In 2003, I led my first team to Beius Romania with Habitat for Humanity. Seth Fischer and I knew little about the country, the affiliate, and our team. We were excited to travel to Eastern Europe and thrilled with our project. We worked on a four-family apartment style house right in the town of Beius. It was incredible. Emil, our host coordinator, showed us the town of Beius and the surrounding areas. He was so patient with our team and had such passion about his town, affiliate, and country. It was infectious! I knew at the end of the two week trip that I wanted to come back the following summer.
Beius 2003 July Group Shot
Alice and Katie working hard in Beius - July 2003
In 2004, Alice and I brought another team to Beius. We learned about "Emil Surprises" in which Emil would constantly surprise us with new adventures during our free time in Beius. Sam and Tracy (the boy as he was called) came to Romania this year which added a new element of fun to the group!
Beius 2004 July Group Shot
Beius 2004 July
In the summer of 2005 I convinced my good friend Tyler to join me on the Habitat trip. Kris, my good friend from Habitat for Humanity International's office in Americus GA (volunteered there in 2001-2002), and I led a team in July. The summer heat didn't stop us working hard on the houses in the village of Mizies. We spent a long time putting the trusses for the roof together this week. Our arm muscles were huge by the end of the week from all the hammering we did!
Beius 2005 July Group Shot
Beius July 2005 - Busy Working
After my trip in July, Tyler and I travelled throughout Europe including heading to Bratislava, Vienna, and ITALY! It was a great adventure. I then went back to Beius for another team! That's right - I led two teams that summer to Beius!!! My August team was the first one that I led by myself and will always hold a special fond memory in my heart. All those trusses we put together in July - well my August team got to dissemble them and re-do them since Habitat changed their dimensions of the roof! Only I knew that secret - although now everyone does! This was also the team where I was able to participate in my first dedication ceremony at Habitat. Beautiful event! It was heartwarming to witness the homeowner receiving her own keys to her house.
Beius 2005 August Group Shot
Beius 2005 August - Installing Floors with Valer
During my summer in Beius, I had a conversation with Emil about how I wished to see Beius in the winter. Sure enough, by the time I left in August, he had put me on the schedule for a team in February 2006. This time, I convinced my good friends Mike and George to join me on the team. It took a lot of nudging (Mike hates the cold), but after a few promises of making chocolate chip cookies and a few sessions at Archies, I convinced the two of them to join me. We had my smallest group - only 7 members - but to our joy, it was in the 50s while we were building! We didn't see any sunflowers along the way, but we did get to really learn about the town of Beius and its wonderful people.
Beius 2006 February Group Shot
Working Hard in February 2006
In July 2006, Tyler and I were back again leading another team to Beius. We joked with Valer and Florin, our construction supervisors, that we made a "Hunks of Romania" calendar to raise funds to come back again. We actually made the calendar for the them of all action shots from the previous summer. After a lot of laughs, we were back to work again in the summer heat. I was missing the cooler temps of February! Helen and Declan, two members that met on my team, are actually married right now and living happily ever after! Who would have thought that you can find love on a Habitat site in Romania!
July 2006 - Group Shot
Hammering the frame of the house
July 2007 marked my 7th team to Beius. In celebration of six teams already completed, Emil organized an accelerated build for my group. We started and finished a house in six days! It was hard work, temperatures were over 100 degrees all week, but we managed to dedicate the house on the last day and share the first meal inside the newly painted house! It was a definite celebration in Beius, I was actually on a morning talk show (similar to Oprah) and had my own personal translator. We built in a village about 30 minutes outside of Beius and had a great experience. The house was built in the back of the grandparents current home. The grandparents, parents, and two children were all living in a small, cramped, two room house without indoor plumbing. I was in charge of drywalling their new bathroom in the new house! So exciting!!!
Group Shot - July 2007
House is Finished - Dedication Ceremony!
In July of 2008, I took a summer off from doing Habitat trips and missed it tremendously. I came back strong in August 2009 with a new group. It was great to be reunited with my friends from Beius and to meet a whole new group of eager volunteers in my team. Heather and Duncan would come back again with me the following summer. Patrick would then spend a year in Budapest after our trip. It was an amazing experience, yet again.
Beius August 2009 Group Shot
Working Hard with Cement Mixers
In 2010, I returned again to Beius. This time we worked for a few days at Caminul Felix in Oradea (mentioned in my last blog entry) and once again Emil surprised me. We were able to spend an afternoon at the water park! We went on water slides, relaxed our muscles in the thermal baths, and had a great BBQ after! My good friend Sam (he's been on my Mexico trip, Chile trip, and Romania in 2004) came back again this year as well as my good friends Rich and Geralynn from Chile and Costa Rica trips.
Beius July 2010 Group Shot
Manuela and Katie
Miranda and Steve stomping the ground and getting ready for a foundation
Finally, in 2011 I returned to Beius again for a special 10th build celebration. We built a house in one week! We started on the foundation and finished the house by the end of the busy week. I had a few folks back on my team again like Manuela and Miranda and I had the chance to meet a ton of other folks. It was a great week. These are just a few of the photos to show you from the week:
In August of 2013 I returned to Beius for my 11th team. This time we worked for the beginning part of the week in Oradea and the end in Beius. It was so nice to go back to my "summer home" after not seeing my good friends the summer before!
Katie and Emil
I leave for Budapest in two weeks from Wednesday. I can't wait to meet an entirely new team of individuals and look forward to seeing Joel and my Romanian friends again. Be sure to follow along this blog as I will update you on our trip and the progress we make throughout the week!
Until next time, have a great day!