Recently a friend Bret, his cousin George, and I traveled to Eastern Europe to install 2 swing sets in central Romania. The work was coordinated by an LDS service missionary couple. They lined us up with a British couple working with Roma (gypsy) children and special needs adults. Their organization is: Love Light Romania.
The first installation was at a school (the Learning Centre) that tutors Roma children, those who are behind in their regular classes. The school is located at Jacobu, situated in the hills above Sighisoara. We installed a 4-seat swing set. That is the only playground equipment that we could install at this site because of limited space. Except for the pipe, chain, wooden seats, and cement, we brought the swing set parts with us from the USA in our checked airline luggage.
We lodged in a rustic guesthouse (named the Owl’s House) provided by our hosts. Jacodu reminded me of something straight out of the Middle Ages. The ancient houses, unpaved road, and horse- or cow-drawn wagons.
The second swing set installation was at a residential home for adults with special needs located in the hills near Medias. The sign on the gate reads:
Let the children come to me for the kingdom belongs to such as these.
At the home (aka The Sanctuary), we installed a 2-seat swing set. Jo’s son and several of the residents helped with the installation. One resident was so excited that he screamed and jumped up and down.
According to Jo:
Imre from the Sanctuary loves to swing at night, he is getting a lot of therapy from this and is much calmer in his character. Thank you for providing this for him.
The goal of the first swing set is to encourage Roma students to attend tutoring sessions. The goal of the second is to provide recreational and calming activities for several of the adults. A short video of the swing set installation work can be seen here.
Jo and Ron are Christian saints for the dedicated work they are doing for the Roma community.