Tuesday December 16th
The day started with a visit to Speranta Familiei who work with families and needy children – name means Hope for the Family. They have had to reduce their staff and projects because of shortage of funds and there are now only 2 of them working there. They wanted to take us to see their “Project Naomi” which I thought was a hostel for single mothers where they could stay for a year while they got themselves sorted out, but it has evolved and now offers support for approximately six months to single parents living in the community – most seemed to be living with family.
We went to visit 4 different families - Raul and his colleague told us it was a little uncertain as the clients had no mobile phones or landline phones so they had not been able to tell them of this unscheduled visit with Christmas shoeboxes. And sure enough only one was in; in one apartment we waited for ages as we could hear the children crying inside but no parent – Raul explained that family had a mother and 2 teenage daughters who each had a small child and the mother had a young child herself also; he expected whichever adult was with the children had gone out to the nearby market for provisions.
The only family we did see comprised a disabled mother and able bodied father and the Speranta Familiei client was their daughter with a 2 year old child. Their home (which was larger than some had high ceilings, but by the time they had paid the rent, there was little left for food, etc. it was cold there and on hearing there was no money to buy wood, several in the party donated money for a load of wood. That money was left with Raul to administer.
In the afternoon we went with pastor Janosh to the village of Urvind where we first began working in November 1998 when there was no water, no electricity, the people were filthy, none went to school – so VERY MANY CHANGES FOR GOOD there it was like a victory convoy. SO many recognised us – it was lovely. The high-light for Phil and me had to be seeing Valentine's house which he built himself at the end of the village – a bit of a Keith Robinson effort but such an achievement for a boy labelled as educationally sub-normal when we first went there 10 years ago.