One of life’s special moments

Gordie Jackson
4 min readMar 19, 2017
Packing those boxes for Romania in Galway

I read a story this morning on Medium, the webspace that allows people to share their stories, the author wanted to hear readers’ stories. The mere reading of the request sent my head into a spin feeling that I could meet or I should meet the challenge. In such situations, I tend to go with the first thing that the unconscious pulls through to consciousness and although I have told it a few times an experience that happened in Romania came to the fore, so I will share it again.

In 1990 I was living in Galway in the West of Ireland. The previous year the democratic revolutions that were occurring in former Eastern European countries had hit Romania and with it exposure to the West of orphaned children living in grim conditions. This sparked a huge response in Western Europe with aid being transported overland to Romania.

A friend was moved to do something and she enlisted my help. She amassed a huge amount of donated goods and forged a relationship with an Irish truckers organisation who were planning to travel to the town of Arad in Western Romania. She secured their agreement that the goods she had gathered would go to the village of Dalbosets, which is in the south, and near the border with what was then Yugoslavia.

Pauline, the friend, had not quite realised the distance between Arad and Dalbosets. A small group had been formed that became Dochas Linn, later gaining charitable status.

It was decided that someone should travel with the cargo to ensure it got to where it should go, to my surprise I was asked to be the someone.

So we arrived in Arad via Moscow and the trucks with cargo joined us soon after. It wasn’t clear how we were to get our consignment from Arad to Dalbsosets though I needed to locate our consignment, which initially I struggled to do. I jumped into the back of the lorries and finally found the boxes marked ‘Dochas Linn’ Gaelic as I recall for “Hope with us’.

Now I was to find a driver willing to transport the goods though I knew this was a big ask, as we were miles away from where these goods were intended. I think his name was Tony, he was a driver heading for Belgrade and somehow he agreed to take the goods and me, I hadn’t contemplated yet how I was to return.

I don’t recall much of the drive until it became mountainous and I sensed Tony’s apprehension. Soon after he stopped the lorry and said, “Gordon this is as far as I go I can’t get this lorry up these roads.”

I can see myself sitting in that lorry and surveying the landscape it was one of those rare moments in life when you truly do not know what will happen next. I don’t recall being panicked, unusual for me, I do recall the beauty of the moment sitting in a cab in southern Romania faced with wonder before me and maybe fear behind me. I spotted a cluster of houses and said, “Tony give me a few minutes.”

Armed with Rolo chocolates I ran to the houses. The children were the first to meet me and I gave them the chocolates. I started shouting out, “Baptist or Pentecostal”. I had gathered in Arad that there were lots of Baptists and Pentecostals in Romania and my destination was a Baptist church in Dalbosets. People came out of their homes, which were on a street rather than a cluster. Adults approached me and in my limited French, I asked could I unload the lorry. The local Baptist pastor made himself known to me and agreed that I could unload the goods into the yard of his home.

I ran back flung the cab door open and out of breathe I said, “ Tony could you just drive over to those houses I think I have someone who will let me store the goods.” I don’t recall him saying anything but just driving.

As I sit in a McDonalds typing this now tears have joined me as I recall how it seemed the whole street came out and helped me unload that lorry into the Pastor’s backyard. Now I know why this story comes to my mind, it was one of the most special moments of my life.

g.

Pauline with the people from Dalbosets a year later

--

--

Gordie Jackson

Speaks with a Northern Irish accent, lives in Hertfordshire, England.