Buna Ziwa Prieten (Good Afternoon Friends)!
The layover at the London Heathrow Airport was not a problem. Our team passed through security without a hitch. Coming out of a bathroom near our terminal, I was surprised by the team’s beautiful rendition of the Birthday Song and gifted with fudge cookies as a treat (shoutout to my family). The team agreed that they were almost as good as real birthday cake. For most of us travelers, the flight from London to Bucharest was restful! After finding and recovering almost all of our 66 bags, and meeting the Romanian team that we would be working with, and after a delay related to where the bus could pick up all those bags, all of us boarded the famous Curtain Bus and set off for Craiova. There was definitely a lot of bonding and sleeping going on! We stopped at a gas station along the way for bathrooms and a dozen, 2 liter bottles of water, and later at the Pitesti mall for Romanian pizza (which was served with spicy or sweet ketchup for dipping!). We arrived at the Open Roads secondhand store at about midnight (Romania time) and unloaded most of our luggage (filled with the donated clothes) there. We finally got to our host families at roughly 2am – to be greeted by smiling couples, and for some, young kids who had been allowed to stay up late. Most of us fell asleep almost instantly.
We were allowed to sleep in (until 11!) this morning and met for a delicious brunch on Daniel and Donna’s patio. The food included homemade apricot jam, bread, Romanian cheese, cereal, milk, tomatoes, and cucumber. We did devotionals and read blog comments as a part of our “team time” and then headed to the neighborhood Ethos school for lunch.
The soup was SUPER YUMMY! With bread (and gluten-free rolls for those who needed it) for dipping, many of us were ready to eat all that was offered. Only then were we informed that the real food was soon to come! Later arrived Romanian spaghetti and Romanian salad – which consisted of a great blend of tomatoes, English cucumbers, onions, and a saucy dressing. (Even I, vegetable-hater, downed the delicious mix.)
We got some more time to meet the Romanian team and worship together at the Ethos church, after lunch. God was definitely present in the room. Names were learned as we played the Head-Bopper game (you know, the one with the empty water bottle?) and we bonded to truly become one, integrated Romanian-American team. God will continue to interweave all of us, as the trip continues. Later this afternoon, we will meet the Romanian orphans while playing sports and other games.
We’ll keep you updated (and please comment below),
Maddie Schumacher 🙂