Tunnels of Romania

The past two posts offer glimpses of both the desperation and glimmers of hope known by Romania’s orphans. I received another such glimpse today from a friend who leads the Board of Firm Foundations Romania.  While many of the details in all of these accounts are specific to this proud, beautiful, struggling nation, the realities they reveal echo those of orphans across the globe.

A set of dark, fetid tunnels beneath Bucharest have become home to many orphaned and abandoned children.  This story gives the heart-breaking account of one girl who found here in squalor beneath the city the only family she ever knew.  Meet Catalina in the article, “Is death the only escape from life in Romania’s tunnels?” and in the video below.

These stories and blog posts – as virtually everything in the realm of orphan care – exist at the very intersection of light and darkness.

Taken together, the videos of George and of Catalina, and you see side-by-side the world at its most beautiful and most broken.   When an orphan experiences loving embrace, it can bring a goodness that is breathtaking in its force. When she does not, the heartache that results is just as overwhelming.

The two images below reveal this truth better than any words. The first is from a video shot in the tunnels, showing a boy seeking to drown his pain by breathing the fumes Aurolac in a bag (see the image source at Channel 4 website here, which includes a series of powerful stories on the tunnels). The second image is a tunnel of a very different sort. This one is made by the raised arms of children at a summer camp for orphans and vulnerable children hosted by Livada Orphan Care, which works with churches throughout the country to serve these children in a host of ways.

Light and darkness. Desperation and Hope. Beauty and brokenness. Side-by-side.

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Camp in Romania Livada Hands