04 Jan Helping the elders in Baisoara
Congratulations to all the students and teachers involved, we are all inspired by your dedication and warmth!
Knee high snow. Beautiful views. Incredible people. Awesome experiences. That is what this trip brought to us. It was one of the most heart-warming experiences I have ever had and the best part is that I got to learn so much.
Not long ago I realised I want to help people, that not everyone has the opportunities we have and now take for granted. The elders in Muntele Cacovei do not have perfect lives. They are isolated in a valley and maybe lonely but despite all of that, they do not lack any of the values that we all would love to have.
When we got there, a woman came up to the road and led us all the way down to the village. She was patient, waited for us, she never complained and was brave, going down a quite steep hill with two bags in her hands. Once we got down, we learned that most of the villagers had come to one of the houses just so we wouldn’t have to walk so much. That was the first value, effort. Once we started unpacking the looks on their faces and the gratitude they showed was just beautiful. To see that you made someone happy is one of the best feelings. They were patient, all of them, they said that what was brought to them, that is what they will take, integrity. When we left and even during our stay they thanked us so many times and never once doubted our intentions. Those people know and have probably known for a long time that it does not cost you anything to be nice. To be respectful. On our way up we were a bit confused about which way to go. We met a woman and she gave us directions right away, showing us what compassion looks like.
There are so many other values we took away from them and will always carry with us. I think it was a wonderful experience. It might have been hard at times but I think it was totally worth it. I would do it again if I had the chance and would love to even take part in some other projects like this.
What are the values that make us Humans? What are the characteristics that differentiate us from animals? They are compassion, teamwork, honour, values, kindness, hope, forgiveness. In today’s society, some people forget these vital values. But in the village of Mt Cacovei, these values have never been forgotten. In this isolated Village in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, any motorized access to it is slim to none. With one-meter-high snow and steep valleys, people really use all of the Human values many of us forget. For example, the village is mostly populated by elderly citizens, which move with difficulty. Many will say that with these conditions, giving up is a normal thing, But the Hope in these elderly citizens is one of admiration. Many have this saying, “Don’t worry, Spring will come and everything will be good!”. From a medical point of view, many might not survive the winter, but their mentality of Hope overcomes all odds!
The rich and inspiring history surrounding the village influences the people of Mt. Cacovei. As many sadly don’t know, the Apuseni Mountains hosted many heroes during the Communist regime that took the freedom of the people. During the regime, many Anti-communist partisans and Legionaries hid in the surrounding area. After asking the local elders, I found out that many of their relatives were part of the Resistance and many helped, fought and were imprisoned for fighting for what is right, even when others are turning an eye to it. For me personally, finding and seeing people that have relatives that fought for freedom is a great sight of hope. The Values of Hope and Honor flow through me, transmitted to me by relatives such as Elisabeta Rizea, Col. Gheorghe Arsenescu, Lt. Toma Arnautoiu and many others is something I believe everyone should possess. If we all could have these values, maybe the world would function better and there wouldn’t be so much chaos.
My colleagues and I can say that such expedition inspired us to use these values even more and that this area and its people need to be known for their uniqueness. A quote of Lt. Toma Arnautoiu says,
“I am the metal from a world turned to dust / I am the eternal echo of a world long gone”
Let’s hope that the echo of their sacrifice and the cause for which they gave their lives will echo in us forever!