Year 10 student Isaac Oldcorn has recently returned from Romania where he has been doing much needed charity work. This was a 'life changing' trip for all those involved and has led them to reflect on their lives and that of others. Isaac certainly made the most of this opportunity and is already planning his return.
This is what Isaac had to say about his experience in Romania.
1 country, 14 students, 2 teachers and an experience to never forget.
We arrived at Bacau airport, late afternoon, followed by a short journey to Casa Albert. Accompanied by the wonderful Beth and Steve, who would be our guides for the next week, we settled in at Casa Albert after meeting their adopted loving German Shepard, Aslan, and his best buddy Bobby.
The first community we visited was Negustrului, a Roma Community, where we danced, coloured, played, painted, blew bubbles and had an overall great time with the children. On arrival, children rushed to greet us with both hugs and kisses. Seeing someone live a completely different lifestyle to me certainly opened my eyes. Watching children walk on the hard, rubble floor with no shoes yet still remaining so content with what they have left me bewildered. How happy the kids were with us just being present made us all extremely delighted. So, when we left, a large majority of us felt empty. Luckily we were able to visit a number of time as our renovation project was to build a fence and paint a house for two families at Negustrului.
The following afternoon, we experienced something that would stay with us forever. This was a visit to Casa Lumina which was established by Cry in the Dark. Casa Lumina means House of light, a perfect description of what we saw whilst we were there. We danced and watched the amazing people smile and have a great time right along with us. The experience left all of us with different feelings and many memories. Casa Lumina is home to a lovely group of people with a range of illnesses and needs. This however did not stop them from making us all smile and have an amazing time.
The second day consisted of a visit to Ungereni and Hospice Lumina. Ungereni is a state-run institution and when we visited, we all noticed a huge difference in the atmosphere compared to Casa Lumina. Tiled walls and darkness lined the corridors which ultimately made the environment feel unwelcoming and eerie. The patients, though standing at a distance, allowed you to feel their love through their smiles. Our experience at Ungereni was total different than Casa Lumina as we went through the corridors our every moved was watch whereas in Casa Lumina we were free to roam and be with anyone we wanted. In Ungereni we were rushed in and out of all the rooms and were directed, some rooms were definitely ’out of bounds’. The people they still had the same spirit though everyone was so happy to see us especially Claudio who was eager to make friends with all of us.
Hospice Lumina was officially opened one month ago and was built by Cry in the Dark. The Hospice is for children who are on respite care as well as those who are terminally ill and require end of life care. The provision allows parents to rest which one of the mothers who was present greatly appreciated, she thanked God for the help she had received and talked about having time ‘to breathe’. Parents can stay or visit and witness their children in a loving environment where the care never stops. To see children in this way helped us appreciate the little things in life that most, if not all people, take for granted. The specialised equipment available made us see just how much Cry in the Dark have done for these amazing children. Seeing the children smile made each of us smile right back and appreciate, even more, what we had in our lives. The parents were also happy, one of the parents said it’s like blessing from God that ‘Cry in the Dark’ made this for children
Despite only being here for a week, the memories I have made and the things I’ve experienced have prompted my opinions on life as a whole to be changed drastically. We know that this entire experience will stay close to our hearts forever