„Spasibo“ - Present with both heart and sense

by Roswitha Bahner-Gutsche

Do the receiving children like our „Present from the heart“-parcels? Are they really glad about the tooth brushes, the sweets, the clothes or the shower gel? I have been asking myself this question since I started to support actively the humedica campaign nine years ago. I now travelled to Moldavia to take part in the gift distribution of our partners on site. And to find an entirely personal answer to my question.

humedica-Mitarbeiter mit Kindern bei der

Together with our partner organizations we distributed the „Presents from the heart“ in Moldavia. Photo: humedica

Guest in one of the poorest countries of Europe

Not without reason Moldavia is often called the „Poorhouse of Europe“: the republic´s economy is in ruins. Many people have to live under conditions, which are beyond imagination for many of us. Most buildings are in strong need of restoration. Even if heating exists, it remains unused. Also running water is by no means a matter of course.

Many people, in particular the younger generation, leave Moldavia. Work is scarce and if it is available, the revenue does only cover the bare minimum. The average monthly income does not go beyond a concerted value of 200 Euro. Pensioners have even less, no more than 50 Euro. In most cases there is no other financial support. That does not leave much money to buy hygiene articles, stationery or toys for the children.

Away from the well-constructed roads our „Present from the heart“ transport brought us to the places, where the need of the people was most urgent. Over bumpy mud roads passing small villages we finally reached our partner ALTAIR-Z e.V. in Bălți after a several hours drive. ALTAIR-Z is a non-profit organisation of the Jewish community in Moldavia, which does important work by supporting governmental institutions for children and orphans in the North of the country.

Cold rooms, warm words

We gathered in the local community hall for the first joint parcel presentation. Despite the lack of heating high spirits were already prevailing. The children had dressed up and created an affectionate and laid-back atmosphere with their singing and dance performances.

Kinder bei der Weihnachtsaufführung.

Everywhere Christmas atmosphere and a cheerful program were waiting for us. Photo: humedica

When we distributed the parcels, the sight of bright-eyed children and hearty laughter were our reward. The children went home with their parcels happily, while we departed for the next distribution site.

There, too, we were awaited eagerly. The children were already sitting on the cold chairs of the theatre. But soon I felt warm all over: thanks to both the joint dancing and the warm embrace of an accompanying grandmother after the parcel presentation. „Spasibo! Spasibo!“, she repeated once and again thanking for her grandchild´s parcel.

Happy reunion with old acquaintances

Our next stop was in Ceadîr-Lunga in Gagauzia to visit our long-standing partner, the Diaconal Centre „Gloria“. Here committed employees organize free medicinal consultation and treatment. Also providing for midday meals and clothing store, the centre is a general contact point for many people in this region. The co-operation with humedica started in 2008 with approximately 2.000 „Presents from the heart“. This year we were able to hand over the impressive number of 12.000 humedica parcels to the head of the institution Vitaly Paunov and his wife Tamara.

The following days were spent with distributing the many presents to the children and youth in Ceadîr-Lunga. Never before I have celebrated Christmas this long – and rarely I have seen such gratitude and genuine joy. Now and then the children peeped under the lid, even cool boys aged 12 up to 14 were glad to receive their parcels. You could not oversee the one or other mischievous smile. At the end of the day everyone was smiling happily.

Die Kinder durchstöbern die Geschenke.

If they were too curious, the children peeped under the lid of their parcels. Photo: humedica

So now I can answer my question honestly: Yes, the children and youths are happy about their „Presents from the heart“. Our parcels help them. They generate a little bit of joy in their life. Each and every „Present from the heart“ makes sense.

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