There is no way this picture could portray the scene I encountered at Smila and Aurelia's house on Monday evening. Smilia must be at least 85 and her daughter Aurelia is in her 60's. Aurelia has been profoundly retarded her whole life and has been lovingly cared for by Smilia. When we added them to the program Smilia's one prayer was that her daughter go to be with the lord before her. Smilia was so fearful no one would care for her. In the right rear of the photo is Aurelia's crib. In front of that you can see the arms of the potty chair. On the left is Aurelia in her bed.
When we approached the house it was totally dark and the door was tied shut from the outside. I was used to the door being tied as it had been a long time since Smilia had been able to venture out. There is a woman who is paid to look after them. It usually is only in the morning and evening she comes. When I opened the second door in to their room there was no sound. I switched on the light and at first I thought they had both died. On the table at the head of Smilia's bed was half a cup of water and a metal bowl with a little pig fat that was strewn with rodent droppings. Mother and daughter were both still breathing we saw. I guess I wasn't quite sure that was a good thing.
Smilia had her head under a blanket so I couldn't see her face. I was unable to get her roused enough to speak but she did open her eyes. Aurelia was in her crib cramped in to her fetal position. I don't think anyone even tries to get her out any more. When she used to be taken out of her crib she was placed on a potty chair - all day she sat there. Aurelia is also blind. The room was cold. We went out back as we had purchased all the widows wood who needed it. There was a pile of old rotten gates and pieces of fence but no sign of the good wood. We gathered enough to start a fire. We got some blankets from the van and piled them on Smilia and Aurelia and built up the fire.
I called the Pastor I had contact with. A woman was given the money to buy Smilia and Aurelia the wood. I actually didn't care that the wood was not outside only that these women were kept warm. I thought maybe this woman was afraid it would be stolen and brought some over periodically. Certainly Smilia couldn't have gone outside and gotten wood to build a fire anyway. I thought maybe I could call an ambulance - but then what? These things are not so easy here. My Pastor friend promised to come the next day. There was fresh bread in the outside room so someone had been there - hopefully had brought food and fed them. There were some diapers and bed pads also.
I left with a heavy heart and in tears. We all did. Irene and Wayne are visiting here to help with all the work. They have a charity in Wales, Reaching Romania. They provide gift boxes every Christmas, not only for the widows but also for hundreds of poor children and for an entire hospital of people that are chronically mentally ill. Peter and Christine, along with Peter's granddaughter, are over from England to help. It was just so sad - and how many more are there just like Smilia and Aurelia? I also don't understand why the Lord, in His mercy, doesn't take them both home.
I would not have thought the sad mood would lift for a long time. We had one more stop to make - to Elisabeta. She is new in the program and I have never met her. This woman got us laughing!
Her house was also dark and everything was locked. We stood outside and yelled and yelled - but most of them are fairly deaf. Sani jumped her fence and opened the corridor door. Danny went in and was shining a spotlight in to all the windows as we keep calling her. Finally in the last window a light came on inside. This poor bewildered woman sat up in bed and I guess she thought she was having a nightmare. She struggled, and I do mean struggled, out of bed and then we noticed that her legs were all bent and she was partially paralyzed. Elisabeta worked her way to her crutches and painstakingly inched her way to the door. The handle rattled...and then nothing. After a moment of silence Danny quipped - "she forgot the key" We all burst out laughing. When the poor thing finally got the door opened she was so bewildered - and her look said it all - it said "who the ---- are you people?" Now actually I couldn't translate what she said - because it was all in German! Ah, does anybody know German? Yeah, Danny spoke all of about 6 words of the language. I saw she wanted us to go in to the other room, where there was heat but I said let's just give her the stuff and let her close the door. We kept trying to use motions to show this was for her, she kept trying German, Danny kept saying we couldn't understand...I put the shippers down by her feet. draped the blanket over a chair and took the lid off her box to show her the goodies. I pointed to her and kissed her on both cheeks and we turned to leave. As we cleared the door she said in perfect Romanian - "How did you get in here?" We explained that we jumped the fence and would lock up behind us - we couldn't contain our mirth at her finally speaking to us in Romanian - while just a short time before we had tears pouring down our cheeks.