Thursday, 20 September 2012


It really is the little things in life that can lift your spirits the highest isn't it?
Sometimes those little things can come from the most unexpected sources and happen in the most unexpected places too.
To be honest, times are a little tough for us at the moment and occasionally it is difficult to keep smiling
We have spent almost the whole of last week on our computers night and day just trying to spread the word abut Romania, and yes, to be honest, trying to drum up some business which has been really slow this year.
So, having been in the house all that time, last night we scraped together some change (and it really was that!) and went down to the bar for just one drink each (total cost for two beers and one tuica is about £1.10, so honestly it wasn't too frivolous of us was it?)
After a slow amble down the road, we got our drinks and sat down with about a dozen friends who were already there.
A short while later, Momo arrived. 
A sneaky picture that we took of Momo last winter
Now, what can I say about Momo? He is a man I have enormous respect for. He has a severe curvature of the spine which bends him over all of the time, and makes it difficult for him to walk. He has a speech impediment which makes it very difficult to understand him, and to be honest, he is a little smelly so he is made to sit apart from the others in our local bar. This man though, walked all of the way from the other side of old Yugoslavia to get back home. (That's a walk of over 900 km, through some pretty inhospitable country) Doing it he lived on nothing but nuts and berries he could pick from the side of the road. His strength and determination are an example to everyone of how to overcome personal adversity to be where you want to be.
(I learnt this morning that Momo is actually 84 years old, I can only respect him so much more now)
He lives on a small pension, and every day he goes into Deva to collect yesterdays dry bread from shops and restaurants, which he uses to feed the stray dogs he meets on the way home. They know him and they wait to get their daily bread from him, always wagging their tails in delight to see him.
When he feeds them he always says, "Please don't bite me", as if they would.
For a couple of months now Momo has been playing a game with us, giving our friend John the free children's toys he gets out of a snack packet. Now John is in his mid 20's and we aren't really sure what made Momo start doing it, but he always gives those toys with a  smile and a little giggle and it has been a real delight for us to have this connection with him.
Last night Momo decided to give me the toy for a change, laughing loudly while he did so. It was a white plastic lollipop shaped toy that when you switch it on it flashes alternatively red and blue, a little like a light on top of a police car.
We joked that we should use it in our car to clear the way when we are in a hurry.
As we sat enjoying our drinks slowly, the evening wore on and it became darker and darker, so obviously the lights in the toy could be seen more and more clearly.
I switched it off and left it on the table in front of me.
As we sat talking a few more people came into the bar to sit on the terrace, including a two year old boy, Alex, and his grandmother Rodica. Alex is a lovely boy, full of smiles, and he and his grandmother sat next to us while he drank his fizzy orange drink.
Alison was talking to Rodica and playing with Alex, and I looked at the toy on the table and thought that it was wasted on me, so I lifted it up and handed it to Alex, switching it back on as I did so.
"Vrai?"......("would you like it?")
Alex's face lit up brightly, just like someone had also flicked a switch on inside him, just as I had done with the toy. He had an enormous grin on his face as he reached out to take it from me. Alex spent the best part of the next hour playing with that toy, smiling and laughing.
Momo had left before Alex arrived, but I wish he could also have seen the delight that Alex took in having that simple toy and watching it's flashing lights, he would have loved to see it.
We walked back up the road to home with Alex and Rodica, and we were all smiling and laughing all of the way.
What had started out as being a 'low' time for us yesterday evening turned into a real highlight, typical of the magic that is Romania, and is the village and the people of the village.

We also have to say thank you to another good friend, Sebby who bought us a couple more drinks while we were there, returning a favour we had done him some time ago.

That hour or so in the bar though did so much to lift our spirits and to remind us what life here is really about. It's about the people,and the children, and the smiles on their faces, which are so infectious. They are smiles that you carry home with you in your heart and they are smiles that sustain you through the night.


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