Monday, March 24, 2014

Saints in Romania: bracelets, mountains, and LOTS of cement

Welcome back to Romania! Today we are all exhausted from a ten hour construction project, but before we get to that time to pick up where yesterday left off...

The afternoon started with our students breaking into different activities. We attempted a kickball game with the boys, a photo booth for the mothers and their children, and a bracelet making circle for the school age girls. Greer Batemen described her work with the community girls.

"Today, as one of out activities, Serena, Jessica, and I made friendship bracelets with the school girls. Teaching them was the best part because although there was a language barrier, we managed to communicate. The girls made wonderful jewelry and each one demanded our approval of their designs! Overall, the activity was a success specifically the beautiful bracelets as a result!"

After the activities, all of us Saints came back together to go on a hike with some of the children. At the time, we did not realize hike meant scale a mountain! Even with the steep climb, we all made it to the top (some complete with children on their backs) to witness the spectacular view! Nicki Gray wrote about her experience climbing.

"Having been living in the valley between two mountains for the past few days, I've grown accustomed to having to walk uphill to get almost anywhere. I was not, however, prepared for the hike our leader, Marion, had planned for us. He prefaced this excursion by telling us to bring water and stretch. I was so sure that this hike just be a leisurely walk up one of the "Sound of Music"-esque hills. Boy was I wrong. It started out just as I imagined. Right as I thought our hike would end, Marion stopped to inform us of our challenge, "The game is, no hands!" We were being told to scale this rocky and slippy mountain without using our hands for support. Much easier said than done. We all made it to the top, only slipping a falling a few times. A multitude of pictures, fun, and laughs ensued. The view even allowed us to see 3 villages at once, way unlike anything I have ever seen. On the way back, some decided to roll down the hillside while others opted for the walk-run-slide method. We bonded over having young children hang on us as we climbed and having a friend overcome a fear of heights. This trip has been and continues to be an incredible experience. Bona cera." 

Yesterday was remarkable but today was a new adventure. It marked a first for many of: working at a live construction site. Early this morning, we drove to the nearby village of Valeni where Pro Vita is building a community center and dorm for the high school students so they can live closer to school. We were going to help with mixing and laying the cement. And mix and lay cement we did, for ten hours! We were carrying buckets of water, shoveling gravel, spreading freshly made cement, and getting nice and muddy in the process. Everyone should be proud of how hard our students worked without ever once complaining! John Repetti described today's events.

"We started the day early waking up to Eric's alarm, took a cold shower, ate a quick breakfast, and we were in the cars to go to work at 9. The car we took sped through the local villages to get us to the work site. We got got gloves and were ready to start our work. The boys poured 40kg bags of cement powder into the cement mixer while the girls poured buckets of water in as well. I also got to go onto the roof where the cement we were making was going. A Romanian construction worker and I got to scoop the cement from the mixer onto the roof. We used our boots and shovels to spread the cement for about 5 hours and then our pizza came. Each of us got a pizza to ourselves, they were delicious! After lunch, another 5 hours of work followed and then we were done for the day."

Tomorrow we head off to Transylvania for two days to visit Dracula's Castle, a medieval fort, and a Romanian Kings palace. Check back then to see and hear about our adventures!

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