Old and new friends

Having worked in Romania for over 30 years, with a focus on people with special needs, Agents of Change have built up relationships with a whole range of individuals, especially the people who have spent their lives in institutions. One of these is Cristi who we first met many years ago when a team from the Scottish Fire Service were volunteering with us in the aftermath of the fall of the Ceausescu regime. Over the years the team has kept in touch and sent cards and gifts which we’ve passed on to Cristi. Visting hasn’t been possible for the two years of the pandemic, so our Trustee and medical volunteer who are in Romania for our response to Ukranian refugees took the chance to visit Cristi and give him cards and some pocket money from his Scottish friends. His situation has improved considerably now that he has been moved to a new rehabilitation centre at Trusesti, 50km from the county town of Botosani. It is a light, well-equipped facility with staff who clearly care about their patients. This contrast with the state of the institutions prior to the pandemic is seen elsewhere too – there’s been a positive shift during lockdown. With improved facilities and resources has come a new motivation for staff, who interact much more with the patients than they did previously. Cristi has his own locker and is able to keep personal items safe, which is far better than how things used to work.

A Ukrainian family have been settled at the same centre through the Botosani County Deaf Association, so they were visited too. An elderly man with diabetes, his daughter, and her husband who is deaf and dumb were given two rooms there, because the older man needs long term nursing care. They’re glad to have found a stable place to live, where the pet cat they brought with them is also welcome. The next step is for the younger man to find work in construction, having been a welder in Ukraine. The family enjoyed an afternoon out for coffee with Agents of Change.

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