Diary 3 Friday December 9th 2011

This has been another really good (though exhausting) day. I was in touch by text messages with Marta and the team from Beaulieu as they travelled down by minibus from Budapest with Victor (what did we ever do without mobile phones?). I left Cefa and drove to Oradea and to the Vineyard Centre (kindergarten, church and centre from which they run their Project Simon pensioner assistance programme) started by Ken and Florence – I am staying here for the next few days.

Right on time the minibus with Marta and the team arrived. They are all really thankful for how well things have gone travel wise. We then went to Tasad a village where we usually go to distribute shoeboxes. The team from Beaulieu, especially the students, soon got into the swing of distributing the shoeboxes in the 2 village schools. The first we went to was the new school at the far end of the village – mainly gypsy or Roma children – some had received boxes before, some had not. The students were amazed and commented on the gratitude of the children “I have never seen anyone so grateful for anything” Rachel said. One teacher commented that the children did not seem to know what to do with a box they were given (probably these have not had boxes before). Another of the teachers commented on how as she tried to help a little boy open his box, he just seemed over whelmed and shut the lid firmly, kissed his box and held it tightly.

We left boxes for the absent children after checking with the teachers that they are regular attenders at the school, we also gave boxes to each of the teachers as they probably have very few resources.

We then went back to Alex’s house for lunch, cooked by his mother-in-law served by Rody his wife. It was deliberately traditional, samala (may not be spelt right but those who have been to Romania will know the cabbage rolls filled with minced pork and rice cooked in sauce … delicious) and pancakes (potato and cabbage) and fruit. As she offered us tea and coffee Rody made me laugh as she quickly explained that the tea she offered was not “English tea” but fruit tea – at which point several changed to coffee!

Next on the programme was changing money to buy food parcels – this proved a long drawn out procedure! I was then dropped off at Ken and Florence’s where I spent the evening playing Mexican train(!) with Ken and Florence and some English or English speaking friends. But Marta and the team went on to the supermarket to buy food to make into food parcels.



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