Diary 7 Monday December 13th 2010

This morning Bob and Neil left – the roads were still quite slippery and so was the path from the house to the lorry. After breakfast they left and Phil, Christine and I all waved them off. They aim to get through Hungary and most of Austria today. Bob did a radio interview with BBC Radio Jersey which we managed to listen to live online.

Phil and I have moved on to stay with Geo and Simona Dejeu at Caminul Felix. Christine went out to distribute more shoeboxes to a school about 50 miles away where we have given shoeboxes before – she is staying at Cefa. (Tomorrow she goes into the hospital for sick children with Kathy Langston for the day)

On our way out of Cefa I went to the Mayor’s office to leave him a Jersey calendar. It was really encouraging as the secretary spoke English and knew all about the connection with Jersey. She said her mother teaches at the school and she had heard of the children’s joy on receiving shoeboxes from her mother, how some children brought their boxes in next day to show the teacher and to ask for a translation of the cards and letters from children in the boxes.

We then went to Geo’s to unload our luggage – how do we always have so much?! The car was solid full to the roof what with the boxes for “Nicu’s Girls” not yet delivered and also 20 shoeboxes for an orphanage which we were due to visit this afternoon with Alex.

Once again Alex got lost finding this orphanage which is a state institution for those with severe learning difficulties – they have contacted Alex asking for help with clothes, medication, shoeboxes. He jokingly said he has a mental blank about getting to this place and each time he gets lost though always within 200 meters of the place!! Phil and I laughed and told him we found it reassuring that Romanians get lost in Oradea and not just people from Jersey!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The children in the orphanage have changed and are no longer children but young people with severe learning difficulties the oldest was in their mid twenties and the youngest around 18 I believe, but it was hard to tell. Some were profoundly disabled unable to walk without aid and obviously mentally disabled as well. We gave them boxes for the age range 6-11 as it was agreed that was most appropriate.

We helped them open their boxes. One lad (aged 25) sat and rocked and did nothing. Another began eating the sweets with the paper on. We rescued a bar of soap that one young woman (she looked only 11 or 12 but was older) was starting to eat as it was a bright orange colour. But their joy on being visited and being given gifts was moving.

Although no photos were allowed it was one of the distributions that we will remember well. Next year we must pack some special boxes for this institution and any others like it to avoid giving any potentially dangerous things like marbles, but we must aim to assist them again, with clothes etc as needed throughout the year and shoeboxes again next Christmas.

Now it is time to eat a delicious and no doubt large supper with Geo and Simona.


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