Shoebox Distribution Trip, December 2014

Here are stories of the trip from some of our (self funded) distribution team.

“At last !! After months of thinking what to take, what will the weather be like, how much stuff can I take the waiting is over. I am finally at the airport and on my way. Excited ? Yes. Apprehensive ? A bit. Determined to make the absolute most of this trip ? You bet !

After a three hour plane journey followed by another three hours in a mini-bus I am in Oradea, the base of our opertaions and also the base of our Romanian partner charity ` People to People ` which is run by a really nice chap called Nicu. He will be our guide, interpretor, organiser, driver and our contact with the various people we will be working with.

The following week went past so quick it was hard to take everything in but here are just a few things ( not in any chronological order ) that really made an impression on me :-

the faces of the children in school as we arrived, full of expectation and looking at us as if we were from a different planet

seeing a little girl maybe three years old dressed only in a vest (no shoes either ) walking in a sea of mud with the temperature just above freezing

meeting Pastor Bert and his wife Margarite who have devoted 18 years of their lives to working in Romany camps and not only bringing some sort of order to the camps but have instituted an educational programme for the children

making a chain of children holding hands with me and skipping up a very muddy street

having a lunch provided by people who have very little but what they had they shared with us. A very humbling experience

helping one of our team push the minibus up a snow covered hill – it wasn`t my fault she fell !!

lots of other experiences but too many to go into in one article. I can only sum the trip up by saying it was an experience that will live with me for ever”.

“I was apprehensive about what I was going to see on the Distribution Trip 2014, but it was a thoroughly worthwhile experience.

We started the Distribution Trip by visiting a school in Osand which had not received Shoeboxes before.  The children were very excited to receive the boxes and the team had great pleasure in showing the children how to use the various toys and other items in the boxes.

Next up was the now famous Tinca School.   Nicu gave us a tour of the new building which had been built using donations from people in the UK and Boxes of Hope.  The school here is absolutely fantastic and it was great to see the various children that were sponsored by people in the UK.  It was lovely to see children who actually wanted to be at School and didn’t want to go home at the end of class!  Various other visits were also included on our first day and, in several places, the children receiving the boxes sang us Christmas songs and encouraged us to join in with them.

The next day I think was the most difficult for many of us.  We went to several camps around a rubbish dump and these were the poorest people  we had seen yet.  All of the children were filthy but were very pleased to receive a Box of Hope.  In one camp adjacent to the rubbish dump, the shoeboxes were taken over the hill on a horse and cart and we followed behind on foot.  There was no way a vehicle was going to get up there due to the mud underfoot!

The next few days saw us travel east to Roman and visited several schools.  We were guests of honour at a School where they performed a nativity play for us.

The final day saw us visit Alparea, a village where the children who attended the school had also attended the summer camp set up and run by Boxes of Hope last year.  We also distributed potatoes to the village which was one of the poorest we had seen during the course of the week.

On the final full day we also visited Children of the Promise, an after school club where they sang to us and every single child said thank you for their box in English.  It was lovely to see the appreciation of these children who have very little.

The week had a large impact on me and, whilst it was enjoyable seeing the children’s faces light up when they received a box, it was also difficult to see the conditions that they lived in.  Thank you to everyone who has prepared a box or contributed in another way, your boxes do get there and they are very much appreciated by all of the children and the families that they reach”.

“I went to find the little girl we had seen before.  There she was, at home with her sister, still living in the poorest of conditions.  I gave them lovely hats and scarves which had been kindly sent by our “outworkers” throughout the UK.  And a school bag for their older brother.  The good news is that the little girl also attends school – she was at home on the day we went because she had a bad cough.  Although it is wonderful to give out shoeboxes to children who have never had them before, it is also good to see children that we have seen before and to know that, although their living conditions are unchanged, they are going to school.  This is their chance of a better future”.