Monday April 14th
Today has been a good day, a really good day as far
as Phil and I are concerned – that sounds bad, really bad and Bill and Katie
left this morning and yes I am sorry really sorry they missed today, as I know they
would have been as excited, encouraged, moved, challenged as we were.
The day started very early with getting up to see
Bill and Katie off at 6.00 am, then began again at a more leisurely time by
breakfast. Geo was under his car when we went out to meet Nicu Gal from People
to People (P2P) – when we got back we were pleased to hear he has sorted the
problem with the car.
After the usual pleasantries at Nicu's office over
coffee we went out to Tinca and then Dumbrava to see 2 projects that P2P is
supporting. We have been to the Tinca gypsy school before and always are amazed
at how the development continues. There is now a kindergarten in 2 parts – the
under sixes and the over sixes, followed by the first 3 grades of the school
system. What is encouraging is that the school has received accreditation as a
school. Each year they need to add on an extra classroom to accommodate another
year as the children come up through from kindergarten.
It is huge project offering so much to the
community as well as the children, with showers for the families to use and
washing facilities. This coming September they need to turn the church part of
the building into another classroom and the church will have to meet elsewhere
till they have the resources to build a new church on the site. Long-term they
hope to build a new school on the ground they have and convert the present
school building into kindergarten and community centre.
We then went on to Dumbrava and what we saw here
really took our breath away and moved us to tears. In 2 houses side by side in
a village a man called Viorel has opened his house to homeless pensioners to
prevent them from living and dying on the street. It all began last year when
Viorel (pastor of a little church) felt the need to put his teaching into
practice and took in 2 homeless old women – they lived with his own family. It
has grown from there, extending into the next door house which is empty.
Without a shadow of doubt the need of old people is
a top priority in
In November Nicu Gal found one of the sponsored pensioners
assisted by P2P had been evicted and had nowhere to live but on the streets; he
and his social workers searched desperately to find a solution and heard of
Viorel and his work which had grown. Voirel's work is recognised by the
authorities although he has not got the appropriate permissions or facilities –
what he offers is shelter and food but also a home and love. It is run by him
and his wife. There are now 7 women and a similar number of men, with a new man
arriving today. To have space for the new man, another has moved into a caravan
in the garden. The man moving was homeless and found by Viorel with legs so
badly frozen that he has lost the bottom part of one leg, he walks with
crutches and showed us what he had done with making models out of soap.
Some of the pensioners are mobile some
wheelchair-bound, one paralysed. Since moving in several have died but they
died in a warm loving environment and not just a body on the streets.
We were so impressed by this project and with the
love and commitment of Viorel and his family – he saw a need and he got on and
helped, no paperwork or permissions while the people froze to death.
We would hope to assist this project with aid and
possibly finances through the Adopt-A-Granny scheme. It is not an official old
people's home but a private home opened up to help the vulnerable elderly.
In the afternoon we met up with Kathy and went to a
village where she has been assisting with aid from
Eventually a farmer showed us where the school
teacher lived and the clothes for distribution were left with her for her to
sort out. The teacher did not look best pleased when we turned up with bags of
clothes to her house. Kathy seemed
reasonably satisfied with the outcome and confident the teacher would
distribute wisely to those most in need.