It was a fleeting visit in Cluj, but well worth the stop. We visited the Gimnziala School for Special Needs for the first time so we could meet Timea, a graduate of our Distance Learning Program. We were unable to meet the children as its still the summer holidays but we had 2 hours of thought provoking discussions. We learnt a lot about her work and Cathy, our clinical advisor answered some in depth questions as well as more general enquiries from the rest of the team. We left with the feeling that a stronger relationship had been forged, which will continue to support Timea’s work in the future.
After a three hour train ride through the countryside we arrived in Oradea. We took an hour long car journey, courtesy of our translator, (one of our more experienced Local Partners), and arrived at a residential establishment in an isolated and rural setting. The staff there had been recipients of a project in 2002. Since then contact had been lost with the staff due to the changes in the Romanian care system which had led to half of residents moving away and some of the staff leaving.
We were delighted to learn that there remained 2 of the original staff from the training and that they were keen to start running music sessions once again. It was good to make contact with the instruments that remained from the original project and as we reassembled and played some of them, it seemed that we were reawakening some joy in music making. Although we only visited for a short time we felt as if we had planted the seed for creating, not only music but a new local network that might grow into something more sustaining for the future.
Hannah and Cathy