Monday May 31st 2010
Both Phil and I found it very hard to wake up this morning! Guess it must be the effects of the trip down and the time change.
I woke up in the middle of the night to hear the rain beating down and discovered the bedroom window was open and the rain coming in – fortunately no damage done and nothing wet other than the window sill.
We spent the morning at AGAPE Romanian Orphans Ministries; this is where Gyonghyi is now. When we got there to our surprise we found Nadia is there now also – Nadia was originally in the sponsored apartment known as Nicu’s Girls, then she was a nanny and cleaner. Gyonghyi or Doris Joy as she now calls herself has blossomed – so happy, so confident, seems so secure and so affectionate. She is good doing the cards there – they employ the orphans on their programme to make cards to sell to raise money. We also found Attila is there (he used to be in the boys’ hostel at Cefa till he left to go to Belgium). Agape have a quite structured programme – all the orphans must work to earn money and also must be furthering their education. Doris Joy is planning to go to high school then get a vocational qualification which will hopefully mean her future is better than the only possible job being a in factory. There are 5 female orphans living in the apartment downstairs, Corey and his family live on the top storey and the middle storeys are for card making and education programmes. Corey’s wife’s family are very involved and have cultivated the ground and now Agape grow a lot of their own produce. What Phil and I learnt we liked – this foundation are really getting alongside the orphans and sticking with them to help them achieve a real future.
To our surprise Marinella came in and began helping also (from the sponsored apartment project known as Nicu’s Girls). She is no longer working at the hospital for abandoned children – she is now cleaning for several families including Nicu and Miheala Gal and the People to People office, but she only works some days. She goes to Agape as a visitor who helps – in return they feed her when she is there. More and more people drifted in to help make cards either for an hour or longer. There was a good working buzz.
Phil and I then tried to visit Ken and Florence at Vineyard. Unfortunately there had been a misunderstanding about times and they had already left for Cluj, so we did not see them. As we sat outside and waited to phone them to check on the situation the heavens opened and it POURED!!! When it finally stopped and we opened the gate to go out onto the street the road was like a river probably half a foot deep – amazing.
From there we met Agi and went to see the girls of Nicu’s Girls apartment. Agi explained how fortunate they are that Nicu and Miheala Gal help them with the rent of the apartment and a church in the area helps them with food each day at lunchtime. Otherwise they simply could not survive. Their salaries are all painfully low around 100 euros a month – yes 100 euros a month not a week as Phil thought at first. Maria, Mia and Ana work in the hospital for abandoned children, Marinella and Agi work cleaning and Csilla works in the hotel 7 days a week during the season. They were all concerned about how they would get to work tomorrow as in protest over the 25% drop in salaries for all government employees and enforced month’s unpaid leave all the trams go on strike tomorrow. Today it was the teachers on strike.
The girls gave us a list of needs including such basic needs as food, pasta, rice, cooking oil, tinned fish, toothpaste, washing powder, shampoo and soap. They generously offered us some of their meal – it looked to me as though their main meal was soup and bread – it did not look a particularly nutritional soup. In the car Phil and I agreed we will go and buy them some groceries before we go – no shadow of doubt they cannot make ends meet without support.
Tonight on the TV Geo pointed out to us that according to the news, the government plan that in 2011 the salaries of all government employees will be cut by 50%! As we watched and listened in disbelief he said he thought there was so much unrest and dissatisfaction in the country that he wondered if the government would collapse ....... Certainly the situation is very serious in Romania and without doubt the help from Mustard Seed Jersey is desperately needed.