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Caring for the Elderly

It was 2004 and our “Meals on Wheels” Programme was at its beginnings. Ever since back then we were all driven by a great deal of enthusiasm and dedication. We knew that Lawside Romania Project can be a good thing for the lives of so many here in Romania.
When Father Joseph, then Parish Priest of St. Therese’s church, Bucharest introduced us to the plight of some elderly people in his care, we never realised how this caring would develop at a rate and in a way that truly surprised us. It was definitely worth considering this Project.

Firstly – visiting the poorest people and getting a picture of their needs.
Secondly – setting in place a means of ensuring daily food for each – our “Meals on Wheels” Programme.
Thirdly – realising the loneliness of the lives of most and getting a group of youths who would guarantee to visit these elderly friends weekly.
Fourthly – planning to set up social services from a volunteer group with a nurse director.

Elderly people in Romania

Elderly people in Romania

Social service would mean visiting the elderly people and giving comfort in the line of listening to problems, helping to bath, washing or tidying up their rooms, making sure there is a comfortable bed.
When the time came for our first visit since the “Meals on Wheels” was initiated the results were truly encouraging and gave us great happiness.
I remember the elderly friends praising so highly the daily food. It was as if they couldn’t believe it is true. It is hard to describe our emotions visiting these beautiful people. It was hard to withhold tears when we heard it said ‘before these meals I could afford a piece of meat only every three or four months’. How to describe the joy of the lady who is able now to have a dinner together with her grandson – which never happened for many years?! Life is totally changed for them for better. Also – life is much easier for another lady who was able to enjoy a proper dinner not just a cup of tea as in the past!

How grateful they all were to the good God who answered their prayers and also to all who support us in this beautiful project!

Thank you very much!

Sister Mary Aloysius

Never Forget Old People

January 31st, 2011 No comments

To love the person next to you like you would love yourself is what God said.

The person next to you could be your brother or it could be a stranger. No matter who the person is, if they have problems in life then we should do our best to help them.

Lawside Project for elderly

Lawside Project for elderly

We, the Parish youth group, organize and promote this type of activity with our curate from St. Teresa’s Church in Bucharest and with our social worker Rita Tudor. We are working on a very special project in which we identify the old people in society who need help and then we try to improve their lives in some way. In general the people we visit don’t have any family or friends and are alone and forgotten.

We must take better care of our old people and make sure they are not forgotten.

Cristina Petrencic

Volunteer for “Meals on Wheels” Programme, 2007

Feelings & Thoughts – Maureen’s 2006 visit to Romania

December 9th, 2009 No comments

It’s hard to relate all the different feelings and emotions that I experienced during my visit to Romania. Setting out alone I was nervous and excited not really knowing what awaited me at the other end. The only certainty was Sister Mary Aloysius would meet me at the airport. Sister Mary Aloysius had booked me into a flat for my stay. At first the thought of staying in a block of flats alone filled me with apprehension as I looked out of each window in turn. However, very quickly my flat became a haven of rest and seclusion after each busy and eventful day. It was a luxury to get home at night and relax and unwind.

Child at Budimex (Marie Curie) Hospital in Bucharest
Child at Budimex (Marie Curie) Hospital in Bucharest

My first visit to Budimex (Marie Curie) Children’s Hospital in Bucharest was in some ways a culture shock for me. Although I had tried to prepare myself for the worst, some of the conditions the Doctors and nurses have to work in and the children had to live in were very poor. So many sick children, so little space and so few nurses, but the dedication of the staff, the good work being done and the difference the Lawside Romania Project is helping to bring about is overwhelming and helped me cope with the obvious suffering and hardship I encountered in the Oncology Ward, Intensive Care and the Rehabilitation Department.
It was also on my first day that I was taken to meet Mereka whom I was to spend time with and care for during my stay. Immediately he captured my heart. I had no idea then of the worries, the joys, and fears and triumphs that Mereka would bring me in 2 weeks. But I would happily have taken him home with me at the end of it all.
But despite spending a lot of time on Floor 2 of the Budimex (Marie Curie) Children’s Hospital, helping the play therapists, some time in the playroom, talking with mums and dads and witnessing how they all coped with what little they had, there was lots more to see and experience.

Children at Budimex (Marie Curie) Hospital in Bucharest
Children at Budimex (Marie Curie) Hospital in Bucharest

The Dundee S.V.D.P. society had given me a substantial sum of money for the Lawside Romania Project and friends and family too had given generously and I was privileged to see how it was to be spent and the difference it could make to so many lives.

My visit to see Nazareth house, was a lovely but quite humbling experience. The courage and pride the social parents and their grown up sons showed in the care of 5 lovely young boys was very uplifting. It is a very, very happy and love filled home despite the lack of material possessions. The joy and gratitude of the children receiving the simple gifts Traian Despa and I had bought for them was wonderful to see. There were also similar humbling visits to other poor families that the Lawside Romania Project helps regularly.

The next area of the Lawside Romania Project I was to visit was the ‘Meals on wheels’ scheme for the really needy or elderly. The different homes I visited showed me a real poverty. Large families struggling in difficult conditions to stay together, needing support, help and basic necessities like food on the table. An elderly couple praying that each of them will be enabled to help the other survive. An old lady so grateful for the help she was getting but so proud of her spotless home, however little she possessed. so many needs, so much hardship and yet such faith in God and an acceptance of what for people at home in UK would be totally unacceptable. To be able to provide a decent hot meal every day, to be able to help make homes more habitable, to bring joy, hope and the promise of some little security & comfort to these people was a very rewarding and humbling experience I will never forget.

How people can survive with so little and be so grateful  for so little, filled me with a warm glow, but also made me determined to take the message home to others so that they too will have the opportunity to help in a very practical way.

I could go on and on about my thoughts, feelings and experiences with many similar stories, but will sum up by saying I have never witnessed such faith and love despite the poverty and dreadful conditions people are proud to be living in. Even those without running water, cooking facilities, etc., give thanks to God for what they have.

Maureen