This morning I headed to Maxi Pet to bulk buy dog food with Alison as we were off to meet the ‘supposed’ poorest lady in Giurana. We met a translator on the way as Maria spoke no English which would prove challenging as she lived across a train track, even with our translator getting directions it was proving near impossible to find. After arriving half way down a non driveable road we met Maria who told our translator it was too unsafe to leave the car on its own and someone would have to stay in it whilst they hauled the dog food across the railway track to her house. I was the nominated person to stay in the car, scared was an understatement- I was told to honk the horn if the car was approached, I had a million and one scenarios playing out in my head! Finally, the dog food was shifted across and the translator took my place so I could go and see the conditions Maria was living in. Crossing the railway track to get into Maria’s house was like approaching the secret garden, a doorway amongst a wall of greenery but sadly that magical touch soon passed when the door was opened up into dirty old mattresses on the ground with dogs scattered covered in mud.
Maria welcomed us in to show us the conditions she was living in. Poverty stricken, a house/shack falling apart, no fridge or oven to cook or keep food, a mattress on the floor with animal faeces on, no place for anyone to live. It was clear Maria was in need of help and support and began to cry when Alison presented the food and some money to keep her and her dogs going for a little longer. Money is not something we tend to give to rescuers as we prefer to give food so we know where the money is going but Maria lives too far away from any shop to get these supplies and she must pay someone to do this route for her. We took some photos of two dogs Alison believed she would be able to adopt into the UK and walked back across the train tracks to find out our translator had been approached 4 times by local Gypsys asking why he was there and what he wanted- thank goodness I wasn’t in the car!
We said our goodbyes and were on our way, talking over the situation in the car Alison explained that Maria has been beaten up by her neighbours on multiple occasions for keeping dogs, there is a rule in Romania that you cannot report anyone to the police for abuse unless you have an eye witness- hard to come by here. My heart went out to her for all she was doing for her dogs and I was happy Alison had managed to secure her for a little longer. We dropped our translator back to his car where myself and Alison had a well-deserved coffee break to reflect on what we had just witnessed.
Sadly, I was flying back to London that evening so was running out of time to visit one more rescuer that day so we headed back to Kola Kariola to take some photos of pups Alison wanted to get up onto her website for adoption. Marius and Eleonore were out at the vets which meant we were met by horse and cart for an eventful journey across the waterlogged track to the shelter. Photos taken and kisses and cuddles for me and Red I got to say my final tearful goodbyes and headed for the airport. I am so thankful I was able to spend 3 days in this corrupt, poverty stricken country to see this issues they are facing daily first hand. This won’t be my last trip and I’ll definitely pack waterproofs and gallons of anti-bacterial gel for my next trip!
Until next time.