The End

As I unpack my suitcase I'm consumed by wonderful memories of my time in Romania. The wonderful ladies of Victoria College have out done themselves. It is always a privilege to bring our students to other places and show them off, but this trip was exceptional.

Our students came with open minds and hearts. They threw themselves into every aspect of this trip and impressed everyone who met them. They worked hard, very hard to complete as much construction work as they could but also dedicated time and effort to learning about the people they met and places they saw.

The emotional goodbyes at the airport show how much our students had learnt; about Habitat for Humanity, Romania and about themselves.

At our farewell dinner, they begged me to organise another trip to the Big Build in October so they could continue their work and help more families. They are so generous and kind.

I could not be more proud.

Posted on July 10, 2016 .

Thank You Steffi!

At our final dinner we said thank you and goodbye to Steffi. She has been an amazing host, looking after us so well, being our guide, host and friend.

She is an amazing person who is awesome at her job.

We will miss you.

Posted on July 10, 2016 .

R and R - Adventure Park

Our final day in Romania was for rest and recuperation. Steffi our host organised a day of fun and we began at the adventure park with a high ropes course.

Deep in the forest we climbed on to the trees with wooden, rope and chain walkways. We progressed from easier (child friendly) routes to more challenging higher and faster ones.

The first challenge was learning the mechanics, ensuring we were safely attached at each point. There was a lot of encouragement shouted back and fourth and it was here we discovered how brave we had become.

Everyone had a different level of tolerance for height and cheered from the ground when they felt like they had gone high enough!

The lasting memory of this day will be Mother Teresa's loud journeys down the zip wires, "You have to scream!"

Posted on July 10, 2016 .

Resting by the Pool

The second half of our final day was spent resting by the pool. The sun was warm and we slept, read, looked at photos and talked about our time in Romania.

The water was cold and refreshing and there was even some clouds and rain. This scared all the Romanians back inside but we were confident it would pass, huddling under and parasol.

The sun returned and we spent the last hour with our feet dipped in the pool talking about all the people we had met and our hopes for their futures.

And there was excellent coffee for the teachers (and Francesca).

We even got glamorous new footwear.

Posted on July 10, 2016 .

Award Ceremony

Ching and Sarah discuss their awards. 

To close our final debrief, Sasha organised an awards ceremony where each of us made another team member a medal. It was a great way to acknowledge each others' individual strengths and achievements.

New friendships have been made, new skills learnt, but most importantly we found out a lot of new things about ourselves. 

Posted on July 9, 2016 .

Farewell Dinner and Certificate presentation

Last night we had our farewell dinner. This consisted off trying a traditional dish, Shepherd's dinner. This was then washed down by watching and joining with the traditional Romanian dancers in one of their traditional dances. They taught us the ropes and encouraged us in trying the new moves. We danced in a circle and the hardest challenge of the trip was trying to maintain a straight face while watching each other. We needed a long water break after all that dancing!!! To finish the dinner, we were presented with our appreciation certificates provided by Steffi. This concluded our adventure on the building site. Finally, we celebrated with classic songs and worked up quite a sweat with the Romanian form of the hokey pokey.

Posted on July 9, 2016 .

Farewell to the building site

Yesterday, we finished off our work on the building site and it was a very emotional day for everyone involved in Habitat for Humanity Big Build 2016. The routine we followed for the week, working with the same volunteers and future home owners, made it even more difficult to say a final goodbye. We all had to keep reminding ourselves that we were just saying see you later instead of goodbye forever and that it wasn't the last time we would be with the friends we have met and treasured.

To remember the builders we had worked alongside, we made memories by taking pictures and selfies with many of the builders. This meant a lot to all the volunteers as they were able to keep photos with the volunteers that helped to build their house.

Just before we left, each of the builders explained their appreciation and how much our help meant to them. Also, they waved us off as we left the building site for the final time as members of Habitat for Humanity team 2016.

Posted on July 9, 2016 .

Birthday Queen!

Yesterday we celebrated Mother Teresa's birthday. It was a special day as we got to celebrate her birthday on site by presenting her with a crown which she wore on her hard hat all day. Also the whole team sang happy birthday to her numerous times.

At dinner we enjoyed her birthday through eating a Romanian chocolate birthday cake and giving her gifts. She really was treated like a Birthday Queen!

Posted on July 9, 2016 .

Day five on site

On our last day on site everyone felt that we collectively and individually completed a lot of work. It was amazing to see the transformation on site and towards the closing of our day, bricks were beginning to be laid. 

Posted on July 9, 2016 .