2009 Visit Reports

Spring Survey Report, March 2009

The Team consisted of: Peter Tolson, John Roche, Paul Smith

The team arrived safely, but had a rough 'start' as it was discovered Istvan had left his lights on, and we had to push start the car.

We arrived at the flat around 9pm, and Paul immediately set about mending the various leaks to enable us to put the water on tap. Unfortunately whatever we did, the water wouldnít flow.

The next morning the hospital plumber informed us that he had turned off a tap near the immersion heater. This was a tap that we never touched We had never even gave it a thought. We went to the hospital where the patients mobbed us, in a nice way of course.

We had a meeting with head nurse who informed us that Dr Grigoriou wanted to employ a building firm to build the extension. With the money that the Dutch charity offered, the Mormon money and our own contribution, he reckoned that it could be done. We had many questions but she could not answer.  A meeting would be scheduled for 10am the next day.

We spent the rest of the day getting provisions, and sorting the flat. Paul cooked us a nice evening meal.

The next morning, we went back for a meeting, and Nurse Stoica arranged for us to meet Grigoriou in Brasov within the hour. It was with some doubt that we went to the Brasov main hospital because in previous visits he proved illusive. To our surprise, he not only convened a meeting with us, but with the building contractors who would do the work. They seemed very professional, and had been used before to good effect. They seemed confident that they could finish the whole project within a month and it would be handed over in a finished condition. A site meeting was planned for 10am the next day where we would talk specifics, and make plans.

We went into Brasov for some lunch and then went to Istvans home. It snowed hard the whole day. We also went to Baumax and bought some spare pipes for the surgery.

We returned home in the evening and Nina came to the flat.

Early the next morning we visited the dentist and took a list of things she needed to be replaced. Everything was fine except for a light not working.

We met the builders and Dr Grigoriou at 10am. We had a detailed tour of the complete hospital, and the builders suddenly decided that there were some problems with permissions to build, and maybe the building after all would not be completed.  The building was to be a 2 ward unit with toilet and corridors. Dr Grigoriou wanted us to build a covered patio area along the back similar to decking.

When the tour was complete, the priorities changed.  He wanted us to help convert the old sewing room and store room into wards, and to build a shower room with 2 toilets and a sink roughly where the old toilet is. We decided that this was entirely feasible if we could get the labour and the money to buy the materials.

The patio area would be the second priority. Paul and John made initial measurements and came up with a basic plan of before and after scenarios.

After the meeting, we went to the flat for some lunch. Nina came with some pancakes which was nice. We went to the surgery where we needed to make some repairs to the water system. Many of the pipes were broken. How this happens regularly is a mystery.

We then moved on for a visit to the school. Everything was fine. Some of the exterior walls were crumbling but not too bad. The guard was not there, and we were told that they did not have any money to pay him, so he went.

They told us that they were desperate to get some ďLegoĒ. They also wanted us to tile the toilet areas. We thought to ourselves that this would be good as it would save too many bodies crowding the main project.

Our journey back to England was uneventful excepting the speed with which we got through customs and security. They were really on the ball for a change.

On the Friday after the visit, Istvan phoned saying that they would like to use 80% of the Mormon money to purchase the windows, and asked us if I could put the rest in the builders account to buy materials. It was stated that as long as the Mormons got a proforma invoice then it would be no problem, Istvan also said that Dr Grigoriou was going to e-mail a colour coded drawing which we could hopefully work into our plans to help. Each colour would represent an option over and above the basic shell in which we could improve the structure if we have a) the finance, and b) the workforce.

Overall we feel that it was a successful trip and gave us a clear direction for the summer. Prices in Romania have escalated to the stage that they are similar to ours. Unemployment is rife at the moment and more people are being made redundant each week. The roads are much improved with fewer areas of potholes. Beware, they are still there.

The car is still working well although it is really starting to look its age. We must really start to think what will happen when the car eventually dies.

We thought of several memorial word versions of the plaque for Phil. We decided that we should produce the variations and present them to the next meeting for a vote on which to choose, or further ideas.


Summer 2009 Team Report

Peter Tolson, John Roche, Peirs, Chester and Stephen.

The Team consisted of Peter Tolson, John Roche, Piers, 'Chester' and Stephen  

Day 1 Sunday 2nd August.

The flight on time, all was well.  We stopped at Sinai for some snacks.

We Arrived Mina at around 4pm. Unpacked and had a cold lunch. John was not too well as he had not slept the previous night. He went to lie down. All the rest of us had a look at the new building. We were not overly impressed, as they appear to have cut corners, and are using local timber which is very green. We could see the structure warping as it dries out. Still this is our opinion, and we are not the experts. W will wait until John has seen it in the morning. Floor is sloping also.

We had some tea snacks. All went to pub. We plan to meet the head nurse tomorrow morning, and meet with Grigoriou at 11am.

Day 2 Monday 3rd August

After breakfast we all went over to inspect the new building. While we were there, a lorry arrived with beds and mattresses from Germany. The Head Nurse was tied up with the delivery so no meeting.

We discussed ways of achieving the decking with the site foreman. There was no way that we could finish this in the time we had available.

Dr Grigoriou arrived and we all had a discussion. It was then decided that we would do the original project, and he would ask the foreman to quote a price for the decking. He arrived at a price but not including the roof. Dr Grigoriou was extremely polite and courteous to us.

John went in to town to start the purchasing of materials for the partitions. He organised the wood, doors and plasterboard to be delivered.

Day 3 Tuesday 4th August

Expected delivery of wood didnít arrive. Some things never change. I went in to town with Stephen to get the electrical and plumbing materials. Just managed to fit all the parts in the car. Got most things, but still more to get. Enough to start though.

Got back and unloaded. The delivery of Johnís items had arrived, but wood was holding us up.

Sewing ladies were meant to move out, but they were still there getting in everyoneís way. Team working well, but very small space to work in.  After lunch, Istvan went to chase up the wood, and it finally came an hour later.  They gave us extra as compensation for waiting.

Temperature is hot and very humid and it ha just started to thunder.  There was a gig thunder storm during the night.

Day 4 Wednesday 5th August

Real progress today. Lots of trips out to buy food and materials.  Partitions arw really taking shape, and the electrics are coming together nicely. One patient keeps taking stuff and running away with it. So far she has had wood, conduit, the old lead waste pipe, and some electrical trunking. A 90-degree bend 100mm pipe has also gone missing along with a circuit breaker!!!! We are getting the plumber to move some pipes tomorrow. They are buried in a wall, and need re-siting. We have just about worked out the routes of all the water, soil and waste pipes, but it is very difficult to get it together in a confined space.

Weather fine, but still hot and humid.

4 days now, and nobody down with food poisoning. We must be getting good at this cooking lark!

Istvan is at home tonight. He will be back later tomorrow.

Day 5 Thursday 6th August

Morning started brightly. The plumber had been to re-site a water connection. He had removed a pipe, but did nothing else. We called him back to instruct him again about what was required. He promptly cut his hand, and that was the last we saw of him. We decided to do it ourselves. Job done in 10 minutes.

Work was slow because John needed the water connections before fitting the cubicles. Steve cracked on and got the water back on with the new connections. Istvan is back now..

We now had a problem with the radiator pipes. They were sticking out right where we wanted to work.  Called plumber again, and he promptly made excuses as to why he couldnít do it. No pipe, no 15mm fittings, never did this type before etc etc. Sent Istvan out for the pipe and then did it ourselves.

The Team now moved much quicker to get the connections in and the toilets in position with services connected. Very awkward, but they all pulled together and got the job done. The electric was connected along with another circuit breaker! All flowing smoothly, and then disaster. Our new 100mm 90-degree bend waste pipe had gone missing again. A thorough search proved fruitless, and Istvan and I went to the nurseís station to get our pipe back. 3 nurses went to the girlís ward, and found the girl cuddled up in her bed next to our pipe. None of us even saw her near.

Toilets now sorted, and main connections where they should be. Called it a day and went for tea. Very heavy rain and thundering again. The boys went in to Codlea for a drink.

Day 6 Friday 7th August

Very overcast first thing. We all made the decision that we would go out as planned and hope it brightened up. How wrong we were. We went to Bushteni, and went up the cable car to the top. We were literally walking with our heads in a cloud. We could see nothing, and then it started to rain, and continued all day.  It was a real shame as the boys didnít get to see the view that we knew was there.  We had a meal in a restaurant, which was ok, but they were very impolite. We got home around 6.30pm courtesy of Vladimir in his Volkswagen mini-bus Mk2.

Day 7 Saturday 8th August

Foggy start. Continued with plumbing and partitions. Went local to get urgent materials, then on to Brasov looking for tiles, shower door, lino tiles, and lots of other  important stuff. Went to 5 shops, still bought nothing. You would think the shopkeepers didnít want to sell us anything! Some were very rude, and couldnít be bothered to help. Went to Baumax. Found most things, but still no shower door!

Time was getting on, so we had something to eat, and went to a small outlet selling sanitary ware.

Found something that we could adapt, and better still, it was in stock. Went back to Mina much happier. The sun was shining at last. Why couldnít it do that yesterday?

Stephen turned the water on to pressure test the system. All ok except for the central heating blanking cap. Renewed the seal and it was fine. Toilet doors next. They cost around £40 each, and were the poorest quality that we have ever seen. Wasted a lot of time making them work, but we did it.

Started to cement all the holes ready for tiling on Monday. Rest tomorrow. We are all very tired.

Day 8 Sunday 9th August

Started sunny, then started to rain. We seem to be cursed with the weather. Next door played loud music until 2-30am. Very tired.

Cleaned the flat, weather improved. We went up to Poiana Brasov.  Had a good meal. Met Ilya Nastasi the tennis player in the restaurant.  Nice day. Hope we all have good nights sleep.

Day 9 Monday 10th August

Bright and sunny. John is in a lot of pain with his knees. Too much walking yesterday. Went in to Codlea to get plaster so that work can continue. Later went into Brasov to get plaque. No luck with brass, but have a good brass substitute. Only problem now is that by Wednesday we will have a lovely plaque, but nowhere to put it, as none of the buildings are ready.

The team did well today. Tiling started in shower room, and shower tray in position. Booth will go in tomorrow, and toilets ready for painting. Piers undercoated the doors ready for a gloss topcoat.

Our thief took another 90-degree elbow waste pipe. John got it back. Later in the evening she appeared in the doorway of the flat. Hope nothing is missing. She is so silent we just do not see or hear her coming. She has taken the 90-degree bend again!

Day 10 Tuesday 11th August

Bright and sunny. Everything going well. Painted doors, partitions, and 1st toilet.

Shower cubicle assembled and put into position. Tricky boxing procedure, but we did it.

Final grouting tomorrow, and we may get use of the shower for the rest of the week.

Patients have been amusing today. One particular patient seems to like calling out Pete, or it maybe beep! The lads have been answering his call with their own version of Beep! Another patient decided to strip from the waste down, and examines his anatomy in great detail. John has just sacked him as his apprentice. Found the 90-degree bend in the patientís bed again!

We went down the pub, and were confronted with a 14 year old girl lying on the ground by the river unconscious from drink. Apparently her 22-year-old sister was almost as bad. An ambulance was called. First the ambulance crew refused to get her from the ground, as it was dirty. The locals then grabbed her by her shoulders and feet, and dragged her into the ambulance. End of a perfect day.

Day 11 Wednesday 12th August

Rainy start today. Went to the  Metro to change some money, while the boys carried on with the work.

The shower was completed today, and the doors were painted brown, to hide the defects. It works well and looks good. The shower went live this evening, and Steve test-drove the first one. Everything went fine. Tomorrow we are putting up shower curtains in the doorways, but that still is not simple for a number of reasons. Just got to test drive the toilets next.

We are considering re-siting the radiator, but that also may pose problems, as we are mounting it on plasterboard. We will see tomorrow.

Day 12 Thursday 13th August

John up early, couldnít sleep. It is sunny today. Everywhere on the project was a hive of activity. Only problem was that we were all getting in each otherís way. Even Piers felt the pressure and let a little swear word slip. Doors had been drying all night, and were still wet! We moved the central heating radiator to the outside wall near the door. Managed to find some fittings and the copper pipe. Itís a pity we cannot pressure test the system as the plumber didnít want to turn the water back on. Everybody frantically painting, grouting cleaning and polishing. Modesty curtains were installed, and the sink was fitted. Soap dish and toilet role holder installed. Everything works. 5.30pm we are almost there. Just got to fit the toilet doors in the morning and put the signs on and have a tidy up. 

A patient displayed some aggressive behaviour towards Peter when I was emptying the rubbish. It was the same one who attacked Reg previously.

Everybody enjoyed the new shower this evening, except Peter. He was last, and the system lost water pressure and ran cold just as he had got soaped up. Steve was just getting out of the shower when he caught the thief entering.WeI am not sure who was shocked the most. The Head Nurse is preparing some food for us tomorrow around mid-day. We are all going in to Brasov in the evening for some food at Mados. The boys have earned it. Unfortunately the money that they brought with them doesnít go far these days, and all are running short of money. It is worth making a note for future teams. Everything is so expensive now.  

Day 13 Friday 14th August

John and Peter put the doors on and finished the floor. Last thing to do was to put the signs on.

We sorted the tools and made a list of what was left in the flat.

We were called over for a meal in the doctorís office around 1pm. Lots of food as usual and a little bit to drink. We asked the Head Nurse what she thought of our work. She replied that she could not have asked us to do it any better. We talked about future projects. She said that the local building company doing the extension is doing the decking at the back. She stated that possibly the need would be to extend from the decking and make a new room, or to terrace the front of the building which quite frankly, would be a better option for us, but both has its challenges. John did say that none of their challenges have beaten us yet! Fighting talk I think. We did suggest that Mike may send a team later on in the year, and whether there was any work needed to be done. She stated that the Kitchen needed to be cleaned and possibly painted. We discussed the placing of the plaque when buildings are ready. Marian remembers Phil, and has requested a photograph of him on a team visit. We said we will search for one.

3.30pm, and the boys have gone into Brasov for a look around. We will join them at 6.30pm at Mados for an evening meal.  It has just started to rain and thunder.

Another successful visit from the NNRT team.

Winter 2009 Team Report

Again this year, it appears at the point of publishing, we will be unable to send a team for the customary pre Christmas visit.