An Urgent Project
Marisha was in Transnistria visiting her mother for Easter. She’d be back tonight and I was looking forward to seeing her. I’ve missed her. One of the things I love about staying with Marisha is that I’m always guaranteed to meet the loveliest people.
There were two people sharing her guest room this time. There was a fascinating lad from Sweden who was finalising his dissertation on Moldova. I felt entirely inadequate around him because of his perfect elocution in Russian, English and Romanian!
And much to my delight I had the honour of meeting Leif Even Pettersen, the new Travel Writer for Lonely Planet. He had been making a comprehensive tour of Moldova and Romania, revisiting the tried and true and exploring new horizons, with the hopes of inspiring others to come visit this beautiful country.
Whilst I would have loved to just stay in bed and convalesce I actually felt a bit better. This was an extremely important journey and I had a full dance card for this short stay.
Over the past year, the Rev. Fred Morey from Searsburg Community Church in upper state New York has been working towards coming to Moldova in June. He is to install the desperately needed bathrooms for the children. It’s a major undertaking and the project has moved at a snails pace due to a sad series of events.
Rev Morey was to join me in Moldova this past month. However, due to his own health challenges, this was not possible. Nevertheless, there was still plenty to do. The children have been scheduled to move to a Summer Camp just outside the city during the time the bathrooms will be constructed. I needed to finalise measurements, consider options, etc.
One of the issues Vasile and I discussed and agreed upon was the issue of shower stalls. There are two bathrooms upstairs. Each contains one toilet, two sinks, and two shower floor basins. There are no shower stalls and the water simply goes everywhere, especially under the shower floor basin…and it remains there. Hence the problem with wood rot. There also are no extraction fans or ventilation which has added to the problem of condensation.
Additionally, the shower areas are extremely dark. Vasile and I discussed and both agreed that it could be extremely intimidating for a child, especially one who has already suffered the horrors of being a trafficking victim, to feel enclosed in a shower stall that could appear intimidatingly dark and confined. We’ve agreed that one of the bathrooms will hold a open tiled shower area, similar to those you might find in an American school’s gym. It will require additional tile work, but due to the unique angles of the ceiling, due to the roof, this will actually work out better. The second bathroom will be able to support stalls, thus offering a functional privacy for the older children.
The project budget is circa EUR€5400.00, or USD$6900.00. Due to years of water flowing beneath the floors, major work will be required including over five thousand bricks, ninety six metres of wall and shower tiles, twenty eight metres of floor tiles, five hundred kilos of concrete and over fifteen hundred kilos of sand to mix with the concrete. Add to this all of the glues, equipment and associated materials, such as toilets, shower stalls, etc., to complete the project. It’s a major undertaking and due to the length of time it has taken to finance the project, it’s at such a crisis point that the home could be forced to close should there be any further structural damage due to the current water leakage.
Together, Vasile and I finalised the measurements. I was astounded at how rapidly the bathrooms had deteriorated since I last saw them. But with up to thirty-four children using them at any given time, it’s no wonder how heavy the wear and tear can be.
Vasile and I were some sight. He wasn’t feeling well, nor was I. But I think we fuelled off of each other to complete the task. My fever was back. Vasile was looking a bit grey in the gills himself. We were a lovely pair. And the next morning would be Orthodox Easter Sunday.
Sunrise Mass would begin at 0500 and the basilicas would have hundreds, if not thousands, of people overflowing outside. After services we were to head north to a small village for the day.
As I write this, I again give thanks to God for Rev Morey and the kind people of Searsburg Community Church, as well as the First Baptist Church in Interlaken who have been working so hard to make this project come true.