Mustard Seed Jersey News Update Summer 2009

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Casa Mabel opens

The highlight of Rose and Phil’s trip to Romania was the official opening of Mustard Seed’s pensioner’s home on 30th May 2009.

ROM trip May jun 09 066.jpg

The picture shows Rose Helie of Mustard Seed Jersey, Alex Stroie of Mustard Seed Romania, the local member of parliament for Cefa area and the Mayor of Cefa standing in front of Casa Mabel.


The official opening was attended by the local dignitaries and representatives from the Romanian trusts with whom Mustard Seed Jersey works.

Rose outlined Mustard Seed Jersey’s eleven year history of taking aid to 7 different countries in Eastern Europe, focussing now on the Bihor county of Romania and working with 6 or 7 different small trusts. She explained the significance of the name “Casa Mabel” telling how after they launched the appeal in May 2007, a Jersey pensioner called Mabel gave 1% of the total needed and pledged to pray that the balance would follow, which it did, meaning the home was open within 24 months.

Alex thanked the Romanian building company for their generous discount, the mayor for his support and the numerous people in Romania who had had donated skills and time.

The mayor and Member of Parliament both spoke commending Mustard Seed for their ongoing support and assistance to the poor and needy in the area. But the most moving speech was made by Flori who explained how much Mustard Seed has meant to her, as she briefly told her life story:


Brought up in an orphanage, she trained hard as she had gymnastic ability and represented Romania on occasions. Then she suffered kidney failure and now needs dialysis 3 times a week. Not able to work through illness and unable to survive on the medical pension she ended up homeless with no option but to sleep on the streets.

At this point in time she met Rody Stroie who brought her into Mustard Seed’s programme for vulnerable young women who had been in state orphanages and needed a helping hand.

Recently Flori and five others have moved to Cefa and now live upstairs in Casa Mabel. Because of her serious medical problems Flori is a medical pensioner and needs a carer. Adela is her friend and carer, looking after her when she is poorly, and at other times Adela works in Casa Mabel, cleaning or working in the vegetable patch.

[The other young women (except for Adela) work in factories. Having known the young women for several years, both Rose and Phil commented on how much happier and more relaxed they all are now living at Cefa in Casa Mabel.]

The name plaque on Casa Mabel translates as “Casa Mabel. Home of love, joy, peace and hope”.

Downstairs there is a large communal area with kitchen, dining area and lounge and 3 double rooms with en suite facilities. Upstairs is another smaller communal area, seven double rooms and a bathroom block. In the lounge area at Casa Mabel. All furniture has come on the Mustard Seed lorry from Jersey

The first elderly  pensioner to move in did not arrive till after the opening, as she was in hospital. It is hoped that the mix of older and younger will be successful and similar to a family.


Challenging and sad

Alongside the joy and satisfaction at Casa Mabel’s opening, both Phil and Rose still saw very real poverty among the poorest of the poor in Romania. When vVisiting 12 pensioners with FI (Fundatia Increderea) they met 4 elderly pensioners facing imminent blindness because they cannot afford to pay for medical treatment. A single cataract operation costs up to £400.

Another sad visit was to a man who had lost his family through alcohol abuse (which he had overcome thanks to FI’s help) but now dying of lung cancer, he was frightened of dying alone with no family to bury him.

One man urgently in need of hernia surgery proudly showed his bike made up with parts from 4 different bikes, but it gave him independence.

            The most distressing visit was to Saceini to a small community Mustard Seed has repeatedly tried to assist, only to have what was given sold for alcohol and cigarettes while the children never went to school and ran around barefoot, etc. Now the building they had been squatting in had been sold and they came to Mustard Seed for help.


Rose and Phil agree, “It was tough, really tough to say ‘No we will not help, you had your opportunities’. We have invested in them, they have had numerous chances and blown them all. Thankfully it is summer as these people do face living on the streets from June 20th.  We feel so sorry for the children – there must be almost a dozen of them all primary school age.  We just hope and pray that our refusal to help in this crisis will make the adults take some action to help themselves. If we see they are genuinely trying to take responsibility we will re-consider helping for the children’s sake”.


News on Nelu

Mustard Seed has raised half the amount needed but as recent medical test results on his liver were not good, this money has been sent over for Nelu to begin the year’s course of Interferon treatment immediately. We need to raise a further £5000 by November – any offers of help will be much appreciated! Please remember Nelu in your prayers.




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