From the moment we first arrived at the village, a large group of children ran excitedly to see and hug Tim. It was obvious how much they love and value him and all he does in changing the lives of so many. It really wasn’t long at all until our hands were grabbed and we were tugged and hugged from all angles! We have already fallen in love with this place and we know this is only the start of long term friendships. IMG_0751The children and families in Csekefalva  are wonderful. So hospitable and kind. It’s amazing how families with so little can offer so much. We were invited into houses with a whole family living and sleeping in a room no larger than your average living room, offered coffee and cake while you look around an empty space with seemingly random treasures that they’ve collected. Perhaps what some might regard as ‘junk’ has prized position on the shelf. The roofs look like they could be blown off with a gust of wind and we know that so many of them leak in the wet and snowy seasons. There’s no electricity, no toilet, no shower or bath. There are no beds or bedrooms and any sofa is shared for sleeping. We saw used nappies hanging up the dry as each one is precious to them. And yet these beautiful people are smiling. They open their hearts and home and share it all with you. What a challenge.

003 A full load!

The need is so great and we are so thankful to have been able to take a van full of supplies to help the families, especially as winter is approaching. We want to say a special thank you to Charlie & Martin, our faithful van drivers, and to Wilsons Van Hire in Epsom for their generosity in supporting this trip. We could not have done what we did without it. The van was full of shoes, clothes, baby baths & toiletries, school supplies, play equipment, buckets full of washing lines, pegs, towels, medical supplies, brushes, flannels and so much more. We wish we could show you the excitement over the buckets!

We spent 3 full days in the village. The main reason for our visit was to get alongside and support the mums, teaching them practical parenting tips and giving them much needed supplies. Most of the parents were brought up in the local orphanage and were not parented themselves. Over and over again the women said how wonderful it was that we came, that no one had come for them before. It was a real privilege and a blessing for us to befriend these women and their families.

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We spent our time encouraging the mums by washing and bathing the babies. We had a morning pampering the women with hair, nails and make up. They were very excited! We played games with the children and took a school assembly. A team of guys were busy building a new home for one family. One of the highlights of our time there was organizing a BBQ for the entire village. A scrumptious stew was made over a fire and over 150 gathered on the hill to eat together. This was a precious moment as it was the first time they have ever all shared a meal together.

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Another important time for us was spending the afternoon visiting every home with a bucket full of supplies. The families were thrilled to have us come and see where they live. If it wasn’t for this, we would not have seen and met the most vulnerable on the edges. In one house there lay an elderly sick gentleman who’s wife was desperate to see him well. She was overjoyed that we could offer them a packet of paracetamol. I’m humbled at the thought they only cost 30p. There are many people who are suffering from various illness’ who can’t afford to visit the hospital or purchase medication. When Tim visits, he is always busy making trips to the dentist and the doctors and people are desperate to see if he can help.

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One of the most challenging moments for me was meeting Thomas. He came in with his family to get some new shoes and winter clothes. His hands and feet were black with dirt and his smile was shy. He was just one of many children in the village who owned no shoes. I can’t imagine what they do in the bitter cold snowy months. We sat him down and washed his face, hands and feet. Our team was busy finding him clothes, underwear, socks, a hat, a scarf and coat. And then I saw his foot with a large deep wound on one side. We could only try our best to wash and dress it but we knew this needed medical attention. Another trip Tim would have to make tomorrow. His courage was commendable but his smile was wonderful. He loved his new shoes! How fantastic to have done this for over 100 children that day!

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So what now? We’re already dreaming about what we can do next! We’d love to see a shower block installed. To employ some women to cook and feed the children in the school. Perhaps their very own B@titude in the near by town? We want to see sustainable initiatives so if you’d like to get involved please get in touch. Thank you to every person who has given their time, their money and their support to make this trip a truly incredible one.

Here is a little snapshot of our time in this wonderful village

 

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