The trip down arriving Saturday 23rd 2009

We have arrived here safely to a most wonderful welcome from the girls at Cefa – or should I say young women as they all either in their twenties or thirties and have been in our sponsored apartment, under the watchful eyes of Rodi and Alex Stroie since they found themselves with nowhere to go after leaving the state orphanages, various lengths of time ago. As costs rocketed up and the financial crisis began to affect the factories where the girls work (resulting in cuts in hours) it literally became an impossibility to make ends meet as they are paid only the minimum wage when they work a full week. So they have moved out here to the village of Cefa where living costs are cheaper. More of that later – first of all let’s talk about the trip down.


We met up with David and Angela at St Malo. It was good to see them and see how enthusiastic and impressed Angela was by the trip to Romania about 3 weeks ago – it was David’s 10th trip but her first. (It is clear that she made a good impression on the girls too.)


For us it was an uneventful trip down, with no crises or problems. The worst problem in France was how our windscreen seemed to magnetically draw all birds flying in the vicinity to do countless  “whoopsies” on the windscreen! In Germany what we most remember was the perpetual road works – we drove a few miles just to slow right down or stop as we filtered in for yet more road works again and again and again! Once the rain and early road-works stopped, driving in Austria was a pleasure. And having reached Hungary last night the pressure was off and we enjoyed going at a far more leisurely pace across Hungary to the Romanian border.


On arriving in Romania we noted with amazement that finally the dreadfully bumpy pot-holed road from the border towards Arad has been attended to in places – it is not completed yet but a world better than it used to be. At one very dangerous junction now there is a roundabout and in general it all looks and feels so much better to drive along. On the road to Arad there is a load of new development.


On arriving in Cefa we had a fabulous welcome from the girls – especially Flori. We knew Alex and Rodi would not be there as they had a funeral at Alex’s other church in the opposite direction – it seems to involve 2 services – one tonight and one tomorrow which I think is the actual funeral. But Rodi had prepared some delicious soup and Flori had done a macaroni dish – all very nice. The only down side was when Flori offered us something which sounded like a dessert to me so I said Yes – only to find it was some rather chewy and (in my opinion) not very pleasant sausages!


We were AMAZED and DELIGHTED at the progress with the pensioners’ home. It is ready now. The 6 girls live upstairs – Maria works at the factory down the road at Inand making clothes; Mariana, Estera and Elisa work in Oradea at the shoe factory (means getting up at 5 am to catch the factory bus and returning at 5 pm). Adela works at the pensioners’ home and in the garden there – she has responsibility for the chickens. And Flori is not allowed to work as she receives a very small medical pension.  For Flori the move to Cefa has helped her no end – previously she often felt lonely and down but now she has more activity going on around her and if she feels ill (she does often have days when she is really quite poorly) then she is not alone in an apartment, but has Adela and others on site to look after her.


So far no pensioners have moved in – two will move in immediately after the official opening on Saturday (a week today). They are 2 ladies in need. There are various legal requirements and agreements to be arranged and completed before we can officially take in any needy pensioners – but they should be finished this week. Alex explained that to have responsibility for the elderly (with the greater risk and even expectation of death) is far more complicated legally than the programme with the young people, but that paperwork is well underway, though he wanted to discuss it with me before finalising it.


Phil and I are both amazed at how well done the pensioners home is and what a lovely place it is. The communal area downstairs is magnificent and huge. Also down stairs are 3 en suite double bedrooms (for the Romanians the preference is to share a room). Upstairs there are 5 double bedrooms with a bathroom block very close by and an open communal area. I cannot begin to say how impressed and pleased and proud I am.



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