I (Mel) am just finishing a week long journey in and through Romania. I’ve learned more than I can possibly expect you to read, but the photos tell many stories. The Romanian history is rich and learning more about their 1989 Revolution was somehow heart breaking. Freedom comes at such a large price and can feel like a never ending journey. I witnessed the bullet holes in the buildings around Revolution Square where Nicolae Ceausecu (former Romanian Communist leader) was overthrown. To this day, Romanians are unsure who was shooting? A friend of mine was supposed to be in the square that day. Not knowing what was about to happen, she had this sick feeling in her stomach and stayed home. Praise God she stayed home because she easily could have been one of the lives lost in the Revolution.
So in addition to enjoying the beautiful, green city of Bucharest, I also took a flight out to a village near Moldova called Vaslui. This is the area where World Vision is working alongside the community to improve the protective environment for children to help prevent tragedies such as trafficking and all forms of violence against children. I met with a lot of different youth and adults, but one woman was a true example to me. She told me “her story” – she had 3 beautiful children who have sponsors, her daughter loves to dance, her husband had to immigrate to find work, he sends the family money as much as he can – about once every three months, he comes home about once a year, she loves him and misses him very much, he’s a good father. She works all of their land (at least an acre) all by herself, her feet have a problem but she doesn’t want to spend their money on a doctor, she wants to save everything she can so they can build a house someday, she smiles when she thinks of that dream. They currently live in a house with one room for sleeping, cooking, relaxing, and hosting visitors. This winter, when the temperatures were -30 F, they ran out of fire wood (their only source of heating) – “it was hard winter”, was all she said. Her face and hands show me how hard she works – harder than I will probably ever understand. She doesn’t complain, but thanks us so much for coming to talk to her and bringing her a bit of joy. This makes me cry. I told her that she makes me proud to be a woman. That she is such a good example to me. Because she is.
Oh Romania, I think I could easily write chapters on just a few days here. Perhaps I’ll write more later on the 1990’s HIV epidemic that struck the orphanages or the hundreds (and possibly thousands) of young people that were trafficked last year. I know these are really heavy topics, but sometimes it’s good for us to know what is happening in the world so that we appreciate the blessings in our lives and contribute where we can to loose the chains of injustice in this world. (Isaiah 58) That’s the fast God has chosen for us.
To honour my Romanian friends, I leave you with a beautiful poem by their renown Eminescu.
“The years have sped, and time still swiftly flies
Since that first sacred hour in which we met;
But how we loved I can no more forget,
Sweet wonder with cold hands and such big eyes.
O, come again! Your words inspire me yet,
While your soft gaze upon me gently lies,
That’neath its ray new life in shall rise,
And you new songs upon my lyre beget.
When you come near to me you little know
How soothed my heart is then, as though with balm,
As when some star does in the heavens show;
Your childish smile so full of tender charm
Has power to quench this life drawn out in woe
And fill my eyes with fire, my soul with calm.”