Ever been to a Party in a Mental Hospital?

This is always my favourite time of year, despite the biting Transylvanian cold. Every year, since as long as I can recall, the team from the Brasov WM office, using donations from the team, clients, friends & supporters, visit a Mental Hospital in Brasov county to bring a little joy.

These patients are Romania’s most forgotten people. Almost no one visits them. When was the last time you met someone who has visited such a place for example? Even new team members are very apprehensive at first. But the apprehension quickly melts to compassion & warmth. The only thing these people are guilty of is being born with some kind of genetic malfunction & they carry this burden throughout life, short though that will certainly be & to be subservient to whatever kindness or harshness others care to afford them. A lottery in fact & you won’t find too many winners in that.

But today was a beautiful day. Beautiful because, through the generosity of others & a little bit of effort, Santa’s WM elves were able to bring goodie bags to every last patient, including underwear, fruit, sweets, drink & teddy bears. OK, and a few cigarettes I won’t talk about.

Each year the patients put on a Christmas show for us, as you can see in the video. I was pleased to see real joy in some of the faces of these tormented, but innocent lambs. For sure, their reserved seat tickets to heaven start with the serial number 000001. It was nice to see for the first time in more than 30 such visits for myself, some care staff with genuine empathy for the patients & love of their job. The place was warm, better renovated & clean.  Sure, for some of the staff, it is just a job & warm heart is not on their job description, but you can definitely see a more loving climate there.

One couple, a heavy built guy of maybe 60 & a slight, buckled woman a little younger with extreme cerebral palsy that can barely communicate even 2 words I see every year, continue to walk around everywhere hand in hand. A true bond of love exists between them, year in, year out. Even in such a prison, it is heartwarming to see the care they show for each other.

So, we arrived at 11 am with cars full of goodie bags, and even 3 real estate clients came along with us. We were presented with a show put on by the patients including songs, poems, and dancing.  A thing of beauty indeed. After which we dished out the presents, spent time talking to the patients, shaking endless hands & quite a few hugs. It’s fair to say a few lasting bonds were made today & the thing about these trips is, after you overcome the unjustified apprehension, you realize it is something that you actually look forward to repeating. All the better for the patients, who have zero voice, zero allies in life & so the more people who get this attachment, the more visits that happen & the higher the care quality is.

I want to thank everyone involved for what was, a very easy task & no great financial sacrifice if we are honest about our donations, but one in which had, as every year, a dramatic impact on the happiness of a forgotten people. From the bottom of my heart, thank you again. Any readers wishing to visit with me, next time I go to the Brasov or Bucharest hospitals, drop me an email at damian.galvin@whitemountain.ro.

 

 

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