St Paul’s students return from their aid mission in Romania

March 3, 2009

The twenty one Year 13 students who travelled to Romania recently have returned with many happy memories tinged with sadness.

During their week long stay they visited orphanages, schools, a day centre for disadvantaged children, the homes of impoverished families, a psychiatric clinic, a nursing home & a shelter for elderly women. They enjoyed meeting the children and bringing them to musical theatre shows & McDonalds, but they also got great enjoyment out of meeting with elderly people who had little contact with family members. These diverse experiences illustrated for the students how a visit and a small gift are greatly appreciated by those less fortunate than ourselves.

Some of the students have been telling the Examiner about their experiences during their visit and what has stood out for them.

Emma Murphy has explained, ‘my most fond memory is of the elderly home in Christiana where I played the tin whistle for the residents. It was there I met a French speaking man called Michele. As an A Level French student, it was lovely to be able to communicate with him in his preferred  language. I learned a lot about his life, and he told me much about what it was like to live in the home. He was very grateful to us for coming to visit them. This experience has made me realise how simple things can really make an impact on older people.’

Vicki Mohan says there are so many memories she has of her experience it is difficult to narrow it down to one. However, she has particular memories of an orphanage for severely disabled children in Codlea, where she was able to interact with a child and give him some happiness.

‘In Codlea there was a three year old who lay on his bed crying and seemed to be in so much pain. The information sheet above his bed said that he was blind and I couldn’t understand how he would be crying so much but I soon discovered that all he needed was some attention and human touch. I began to rub his belly and sing to him and he gradually stopped crying and even smiled. The feeling I got when he smiled was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had, yet still it was bittersweet as he started crying again when it was time for us to leave and I had to walk away.’

Majella Shields has explained how she felt on one of the many trips they organised for disadvantaged children,

‘I can still remember the look of sheer delight when we took a group of young orphan boys to McDonalds, which for some of them was the first time they’d been. It was heart warming to see something as simple as a happy meal from McDonalds, that we’d take for granted, put the biggest smiles on these amazing little children’s faces!’

This is the fourth year that St Paul’s students have made the life changing journey to Romania and they not only visited needy groups, but also purchased much needed aid and food – which was gratefully accepted. Poverty stricken families in Prejmer were supplied with a 2 month food parcel and received money to help with mounting bills; the elderly ladies in Brasov also received food parcels and got their gas and electricity paid for over the next 3 months; and blinds were purchased for Luncacahicului School which St Paul’s has previously supported through installing new toilets for the students there. All money raised has been put to good use and the group would sincerely like to thank the Parishes of Dromintee and Lower Killeavy for the donations made at the recent church gate collections which raised £2,116stg and 433.50 euro.