Its happened again ! Each year I aim to give an up to date report of the Romania trip and each year something happens to stop it. This year we seem to have come up against many of the issues that Alex and Heather face regularly. Slowness of the internet speed on my mini-laptop meant it was painful to write even the shortest blog, and then on one day we lost all electricity so there was no phone, wi-fi and no power. On that same day the water went off for eight hours. It gave us a taste of the isolation the Chalmers family feel. Poinana is literally on a road to nowhere and is some way away from Ovidieu and further from Constanta. These are the two local towns/cities where goods can be bought. Consequently when the power is down the Chalmers family are cut off. The photograph below is of their house and Church. You can see how dusty the ground is as there hasn`t been any decent rain for weeks now.
We have helped lead the children’s club this week on the theme of the `ups and downs` of Simon Peter. Ranging from between 15 and 30 children there has been a lot of laughter, fun and enjoyment. It has been great to see the children I`ve now known for several years grow and develop. However these children face many problems in their lives, owing in part to their circumstances. You can`t help but despair at the cycle of poverty that they are in. Some families are several children, Mum and Dad in one room, clothes handed down, and alcoholism rife. Despite all this the children smile and play like any other children anywhere else in the world. Their parents greet us like long-lost friends and it always feel special to go back there.
This is my fifth visit and I was delighted that some of the children not only remembered my name, but even some of the British Sign Language I taught them two years ago. Wonderful !
On top of that we also bagged a lot of clothes, shoes, toys etc to give out to the villagers; I cut the grass yet again and without breaking the lawnmower this year !
On Saturday one of the villagers came to call. Annjella is a strong, independent sort of person. She has five children, her partner and her partners father living in a small run down house. On Saturday she was in tears as her landlord had called that morning and said she had to vacate the house by Tuesday (Tomorrow)–three days notice. This is how precarious life is in Romania.
Fortunately she has a house to move to that they were building, but it is far from finished with no ceiling, heating, electricity or water. As a team and with the Church we have provided the finances for the ceiling but what an awful situation to be in; and yet this is day-to-day life.
In this country we complain about a drop of rain, but Romania would love to see a good downfall before crops are completely ruined; we complain about the cold and yet people in Poiana are entering their winter phase when temperatures will drop to -25 degrees and the snow will come; we complain about our household bills and yet people in this precious village are being evicted at short notice into unfinished buildings. The world is full of injustice and so often it is a lottery where we are born, but I still come across people who are uncaring and selfish. Several years ago I was collecting for those whose homes had been lost in Bangladesh through flooding and someone actually said “Its their own fault for being born there !” What a crass horrible thing to say and think, but so often we in the wealthy west think we are poor when we cannot afford to buy a second car or when we have to scale back our holiday from a ten-day cruise to a weeks cruise. Well, I want to say that real poverty is wondering where your next meal is coming from, fretting about how your going to feed your children, or provide for their medication. THAT is poverty.
And in the midst of this poverty in Poiana is a lovely fellowship of people who fall out with each other (as people do), who don`t always turn up for Church, make wrong decisions and yet a more welcoming group you couldn`t come across.
Please pray for Annjella and her family, for Tante Lena and her eye operation and please pray for safety and protection over the WHOLE Chalmers family as they continue to work day-to-day, year to year in that place meeting the needs of people and remember before God the children of the village that they will continue to learn about Jesus and give their hearts and minds to him.
I close with a picture of the dog that came into the family last year of whom I was so proud that they had called him MIKEY after me. This year I can understand why…………………he`s got short stubby legs and a low wobbling stomach; hair which doesn`t know where its going or what colour its supposed to be. Maybe Mikey is the right name after all !