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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Staying flexible in Romania

An update from Sommer on their site Romania Revisited:

This morning Lindsey and I split from the pack and visited the baby hospital in Ludus. The baby hospital is pretty much a place where parents can drop their kids off when they are “ill” (the explanation for the quotation marks is VERY interesting. Going to have to wait on that one) but they don’t always pick them up.

I got to speak with one of the caregivers who spends about three hours each day with the children. There are currently six under the age of 2 and six under the age of 5 (although children in the baby hospital can be up to 7 years old). Let me tell you – interesting stuff. And the babies were precious. I was good at holding them. Lindsey is better at holding her baby – the camera.

After the baby hospital our plans slightly changed. But you know what we are? FLEXIBLE. Because you know what you have to be in Romania? FLEXIBLE (the word even sounds the same in Romanian). So we ended up in the back of a Dachia car (the only car made in Romania and it’s built like a tank) for a part of the afternoon. But Lindsey and I are serious journalists, so no time was wasted. Lindsey whipped out the laptop (which she makes me carry everywhere) and began to upload photos.

We eventually made it to our next stop in Petelea at the Gypsy village. We struck up a conversation with a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who spoke pretty good English. She invited us to her house and treated us to authentic Gypsy pie. Good news is that it was very yummy (and the most authentic cuisine we’ve had yet). Better news is that neither of us got sick afterward! It was a great interview, and Lindsey of course took some great shots.

During the bus ride back to the office we struck up a conversation with several of the teenage Romanians who are spending the week translating for Livada, the nonprofit we’re tailing. We spent the entire 45-minute ride talking about Romanian life, American perceptions and everything in between. I’m really enjoying getting to know all the Romanians we’ve spent time with and the Americans who are part of the team. There is a great chemistry.

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