Have been looking forward to this day! We rented a car (a cute VW Up!) and drove the hour outside of Budapest to Kecskemét. We stopped in the town for coffee and breakfast for Ellen (I was nibbling on matzah).
We arrived at the SOS Children’s Village in Kecskemét just before our 10:30am appointment. The gate, pictured above, looked as I expected it.
We met with the area director, the national sponsorship coordinator, an administrative assistant and some volunteers. We were treated very well, it was an honor being there. We introduced ourselves and then the director gave a short presentation on the villages in Hungary, the number of children they care for and the issues they face. They receive one-third of their support from the state, who designates the children who require supervision and care. One-third comes from Hungarian individuals and companies, and the last third from the international charity, although that is being phased out and will vanish by 2020.
We toured the community room.
We then got to tour a few of the homes, where usually 6 children are cared for by an SOS Mother. We got to meet one and talk to her about the children she cares for.
Imagine cooking and cleaning and doing laundry for that many children? I have great respect for the work they do. The homes were simple but nice, the children have the essentials.
We then drove to see a youth home for older children. Many have behavioral and ADHD issues. They have an aviary, as working with the birds helps these children.
The visit made quite an impression on Ellen and me. Hard work done by many to help children who desperately need it.
We went back to Kecskemét, which is a town of about 100,000 (Hungary’s 8th largest city). It’s quite beautiful.
We then drove back to Budapest. Outside the city is Memento Park, where Soviet eva statues found their final resting place. REALLY fascinating to see.
Time for our final dinner. Muzeum Cafe, where we had drinks, appetizers, steak for me, veal for Ellen and dessert for $70. A great end to what turned out to be a wonderful trip.
And a final look out our window at the Chain Bridge and the Matthias Church.
If you’ve enjoyed this trip (and haven’t donated already), please consider a donation of $13.10 (or a multiple thereof) for the miles I ran in Budapest. You can donate here.