It seems a life-time ago that we set off to Romania. Always a little challenging to travel from here, train, taxi, flight, 5 hour wait in Madrid, arrived after one more taxi ride just outside of Arad in Romania some 15 hours after walking out the door… BUT SO WORTH IT. We have both seen many wonderful projects round the world, but the work here has to rate right up there at the top.
It is hard to know what to cover. Hard to know what to pick out, and also hard as these guys have not publicised the work as they are focused on what they are doing. The story is not about them, but the story is for those who live there. So I can assure you that I am not covering very much in what I write, and I hope that I am not out of order to illustrate the hiddenness that they welcome when I say that one of the best know educative magazines in the world wanted to cover them in an article and they turned it down. (We, OK Gayle, took very few photographs. It just did not seem right to photo what was going on. This was about peoples’ lives… so sorry for the lack in what follows.)
Below is a link to their website (click on photo). For anyone who wants top quality exposure to holistic (wholistic?) mission we wholeheartedly recommend them.
And here is a link to a clothing range (hats, snoods, gloves, etc.) Dece that is produced by local people, bringing employment to them. The quality is excellent, and the products are available. A top hotel in Sweden had Dece make aprons for the workers, and each worker had to be able to explain to anyone coming to the hotel what the design and name was about and the work in Romania. Much of the publicity is from those who do not claim to be Christian but have been impacted.
Working with the poor and disenfranchised, but also learning from them has certainly been a key. Lee (founder / director) said that most people are impressed when they come to a place and are surrounded by 100 people crowding them, but for him it is simply becoming recognised as part of the solution and no longer crowded by people, but real relationships are formed. For someone who looked after and lived with 19 street boys in his first house I think he probably has a lot to teach!!
We went to a rubbish dump area in Arad, home to around 1000 people, living in shacks. There they are putting in a school, giving out flour on a daily basis. No running water on the site, but the (bless them) EU have a mandate that in the school there has to be water for the kids to wash their hands in and they have stipulated the temperature of the water. Government has to be in touch with people, and something that is centralised in this way, in these settings, is totally inadequate.
Greenhouses… the people that they work with are poor but many have land, and through working with them they are able to bring them their own greenhouse. With this they are able to feed their family for 6 months of the year.
Poverty is everywhere… yet there are palaces being built. We saw around 30 of these in one small community. Inequality at this level is so difficult to come to terms with. Some of these palaces are being built with people sent out around Europe to beg for funds (for example) to build a church back in Romania!!
Of course the work is not perfect, but when people are not telling you everything and they are not trying to make out the work is perfect it is so easy to connect. (Oh another encouragement… for years I have been saying that the world’s definitions are success and failure, ours must be effectiveness. Sometimes failure is the most effective. This is what we are now beginning to read in the literature of those who are pushing for a shift in the economic world of Europe. I have always maintained that when the city / society repeat what has been prophesied that we know the word has been seeded.)
Finally we had a couple of days in Hungary (Budapest) and then in Madrid. We wish to continue to dig into Madrid with walking the streets and praying. It is such a key time in the life of Spain… and Europe.
Here is a couple of shots from Budapest: