Thursday, April 26, 2012

Back from Romania!

Wow, it feels like I have been gone much longer than two weeks! To give you a brief recap, I was in Romania working with an organization in a couple orphanages there. Because of a corrupt government that has only recently come out of communism and a bad economy, the country has been left with thousands of abandoned children. Romanian history is fascinating, and I had no idea that the Romanians themselves didn't know that there were thousands of orphans in their country--many of them still don't.

Many of the larger organizations have pulled out of Romania because it is expensive to be there and complicated to register as a volunteer organization there. The organization I worked with is one of the few still there, and they are there to stay. It was wonderful and encouraging to see the work they are doing. Because of the groundwork of trust and relationships the permanent staff have created in these orphanages, the kids just leap into your arms when you arrive, ready to love and be loved in return. This is so different from working with kids here at home, because these orphans are starved for love and attention. It was sad to see them in this condition, but they didn't need pity; they needed love and respect and friendship, and we tried to give them these things during our two weeks there.

The organization I worked with is small, so they rely heavily on these short-term mission teams coming in to help them, which is good as it is not like I was going on a vacation; I was there to serve (though I did have a fabulous time and grew along the way as well!).

I could go on about events and the fascinating differences between Romania and North America (might I just say that driving there is CRAZY. Driving laws and things like stop signs appear to be just suggestions. Also, another odd thing was it is not rude to stare there, so you'd get blatantly stared at a lot when you were out in public, which felt weird.). But I'm just going to close with a few pictures.

I'm not going to put up photos of the kids on in case of privacy concerns, but here is a taste of some beautiful Romanian scenery from our day off of visiting the orphanages. We went up into the mountains to see a castle in Transylvania, and it was just amazing.

Those two weeks were enough to create a special place in my heart for Romania, the orphans and staff at the organization, and I hope to someday go back.

20 comments:

  1. I am happy that is sounds like you had a positive impact on your missions trip. Some of my friends live in Japan...I cannot believe what they have to go through to get a license.

    WOW...those pics are a great sight.

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    1. The scenery in the mountains was amazing... the pictures don't even do it justice. And yes, it does seem a complicated process to work in other countries!

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  2. Looks like a beautiful country. I remember watching a special a few years ago about the Romanian orphans and I always wondered why it wasn't a bigger deal in the U.S. We make such a point of adopting Chinese orphans but you don't hear about Romania much. I don't know if the adoption laws get in the way, or if it's an awareness thing. It's terribly sad though...

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    1. Awareness might also be an issue, but adoption is not open in Romania outside the country. This may be changing soon though, which is exciting!

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  3. Those pictures are beautiful. It sounds like you had an amazing trip.

    My niece was adopted from Russia and I went with her on both trips. You're so right about the children in the baby homes. It broke my heart to leave any of them behind.

    Also, you're experience driving sounds like our experience driving. At one point, our driver, who didn't want to wait in traffic, decided to drive on the sidewalk so he could go the wrong way around a rotary and the wrong side of a one way street to return my sister and I to our apartment.

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    1. That sounds about right! In Romania, you parked pretty much anywhere, drove pretty much anywhere--there might be three lanes, but five rows of cars spilling out onto the tram tracks, people turning left from the far right lane, etc. Crazy!

      We also visited a baby hospital and it was heart-breaking to see all those babies with no one to hold and love them all the time.

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  4. Welcome back! You were missed. But you were doing great work in Romania, so that's all right. Our church sends mission teams to Romania once a year and they bring back photos that make our run-down trailer parks look like Beverly Hills. Thanks for posting the beautiful side of the country.

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    1. Thanks! Yes... we were in Bucharest and a lot of the city doesn't look that great. There's a lot of pollution and wild dogs running around. In the play areas of one of the orphanages there was broken glass everywhere and broken concrete, which was concerning!

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  5. So glad you got to go and see the conditions there. I was unaware there were lots of orphaned children there, as well. My husband got to travel to a university there and give a presentation and he took lots of photos. He was amazed at all the icons everywhere.

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    1. The Romanian government used to keep the orphan problem on the hush... and only now awareness is spreading.

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  6. Those are some great pictures!

    I was unaware of Romania's orphan problem.
    Sounds like you has a great time and a positive impact.

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    1. From what I understand, the communist ruler encouraged parents to have lots and lots of children because he wanted to build a youth army; many of them had 15 to 20 kids, and most of them ended up in orphanages.

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  7. Looks like a wonderful trip and your photos are lovely. I love the little mill house on the river. What a great experience for you!

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    1. Thanks! That river was a beautiful spot by the castle. Would love to return there.

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  8. Beautiful pictures, and it sounds like it was a great and rewarding experience. But it must also feel good to be home. :)

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  9. Amazing photos! What an incredible and rewarding experience it must have been for you. Would love to see more pictures, but I understand your concerns about privacy.

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    1. It was a great experience. Before I left, I didn't really think about how it would change me as well as help the kids!

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  10. Love the photos - thanks for sharing! And wow, what an experience you have had. I haven't visited Romania but it looks beautiful and it's definitely somewhere I've wanted to go.

    It's sad that all those kids are in such dire situations, but at least there are some people there to help them! Kudos to you!

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    1. Thank you! It is definitely worth a visit.

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