Diary 6 Friday June 4th 2010
I did not expect I would have much to write today as we left Caminul Felix and moved on to Cefa but it was a most enjoyable and informative morning and a good day generally.
We were given a conducted tour of the farm at Caminul Felix and the hotel and workshops. It is a long time since we were on those farming premises and we were really delighted and most impressed with what we saw. The dairy farm has improved HUGELY – quite unbelievable how it has developed. The machine for selling milk is impressive, the standards very high and the farm machinery in good condition.
On the same site is the Noble House Hotel that Caminul Felix built and runs – that is excellent and I would certainly consider using it if we had a group staying in the Oradea area. In the Sunflower workshop (think I have the name right) to our surprise the supervisor is Mariana who used to be at Casa David so it was seriously lovely to see her again. Also (and this last will only be of interest to people with long links with Caminul Felix) we met several of the young people who recognised us and remembered us from 6 or 7 years ago, also we met 2 house-parents from Caminul Felix Village 1 Mircea Toca and Dan (of Dan and Veronica at Casa 2). As we walked back from Ohio House where we had had coffee and played with a totally enchanting little girl called Alexandria, Phil and I agreed it had been a brilliant morning and one of the most rewarding and interesting times of the whole trip.
We were shown round by one of the orphanage housefathers and accompanied by one of the children as teachers at her school were on strike, but other children’s schools were operating as usual. In the reaction against the 25% reduction in salary for all state employees, there seem to be daily strikes on a rota basis. On Tuesday it was the trams, the next day some of the schools, etc. It is very concerning and this is an on-going topic of conversation – inevitably the subject came up over coffee.
We packed our bags and loaded them into the car with difficulty. (We will have to be better organised for the long trip back home). We drove past Cefa to a restaurant we like where Phil had his favourite tripe soup (yuck!). I investigated the motel attached to the restaurant and was impressed at the prices and standards – if we have a party of supporters for while we are based at Cefa I would hope to use that hotel – it is so very much better standard than the one up the road from Casa Mabel and is only 10 miles away.
On the subject of Casa Mabel that is where we are now. It was very quiet when we arrived mid afternoon but livened up once Flori got back from dialysis and Maria got back from work. Adela gave me a head and shoulder massage which was really good – she has a real talent I reckon (apparently she has been taught by Maria one of the old ladies). It was a bit of a shock to see that in sympathy with Flori Adela has had her head shaved! She now wears a yellow cap. Flori and Adela are very close friends and Adela is such a sweetie I can imagine to have her hair shaved off too would be just the sort of thing she would do to show her love and support her friend.
The old ladies seem to spend most of their time in their rooms by choice appearing for a chat half an hour before meals which are eaten together, then they all go back to their rooms.
Recently there have been numerous complications with Flori’s dialysis and she has had several surgeries and is in constant pain or strong discomfort during dialysis as the areas have got so swollen. But she got chatting about how when she is feeling really low and miserable (like when she was in hospital the opposite side of Romania) she has on several occasions heard a voice saying “Flori don’t worry” and she is certain it is Jesus Christ or an angel speaking to her to encourage her. As she talked about this a big smile appeared on her face. At other times she told us she has been aware of a dazzling bright light that nobody can see and again a sense of joy and peace. When you think how tough her life is with the pain-filled dialysis 5 hours 3 times each week in hospital, it really is quite inspirational how happy and cheerful she is.
For supper tonight we had “marmaleaka” that is how it sounds. As far as I can understand it is yellow corn flour cooked with water to a thick consistency and can be eaten sweet or savoury. It is very traditional and in some parts of Romania it can even be used in place of bread apparently. I shall try to buy some to take home and try at home as it was really very pleasant.