Reflections from a Summer Intern: Aaron Norris

Aaron Norris is a Summer Intern and Assistant at RCE’s Residential Campus in Pecica.

This morning the team from Fourth Presbyterian left after a week of dedicated and tireless work, and the Sunshine School where we slept already smells better. While I had met and/or heard of some of them prior to their arrival, it was nice to get to know the new faces. Their immediate arrival was somewhat turbulent, however after coordinating various delayed flights, everyone arrived safe and sound. The plot thickened when certain members were separated from their luggage for half of the week, but everyone arrived safely and in good spirits. The group was always there for each other and willing to provide support when it was needed. I was impressed by the quality of work and character that everyone displayed. 

Aaron and a team from Fourth Presbyterian Church work on the Alexi family home.

Aaron and a team from Fourth Presbyterian Church work on the Alexi family home.

Over the last two weeks, it’s been a privilege to garner a more complete idea of the services that Romanian Christian Enterprises provides and the people they help. Hearing the stories of the children and families that RCE assists is heartbreaking, but knowing that they can overcome those situations to get to where they are is both amazing and inspirational. To say that these people are in need is an understatement; it is difficult to fathom how they survive in the conditions where some of them live and raise their families. While it may be hard for some to think that everyone receiving aid is a victim of circumstance, RCE does not punish families and parents for decisions that may have contributed to their issues; they try to help as much as they can. Poverty and isolation inflict pain and suffering on families that don’t have the necessary education, resources, and assistance available to combat their problems. When pushed to desperation, people can make compromises to satisfy immediate needs, but by doing so, create more serious issues down the road. The judicious discernment that I witness daily when deciding who and how to help is anything but easy. However, RCE creates personalized solutions based on the needs and problems of each family, and focuses on training people to transition into sustainable lifestyles, avoid dependency, and mitigate the chance for returning to crisis situations. Because no two families or children have an identical set of issues, the team is regularly growing and coming up with new solutions. Their ability to adapt and be flexible with plans and situations is essential in the success that they garner, and everyone who I have worked with here is extremely dedicated and constantly working to help in whatever way they can. 

Aaron at work.jpeg
Aaron & Ghitsa.jpeg

Even when plans change here, there is always something to do. Fortunately, spending time with the children is always beneficial. Without establishing familiarity with a lot of the special needs children we work with, it is difficult to communicate and understand what they are trying to convey. Sometimes it is like learning a whole new language in addition to learning a whole new language (Romanian), but they appreciate it and is necessary for situations when there is nobody around to translate. It is exciting to see the development of RCE from when I was here four years ago, and how it is continuing to develop right before my eyes. The next couple of weeks will have plenty in store and I am excited to be a part of the evolution of the work. Each day I spend getting to know the workers, children, and families reinforces the reason that I came here, and it is immensely gratifying to be able to serve with RCE.