Monday December 15th
We started by visiting a small state orphanage for
handicapped children and young people – it was the same place as I went to last
December. Usually foreigners, even Romanian members of the public, are not
allowed in, but as we were delivering Christmas shoeboxes we were given
permission to visit. We were shown round. There are 14 young people ages
ranging between seven and twenty-one handicapped mentally and physically who
will always need support. The building was built by business men from
We spent the rest of the day with Nelu of Fundatia
Increderea, visiting sponsored pensioners and others Nelu wants to assist with
our help. He re-iterated that Mustard Seed
Again all of us have different memories of what moved us or challenged or thrilled us but I will share what sticks with me. Firstly the difference in provision for handicapped adults – at the state orphanage where special provision was made for the original handicapped young adults, there is good provision, ongoing stimulation and care. But for a family with three mentally and physically handicapped adult children there are only the four walls of the house and the devotion of 2 elderly parents – so inevitably a very uncertain future as inevitably one day the parents will pass away. That was a sad family to visit and raised challenging questions.
Once again we saw the huge joy when pensioners found soap in their shoeboxes. We visited one lonely little old lady who wept with joy and kissed the bars of soap, so thrilled was she to know she had soap! We saw old friends who I have seen countless times before over the years, got hugged and kissed numerous times.
We went into the basement where one lad lives who attends the youth club Nelu and his wife Cristina run. With no natural light and a ghastly stuffy damp smell in a tiny room one teenage lad lives with his mother who was out at work. The boy has an eye complaint. Their total income is about the equivalent of £90 a month with the mother's earnings a month, but the rent is £40 a month. It was grim there.
It has been a tiring day, we have driven miles around
Early in the morning Nelu arranged that we would meet a reporter from the local newspaper. I commented to the reporter on the contrasts between the wealth and plenty of the streets near the centre of Oradea and then behind the closed iron gates on the same streets are courtyards full of tiny desperately poor dwellings where there is no water, no electricity and unbelievably bad conditions.