DIARY Thursday December 17th and reflections on the trip


Today is our last day – because the weather now seems to be with difficulties relating to snow and ice we plan to leave early tomorrow, as early as we can anyway. Although the major roads in town are fine, the side roads are icy and at times like skating rinks! One of the worst is the road to Caminul Felix Farm and the concrete drive.  We did consider leaving today when we saw the forecast and that the Paris area of France is due to have heavy snow on Sunday , but decided instead to leave early tomorrow morning. Just how accurate these 5 and 10 day forecasts are we don’t know as the one for Oradea has no mention of snow for today!!


Over breakfast we talked with Simona about her work with the victims of people trafficking who Mustard Seed Jersey has helped. She explained that she is responsible for the Bihor county, also Satu Mare and another neighbouring county. At times she has to travel long distances and may have to stay over-night. She spoke of the different kinds of trafficking – most common is the abuse through work, more rare but very distressing is the sexual abuse. She spoke too of how the victims need on-going help which is simply not being given by the government, telling of one case where the trafficked victim had no income and no opportunity of employment and was living with her elderly aunt in poor conditions. She is trying to find a trust or foundation that will support the victims of trafficking.


Simona told of one recent case that had a happy ending for one young woman but not for two of her friends. The young woman is/was a student living away from home but close to her family who she phoned every day. One day she and two friends were invited to meet others in a juice bar in the town, but they were drugged and after false passports were made they were whisked over to Holland. But the girl’s mother realised something was seriously wrong, as her daughter had not phoned and was not responding to her phone, so the mother travelled to the town and kept on at the police who investigated. Using their contacts they managed to get the girl returned, sadly her two friends are still away, as they did not have mothers who alerted the authorities and kept on until action was taken. Simona talked about the young woman and the affect this has had on her, emphasising this story has a good ending thanks to the girl’s mother.


Late morning till mid afternoon we did a few visits with Nelu and Cristina. The second visit was to a new potential pensioner for sponsorship, an 82 year old widow who walks with difficulty and lives alone. She was very emotional on receiving a box and parcel of food. When she heard we were travelling back to Jersey, she said she would guide us by her prayers and then prayed for us.


The first visit was really depressing as it was to the disused factory warehouse where yet more families live (or squat) with no water, no sanitation, no electricity. Mustard Seed Jersey has been working there with FI for about 5 years and the sitruation has not improved. People cannot afford the rent, end up on the streets so the disused factory is a shelter. Now 10 families live there. As we, with FI, have managed to move some out so new ones come.


We saw Mrs Etves – through our family sponsorship programme she was able to obtain a qualification and had a good job at the PIC supermarket but that has closed now and she is redundant and back trying to collect scrap metal to sell to raise money to live. A year or so ago we happily took her off the family sponsorship programme as they were doing so well with her job, a cheap rented house, but now she has lost the income. However because of her qualification it is hopeful that she will obtain employment in the new year.


While at the disused factory we also saw the lady Monique – she always embraces us warmly as she remembers how we helped her about 4 years ago. She had been pregnant but the baby died. She could not afford to pay for the medical procedure to remove the dead foetus. The party from Jersey immediately paid for that, and ever since then each time she sees us she embraces us warmly remembering our help, how we had cried together at her situation and practically helped her resolve it. She too is collecting scrap iron with Mrs Etves and a shared horse and cart. We asked Nelu about her and he said she had had a good unskilled job in the summer but it has come to an end. We asked him about sponsoring her to obtain some qualification to help her obtain employment. But she has only reached the 4th grade at school so cannot obtain any qualification. I was really disappointed as I feel for Monique – there is genuine recognition and welcome in her eyes each time she sees us and I would dearly love to help her. But it seems there is nothing we can do for her that will help her become self-sufficient.


We then had a pizza together and said Goodbye to Nelu and Cristina. Phil and I went to the Lotus supermarket (huge contrast from the Factory Families disused warehouse site!) and later met Alex and Rody to give them the final last minute things, including returning the Romanian mobile phone we had been borrowing. They head off tomorrow to collect Flori – a huge drive of 700 kilometers and 10-12 hours over poor roads and in snowy conditions. Without doubt their trip (though shorter) will be as taxing as ours.



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