Vurpar, Romania
Vurpar Street
Want to Help? Where is Vurpar? History Life & People Administration Church Life Health Clinic Economics Infrastructure Education Home
Lions in Romania

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5| 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11
Click a photo to view a large version

Eye Examination
Arelene Clester
Translators Workers
In the Camin
As the ceremonies subsided and the band retreated, men from the village began to carry boxes of glasses and equipment into the Camin. In less than two hours over 8,000 pairs of glasses were arranged on worktables, the autorefractors were installed and switched to life, benches were rearranged to seat our “customers” and we had enjoyed a homemade lunch. We were more than ready to start!

Rapidly, the Lions organization began to examine and fit people for glasses. Those are Lions Joe Marcheggiani helping the patient concentrate on the target and Rick Frazee documenting the moment.

Each “patient” would come through an entryway, provide name, age and other information to a registrar and was seated, control form in hand, on a row of chairs facing the two autorefractors.

The autorefractors provided measurements of the eye. Each guest pressed his or her head against a bar and a Lion volunteer worked to “take a mathematical picture of the eye.” Sometimes our patient would be a wee small child and our translators and the volunteers would work together to help the child remain still enough to provide a good measurement.

From the autorefractors the patient was lead to a desk where Fran Cameron informed each person whether or not they would need glasses and where, if they so needed glasses, to wait. She worked with Christina, one of the translators.In all there were ten translators, Alex, Ilie, Johannes, and others, who helped during the four days of our work. The translators were an important link between Americans and Romanians, but by the end of the first day most of the fitters had begun to learn essentials in Romanian.

The first challenge to the system occurred during our afternoon’s work. The village leaders had established a systematic way for villagers to find a place in line without pushing and shoving, without having to come at 6am in the hope of being seen.

Under Communism, Simon Dragan explained, people were regularly lied to about what, when and where the government would provide items to citizens. Romanians became cynical about the system. Nobody believed authority, people would jump into any line they would see and find out afterwards what was to be had at the end of that line. People believed that whatever was there would be better than nothing at all, would be worth the wait, and might later be barterable for something more useful. There were always lines in Communist Romania and always the fear of missing out. People simply were conditioned not to believe authority and to fight for the few goods that the government passed on to the people.

Father & Son
Future Miss Romania

So, the line became a crush of people trying to get through the door. It also seemed that villagers had invited their friends, relatives and co-workers to come for glasses. The second day the line began to form at 6am and by 8am it is a tightly packed mass of people trying to get to the front of the line. They needn’t have tried so hard because we helped everyone who came. We were fighting the conditioning borne of fifty years of communist lies.

The Lions work went on for three more days and old men came from the fields, women from their kitchens, and children from play. There were always a hundred people waiting to get in.

We would occasional go outside for short breaks and returning volunteers would comment on seeing happy children sporting their new glasses. One child with a crossed eye could see correctly for the first time in his life. The eye almost magically corrected as the glasses were put on his little head. Remove the glasses and the weak eye floated to the side again.

Glasses are quite expensive in Romania when compared to the income of the average Romanian. Consequently, we reminded people to wear their glasses rather than “saving” them, as some people did. Glasses to them were special and to be preserved. Here are two pictures of Lions, Ron Hinshaw with a wee little one and his translator Mihaela Dragan, and Arlene Clester working to properly fit glasses.

On the second day in Vurpar we picked up another volunteer, Joe Roberts of the Peace Corps. Stationed in Sibiu, Roberts worked primarily with family support agencies in Sibiu providing in-service training, organizational structure and consultation. At the Camin he worked to help people come quickly into the hall for fittings. He became invaluable. His pay, a jar of Jiff Peanut Butter and a bottle of Log Cabin syrup, carried from the States at his request in our baggage, was worth the cost and more. Here are two pictures of Joe, one on duty at the front door of the Camin and the other at the home of Domnul (Mister) And Doamna (Misses) Coldea and Emil Dragan during a tour of the Coldea home. Like most homes in the village, life at the Coldea’s is almost self-sufficient with hogs, chickens, grapes, vegetables and a hearth for baking the best of breads.

Boys in Vurpar
Coldea-Emil-Joe Roberts
Doamna Coldea-bread

<<Previous Page | Continue to Read>>


Welcome to the Village of Vurpar. In the heart of Romania. Learn about us and help if you can.
Questions or Comments? E-mail us at: