Habitat for Humanity is a charity program which IB students throughout the year raise money for, in order to be able to travel down to Romania and build houses for families who can’t necessarily afford one themselves. This year eleven of us went down to Comanesti, including our two teachers Elizabeth and Ginny.
Our trip first started off in Bucharest where we stayed the night. In the morning we had a lovely and interesting walking tour around the city and learned a lot about it. After a few hours we were back at the hotel and had our bags packed, ready to go on a five-hour drive. Driving through Bucharest and the rest of the country really made an impression on us all, as our surroundings constantly were worsening, and poverty became more apparent the longer we were in the car. Once we got to the hotel and looked around us, the scenery was stunning. The hotel was positioned on top of a hill, and around it was chickens, goats, cows, horses, and opposite of the valley were more mountain hills and green hill sides.
At dinner we met Victor, our translator and guide. He was very nice and organized everything for us. The next morning, we got up early and bright and headed for the work site which we would spend many hours at over the next five days. Here we met Vasily and Bogdan, the two professional builders on site, and also Ana’s father-in-law. Ana was the mother in the family of four, soon to be six, who was also working on site with us. She told us about the family and how she was looking forward to having a stable and safe house for her sons to grow up in. Seeing as she was pregnant, she wasn’t on site all the time, but the times she was there we sat down with her and talked and knowing how much she appreciated our help building this house was motivation enough.
During our trip we also got to experience Romania and its culture and beautiful nature. Our dinners out were a great way of trying Romanian food, and on our fourth day we were told that we would have a picnic up by the lake, which was built as a dam during the communist era. We ended up going swimming in our clothes to cool down! We were also invited to a traditional evening a bit further away from our hotel, where we again got to see little chickens and other animals. We were served amazing traditional, homemade food, and the entertainment for the evening was Romanian folk-dance, performed by local kids. We were asked to participate, and it was really fun and everyone enjoyed themselves.
As the trip came to an end, it was a fantastic feeling to look at all the progress we had made over the five days on site. To actually be able to see what we had done during this time and the effect it has on the house… We all had different jobs and tasks to do during the time spent there, and so seeing the end results made a big difference to what we originally came to.
The Habitat trip to Romania was a fantastic experience which really made an impression and taught us a lot. I would recommend anyone, especially in 2IB to participate and sign up to go.