Thursday April 10th 2008


When I phoned Alex from Mustard Seed Romania he laughed long and loud to hear we were only just up at 9 am! But bear in mind that Romanian time is 2 hours ahead of Britain (so it was 7 am according to our bodies' Jersey time clocks!) and we have just driven 1500 miles, in conditions ranging from hard frost and ice to warm sunshine, and encountered various minor disruptions, frustrations and challenges on the way.

After a civilised breakfast we met Alex who was really excited about the donated car and already working on the task of registering it, even considering the possibility of changing the steering wheel over to the left hand side. Then we went out with him to CEFA. This is where our Mustard Seed kindergarten and homework project is, also the pensioners programme, the boys hostel, and most exciting where the foundations have been dug for the pensioners home and where the Americans Steve and Tom have partly built a house for the supervisor. All in all a very exciting site visit, followed by lunch.

We began visiting the kindergarten, where 25 children, mainly gypsies attend before they go on to the state school in the village. We played with the children and caused general havoc there.

After the children go home from kindergarten at 1 o'clock the older children come to the homework club (main school ends at 1) and the children need support to get their homework done.

Mustard Seed Romania has a second homework club for 15 children aged between 7 and 14, at the next village of Berechiu here we were impressed by what we saw. One girl has done so well in school thanks to the homework club and her own efforts that she can go to vocational school in Oradea in September that means she should have the good chance to get a decent job afterwards and should escape the poverty trap. Alex tells me there are also 2 from Cefa who should be able to attend vocational school. This means boarding Monday to Friday in Oradea as the parents are poor it means we have to make it possible financially if we possibly can it costs about 25 per month or 100 a term for accomodation, etc. The great news is that there are already 6 young people at high school from Berechiu or Cefa having come through the homework club programme. The bad news is that we are short of 6 sponsors for this coming September, 3 sponsors will needed for the new children and 3 of the sponsors from last year are not continuing.

Alex and Beni the teacher explained that there are 3 special incentive prizes for the children attending the Berechiu homework club a bicycle and 2 computers, one prize for the best grades, another for the best attendance and one for the best effort and behaviour.

After that we went on to the girls apartment. We met them all and made arrangements with Flori and Gyonghyi (the ones who came to Jersey last summer) to take them to a restaurant on Saturday evening for Flori's birthday. They gave us coke and coffee.

Then we came home to the orphanage to a lovely meal Simona had prepared Romanian cooking is wonderful.

We need an early night tonight we are all tired and have another busy day tomorrow visiting sponsored families and pensioners and distributing donated food, toiletries, seeds and clothes.



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