2001 Visit Reports
This year three teams again visited - a survey team in March, seven members in the first summer team and ten members in the second summer team.
Materials were sent out ahead of the team by Link Europe, and the teams flew out with British Airways.
The survey team identified the main projects this year would be the rewiring of the Hospital, the building of and outdoors patient shelter, and an incinerator.
The First Summer Team
The team arrived in temperatures of 95 degrees fahrenheit and was made up of an electrician, bricklayer, carpenter, DIY enthusiasts and two lady care assistants. The team was asked to commence the various projects agreed with Dr Stoica earlier in the year and during the survey visit. This arrangement produced dividends. The team contained three new members who were excited at the prospect of seeing the countryside, the village and meeting the people and patients with whom we would work with. On the Sunday we had the usual initiating day meeting friends and settling in.
Work commenced early Monday morning on the grassed area next to the hospital to build a shelter for the patients, whilst the electrician attended to various anomalies in the flat. Thought was given to the ways and means of obtaining materials for the shelter. The main upright timbers were given by the Hospital. Once in position, foundations dug, ready for concreting, the establishment changed their minds ! It was taken down and a new site surveyed around the perimeter wall.
The structure was to take the form of a bus shelter with welded metal uprights, covered with corrugated plastic, with a long wooden bench. A day was lost in that exercise and another lost finding the necessary suppliers of the new materials from in and around Brasov.
We waited for the truck to arrive from the UK with the equipment. This didn't arrive until three days into the first week. When unloaded, many boxes of medical supplies were signed over to the hospital and the remainder was tools and equipment.
The electrical equipment was to be installed in the dining room and ancillary areas ready for wiring up by the second team. The dining room was white-washed in advance by a local tradesman. Also before we started the windows were removed for painting by hospital staff. Wooden seats were built around the dining room walls, and stained wooden cladding was installed on the back walls to cover broken or missing tiles.
An incinerator was built in the area of the waste dump to help contain the hospital rubbish and to enable staff to burn it safely. Education of the staff is needed to keep this in control.
The care assistants spent many useful hours with the patients seeing to their cosmetic needs, motivating them with games, colouring books and music. Just being with them seemed enough to calm the troubled ones amongst them.
Flooding in Brasov from violent thunderstorms spoilt our Saturday afternoon, but this was compensated my a meal out in the Hunters In at Poina Brasov and a subsequent visit to Dracula's Castle at Brann. The team gelled together extremely well, we worked hard and enjoyed each others company during our off duty moments. Thanks go to Istvan for his patience in translating and procuring required materials from local tradesmen.
The Second Summer Team
From first arrival the priority was to establish progress made by the first team. This also had the added benefit of a familiarisation period for new members. A meeting was held with the team and Dr Stoica to get her feelings for the work done so far. We got the message that seating in the dining room needed to be lowered, otherwise all was good. The external covered shelter which was abandoned by the first team was done so because the bark on the uprights was considered too splintery. We did though get agreement that this could go-ahead next year.
The team was then allocated areas of work based upon their expertise. The electricians continued the work of the first team and completed the first stage of the rewire. Some pipes were found to drip water condensate directly onto the conduit in certain weather conditions. Modifications were made to conduit siting and Dr Stoica agreed to provide details of their origin/destination for next year. The electricians also took on board extra work requested by the hospital. This too was completed entirely satisfactorily.
The building team concentrated on lowering the existing seating and continuing the run around the dining room. Wood and fitments were procured and the work continued until completion.
The engineering team undertook the task of building a second shelter similar to the first and concreting the bases of both to finish. These were very successful and popular with the patients. A grille for the incinerator was also constructed. This was made of beds cut up for the angle iron, then welded. Although completed successfully, it was noticed that bonfires were still being lit elsewhere, except in the incinerator pit. Apparently they liked it so much they didn't want to get it dirty !
It was noticed syringes and needles were littering the area. This was reported to Dr Stoica who told us they had a safe disposal area and they should not be there. She agreed to investigate in the light of patients carrying them around, supposedly as weapons.
The care assistants spent a lot of time working with the nurses. The hospital only has hot water twice a week so, on the other mornings we transported hot water from the flat and gave care in the form of strip washes, shampooing and hair cuts. Some mornings an impromptu barbers shop was held outside the flat, while the ladies enjoyed manicures and make-up sessions.
In the afternoon we spent time with the patients in the club room or outside offering various therapeutic activities, or just chatting to the patients.
The standard of cleanliness in the hospital seemed better, and random checks on cold water supply showed it was always available for drinking. The shelters built by the team began to be used by the patients and the walls looked cheerful with murals painted by the Irish team.
On the last day, after the dentist had visited, the whole team went around the hospital giving out squash, biscuits, cigarettes and toiletries, as well as 150 balloons which proved very popular.
The final job was to complete the dining room refurbishments by putting bright stencils on the wall. This was really the cherry on the cake and made the room look wonderful. On the last morning, the water was evacuated from the system and the flat made safe for the winter.