Thursday December 11th.
The drivers Chris and Ian
left this morning – at the time of writing I am waiting to hear how far they
have got, but all going well I would expect them to be into
The rest of us – i.e. Hilary, Mary, Sonia, Barry, Phil, Martin and myself – spent the day with Nelu and Cristina from FI visiting sponsored pensioners, giving them their shoeboxes often packed by the sponsor and distributing the food parcels purchased with the donated money. It was a tiring day – mainly emotionally tiring. There is no way we will have time to visit all the sponsored pensioners, as we deliberately spent a bit of time with each – most are lonely and some almost wept for joy at having a visitor.
I am sure each one of us has different memories of what really struck us, but for me what I remember especially about the day are one frail pensioner saying how she had prayed for a pair of slippers as she needed some and had no money or the possibility of buying a pair and in her box was a pair of slippers which fitted her perfectly. A visit to another whose husband is in hospital with TB, who wept on the door-step as she talked about how fearful she was that he would not recover – we did our best to comfort her with a hug and silent prayer. A visit to a young couple in deep need – he was a self employed driver, he had an accident a couple of months ago and as a result had a 60 day suspension, with the present economic climate he could not get other work. He has now got the licence back but today his car was re-possessed by the bank so he has lost his means of livelihood to support his wife and 3 very young children (from the way the kids began eating the biscuits we gave them I would think they were hungry). Mainly gratitude and a huge welcome, at times I reckon we saw a little manipulation or emotional blackmail tried on us, but if we were lonely and in need, maybe we would do the same.........
Barry seems to have caught a cold and flagged a bit by the end of the day. Speaking as a woman I am sure all women will understand what I mean when I say he was making a bit of a meal of it. So he is staying at the hotel tomorrow to rest and nurse his cold and cough.