Being in America, especially for the 4th of July, I reflected back between where I had just been, in Romania, and returning home to be surrounded by the freedom we have in this country. I reflected on the living conditions in this country for our poor and the poverty in particular of the Roma (gypsy) people of Romania.
Just having access to clean water and sanitary conditions upon return home reminds me how blessed I am. The Roma culture is minimized at best and illiteracy is extremely high. Children often do not go to school or, if fortunate enough to attend school, they usually leave school by 5th or 6th grade.
Returning each year since 2000, it is just like going back in time. Although decades have passed since the fall of communism in 1989, it will take many generations for positive change to occur regarding the new freedom Romanian people have; but a most welcome change has been the availability of education for more children. Unfortunately, as we all know, separate is not equal. During one of our outreach visits, our eight girls, Andrea, Danny and I visited a segregated school for gypsy children only. The funds were given by the European Union after the town applied for them. Although grateful that these Roma children have access to a school, it was hard for me to experience segregation still existing.
However, I need to give a big thanks for the donations from Families in Transition, of Manchester, N.H. We supplied two Roma preschools with new stimulation toys for play and educational supplies.
Setting up several play stations, the kids learned how to play with Mr. Potato Head, a beautiful wooden barn filled with animals, magnetic puzzles, magna doodles, dinosaurs and little cars! Our girls were wonderful playing with the second graders, playing a great group activity and finally singing two songs entertaining the student beautifully. Everyone had a great time.
We later visited the villages, where the Roma children live in extreme poverty with no sanitation and little access to clean water. Although it was difficult, it was important for the girls to be exposed too.
Reaching out to Romanian village families who live in poverty is something the girls have become very invested in. They donate their clothing and toys to this effort and off we go to a family that has applied for assistance. The families receive essential food supplies and many basic staples for the family. The families are so appreciative and always enjoy the visiting time together.
During my solo visit, I lived at Casa Joseph with the girls, and we shared all our meals together – however, we all still love our bedtime routine after their showers of sitting together and drying their long hair. Closing our day by sitting on each one’s bed and being able to now converse in English was so much fun! Then being able to kiss each one on the forehead and wishing them sweet dreams is so unbelievably special. Remembering this moment of love always brings a smile to my face.
I look forward to our next time together. Thank you all for your continued support financially, through donations and through all the love received.
Please enjoy the video of the girls on a picnic out to the Cabin outside town. My, have they grown since we held them as infants!