Diary from Marpod: 25th October 2020

The news from Tichindeal arrived us yesterday at 7.30 a.m. Andrea gave birth to her child. Sofia, wisdom, she will be called and shall be given to her. She was in the hospital the day before, but the doctor sent the 15-year-old gypsy home. These were no contractions but exhalation. Her older sister Cristina helped her at home without water or any hygienic aids. By now, mother and child are back in the hospital, the little one must still be nursed in the incubator to be able to survive the hard life in Tichindeal. A new life, a new task!

Marpod – a new centre for ELIJAH
Our community has not only grown with Sofia. Over ten Romanian volunteers came to us in summer. Five have decided to stay with us entirely. There are also two brave people from Austria – Emilia and Pepi. They live with us and some protégés in the ELIJAH community. We became so many that we moved on to one village with three volunteers. To Marpod, where our building yard is located. We are building a new community here. The room, library and chapel are already set up. Today we celebrated the first Holy Mass here with Fr. Georg. It’s still cold, the heating won’t be delivered before another week. We eat in the large common room – the bread comes from the ELIJAH bakery in Hosman, vegetables from our garden, we had a good harvest. The Bible school for the staff will take place here. And Fr. Georg will expand the prophet school – a courageous training for our fellow fighters.
Soon the room on the ground floor will also be accessible. Here children from families who have problems will help them with their homework and organise the help they need. A small social centre. It will be an open house for everyone who needs us. Le Chaim – to life! – the new centre will be called, like the book of the chief rabbi Paul Chaim Eisenberg, who visited us.

The ceramic workshop is also housed here. Angela King returned to Vorarlberg in autumn, after more than 40 years of working together, she now wants to enjoy her family and a well-deserved retirement. She will come back to hold pottery classes.

The building yard is still being renovated with the help of our strong team. Lots of plans and ideas are spraying in the rejuvenated walls. It’s a fresh start. We quickly got used to Marpod.
So far we haven’t been able to invite our friends from the first community in Hosman to the opening here. Because everyone is in quarantine until tomorrow. Ovidiu had contracted the virus, now we call him Covidiu. Fortunately, like many youngsters, he survived it well.

Long spared from the Corona disaster, the virus has now also arrived in Transylvania. The police was at the gate every day and strictly checked if everyone was complying with the quarantine. Anyone who would not be at home would have to “detain” for 14 days in “institutionalized isolation” – a horror. Ovidiu was not allowed to leave his room, the girls sewed masks that we urgently need in the social centres. The Hosman community has become independent, it stood their ground!

So far we can keep all centres open. The school in Nocrich is closed because a teacher is ill. Primary school is also closed in Hosman.
All schools in Sibiu are closed from Monday. How lucky that we have the Casa Francisc dormitory there! 32 young people moved in in September and can now take part in the online lessons. That would be impossible at home.

Nou – the social centre is fully occupied as far as it is allowed. Everyone is wearing mouth and nose protection. In the mornings, students and teachers from the village school come into the house because they don’t have enough space to keep the distance rules. The new sports field is a joy for everyone and is a great help. In the autumn days we can also hold dance, karate and music lessons there.

We built a lot this summer. Casa de piatra – a house made of stone – is the name of the aid program. A roof over one’s head and solid walls are the prerequisites for a decent life, for learning and working, also for joy and celebration. Four families have already moved into a new house, six families will have a home before winter. Some have received building materials and are building themselves.

It goes on. Even and despite Corona. We don’t know how it will turn out. Will there be another curfew? Do we have to hand out corona packages again to the families who have no supplies? Who can no longer work as day laborers? Can the children go to school? Do we have to close the music schools and social centres again? Are friends and guests coming to us again?

The hospitals here are overwhelmed. Can we leave the country in an emergency? You can’t plan anything at the moment. The Corona time forces us to try new things. We have 80 young employees to organize and be trained. Sabin runs the business agenda, Antoaneta the social one. The brave team gives me hope. Whatever comes, with wisdom and the new powers we will get through the winter. Thanks to the friends who are loyal to us!

Ruth Zenkert

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Detailled insights in our work are given in the Letters of Father Georg from Transilvania: Letters from Father Georg.

„We go to where the need is greatest. Like the prophet Elijah, we stand up against injustice and bring the Roma children from the margins to the centre of society.“  Father Georg Sporschill SJ, founder of ELIJAH

Our work as a film:


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social centres
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music schools
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educational workshops
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doctor ordinations
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Boarding school
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