Sunday, March 19, 2017

Romania: We fell in love today...

First, the group ate breakfast and left to attend a Romanian Orthodox Church service. We entered through a tiny door and sat on both sides of a terrace in a crowded, one roomed church. The church was beautiful on the inside with many amazing images on the inside walls and ceilings that made the church seem almost surreal. We watched every member, from young kids to elderly, venerate the cross. Despite being in the service for 2 hours and not understanding most of it, This experience was a great way to start off the day because it resonated with the rest of the experiences from the day. Being in the service opened up most of us to actions we had never been around before, diversity that was opening us up to the culture of Romania. After the service, the group walked from the church to the Pro Vita main village to eat lunch and walk around to visit. The walk, like the service, helped open us up to the way Romania works. For example, as we walked along the small dirt roads, we saw brilliant views of mountains and the countryside. Also, later on, we saw multiple horse-and-buggies driving down the main road. The walk ended up being a great time and everyone was showing how much they really loved what they were seeing.

Once we arrived at the Pro Vita village we were greeted by a dining hall full of people. Children of all ages sat around tables, but there were also adults from all over who had come for lunch after the service to see Father Tanase, who is the founder of Pro Vita. After lunch we spent some time playing with the kids outside and getting to know them. Then we were led on a tour of the village by Virorica and one of the residents. They showed us around the different houses that had kids of all ages in every room. We got to hang out with some of the youngest kids, even though we had no way to communicate verbally we had a lot of fun visiting them. Part of the tour included meeting the master carpenter of Pro Vita, John. He showed us his wood shop and explained how they make all of their own wood from the trees on the property and are able to use his creations throughout the village. As we continued, we got a tour of the farm and we got to see all sorts of animals, from baby pigs, to sheep, and even milk cows. Leaving the village was bittersweet since we had just gotten to know the residents but we hope to visit again before we leave. 

We were thrilled to return to the girls' campus where we have been staying.The girls were excited to see us since we had not seen them all day and we proceeded to play games with them in the courtyard. For the rest of the afternoon, we spent time laughing and playing games like duck duck goose and country country. This connected us all to the kids and we all have come to a great appreciation of the way the Romanian people live. We are all so thankful for the love and happiness our new friends have shared with us. We have all fallen in love with the culture, scenery, and most of all the people we have gotten to meet. 
-Barton Balistreri and Mackie Wainstein 

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