Sommer and Lindsey in Romania

Sommer and Lindsey are traveling to Romania for two weeks in summer 2009 to report on the status of orphanages, 20 years after the fall of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Their project is partially funded by a Meadows Exploration Award. Sommer ’08 graduated in December with degrees in journalism from Meadows School of the Arts and history from Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Lindsey is a senior marketing major in Cox School of Business and a photojournalist.

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And the countdown begins

An update from Sommer and Lindsey’s blog, Sail Right Into the Storm:

We’re honestly not sure how it got to this point, but we’re less than one month away from leaving for Romania.

That’s not completely true. We know exactly how we got here. But I guess in the midst of preparing we’re sometimes overwhelmed, and it suddenly seems like this all came at us out of nowhere.

Subconsciously, though, I think Lindsey and I have been planning this trip since the day we met freshman year of high school. We’ve repeatedly joked about taking over the world through our writing and our photos. I’m not so sure we’ll be successful at taking anything over, but I do think there is hope for our plan to help bring the world to life. We are going to travel to Romania and tell the stories that will make their world a part of our world (because last time I checked, we’re all sharing one world).

Two years ago, I was a Maguire Center for Ethics summer intern. I worked with Humanity United in Giving (HUG) Internationally, an organization that works with Romanian orphanages. I was fortunate enough to travel to Romania and spend two weeks working with the children. Instantly I recognized there are stories to be told. And we’re going to tell them.

This trip is happening for several reasons. Lindsey and I are journalists. We’re not studying to be journalists. We don’t want to be journalists when we grow up. We’re journalists and we want to report on what we know is a newsworthy region with newsworthy events. Plus, we love adventure (an addiction nourished by Lindsey’s time in Copenhagen and my time in London). And it might just be me – but two weeks in a foreign land with not much more than paper, pens (and pencils in case it rains) and a camera sounds pretty adventurous. And we applied and received a grant from the SMU Meadows Exploration Fund that will partially finance our trip. All of that – plus our overly ambitious, youthful natures – has brought us to this point. 24 days to departure.

On my trip two years ago, I bought one souvenir for myself. It was a t-shirt that read “Sail right into the storm across the ocean.” Honestly, I doubt the random Romanian T-shirt shop owner had any idea what the words on the shirt meant, but Lindsey and I thought the expression “sail right into the storm” was fitting. We’re sailing right into all of this.

Luckily, we both know how to swim.

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