Last month 10 of us set off for another trip to the little village we have grown to love in Transylvania, Romania. We are working with Tim Poole from Heart for Romania and it's such a privilege to be part of his investment into this community.
A few days earlier we had sent a van off from Leatherhead with this years supplies of household goods, blankets, sheets, toys, presents, games, clothes, medical bags, hot water bottles, you name it it was probably in the van somewhere!! Once again our community had been so generous collecting items and getting the word out. Thank you!
The village is still recovering from their tragic loss of 7 people in a horrendous car accident a year ago. When a community is so small, only 33 little dwellings, loss on this scale hurts everybody, so much, and part of our focus this time was to provide a way to celebrate everybody’s life from the youngest to the oldest. We planned a massive birthday party on our 2nd day in the village and it was a huge success.
In the morning under a gazebo we put out arts and crafts, and the team divided themselves into face painting, animal balloons, painting/sticking, loom bands and temporary tattoos. It was huge fun and engaged everybody.
We watched one man who suffers from elephantiasis just get closer and closer. He ended up with a big smile on his face.
In the afternoon we cut the cake, or 3 cakes!! singing happy birthday to everyone, and thanks to our wonderful help and support back home we were able to give every child a lovely party bag and every child, man and woman a gift. Every boy had a football which caused huge excitement and the girls loved their build a bears.
The village had managed to find some local talent and the day finished off with sharing a massive stew together, listening to music, dancing and it was wonderful to see some who were tearful when we arrived the day before laughing and happy.
One of the most precious things we have to give is just ourselves and our time, they so value us visiting every home, being with them, listening to their stories with the help of interpreters. We try to find any way we can to encourage them. They so appreciate it when we gather round them and pray for their families. We can’t escape without a polinka or two which adds to the fun. Life is so tough and we cry with them when they share about their needs for the most basic of things, food, medicine, shoes.
It was wonderful to see some of the families had created their own gardens with the tools we left on our last visit and were growing a range of crops. They were so proud to show us their gardens and I’m sure they inspire each other.
The showers had been improved and are in use and that’s so good to see.
The ongoing urgent need is to finish the building project. The plan has been to gradually knock down each dilapidated dwelling and replace it with a solid brick built little home, only small but strong and weather proof. It is still very hard to see families living in dire situations and we have all come back wanting to see the last homes done. As of today, there are 7 or 8 left, which seems very do-able. It costs £2,500 per home which is incredible. So doing the maths we’re looking at between £17,500 - £20,000.
This is possible.
Below is an example of a house needing knocking down and a newly built, much more stable and weather proof home.
Sometimes there’s a question -
Why dilute our attention from Leatherhead and the community here?
I think partly its to do with wanting from the very start of opening B@titude to have opportunities and moments that lift our sight higher and bigger than our lives here . There’s something about moving and going together into other situations that helps ground us, make us assess our own lives differently, help us to feel more compassion and take less for granted. I also love the generosity that comes as needs are shared and the joy that’s felt as we make connections. It’s done us all good to get involved in this little village, and we are very grateful for the opportunity.