This is my husband's guest post about our recent trip to Romania. As writing is not his thing, I am so appreciative of his effort!
What I did on my mission trip to Oradea, Romania.
Our trip started by driving to JFK airport in NYC. After leaving 1/2 hour late, sitting one hour in a traffic jam before we got to NYC, and making a wrong turn just before the extended stay parking area, we were then dropped off at the wrong terminal at the airport. We then had to get on the train that was across the two lane highway and go back 1/4 mile to the correct terminal. 4 checked bags = 180 lbs. & 5 carryon's = 120 lbs. Happy Day! We did all this with two 4 year olds that could barely carry their carry on and push their own strollers. We missed our flight and ended up spending the night there :( So I can't just blame it on TOO MUCH luggage! $338 each x4 to get back on track the following day :( Talk about being a nervous wreck! A 7 hour flight from JFK to Frankfort, Germany, a 2 hour flight to Budapest, Hungry, and then a 4 hour transport to Oradea, Romania finally got us where we needed to be.
The first day there our family visited the hospital where Ramona’s ministry, Project Hope for the Children has been working for ten years now. Ramona supplies diapers, wipes, cereal, hygiene products, vitamins and toys for the hospital’s social babies that are warehoused in the hospital until they are placed in foster care, an orphanage or are returned home. The doctors and nurses were great and loved seeing Ramona and all of her caring supplies. Our kids loved visiting the babies and wanted to help.
The biggest reason that these babies are abandoned has been because of their Roma Gypsy origin. The parents just drop them off at the hospital and many times never come back for them. Because they're Gypsy no one local wants to adopt a child of this culture. The government has closed international adoptions stating to the other countries that they don't have a problem with abandoned children:( The hospital asks us not to take any pictures of the kids in their care, so you will not see any of these. We did, however, take a few photos at the other two foundations that we visited. You will see us delivering diapers at a Gypsy village and some locals transporting goods.
While Ramona was working and shopping for the babies, I daily drove out to the village of Sant Andre about 8 Kilometers out of town and worked for the foundation, Children in the Son. This ministry has a home called Acasa Agape (House of Love). This houses several Gypsy boys during the school year. As the boys are from remote villages that don't have higher grade levels, this allows them to further their education by going to a high school and making more of themselves and their community. It has proven to be a great asset to the region. We hope it remains open because the mayor, that donated the property, is now trying to take it back because the property value has increased.
Children in the Son allowed me to use their van to commute and carry supplies. That was interesting, driving in a country that speaks a different language :( Some of the things I accomplished while there was staining the large outdoor table and benches, scrapping the lawn mower (blown main bearings) and fixing the weed whacker so I could mow the lawn. I also stripped and painted 3 "very" large yard planters, repaired some walls in the house and put up some cork board panels for the boys to hang pictures on.
I was especially taken by two other foundations we visited one day. One is fostering and placing children from the hospitals into group and foster homes. This foundation, Romanian Relief, also runs a free medical clinic. The other is trying to educate the new parents (very young Gypsy parents) how to break the negative cycle that they have learned from their culture. This foundation is Forget Me Not Ministries and they provide a daycare, work projects and aid to one of the largest Roma villages in the county (about 3000 people in one quarter of a square mile). This is where we visited the Gypsy village and saw where many of the hospital babies come from. Ramona was excited because Project Hope for the Children was able to partner with these foundations and purchase $2,000 worth of supplies for them.
Can you say tram? Andrew can! Morning, noon or in the middle of the night; every time one goes by the apartment window he tells us and what color it is. The children spent their time at the babysitter’s and enjoyed meeting old and new friends! They did very well during our time there and were great sports with our different routines!
On the way home, we again traveled 4 hours by car to Budapest where we spent a whole day touring the city that is all about the Danube River. Awesome! The next day we flew on to Zurich, Switzerland then back to NYC. Andrew and Katie our two four year olds did very well! Or as well as a 4 year old can do on a plane for 8 hours!! (Picture two of us in the airplane bathroom and Andrew calling the stewardess every time he found a button. Yes! He is a button pusher:) All in all it was a great trip!
*FYI Gas was $6 a gallon and they only sold 95 octane, 90% of the vehicles are diesel and all are standard transmission.
May God Bless the children!
Project Hope for the Children is a non-profit ministry that seeks to mobilize the generosity of donors to provide for the tangible needs of orphans, disadvantaged children, and at-risk families in Romania, Puerto Rico, and Beyond.