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Testimony of a Romanian rover

Updated: Apr 14, 2022

In Bucharest, several rovers and rangers supported the efforts of Anaid, an experienced humanitarian charity operating in Filaret coach terminal. We chose to serve on some of the night shifts, which were harder to fill for volunteers. Five, six... eight coaches were arriving in a night. We basically were among the first in contact with Ukrainian mothers, grannies and kids fleeing Putin's war. Many of them were holding their houspets in their arms. We were serving them hot drinks, sandwiches, hygiene items donated by ordinary Romanians. We pleased the kids by giving them chocolate eggs with surprises.

The parents of our wolf cubs bought many such surprises for this purpose. We were all impressed, as I'm sure were our Slovak and Polish brothers, by that quick, ever-present "Spasiva Balshoi" voiced by these children at three or four o'clock in the morning, in spite of the cold weather and the exhaustion from their long journey. We then found solutions for particular situations, for those who did not go to the accommodation provided by the authorities: transportation to Bucharest, to the embassies where they needed to solve their travel problems, to the houses where they had found a room, to the airport or to the railway station. In general, Romania is a country of transit. They mainly head to Poland, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Germany and we were following each "case" until they reached their destination.

We got particularly fond of Nataliya. She came from Mikolaiv, a town heavily hit by Russian bombing. She was 8 months pregnant and was caring for her mother and her three-year-old son. After ten days hiding in the basement, at the end of a long and dangerous journey, the family arrived in Bucharest at the most difficult moment I experienced at that coach station: the arrival at dawn of five, maybe six coaches at once. I lost count of them as I was anxiously watching them coming one after the other. We were simply overwhelmed. Tired and cold, the refugees had to wait in the crowded coach for several more hours until other buses arrived to take them to accommodations.

Nataliya's little boy was feeling sick and Isabela, our ranger, who is a doctor, gave him first medical attention. Eventually, it was necessary to take him to the hospital for two or three days. After he was discharged, we reunited the family, put them up with good friends of the Scouts to get them back on their feet. We took them to the train to Budapest, where they were to stay with acquaintances. A week later, Nataliya contacted us from Budapest. She asked if she could come back to Bucharest. She wanted to give birth in Romania, where she felt safe and surrounded by the love of the Scouts and of their friends. She returned to Bucharest, of course.

She now lives in a Catholic monastery close to Bucharest. We hope that Nataliya's friend , who is seven months pregnant, will also safely arrive in Bucharest. She is also from Mikolaiv, the city' s maternity ward was bombed and the shelling there has not stopped. We are continuing to provide transportation for Nataliya: to the doctor for tests, to the dentist for her little son, and we plan to go out with them to a large park for children. They are part of the Scouts family now. And with the birth of her new baby, we're going to expand our family too.

- Gelu Trandafir, Bucharest

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