I did not realize how much activity could happen in one small house in just one week!
My first week at the Beauty from Ashes center has shown me just that. The hustle and bustle of life never ends at the center- there is always something new going on, a celebration around the corner, a job to be done, or a visitor. Through a series of pictures, I want to take you through a “regular” day of my life here with the girls: the extras will be in other posts!
Every morning, bright and early, rain or shine, cold or hot, I hop on a tramvai number 3 to get to the center where the girls carry out the majority of their daily activities. The tramvai is the mode of public transportation that keeps Oradea and countless other European cities flowing, and is the way many people in the city commute to work or school everyday.
After taking the tramvai, I have a short walk through Nufărul to get to the Beauty from Ashes center, where I spend the day with the girls.
When I get there in the mornings, the girls are doing various chores, working, cooking, doing schoolwork, or whatever their daily schedule consists of. Organization, structure, and responsibility are vital life skills that the center wants to teach these girls, and by appointing the different household tasks to the girls on a schedule, they learn how they themselves would run a household. Cooking is done on a rotating schedule as well as dishes, and the girls have to go and buy groceries for the dishes that are on the menu that they have created for the week.
The piață, or market, is where many Romanians go to purchase fresh food items, as well as stores similar to our Wal-Mart and Kroger. Determining what items they need, purchasing the best quality and best priced items, and learning how to cook these items are are skills the girls are picking up on quick, to the pleasure of their peers who have to eat what they cook! By creating a thought-out menu ahead of time, healthy lifestyle choices can also be promoted. The girls learn how to cook a variety of foods containing many necessary nutrients, something they may not have always received. In addition, every Tuesday and Thursday morning, they get a break in their activities if they choose to participate in Zumba, something that’s so fun for us to all do together and get in some exercise as well! The cold, rainy weather that is quite abnormal for late May has limited our outdoor activities thus far, but I’m sure that more of those will appear as the weather begins to improve.
Some of the other family chores that the girls have to do besides the cooking and cleaning is to help with some of the outdoor things, such as feeding the animals, and at times, also helping with the garden.
The things I have listed above are some of the daily chores that the girls do that would occur in a family setting normally. Besides that, since the girls in the program are all over the age of 18, they are required to hold some kind of job. For many of them, it’s very hard to try and find a job in the city, although some of them do have one (some of the girls work at various factories in town).
Jobs are also offered at the Beauty for Ashes center for the girls. One of the jobs that they can do is babysitting the children of the employees at the center.
Another job they might have is to create some of the handmade items that Beauty from Ashes sells, or help with the packaging and preparation of clothing items. The handmade items that they create may be hairpieces (clips and bands), brooches, croqueted hats or scarves, or cards. The girls are taught to work hard and diligently at their tasks, and as at any job, the quality of their work is reviewed and they have deadlines, requirements, ect.
(Items the girls make or prepare can be found at https://www.facebook.com/BeautyFromAshesBoutique?fref=ts for purchase!)
Besides this they also do school! (More details to come in a later post)
While all this is going on, the employees and volunteers are working alongside the girls all day. Some of them work directly with the girls, teaching them how to cook, coming up with the designs for the cards and flowers, checking the quality of their work, helping with babysitting, ect.. while others just work in the same rooms as the girls, and although their are doing their own separate work on the computer, they have the opportunity for many meaningful conversations that stem from doing life with these girls.
What do I do? A little bit of everything:) I help with babysitting, work, cleaning, cooking, and anything and everything in-between. This week, I’ve also started teaching as part of the homeschooling type program that they do! (more details to come in a later post)
Getting to know these girls and spend all day with them is something I wake up and look forward to every day! The tiredness and challenges exist, but getting to do life with the girls and love them make the challenges so worth overcoming and brings me so much joy