Everybody like to receive gifts. But what is a gift? Not only a tangible thing but also impressions or emotions can go for, aren’t they? And this is what you get MAKING gifts. Mutual pleasure 🙂
It’s a shame that in the 21st century there still are unfortunate people in need of food and basic things like a piece of soap or toothpaste. We can’t change their lives completely, but we can lend them a helping hand. Between doing nothing and doing a few we choose the second. That is how the idea of humanitarian trips was born. We are happy to mention that we are not the only ones who do it and want to tell you the story of the journey we organised.
The preparation starts long in advance. To extend our capabilities, we search for partners among other companies and individuals. For about two weeks before the trip itself, we collect everything in the garage to load then in our cars and depart to the selected area. On the way, we visit a department store to finalise the checklist of necessary things and end up with approximately 2300 kg of goods loaded in 6 cars. Only soap we had 200 kg, not speaking about such items as flour, cooking oil and so on.
Since the event is happening in winter, we have to arrange some shelter not only to sleep at night but also to rearrange everything we brought and to form personalised bags. Local authorities are the magic wand; they always can find a place for us, for example, in a local school. This year we were lucky to settle in a just built shool campus designed for pupils from nearby villages, so they won’t need to overpass all the way to and from school every day, they will come on Monday and leave on Friday. Luxurious accommodation!
We arrived on Friday night, had a quick dinner and went to sleep to wake up early in the morning and start the rearrangement. First, we need to take everything inside, then reconfirm contents of each personalised bag (depending on who will receive it – a man, a woman or a child) and finally form sets. Afterwards, we load cars again. Totally, including handling bags to recipients, every item had to be moved four times what makes nearly 10 tonnes to be moved by ten people. Good fitness training, ah?
The next stage is to reach villages and their inhabitants. And here is the importance of having properly prepared 4×4 cars revealed. I can’t say these places are very far from main roads, but as soon as winter comes, they become isolated by a thick layer of snow making them inaccessible to small cars. To walk you will need to spend ten times more time and efforts comparing to summer time. In these conditions, big wheels dressed in chains, powerful engines, winches and driving skills are not toys but essential tools for a successful mission.
It was not an easy game, climbing the steep road took plenty of time. The sunset was marvellous. And we understood that the second village had to be delayed for the next day, Sunday. Was it worth spending the time? Oh, yes! Sincere and surprised smiles of people who don’t expect anything from the outer world are priceless.
We come back to the temporary home and reward ourselves with a ciorba de casa (traditional Romanian homemade soup) cooked on the open fire to recharge batteries for the next day. On Sunday we move more quickly since all bags are already loaded. We jump in cars and head to the next village. This one is a bit more accessible but not the less disadvantaged. Houses here are scattered across hills, so we explore the area in some way. Sometimes we face sad situations; the old woman just lost her son and we can’t demand a smile from her. Sometimes you have to spend not only your money and physical power but also sacrifice a part of your soul.
In the same village, we discovered a… museum! The Keeper is also an old woman, passionate to share her experience and knowledge with visitors. You can be sure you will always be a dear guest in a place like this.
To finalise the story, I want to encourage everybody to join an expedition like this at least once in life. If you want to do it with us in Romania – let us know, we will be happy to enlarge the team. You can also help in different ways such as money donation and partners suggestion. Or any other ways – if you have an idea, write us, and we will find a way to use it.