Viorica is the mother of three lively boys, nine-year-old Dumitru, seven-year-old Vasile, and two-year-old Grigore – and she and her family live in deep poverty in Cantemir, Moldova. Bread has become a luxury to them, like so many other foods, because of the rise in prices and the parents’ struggle to secure well-paid work.
The family live in a small, old house, that lacks basic living conditions. They don't have a bathroom, and instead of a shower, they use a basin filled with warm water. The house is not connected to any water or gas supply. They use firewood for cooking, and they carry water in buckets from the village well.
The family all cram together in the same room. The children’s play area is under the table. Here each toy is carefully stored, and Viorica has put some blankets on the floor to keep it cosy.
When lunch is ready, the children gather round to eat. Usually Viorica gives the children porridge for lunch, but they often ask her, “Mum, are we ever going to have meat again sometime?”
The mother is worn down by the struggle to meet her children’s basic needs, her face expressing worry and frustration that she can’t give them the food they want. She feels that her boys have been exposed to the harsh reality of poverty from too young an age. This Christmas, she and her husband are especially worried about their financial situation because of the way food and firewood prices have soared. Despite the difficulties they face, she and Grigore support their children as best they can, and the family atmosphere is loving and friendly.
However, Vasile, Dumitru and Grigore feel a sense of difference from the other children they know from the village and from school, and Dumitru – who is the eldest – does not have much hope for the future.
He said sadly, “To be honest, I don’t know what I want to become when I grow up.”
Mission Without Borders (MWB) in Moldova firmly believe that these boys do have a future – and that with support and encouragement, it will be a bright one. Vasile, Dumitru and Grigore are each enrolled on MWB’s child sponsorship programme, and are receiving ongoing support from Boris, the local staff member, who visits them regularly, encourages them in their school work, and offers them practical help.
On his latest visit, Boris had a wonderful surprise for the whole family: something that would fill their food cupboards and give them joy just in time for Christmas. He brought them Operation Christmas Love boxes, which are each filled with food and treats and some literature that explains the true meaning of Christmas – how God sent his Son as the most wonderful gift of all.
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