I have been trying to get back into the groove of things. Getting a week behind in quilting is not an option in my opinion, but the experience I had being able to go to
was well worth it. Clint and I had a wonderful and rewarding trip. I had imagined the trip to be a little different than it was, but it turned out great. Last year when Clint went, he really didn't have a plan. He just had a bunch of quilts and was determined to give them out to people in need. The people he helped were really destitute and didn't have anything, so the joy of receiving a quilt made them happy. When it was decided that I was going, I told Clint that I needed a little more organization to the trip and we were lucky enough to get a hold a man in Romania whom Clint has worked with before and this man (Vali) arranged for us to be able to go to the orphanages. Vali picked us up at the airport and drove us to the city of Romania , the city is about an hour and a half outside of Pitesti . The following morning we woke up early and headed to the Social Work office where they run all the ophanages. It was a long process going from one person to the next in order of rank. The whole time I just sat in confusion as everyone was conversing in Bucharest , including Clint, so I was completely clueless. But I guess they take donations seriously and we had to sign papers and give them the count of all the quilts. We also had funds to use on anything that they needed in the orphanage, but we wouldn't find out what they needed until we visited the orphanage. They kept telling us to not give money because it would disappear and that the kids weren't in orphanages, but in homes where "children with family issues" lived. The whole "politically correct" thing exists everywhere I guess. Romanian
All in all we had 51 quilts donated and there were 36 small children in the orphanage we planned with Vali to go and visit, but the orphanage was about an hour and a half away and they wouldn't let us visit the orphanage unless they had a social worker go with us. So, it worked better for them to have us visit the orphanage the following day. In the meantime though, they did have a group home for children with mental disabilities where we were able to take 15 of the quilts to. Unfortunately we weren't able to get pictures of that orphange. So, if you donated a quilt and don't see it in our video, it was given to the group of kids with mental disabilities.
I guess for a moment I struggled because on the outside it looked like these children are well taken care of and they have a place to live and their basic needs were being met, so I wondered if it would make a difference at all that they were receiving a quilt. I guess I pictured what Clint did last year with the people on the street and was hoping for that same experience. But when we went to the ophanage with the small children the following day, my mindset changed. I can't describe to you how it was to give each child a quilt all of their own. The smiles on their faces were thanks enough. I realized that they do have a place to stay and people to look after them, but they don't have a mom and dad like my kids do, they don't get tucked in at night with a loving parent and their caretakers change a lot, so the constant love isn't there. They don't have anything that is their own, so for them to have their own quilt was an amazing gift.
After we handed out the quilts to the children we asked the director of the orphanage what they needed, she told us that the kids from 18 months to 2 years old didn't have any age appropriate toys to play with and that the older children needed toys and school supplies for drawing and what not. So we drove to the Supermarket and bought all that we could. It was fun just grabbing handfuls of supplies and toys realizing that because of donations, we were able to do it. We returned to the orphanage with the toys and supplies. The workers were amazed and so thankful for the generosity. They were so excited that the children would be able to have these new toys and supplies. It was an amazing experience, and I feel lucky that I was able to go. All the quilt and money donations were amazing and I have to thank all of you for making it possible for us to be able to be the messengers and give these kids something from the heart. I am always amazed at the generosity of people, there it a lot of good in the world and I am glad that we have been able to make a difference to a few lives, even if it was a small difference.