The hugs and love I received when I returned from my trip tied my heart even more closely to my girls! I saw on their faces as they watched for my arrival through the workroom window that they had awaited my arrival as much as I had awaited seeing them once again, even though I had only been gone a short week.
Activities never end at the center, and on top of the regular hub and flow of activities, we had the added factor of preparing for Andreea’s wedding!
Andreea is the sweet director of Romanian Orphan Ministries. She is so essential to the life flow of the organization and with her kind servant heart, is well-loved by the girls. They wanted to help her with the wedding in every way possible- so our week of intense work began!
Prior to this week’s activities, the girls working at the Beauty from Ashes Boutique (the card and accessory making job that is offered to them at the center) made all of the hundreds of the wedding invitations. Some of them helped with decorations, cleaning, ironing, ect., while a select group of us tackled the time-sensitive, intense job of floral arrangement creation job.
We worked from dawn to dusk with these delicacies- hundreds of branches were cut, dozens of roses arranged, and not one of us had nice fingernails at the wedding, but the arrangements turned out beautifully! It amazed me to see the dedication these girls showed when wanting to help their director. One would think that these girls who weren’t given much care and attention in their past would struggle in doing the same for others. And it’s true- this is a daily struggle for them. But this is why I was left in awe at the long hours they put in for their director. Their diligence was amazing, and until things were just right, they didn’t even think about going to sleep. Challenges arose, and they faced them. The life skills that these girls are learning and the maturity and development that I’m seeing in their character makes me so proud of them! For girls who, before, could care less for the person beside them, they sacrificed so much to help someone who had shown them love.
The wedding on Friday brought early rising, numerous car trips, endless rounds of sweat (remember, air conditioning is not a thing most places in Romania, and the weather stayed at a steady 90 degrees) but was one of the happiest that I’ve ever seen for the girls:)
It was super wonderful to see them get all nice and dressed up! As they were growing up in the orphan homes, no one really paid much attention to their hygiene, at least definitely not to the extent that we, from America, would consider is even close to appropriate, or that regular Romanian citizens consider adequate. The center tries to teach them to pay attention to this aspect as well, so seeing them in dresses and made up was really something huge!
Another aspect is that some of them really shy from being feminine. In the setting they grew up in, girls who showed their femininity or groomed themselves were oftentimes preyed upon or even considered prostitute-material, so in order to avoid this, many of them dressed boyishly and avoided being made “beautiful”. We at the center don’t want them to live with this fear, and it’s a big step for some of them change. I tell them that they’re beautiful everyday, but they don’t want to believe me, and some don’t even believe that could ever be a possibility for them. Seeing them look at themselves in the mirror and smile today, pleased that they can look womanly and can look beautiful and can believe me when I tell them that they are lovely, touched my heart:)
So here are some of my beautiful girls!
Felicitări Andreea and Răzvan!!!! 🙂