Friday April 11th


         We all agreed that today has been a challenging though very good and rewarding day. We spent the day with Nelu and Cristina from FI or Fundatia Increderea visiting the sponsored pensioners and sponsored families and the “Factory Families”. FI work with 24 of the pensioners sponsored from Jersey through the Adopt-A-Granny scheme. We managed to visit all but 6 of them, giving out toiletries from Whitbreads, boxes packed by many of the sponsors and the tins of meat purchased using the vouchers donated by Mr Kirsch to pensioners in Jersey who had then donated them on to Mustard Seed for the needy Romanian pensioners.

         Now in the evening as I write this diary, the day seems quite a blur – so much need, feeling quite humbled at the depth of gratitude we have received, so many pensioners moved to tears by the boxes packed by their sponsors as well as the tins of meat (often an unaffordable luxury) and toiletries donated by Whitbreads.

         One of the features of the day was the joy so many people got out of rummaging through Phil's bag of sharp items (confiscated at the airport) and finding useful things, like the first little old lady living alone who said she had never had a pair of scissors and over-joyed to be given a couple of pairs. The second pensioners were a married couple living with eight family members in a very crowded house, including a son who is mentally handicapped in some way. She was over-joyed and wept on finding the sponsor had packed her an umbrella. At the next pensioner – a sick mother with a number of children struggling to manage with no wage-earner but just her disability pension and her children's small allowances – we were able to give the daughters some new blouses from Whitbreads, while the boys were delighted with swiss army knives from Phil's bag.

         At the next pensioner's we had a real treat – a saint of an elderly toothless old lady has been caring for her bed-ridden husband for 14 years. She had just cooked what we would call doughnuts, very similar to our Jersey wonders – they were hot just out of the oven, she was thrilled to have something to give us and we needed no encouragement to eat them!

         Then on to the Factory Families – 8 families living in a disused factory warehouse because they had nowhere else to live. Here we heard the sad news that one pensioner – Peter – has died of pneumonia just a few days ago. Nelu introduced us to a new sad looking little lady who is homeless and now living there who urgently needs a sponsor.

         And so the day continued – for me it was so lovely to see the recognition and welcome in their eyes after meeting me in December or on previous visits. The saddest visit had to be a lady with no legs living in a one roomed shack in a courtyard near the centre of the city. In December I was moved by how  our food parcel arrived at such an opportune time as she had 5 more days to go till her pension was due and no food or money. But today she was clearly ill and in pain, lying in a darkened room. The neighbour was helping her, another neighbour was disgusted at the lack of help from the authorities for this woman and said he had phoned the authorities but they had done nothing. She literally has nobody to help her – her only relative a daughter is in America. We talked about this woman and her plight as we considered the day over a coffee in MacDonalds. It really emphasised how very fortunate and blessed we are.



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