To give context, I'm currently writing from our hostel's central gathering room. The group is relaxing after a rather busy day of carving our way through Bucharest's snowy sidewalks, attending the various events our Romanian hosts had arranged for us.
We began by visiting the Patriarchy, the center for the Romanian Orthodox Church. It's a beautiful structure, filled with icons and gold detailing. There was a holiday service taking place at the time, honoring the beheading of St. John the Baptist. We stood amongst the crowd, surrounded by the beauty of both Romanian people and sacred melodies.
The highlight of the day, perhaps even the trip thus far, was most definitely the panel discussion that Diana coordinated. After lunch, we returned to the People's Palace that we had visited the day before. There, we had the opportunity to hear from five individuals as they spoke about Social Entrepreneurship in Romania. Gabriela Manta has been working with USAID for the past fifteen years, Gabi Achim works for CRWRC, Christopher Troxler is a former PeaceCorps volunteer who has returned to live in Romania and work as a partner manager of a business development website called Despre Firme, Carmen Colceag who works with the organization ART Fusion that uses performing arts to deal with social attitudes, and finally Raluca Voicu, a nineteen year-old who is working with the Romanian education commission. I truly appreciated the chance to gain a greater historical and cultural context in which Romanian NGOs work. We were also able to engage these individuals through questions, furthering the discussion about Social Entrepreneurship and what this term means.
The evening was relaxing. We enjoyed a dinner together at the hostel, including some home cooked Romanian food that a couple of our hosts prepared for us (delicious!), followed by a play in a trendy underground jazz club.
Tomorrow we head out for Lupeni, the headquarters of the New Horizons.
We'll see what's in store for us there!