August 2003 - First trip to try to find Georgiana as narrated by Vali Nas:

Some details of Mariana's trip to Bisoca to find Georgiana:  She had a few problems to solve in Buzau, and when she made time to go to Bisoca, she had to delay again for a few days because of two days of storm.  You see, Bisoca is not a very large village, located up on the hills, with not so very good roads, so whenever there is a lot of rain the road up there can get pretty difficult.  Also, Georgiana and her family are not living in the village, but in a gypsy community outside the village, with no road to access there by car.  You have asked if it was a long trip from our home -- well, I would say it would take 2.5-3 hours to get from Bucharest to Georgiana's home.

OK, let me start from the beginning.  Mariana went to Bisoca on Friday the 22nd, and she first stopped at the main village store to ask about Georgiana and Gheorghe Manea, but nobody had heard about them and they gave Mariana directions to look 30 kms further.  However, she stopped at the mayor's office too and talked to the mayor and some of the counselors, who remembered Gheorghe Manea's family (fortunately, Gheorghe had submitted a request for social support, which is a small amount of money that the town hall gives to families in need based on the council's decision taken after the case is analyzed).  Mariana saw a copy of Gheorghe's ID card and was able to read the home study they made upon receiving the request for social support.

The family is comprised of Gheorghe Manea (born January 2, 1966), his mother Ileana Manea (born September 8, 1947), Gheorghe's younger sister (soon to turn 18) and Georgiana.  The whole family's monthly income is 210,000 lei (less than $7), which represents Georgiana's school allowance.  They live on the outskirts of Bisoca, in a small village called Lacurile, a community of a gypsies called "rudari".  This term "rudari" designates gypsies who manufacture wooden things, like wooden spoons, wooden tubs, wooden spindles etc.  They are not nomad but tend to live in one place, don't own any land and work for the peasants in the area who hire them for help with the crops.

The access from Bisoca to the small community is made on a very bad road which cannot be used by cars.  The closest store is located 4 kms (2.5 miles) away.  The houses -- made of "chirpici" (a mixture of mud and straws) -- are built on a rocky area at the foot of a hill covered with forests.  The altitude is around 1,000 meters (3,000 ft).  The area is not suitable to grow grains or vegetables, which makes them even poorer. The only occupation is growing cattle and fruit trees.

Oh, before I forget, Georgiana's last name is NADEANU, not VADEANU. Also, her personal numeric code is: 2950530008072.  If you have this number it's easy to look for her anywhere in Romania, it is a unique code that only she has.  The first figure shows the person's gender (1 for male, 2 for female).  The next six figures show the person's birth date, so you can see that Georgiana was born May 30, 1995.  I don't what is the significance of the six figures left.

When Mariana got there, Georgiana's father was not home.  He is working as a guard to a herd of cattle.  The grandmother was home, and so were Georgiana and Gheorghe's 18 years old sister.  When Mariana asked about Gheorghe Manea, everyone was curious and afraid he might have been involved in a serious incident or some illegal activity.  After Mariana reassured them that nothing wrong happened, they thought she was coming from the Direction for Child Protection.

Unfortunately, the batteries in Mariana's camera were not working so she needed new ones.  Therefore, she asked Georgiana and her grandmother to accompany her to the nearest village store so she can get new batteries. The pics I have sent you were taken there, and not near Georgiana's home.  Mariana has spent some time with them at the store and here is what she was able to find out from discussions with them: the grandmother is almost 56 years old, she had 9 children (7 are living), Gheorghe Manea is her oldest child, and his 18 years old sister living with them is her youngest child.  After her husband's death 4 years ago she developed some sort of mental condition and claims she cannot work.

Almost nine years ago Gheorghe left the community and tried to find something to work in the Brasov area, West of Bisoca, over the mountains.  There he met Elena, the girls' mother, who was from Sacele, near Brasov.  She was not divorced (and today is still Ioan Nadeanu's wife), therefore Gheorghe's relation with Elena was one of concubinage. They lived together for almost 4 years and had two children: Georgiana and Bianca.  Due to the mother's behavior (she was showing no interest in her children), Gheorghe decided that the only solution would be they should separate and take care of one child each.  He took the oldest child with him back home to his mother when Georgiana was about 3 years old.  Although she doesn't bear his name, Georgiana is his recognized child and therefore he doesn't need to follow any adoption procedures in order to keep and raise her.

About 4 years ago, the mother came with Bianca to Bisoca.  Bianca was very poorly dressed and looked malnourished and very poorly cared for. Elena tried to leave her with her father, saying that she has no possibility to raise her and care for her.  Both Gheorghe and his mother refused to take her in, so Elena took Bianca to the orphanage.

It seems that the mother Elena is still living, probably still in the Sacele area where her family is from.  The last time she came to visit Georgiana was before Easter this year, in April. According to the grandmother, Elena doesn't have any other children.

Georgiana has finished 1st grade and will start 2nd grade on September 15th.  She doesn't seem very interested in school and says she doesn't know how to read or write.  Anyway, nobody in her family is preoccupied to help her with her education.  She has to walk about half an hour to get to school.

The grandmother asked about Bianca and Mariana told her that she has been adopted and is now living in America.  A few minutes later, during the conversation, Mariana realized that for them America = Bucharest (Bucharest representing in their eyes the maximum of well-being), and the word "adoption" has no meaning for them.

Georgiana has never left her community and therefore is very shy.  Her family has no TV or radio, thus her access to any form of information is extremely limited.  She is a pretty girl, well developed for her age, with dark blonde hair and light brown eyes and pretty white skin.  It seems that Georgiana has inherited these colors from her mother, the
rest of her family having the skin, hair and eyes of darker color. Mariana showed them Bianca's photo and they consider her as a very beautiful girl who was lucky to live in better conditions than Georgiana.

The grandmother said that there are days when they don't even have money to buy bread, and they have a very hard life that they live day by day. Despite all these difficulties, Georgiana and her grandmother care for each other.  Mariana was very impressed with their poverty and bought them some food worth 300,000 lei (almost $10), for which they were very grateful.  However, Mariana thinks that they would desperately need other help (clothes, items for home, money etc.)  The lady who owns the store helps them from time to time (she gave Georgiana the nice hat in the photos).  If you will ever think of trying to help them, please let us know, we might have some ideas.

You were asking if you would be able to write to them in Romanian: you could send the letters to the store (Mariana wrote down the lady's name and phone number). We would very much like to meet you and Bianca, and Mariana could accompany you to Georgiana's family.  Please keep us posted.

Photos from the first trip August 2003 - Georgiana and Grandma


Next trip: Romania 3