“Good Day, Sir” (part 3- my Romanian adventure!)

The Caminul Felix website (see post below) declares that having been to Romania you’ll never be the same again. I thought they were lying when they claimed this, or at least exaggerating, but it’s the truth. The Emma that went to Romania is not the same Emma that came back…

Regarding the physical building work, I’ll let these pictures do the talking (for which I can take no credit). Instead, here are my highlights of the week- emotional moments that really get right to the heart of what Caminul Felix is all about:

Watching a septuagenarian allowing a young boy to beat him at cards, even though they’ve never met before and because he has a charming, innocent, toothless grin as he cheats and wins every time…

A young girl, safe and smiling and happy, delighting in all the foreign doting attention, fully enjoying her first year at school and captivated by the novelty of our digital cameras…

Listening to a “house mother” describe with sadness and concern the state of two children she and her husband are about to adopt (whilst having a house full of 12 others already)- living on the streets like animals, amongst the squalor of boxes and drains whilst their father is at work- a sadness tinged with hope for the future…

Walking through a half- built house with its young lady beneficiary, excitedly talking about the imagined position of a table, mirrors, bright purple sofa and the paintings she’s designed for the walls…

Collapsing in a seizure of exhaustion after building all day, with one arm cramped up and tense (with muscle spasms affectionately dubbed “hammer claw”) but being unable to stop grinning because you know you’re helping to give young people a future and a start to life…

It’s about freedom for children, churches and a country rising from years of oppression… It’s about “Caminul Felix” – a happy home, a happier future, and family.


“Good Day, Sir” (part 2)

So why the Timon of Athens opening line? I thought it was appropriate as I try to learn some key phrases in Romanian for my forthcoming trip. However, I’m beginning to doubt the success of this plan, as it doesn’t look like the easiest language to learn! See some examples (courtesy of Wikipedia):

Hello : “Salut.” (sah-LOOT)
Good day :”Bună ziua” (BOO-nuh zee-wah)
How are you? : “Ce mai faci?” (cheh my FAHTCH)
Fine, thank you :”Mulţumesc, bine.” (mool-tzu-MESK BEE-nay)
My name is ____ :”Numele meu e ____” (NOO-meh-leh MEH-oo yeh ____)
Please :”Vă rog” (vuh ROHG)
Thank you very much : “Mulţumesc mult.” (mool-tzoo-MESK moolt)
I’m sorry :”Îmi pare rău” (oohm pah-reh RUH-OH)
Good-bye :”La revedere” (lah reh-veh-DEH-reh)
I can’t speak Romanian [well] :”Nu vorbesc [bine] româneşte” (NOO vor-BESC [BEE-nay] Roh-moohn-ESH-teh)
Help! :”Ajutor!” (ah-zhoo-TOR)
Leave me alone : “Lasă-mă în pace” (LAH-suh muh oohn PAH-cheh)
I’ll call the police : “Chem poliţia.” (kem poh-LEE-tzee-ah)
I’m lost : “M-am rătăcit” (mahm ruh-tuh-CHEET)
I’m sick : “Sunt bolnav.” (SOONT bohl-NAHV)

Especially for Anna:

I’m a vegetarian : Sunt vegetarian. (SOONT veh-jeh-tah-ree-AHN) 🙂

And just for fun:

I haven’t done anything wrong : N-am facut nimic rău/greşit. (NAHM fah-COOT nee-MEEC RUH-oh/GREH-sheet)
It was a misunderstanding : A fost o neînţelegere. (AH fohst oh neh-uhn-tzeh-leh-geh-reh)
This gentleman will pay for everything : Acest domn va plăti pentru tot
My hovercraft is full of eels : Vehicolul meu pe pernă de aer e plin cu ţipari

“Good Day, Sir” (part 1)

In two weeks time I’m off to Romania for a week. A late holiday? European sightseeing? Not exactly. A team of us from church are going out with Habitat for Humanity to build houses for Caminul Felix- a family village in Western Romania. “Caminul Felix” means “happy home” and was first established in 1990 to meet the needs of young abandoned children in Romania. They provide these children with a new family, education, vocational activities and work training. From one young couple adopting five abandoned children they’ve grown: in 1992 the first Felix village was built to the east of Oradea with six families, and in 2002 the second Felix village opened with ten families, just south of Oradea. Now they’re building a third Romanian Felix village and they need more houses! So we’re going to help. I’m sure it’ll be a steep learning curve and a far cry from putting together a flat-pack Ikea bookcase.

Here’s what they say on their website, plus some links for more info, and some pictures of what the houses should look like when we’re done!

“There are millions of abandoned children in the world today. The Felix Village Ministry is a strong answer to the needs among the children without parents in our time and world. The family concept is proven to be an outstanding environment for abandoned children.
The family idea should be used around the world to meet the needs among abandoned children. ”