DIARY Sunday December 13th 2009


We got up early this morning, while it was still dark to see Flori off on her 700 kilometre drive across Romania to Iasi (I am pretty sure that is how you spell it – pronounced Yash). Flori was very upbeat and brave about the forthcoming operation and the fact that she will be in hospital on her own for 7-10 days, possibly over Christmas. Nelu and Mariana are driving her there they will stay in Iasi tonight, speak to the doctors in the morning when they take Flori to the hospital,  then drive back tomorrow.


I have been quite appalled by some of the things I have learned during this trip – especially about what I believe is corruption in the medical profession. I have always known that as Flori is a gypsy she tends to be poorly treated in hospitals. She has been having kidney dialysis for the last 6 years but until very recently was never put on the list although she fulfils all criteria for a transplant. Alex was saying that it was only when he and Rody went to the hospital and asked the doctors that they discovered she was not on the list. A junior doctor is the husband of one of Rody’s class mates.  When Rody asked him about his wife, telling him how she knew her, the doctor’s attitude changed towards Flori and now he is really exceptionally helpful and taking a special interest in her.


When it became apparent that the recent previous operations to insert the tubes for dialysis into her other arm had failed, this doctor advised as to which hospital they should take Flori for the urgent and quite technical operation to insert these tubes in her neck. At one hospital (although the treatment should be free) if a gift of 500 euros is not made to the surgeon the result will not be good, so the doctor advised that the Iasi hospital (although so far away) would be better as the expected gift is much much less.


We spoke to Flori this evening and she said they are almost at Iasi and she sounded really cheerful. What was lovely was how she spoke to most of the people living at Casa Mabel on the phone, especially old Maria who is a grandmother figure and had got up to say Goodbye to her this morning. At each mealtime today when grace was said as well as giving thanks for the food Flori was prayed for.


Phil and I took today as a rest day. We declined going to church, as in all honesty it is a bit of a waste of time as we cannot follow the service at all in Romanian and the services tend to be at least 2 hours long, often with 2 very long sermons. I went for a walk instead and Phil lay on the bed.


After lunch we went into Oradea to meet “Nicu’s Girls” – they are a group of 7 young women – all ex-State orphanage who needed rescuing after they left the state orphanage at 18. They have been wonderfully helped by Nicu and Miheala Gal of People to People charity. After a problem finding them, we finally met Aghi and Gyonghy (Gyonghy used to be in the other apartment run by Alex and Rody Stroie of Mustard Seed Romania) at the MacDrive and had a quick coffee while the girls had icecream. Then they directed us back to the apartment – we realised we had got ourselves to the back door but could not find the front door and had failed to make the girls understand where we were (their English is not as good as it was when they visited us in Jersey I feel).


We had a lovely time as they opened their shoeboxes. They were overjoyed with it all but especially appreciative of the fact that we had sent washing powder as well – a sign of how tough things are for them making ends meet on the minimum wage. They all prayed in turn for Phil and me which was really moving.


Gyonghy is now living in an apartment with girls from another charitable foundation. There had been discussion as to whether she would move to Cefa to Casa Mabel, but it seems to me she has matured and has more confidence, really blossomed being more on her own. She is close to Nicu’s Girls apartment and spends a lot of time with them – she is especially friendly with Ana.


It is our last night at Casa Mabel – tomorrow we move on to Caminul Felix and work with the trusts in town. Reflecting on our time here (the first since the older women moved in) I am so very pleased with it all. The mixture of young and old works brilliantly – Alex’s idea was right, in spite of my initial reservations. The older ladies enjoy the company  of the younger ones. They were really laughing at the jokes between Phil and Estera tonight. This place has such a good feel. We can see the improvement in how relaxed the girls are and how well they relate to and care for the older ladies. Adela is especially good with the older women – she works as an assistant carer here and she really works hard and is so loving. It has been really good staying at Casa Mabel – money well spent in building it, all that effort fund-raising was well worth while.




Back to News