Charity Work in Romania

My friend K.C. was in Romania, from April 17 to 27. Along with some other volunteers, she was there doing charity work in a poor neighborhood village named Tarlungeni in which many Roma families live, near the city of Brasov. The volunteers helped raise (not raze!) two houses for poor families. This work was done through the agency of the Fundatia pentru Asistenta Sociala si Tineret (FAST, or the Foundation for Social Assistance and Youth).

The lucky families selected for whom a house would be built are based solely on need, e.g., number of children, number of caregivers (usually the parents or grandparents), possible acute health conditions. When a family is chosen, they must agree for their children to attend the Ziurel community center for educational purposes, and the man of the house (if there is one) must help with building the house.

Of course, in addition to the charity work, K.C. had the opportunity to explore Brasov and surrounding environs. Below are some photos she shared with me.

Outside the community center, 'New Day'

Outside the community center, 'New Day'

Arrival at Mica's (Grandma's)

Arrival at Mica's (Grandma's)

All eggs in one basket [Hand-painted Easter eggs for Orthodox Easter]

'All Eggs In One Basket' - hand-painted Easter eggs for Orthodox Easter

Family No. 3

Portrait of Family No. 3

Atop Mt. Tampa - K.C. and other volunteers

Atop Mt. Tampa - K.C. and other volunteers

Aerial View of Brasov, Romania

View of Brasov from 1600 Feet (atop Mt. Tampa)

Old City Hall, Brasov

Old City Hall, Brasov

At the house, day 1

At House No. 1, Day 1

Hard at work

Hard At Work

Village kids

Village Kids

Former house for a family of 10  - note incongruous satellite dish

Former house for a family of 10

The neighborhood

The Neighborhood

House In Progress

House In Progress (House No. 1)

Family for whom the house was built

Family for whom the house was built


Supervising drywall installation (House No. 2)

End of the project

End of the project (House No. 1)

Bran Castle, of Dracula lore

Bran Castle, of Dracula Lore

Romanian Chocolate

For M.V.

The two tablets of Romanian chocolate you gave me last year inspired this post. They were:

  • Laura, tabletă cu lapte, cremă de vişine
    Product of Kandia-Excelent
  • Novatini, cremă caramel
    Product of Supreme Group
  • Here’s a nice 2005 analysis of chocolate brands in Romania by a branding consultancy named Grapefruit. Interesting points include:

  • In Romania, chocolate tablet brands have short (2-4 syllables), feminine names.
  • The packaging of the downscale market is exclusively in Romanian and is the least “talkative,” while that of the upscale market is multilingual and is the most verbose.
  • If a brand is a “sweet-talker” (e.g., more imaginative names and slicker packaging), it’s a sign that it is more expensive.

  • In my earlier chocolate post, my thought chain lurched from chocolate to a more sinister Lovecraftian theme. In parallel, here I find my thought chain careening from Romanian chocolate to… Dracula… and Count Chocula 😀 LOL! I apologize! Please forgive me!