very elderly pensioner and her joy on seeing me again and on seeing the contents of her shoebox. I am sure she is right that she is reaching the end of her life but she had no fear of death. I feel we are so privileged to be able to help make the lives of her and many others that bit easier. I trust and pray we will be able to continue while the need remains.


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