The farm, baby and Bulgaria

IMG_6103This summer, the kids from Familia AMURTEL spent several weeks at the AMURTEL Farmhouse in Poieni, enjoying the wide open spaces at the farm for running and playing, swimming in the nearby Buzau river and hiking through the hills. The kids also helped Giani with the farmwork, especially in preparing baskets of vegetables the weekly delivery to the Bucharest consumers of the Community Supported Agriculture program.

Priya and Ionut’s meanwhile both had the opportunity to take a vacation with friends from the “Prietenia Association,” which has a very inspiring program for adults with disabilities. They have several work-therapy workshops including woodworking and gardening. They were involved in many daily household activities, something which Priya in partiuclar loves, being one of our hardest working workers at Familia AMURTEL where she works as our dedicated cleaning assistant. Together with the other young people at Prietenia, they went on excursions to the ocean, the mountains and the Danube Delta. For months after their return, both of them talked enthusiastically about the friends they made, and already they are asking who will drive them back to Prietenia next summer.

The summertime ended with a special trip to a salt mine in Slanic. It was fascinating for our young people to descend hundreds of meters under the earth, enjoying a respite from the intense summer heat in the natural airconditioning of the deep, dark cathedral like cavernous mines carved out of salt. Many people go to the saltmines to benefit from the medicinal effect of the salt air – and indeed salt flecks glowed in the air looking like fuzzy stars in the pictures taken. The kids stayed together with Luminita and Lily at a resort near to the mine, that has a natural salt lake, as well as fresh water swimming pools. In the concentrated salt water – the children found it was impossible not to float – yet not everyone enjoyed the sticky feeling of the salt or that it burned scrapes or cuts – so some opted for the fresh water swimming pool.

Magdalena’s new baby!

ImageThis springtime, the Familia AMURTEL mothers became grandmothers! Magdalena gave birth to a lovely baby girl, who she named after “Maria Magdalena”, sharing her own name with her. Gopi, Florin and Luminita travelled to visit her – and Magdalena was very happy to receive them. She is a very loving mother and taking good care of her baby. She has truly become a responsible adult now, as most of the time her husband is away working in Hungary and she is raising her child mostly on her own, with the help of the grandmother. She is living in a village in very simple, impoverished conditions but her heart is happy!

Staff Training:

The annual staff training for our dedicated Familia AMURTEL workers contained a suprising treat for everyone! Didi converted the Fountain of Hope into a spa for a few days, and each of our workers was treated to a relaxing sauna followed by a professional massage. The Association for the Visually Impaired in Brasov runs a therapeutic massage clinic, as the blind have an extradorinary talent with massage, as their sense of touch is much more refined due to reliance on other senses than sight. While each person received an individualized treatments, there were also ongoing yoga classes, a mandala workshop, a workshop on “Vitality” and personal development counseling with Didi.

Youth Exchange to Bulgaria

295254_4452191872131_1142922676_nElena was selected this summer to accompany Diipani to a youth exchange in Bulgaria with the theme “Raising the Curtain”. She participated in many activities designed to question stereotypes and embrace diversity as well as learn to utilize new techniques of activism such as flashmobs, photovoice and more.

Vistara socio-professional integration:

IMG_0193As Catalin finished highschool this past summer, he is now preparing himself in our Vistara program for integration into society as a responsible young adult! This summer, he worked at the AMURTEL Farm together with our main farmer Geani, who grew up in AMURT’s Domnesti home and is now a strong and hardworking adult. The farmwork was strenous at times, especially when they had to dig a ditch to bury irrigation pipes that pump water from the well to the fields during an intense heatwave. We appreciated his help in launching the farm project for its first growing season!

Now he is preparing to go to a vocational training to become a baker. He made a visit to the school, The Concordia Trade-school, run by a partner NGO, and was very impressed with the program where he would both live, work and learn together with other young people also transitioning out of social protection programs. He was inspired then to devote a few months to prepare himself for the routine at Concordia, by getting used to waking up early (after a long summer enjoying late nights and late mornings…) and having a scheduled work program. Recently, he learned how to bake his first bread – a lovely savoury walnut bread! The lovely aroma of freshly baked bread filled the whole house, and everyone was eager to taste the results of the experiment. He would have loved to eat the entire loaf himself, but in the end he decided to share it with the other kids!