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.