Well it wasn't a full scale riot on Saturday at the food bank, and it wasn't totally out of control either so I thought that was progress. The Jandarme were there in force at 8:30, unfortunately the crowd seemed not to heed their instructions. I am not sure the word "orderly" is in most of these people's vocabularies. The street became blocked with more than 300 people. We tried to work out in the street to get the names and addresses but since there was no concept of forming a line we had to give up and move indoors with the Jandarme at the door. We took the information and gave out numbers. Then we gave out the boxes and collected all the numbers. As we were passing out numbers the Jandarme kept asking me if I was sure I had that many boxes. Yup I was!
While I was still across the street registering people a man opened a window above me and began yelling at me. He said "aren't you ashamed to be doing this?" No sir, I am not. "Why don't you go help orphans and Widows" I do sir. When he began to berate me for filling his neighborhood with Gypsies the Jandarme closest to me told him to shut up and close the window. Gee I couldn't have said it better myself.
We were able to give out food to more than 240 families, representing over 1000 people I would guess. We did of course have several that stay together trying for several boxes. These things are inevitable. I know there must be laws about causing these types of public disturbances and I have been grateful for the support I have received and not been arrested or fined. The Jandarme almost pleaded with me to find another way to do this. I posted a sign to suspend the distributions for now and am seeking another way. I know the centralized food bank is the answer, I am just not sure how to proceed.
I will be going to the local brick factory where poor people live in really appalling conditions and distribute food there this next Saturday. I want to contact a couple of different ministries that are working in a few poor areas and maybe partner with them for a period. A building without immediate neighbors would be really good, right now I am in a residential area. I am going to continue to buy and stock the food and prepare the boxes, not just distribute them from that building for now.
The need for food is huge here. The economy of Romania is in crisis as is in much of the world now, but so many people here were already on the edge. I am not going to give up because this is difficult - pray for this project!