Heartened by Hard Work & Humbled by Hospitality

 Our day started off with an opening devotion to the whole group led by one of our team members, Pastor Dan. It was moving. 

I would describe our day as productive today. The fence was completed. The play set was completed. We have completed roughly 320 trusses this week with about 100 to go by the end of tomorrow. I believe we’ll accomplish it, which I don’t think anyone was expecting to happen at the beginning of the week. The walls should all be framed and ready to go by the end of tomorrow as well. 

You’ll see pictured above Skip with Jan (our team leader who works at the home office for Thrivent) and Warren (in a green Habitat t-shirt) with the play set in the background. Warren is one of the most inspiring people here. He owns a construction company in Ireland but donates his time to oversee Habitat projects like ours this week. Warren built and donated the play set. 

You’ll see different work stations, like the cutting station where one of our team members, Vann from Savanah, Georgia, worked all week. Also pictured is the staining station for all of the fence boards and play set. And there’s a picture of one of the six truss stations. 

After a gratifying day of hard work we were treated to a nice banquet dinner for all of the participants (including families) at the end of the day. They brought in Romanian folk dancers and a magician for entertainment. We sat with the same two families that we sat with on the first night: Marius, Anka, and their adorable daughter Allysia, and Laurentio, Niculina, and their dapper little boy David. 

After dinner, Lorenzio and Marius wanted a small group of us to come to their homes. They had asked earlier in the week and finally we had the opportunity. First we went to Lorenzio’s where we all piled into this two bedroom, small kitchen, living area, and bathroom apartment. The grandparents have one of the tiny bedrooms and Lorenzio’s family shares the other tiny bedroom (yes, parents and child together). They live with his in-laws who own the apartment. They were so excited and proud to have us visit their home. They had an incredibly spread of food prepared, and kept filling our glasses with drink (one of which would peel the paint off your house – very potent!). This was after our banquet dinner! They also insisted that we leave with gifts: homemade wine he bottled in water bottles for us, and fruit. 

We left Lorenzio’s around 11pm (after a hard day’s work, lots of food and drink, and needing to rise early for our last day of work). We then went to Marius’ home. They too were so excited and proud to have us visit. They too had a spread of food (right out of the oven), drink, and gifts to bless us on our way (a homemade spread for bread). They are renting their apartment which they fixed up very nicely. We got back, after three meals & too much drink, around midnight.

We were all extremely humbled and overwhelmed by their gracious hospitality. The people here are so grateful for our work and presence in their county. They are a beautiful and loving people. The country is poor, and I think it might be full of a lot of corruption (there are taxed as much as 40%, but where is the money going? Certainly not into infrastructure. I can’t help but think it’s lining the pockets of a few). We went to bed full – of a lot of food and drink, and the love of new friends.

Lastly, you’ll notice a bank called “Bank Transilvania.” I grew up thinking that Transylvania was a fictitious place. It’s not! It’s this region. Jason, one of our team members said this was a blood bank (it’s not).

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