A train ride from solitude to community

On the second day of the Caritas Volunteer Camp in Lăzarea, while the young volunteers are busy at various work points, the elderly are not left without a programme neither.

Róbert Péter, a social worker from Caritas, took some pensioners on an imaginary train ride for two hours. The group of people gathered in the cabin, shared their life journeys, their difficulties, their painful memories, revealing to the community even the deepest wounds. As the train rolled along, the conversation moved on, recalling how things were different then, how the sunset meant the end of the party, or how much value there was in sharing a meal together. It took exactly 48 minutes for the bad memories of the past and the challenges of retirement to be replaced by a more positive atmosphere. The reason for the opening up was the openness of the community, as it was repeatedly said that what was missing most in everyday life was the companionship, the honest and open conversation, the ability to cry if necessary, or to brag about grandchildren.

“Age is just a number; it’s how much we give in to the expectations of the outside world that really matters. As an elderly, it is fine to mourn and count the days that are left, but it is better to embrace our own life, with all its pain and joy, and thus create the opportunity to be embraced by a community” – affirmed Róbert.

As the journey came to an end, those present experienced the liberating feeling of speaking out and connecting with each others` stories. It’s good to open up, it’s good to meet, and it’s good to have time to dress up pretty, leave the gardener, the chickens and the sad loneliness at home for a while.

During the camp there will be plenty of opportunities for similar encounters and connections.

On the 5th of July at 10 am, Gabriella Gáll, a physiotherapist, will lead an activity for the body and the mind. In addition, Ildikó András, a social worker and the professional manager of the home care services, will give a presentation on ageing at 5 p.m. for young people. On the 6th of July at 5 p.m., dr. Gabriella Kiss, a mental health specialist, will give a presentation on the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, the changed behavior of a sick person and methods to understand it. On the 7th of July at 10 a.m., Csilla Balázs will give an insight into the joyful senior dance.

Find out more: https://caritas-ab.ro/en/the-20th-caritas-volunteer-camp/

The 20th Caritas Volunteer Camp was organized by Caritas Alba Iulia in partnership with the Municipality of Lăzarea and with the support of the Municipalities of Harghita and Covasna Counties. We would also like to thank all the participants and civil associations who supported the camp: End-Ibo, Ditró Bakery, Odorest, Coffe Community “Vekker”, Fapicom, Csíki Csipsz, Arbor Entrepreneurs Association, Smart Safety, Caritas Logistics, Community House Lăzarea, Volunteer Fire Brigade of Lăzarea, Transylvanian Hungarian Astronomical Association.

Written by: Anita Pintér, Caritas volunteer
Translated by: Orsolya Barabás, Caritas volunteer