Monday, May 21, 2012

A Few Fun Outings

When we arose the weather was cold and foggy, but by 9 AM – a new sight – sun! We started our day as usual – Riane, Coley, Sarah, and Andrew to the hospital and Lori to Primary School # 2 for our usual service work.

The Ohio volunteers arrived at the hospital to find sweaty children all bundled up as usual. By late morning it was clear that the heat was putting a natural limit on both the children’s and our activity level but we all still managed to have fun interactions with the kidos in our own way.

At noon some hopped in the car with Dan for a scenic drive through the nearby countryside while others were driven by teachers from Romanian schools.

Our first stop was the High School in Zorleni. The Principal of the school welcomed us and then we moved to the school library to hear a short presentation about the school. We learned it has over 1000 students organized into 32 different classes. We then each introduced ourselves, as did the Romanian teachers who accompanied us.

 The principal took us to the school art museum. The Romanian sculptor, Marcel Guguianu, was once a student at this school. The school has a few pieces of his work as well as a book collection he donated to the school. The principal interrupted an accounting class so that we could see what a high school classroom looked like in this school. The school staff is rightfully proud that they have won two European certificates that recognize the excellence of the education provided in this school.

We then drove on the Bujoreni Monastery.  To reach the monastery one drives about 10 minutes down a gravel/stone road through a forest. Then the trees open and one sees a sight of great beauty.  We learned this monastery has its beginnings back in the 4th century. Then during an invasion its most precious icon was hidden in a tree for protection, and subsequently knowledge lost about its location for a very, very long time. The story continues that some centuries later very rich merchants camped in the forest as they were trekking through the country and a donkey carrying the gold strayed from the camp. After a great search, the donkey was found kneeling in front of a tree in which the icon was found to be hidden. This led to a renewal of the monastery.  For many years it was knows as the Donkey Monastery, but its present name is Bujoreni.

It continued to grow and operate until the Communist takeover, following World War II. It was nearly ruined by neglect in the 50 years that ensued. In 1992 a few monks came back and began restoring the monastery buildings and grounds. They continue to work to this day, as the piles of lumber attest.

We toured the “old church,” overcome by its beauty. Then we trekked to the “new church.” Because this is a building under construction, not yet a dedicated church, we were able to take all the photos we wanted.

We toured through the farm buildings, learning that the monks keep fowl for eggs, bees for honey, and cows for milk and the making of cheese.
I am quite sure that no one in our group will soon forget the splendor of this place. And this afternoon trip further helped us achieve a team goal of learning more about Romanian culture.

Because we had a late luncheon at the monastery, we were not truly hungry for an evening meal, but the warm day made ice cream sound good. Thus, we walked back to Trattoria for just dessert. Over ice cream and coffee, we reviewed the progress towards our goals and agreed they were being achieved.