Distribution of relief goods

Journey from 27.12. till 10.01.2015

Part I Exploratory trip to Moldova – June 2014


On Sunday, June 22, 2014, Alexandra and Frank spontaneously leave for an exploration tour through Romania and Moldova.
It was a long-time wish of Alexandra to get a personal impression of the living conditions in these two countries. In Germany there are several aid initiatives supporting especially people in Romania. Although it is difficult to compare the living conditions of different countries due to the prevailing different climatic conditions and the historical background of the circumstances, the goal of this trip was to get a feeling for whether and how FriendCircle WorldHelp with his activities can possibly give support in these countries.
The route planned by Frank for six days is almost 4‘000 km long through Austria, Hungary, and Romania; from there to Moldova and back home. To be able to do the long stretch within this short time and to be flexible regarding accommodation and food, he rented a small camper. And so we start on Sunday...
Without any special events, we drive to Debrecen, just before the Romanian border, on very good highways. Only the incredible number of stork nests adorning the power poles in the villages from the Hungarian-Romanian border area, impresses us. All are apparently inhabited including offspring – a beautiful and unusual image for us.
Due to the EU enlargement, we cross the border to Romania without difficulties and spend the second night in Oradea on a private site with an airfield.

Frank had established contacts in advance: Costin and David are already waiting for us and can provide valuable information for our further trip.
After a rather short night – in Romania the clock must be put forward one hour – we curiously start the next morning into the “new world”...
We are driving through a lush cultural landscape of rolling hills. The apparently newly renovated main street is lined with small colourful houses, many of them in poor condition. The settlement is not as dense as in Germany and Alexandra and Frank have the impression that the people here still live an original life. Mixed herds of cows, sheep, goats and horses are grazing just anywhere without fences, supervised by somebody sitting comfortably in the grass or talking to passers-by...
The strong truck traffic is striking, many Western European companies letting produce in Romania. In between there are horse-drawn carts transporting people and all sorts of things, from hay and rubble to whole families with children. Frank and Alexandra are moved by a horse team in the pouring rain with a person lying on the bed – probably on the way to a doctor.
Our trip leads via Cluj Napoca, Bistrita in the direction of Suceawa by the Carpathians. The main road is still well developed and comparable to a German Federal Street (Bundesstrasse); here the EU has already given financial support.
When viewed from the car, the living conditions seem simple and adapted to the climatic conditions. Without a protective cottage no one would after all be able to survive in the harsh winters. However, the outward state of many dwellings leaves little room for speculation regarding the interior. People are dressed simply but neatly. But clothing is not very relevant in view of the incredibly high number of second hand shops in every town and place. During a short break with shopping Alexandra and Frank are shocked by the price of food, which is almost reaching German level. Also for refuel there is no significantly lower price...
In the evening of the third day, after 2,200 km route they reach the region of Moldavia, which is bordering the Republic of Moldova, the actual destination of this exploratory trip.
After a short night they continue already at 7am to the border crossing into Moldova. At 8.30am Alexandra and Frank reach the Romanian border station. At the passport control, the border officials point out that for the car a notarized statement is lacking without which they cannot leave the EU. Perplexed, they drive to the border post of the Republic of Moldova. Where should they now get the requested paper?
The line of vehicles is short but the controls are very intense and it takes half an hour until it gets really exciting. Passport and car documents are routinely checked. The customs officer repeatedly asks for something pointing to the vehicle registration while Frank shrugs his shoulders and answers „rental“.
After a few minutes, another official joins who speaks English. It quickly becomes clear that the car is rented (and not stolen…) and that there is only a rental contract.
„Ok, then you must return!“ he answers succinctly. After three days and so near our destination being stopped so suddenly, there is a brief moment of perplexity...Alexandra shows the official a Newsletter of FriendCircle Worldhelp and explains the background of the trip. „It is a very good intention what you are doing, but law is law“ is his comment. Alexandru, the customs officer seems to appreciate the matter more than he can admit in his role and disappears with all documents.
More than half an hour later he suddenly returns and announces: „You can go. But ONLY today!“. Alexandra and Frank thank him profusely and drive off.

When crossing the river bridge directly behind the customs station, Frank says to Alexandra: „Nothing can stop you“, which from now on becomes the motto of this trip. 
The entrance to the Republic of Moldova is unmistakable, since as of now the road is in very poor condition, though this is the main street to the capital Chisinau!
The destination today is the place Călărași, about 60 km away from the border. Here Frank has again a contact to which he had written in advance, but unfortunately without getting an answer. Around noon, they reach Călărași and at a gas station they ask for information to the airport. A small hall in the adjacent meadow is the goal. Frank calls by mobile Igor, the president of the Aero Club of Călărași.
After two call attempts due to lacking common language skills Frank tries a relay through a colleague of his in the Ukraine. After almost one hour waiting time, Igor has finally received and understood the information that Frank is at the airport and would like to meet him. A short time later a VW bus appears with a dragon on the roof and Igor shakes hand with Alexandra and Frank. Communication is hardly possible as Igor speaks Romanian, Russian but only a few words of English. The small aircraft hangar is opened and while Frank receives a brief guide Igor is browsing his large address book. Shortly after Valentin arrives, a young man who speaks excellent English. At last the exchange of information can start and the purpose of the visit is explained. Valentin and Igor quickly understand and carefully and with great interest read the Newsletter and calendar and have Alexandra explain them the objective.

From now on the machinery is running with Igor on the phone and scrolling through his phone book.

Update relief operation for Moldova

Good evening,

There is much good news to report.

For the relief operation Moldova we have already received some commitments for packaging aid and donation. Thank you very much!
At the moment, the preparations for transport and customs clearance – Moldova not being an EU country – are running in parallel.
Starting December food donations can be delivered at the collection point in Färbergasse 28. Exact dates will be indicated here in due time.


Presenting the relief operation for Moldova:

Nov. 7, 2014

Hello, dear ones,

Below we would like to present you the relief project Moldova. To realize this, FriendCircle WorldHelp needs 150 food packages for 213 persons.

How can you help?
• You can donate a complete food package, either in kind or cash donation. The contents needed are listed up on the shopping list.
• The value of a complete package is 65 Euro including the transport box.
• You can donate a single or several food packages. Either you buy the items yourself or the volunteers of FriendCircle WorldHelp do the shopping for you.
• You are welcome to help us with shopping and packing starting mid-December.
• The auxiliary transport will leave Bamberg on January 2nd, 2015.

We are very pleased to let you know that the company Schenker Romtrans SA has agreed to transport the approx.
5 tons (!) of auxiliary supplies to Moldova free of charge!
All auxiliary goods can be delivered starting beginning of December to the collection point at Färbergasse 28 in Bamberg.
Please do not yet ‚ready pack‘ the goods as we will pack these in standard boxes.

Donation account:
FriendCircle WorldHelp e.V.
Sparkasse Bamberg IBAN DE27770500000302304159
Account no. 302304159, BLZ 770 500 00
Remark: „Paket Moldawien“.
Every cent counts and will be used for this project at
100 %.

FriendCircle WorldHelp is looking forward to get YOUR support!

Below you will find the report on our exploratory trip of June 2014 (will follow soon).

Best regards,
Frank, Alexandra, Michael

Procedure and schedule of the „Relief Operation Moldova“

Dec. 4, 2014

Dear friends,

Below we would like to inform you about the schedule for the *Relief Operation Moldova“. In recent weeks, many promises of aid packages have been received. Numerous donations have as well arrived on the account. Many thanks to all friends and supporters!
Our contact persons in Moldova and the municipality of Călăraşi are already busy in the preparation of customs clearance. All are looking forward to the arrival of the auxiliary transport in January!

During the next few weeks we will keep on reporting on this project in this journal and the corresponding gallery.

Warm regards,
Frank and Alexandra

INFORMATION regarding relief operation Moldova
* Presentation of relief operation Moldova: Click here
* Delivery of relief supplies at the dates specified below
* Delivery location: Färbergasse 28, 96052 Bamberg
* Packaging of goods also takes place in Färbergasse 28
* Storage until departure at Spedition Schenker
* Contact phone: 0177- 4908431
* Helpers are very much welcome!

* 1. Receipt of auxiliary goods: Dec. 14, 11pm to 4pm
* 2. Receipt of auxiliary goods: Dec, 19, 6pm to 8pm
* 3. Receipt of auxiliary goods: Dec. 20, 9am to noon
-- End of receipt --

+ 1st packaging action: Dec. 13, 11am to 6pm
+ 2nd packaging action: Dec, 20, 9am to 6pm
+ 3rd packaging action: Dec, 23, 9am until everything is finished :-)
+ "Emergency plan": Dec. 24, if necessary

# Customs clearance: Dec. 29
# Departure of the truck from Bamberg: Dec. 30

Many thanks to the following companies/sponsors for their support:
- Spedition Schenker:
Transport and assistance in customs clearance
- Spedition Diem, Haßfurt: donation of cartons
- City of Bamberg: making available of the building as collection point

Relief operation Moldova – new photos showing packing of the aid packages online

Good evening,

Today, the second packaging action took place in Färbergasse.
Many thanks to all donors (benefits in kind as well as money) and helpers!
Nearly 3 tons of goods were packaged today - 130 out of 150 packages are now ready for dispatch!

Best regards,
Alexandra, Michael, Frank


Finished – all 150 aid packages ready for dispatch

Dec. 12, 2014

Today, the last 30 packages were packed on pallets.

Many, many thanks to ALL who have made this 1st part of the Moldova auxiliary action possible with their donations and their help! THANK YOU!

With three packing actions nearly 5 tons (!) of auxiliary goods were loaded on 17 pallets. In early January the goods will be distributed in Romania (hats) and Moldova (food and hats). This will be the second part of the aid action and we will again report in this journal.

We would specifically thank the company Schenker for the free transportation to Moldova, the company Diem for the boxes and the city of Bamberg for the provision of space!

Now we wish all our friends / sponsors as well as the visitors of our website Merry Christmas!

For FriendCircle WorldHelp
Frank, Alexandra, Michael, Maria, Erni, Christian and Peter


Greetings from Cluj in Romania - the truck with auxiliary goods already reached Moldova

Jan. 5, 2015

Good evening,

On December 26, 2014, Katrin and Alexandra took a flight to Romania. With the support of Catalina, Liam and Emma they scouted the locations for the distribution of the hats.
Gregor and Frank set off on January 1st from Bamberg and met with Katrin and Alexandra on January 2nd in Oradea, Romania.
The same day they went to see people living on the street and then also some families living in very modest circumstances and in the late evening housing for homeless people. The next day, they went to a settlement of Sinti and Roma and people living at a garbage dump. In the evening they made a second visit to the housing for homeless people. At all these places they distributed the beautiful hats. At the prevailing winter temperatures with snow the caps caused great joy everywhere!
The people at the garbage dump live in very modest dwellings and were as well given a large amount of food.

Many thanks to Emma and Liam, Lesley and Tim as well as David for accompanying us several days, doing translation
work and organization on the spot.

On Sunday, January 4, early in the morning we travelled on to Cluj Napoca. Despite the fresh snow the ride was easy driving 150 km in three hours.
At our arrival in Cluj and a short stopover in the guesthouse to unload our luggage we directly went shopping in a supermarket, and then we drove to the settlement at the garbage dump.
Unbelievable that people live here – on this day the snow covered the worst things – and even the smell...
With the help of two SUVs from Catalina’s friends the goods we had bought (soap, shampoo, caps, cookies, biscuits) were delivered directly to the people’s huts across snow and garbage. The many newly found friends distributed all the goods...

In the evening we had dinner together. Also Mirabela, our contact of the company Schenker, joined us.

Many thanks to Catalina, Laura, Mirabella, Stephan, Alex, Corneliu and Razvan!!

In the gallery you will find the newest photos.

Best regards from Cluj
Gregor, Katrin, Alexandra and Frank


Continuing to Moldova

Jan. 6, 2015

Good morning,

Yesterday, Alexandra, Katrin, Gregor and Frank went to a settlement of people near the garbage dump.
When talking to the village mayors it quickly became clear what people need most urgently – food and firewood.
Stephan, one of the off-road drivers of the previous day accompanied us as a translator and organizer. After a few phone calls and the drive to a farmer market things developed quickly.
By the early evening, 2.4 tons of potatoes as well as two loads of firewood were delivered for the 300 residents.
The distribution among the inhabitants began immediately in the "wood chapel". In addition, the remaining shampoos and of course our beautiful hats were distributed. Also here, people were extremely happy about this unexpected support!
The farewell was very warm...

Photos will follow, as the Internet was unfortunately too slow to upload them in the evening.

Katrin returned to Nuremberg the same evening.

Gregor, Frank and Alexandra will now tackle the remaining trip to Moldova over about 600 km. The transit through the Carpathian Mountains on small roads will take about 12 hours without any break.

Best regards from
Katrin, Gregor, Alexandra and Frank


Trip to Moldova

Jan. 8, 2015

Good evening,

On January 6, Gregor, Alexandra and Frank left Cluj at 5am. It is bitterly cold and at night it snowed again. The 600 km drive leads first to Bistrita, then through and over the Carpathians on to Vatra Dormei and Iasi. The mountain roads are well cleared and we are progressing slowly but smoothly. Then the landscape becomes flat and the strong wind causes increasing snowdrifts. After a break with a late lunch in Iasi, we continue to Sculeni. There is the border crossing from Romania to Moldova.
After a short "search" for one of the passports in our extensive luggage and a now unusually thorough border control, our Peugeot with Gregor driving crosses the border river to Moldova. Here, the road is covered with snow and in poor condition. Shortly after 7pm we finally reach Călăraşi: 14 hours travel time with short breaks.
At the entrance, Nicolai Melnic, the mayor of Călăraşi, and Cristina Smolenschi are awaiting us and take us to the nearby town hall. The welcome is very warm and all are very happy about the reunion.
After dinner together we move to our accommodation. In the nearby hostel of the city of Călăraşi one room has been prepared for the „boys“ and another one for Alexandra. Vasili, the caretaker heartily welcomes the guests and after a welcome drink for Gregor all go to bed tired. The next morning the distribution of packets is scheduled as well as some visits to people who will receive the packets.

In the gallery you will find the photos of the second day in Cluj and of the drive to Moldova. Photos of the distribution of the packets will follow…

Best regards,
Frank, Gregor and Alexandra


In Moldova – distribution of 150 aid packages – return trip to Germany

Jan. 11, 2015

Dear friends,

Last night Gregor, Alexandra and Frank safely returned to Bamberg. The return trip took almost three days. In Moldova and Romania there was still deep winter, only from Budapest in Hungary on the country was free of snow.
The stay in Călăraşi and the distribution of the aid packages were very impressive. In the gallery you will find a kind of photo story.
We are very happy if this way you can feel a bit of the joy of the people...

Thanks to ALL who have helped and also for your comments and feedback.

Katrin, Gregor, Alexandra and Frank

© Copyright by FriendCircle WorldHelp. All rights reserved. Any further processing, re-publication or permanent storage for commercial or other purposes without the express prior permission from FriendCircle WorldHelp is prohibited.
Slowly there is always less space. At the end of the action, everything is covered with finished pallets.
Each carton is carefully positioned so that all are safely on the pallet.
Work is going on always faster and shortly before 1:00 p.m. we are running out of some goods. Michael and Tanya set off and get the missing stuff, so the last packets can be completed.
It is done - the finished pallets are picked up by the company Schenker.  Costoms inspections will take place In their freight warehouse.  On Dec. 29, 2014 the freight will be loaded and leave Bamberg. In January part II of the action will continue here.
Pallet after pallet disappears in the truck and is stowed.
We load the cars up to the roof. Catalina has deployed more friends, and they are already waiting for us.
An exceptional scenery and unimaginable living conditions for people - in Europe.
Corneliu with a resident of the settlement.
It is dawning, bonfires are lit...
View of the settlement from the other side of the valley. Thanks to all helpers !!!
In our discussion with the village heads it turned out that firewood and food are the most urgent problems. There is presently an unusual amount of snow and the nights are as cold as -20 ° C! On a nearby farmers market we buy 2.4 tons of potatoes.
As the van appears, first the residents look surprised and then burst into cheers. Even the children pitch in immediately and carry the bags into the small wooden chapel.
Alexandra sees as a girl licking her lips in anticipation of food ... Here, the bags are stored for distribution. In the foreground we see Stephan, our organizer and translator for the day .
Some potatoes that had fallen down are carefully picked from the ground. Meanwhile Stephen makes a phone call to organize two transports with firewood. These arrive a short time later in the settlement.
Despite the challenging road conditions the drive is easy. Without time pressure, we are progressing slowly and steadily.
Jan. 05, 2015 in Moldova - Flashback. While Katrin, Gregor, Alexandra and Frank are still in Romania, the truck arrives in Calarasi. The customs clearance went off without problems. Many volunteers have come to unload the packages manually.
The local sports club helps with unloading -  an additional training session :-)
In our presence the seal is removed ..
In the mayor's office. Also Igor has come and is pleased about the reunion. He is a pilot, was our first contact in June in Calarasi and had arranged the appointment with the mayor ..
A warm hug on parting.
The snow makes transport easier as people have, of course, no cars ...
Many have come with a slide, some of them are built with simple means.
We walk the way from the road to the house of an old woman. She lives here with her son, who is sitting in a wheelchair after an accident.
The house is in bad condition. However, the snow covers everything ...
The kitchen and the living room of the old lady. She is 73 years old, we learn. In the second room next door her son lives. At least it's nice and warm - the small wood stove with cooking stove has been stoked up.
Thankfully, we are accompanied to the garden gate.
Next, we visit a daughter with her bedridden mother. The daughter is also sick, we learn on the way from Victoria (social worker).
In the car Gregory and Frank had brought two boxes of caps. In one of the boxes there are also some stuffed animals. In the morning Alexandra had stowed thesein the same car to distribute them ..
The centipede has found a very good new home.
The kitchen, which is attached outside the house. There is a gas stove and a few pots
The next one-room apartment in a building. Here lives an old, single woman. At first she is dumbfounded when the big packet is put in front of her. With moist eyes she thanks in Romanian and hugs us firmly in farewell.
A family of five, which Gregor visits together with Cristina and Alona, the second social worker. Although both parents work full-time there isnot enough money to fill all hungry mouthgs. Gregor tells us later that both parents were crying.
Until dawn packages are delivered. Then all get back to the city hall.


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