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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I’m not surprised, but I never feel quite prepared

An update from Sommer:

dsc_07181.jpg Lindsey and I are working so hard trying to get ready for this. She says the trip has consumed her already. She’s talking about cell phones and SIM cards to use when we’re there. She’s thinking about things to pack and equipment we’ll need.

I have a secret, though. We’re nowhere near ready. And there is no way we’ll ever be.

That statement is somewhat misleading (and since our families are hopefully reading this [I promise we’re getting our shots and practicing how to say ‘Help!’ in Romanian).

But I’m talking preparation for the bigger picture. I’m talking about seeing two-year-olds barely clothed and in dirty diapers. I’m talking about seeing orphanages with cribs lining every bare wall. I’m talking about the challenge of grasping the reality of the nation’s current situation, understanding the context, getting the anecdotes and most importantly capturing all of that on paper.

I love being a reporter. But it’s a pretty difficult job.

Looking back at my journal from my trip two years ago, I notice that I wrote a lot about wishing I could do something more permanent than provide diapers or play with the children. I think this trip provides me with that opportunity. I just hope that I’m prepared to ask the right questions and observe the right details. And I hope I maintain an open mind while I’m there. I don’t know the story, yet. And I can’t assume I do. I’m looking to report it.

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