I’m not going to lie. Waking up at 5 AM is not on my list of favourite things to do. But in this morning, August 1st, I manage to do it. I pedal and enjoy the morning coolness while I still can, because the forecast announced a hot day. The hottest day of the summer. I head towards the meeting point, from which we will leave in an organized group to the localities Buda and Cornetu – where we will provide thermal insulation to two houses from the Foundation Motivation România which hosts children and young people with disabilities.
70 persons have gathered at the start point, some of whom I know from other volunteering missions, some I know from the office hallways and elevators. There’ll be an occupational safety training that we can’t escape, along with a SMURD ambulance and police squad. This is definitely a properly organized job!
Alex Ciocan is also joining us. As it is a volunteering event targeting the bicyclist community from Vodafone România and Vodafone Shared Services România, he was invited to hold a motivational speech. We get moving with him joining us and we feel like being a part of the Tour de France. Well, for 13km at least, because that’s what it takes to get to the site.
We divide into two teams, one for each house and we get going. Some are preparing the adhesives, some are putting on the primer, and some apply a grey paste on the polystyrene panels, with the dexterity involved by buttering a slice of bread. If you move back three steps and take a look at all this, it looks like an ant farm. Hard-working ants with red protection helmets working on the ground or up on scaffolds. I take a quick look at my more experienced co-workers and try to learn from them. I want to leave this place as a PhD in house insulation, because who knows when I’ll need it in other volunteering events. Every now and then, while we work, we feel shy looks following us from behind the curtains covering the windows. These are the people we came here for. Those who will enjoy more heat during the winter, during all the winters to follow. Some of them, more active and more daring, come among us and try to give a helping hand.
The air has become hot. Luckily, we have water bottles placed in an iced barrel prepared by the partners from the Foundation Motivation România and the fans installed from place to place. We were told that, if the temperature became unbearable, we will suspend the works. Alex Ciocan is working by our side. As in a monochromatic game of Tetris, the polystyrene panels get to cover all the walls. Our mission has been completed.
We go back to the generous and soothing shade of a tent, where there are whole trays of juicy and cold watermelon. Alex speaks about bicycle riding and the importance that sports and exercise in general should have, in the lives of each of us. I keep thinking about what he told us after getting home, while getting out of the shower. But only for a short while, because I fall asleep fast. I’ll probably sleep for 100 hours. But 100 hours of sweet dreams.