Luci Haias – one of the many, but oh so special!
Adi Matis – Smiles Romania Assistant Director March 2017
I was thinking about sharing with you today one of the many beneficiaries we have on our support lists, particularly in the Family Care programme.
Luci Haias is one of those that we have supported for many years under our projects, because she is one of the beneficiaries where there are slim chances they will ever be able to care for themselves without some type of support. Unfortunately, there are many people who find it difficult to change, some are not always ready and so sometimes they need a little bit of pushing. But it’s even more unfortunate that some are not able to progress much, as they lack the physical or emotional capacity to do so. Yet, they are always looking for something of an improvement, because it is just their nature to want better.I first met Luci many years ago and this is no surprise, as most of the Smiles workers are actually more recent ‘appointments’ than Luci is. The history with her goes way back to 2002. There is a funny story actually, well known among our long-time friends, about the first encounter Mr. Hoy had with Luci.
She had been told of an English man staying at the City hotel who helps people in need, so she decided to come in and ask to be helped. So she enters the main lobby, goes straight to the counter and asks the receptionist to tell her the room number where Mr. Hoy is, as she had business with him! The hotel lady looked at Luci with an eyebrow raised and said “well, you cannot go up there, but I will ask him to come down.” So, she calls Mr. Hoy and tells him there is a lady waiting for him. But, as it so happens in many instances, particularly in important moments of life, the receptionist forgot to communicate an important detail: Luci was wearing a wedding dress, white and shiny, as she just got it from somebody who probably wanted to do a nice thing for her. So, when Mr. Hoy arrives in the lobby, much to his astonishment, there is a bride waiting for him!!!!
But that initial shock was only a first of many other interesting and some could even say difficult situations to deal with. Another well-known story is when Luci came to Cihei, where our headquarters are, accompanied by her pet, which happened to be a very large sheep! After spending some time around the office, she asked Maria, our Director, who at that time lived in an apartment on site, to have a room, as she needed an overnight stay, because it was too late now to go home. Of course the sheep was to come inside too. “Enough” said Maria, who considered that she can do without a sheep in her apartment, so Luci ended up being taken back to her home by a warm-hearted member of Smiles staff!
Oh, and another one, Luci once asked one of the Smiles worker to help her to take some chicks back home, as she just bought them from the open market in Oradea. Of course, being a good man, the colleague decided to do this and also take a team of mission trip guests, to go and see where Luci lived. The only detail that Luci did not mention was that the ‘chicks’ were actually fully grown chickens and there was not just one or two. Soon after placing them in the back of the van, they started to fly around and have some close interaction with our guests, singing very happily and putting up a great show for everyone!
My point here is something else. Luci is 45 years old now and she has been through a lot, starting with her childhood. Her parents had many problems and even her siblings have some serious mental issues. Luci herself was also presented with the terrible darkness of schizophrenia. She was abused as a young woman and she’s been rejected by all her family. She lived alone for all her life and in 2002 when we came to know her, she received, for the first time in her life, a house from Smiles. She had nothing else and no one to help her in life.
Somehow she kept a terribly surprising sense of optimism and conviction. She trusted God in a way that is quite a lesson for me and for all of us. She is always ready to do good and many of her neighbours actually were helped by her, one way or another. Luci does not want a lot for herself, but she is grateful to have been received into the Smiles family. Often she would call us her family, we became brothers and sisters to replace those who never wanted her. This is a very humbling and encouraging realisation, which only talks about how precious a soul is, much beyond our understanding for most of the time.
Luci still fights with her mental instability. However, I think it is more about the emotional effects of her condition that makes her get depressed at times. She needs to take an injection every two weeks, which helps her keep well, but even that it is not enough sometimes. But it gives me a very warm feeling when I talk with her and I see her starting to feel so refreshed and encouraged when she understands we are here to help her and to be her friends! She is somehow quite an encouragement for myself actually, for most of the time. It’s also true that sometimes communicating with her is a big challenge, but once we’ve accepted our boundaries, we get along just fine.
So, our special relationship with Luci is going back 15 years and I think it will continue for many more to come. But she is only one of many others who found a family in Smiles, people to care for them, support them and help them through tough times. Luci will never be able to handle things completely on her own, but she has the desire to do the best she can, because she knows that together with us she can achieve more than her own condition will allow. She is special to us, just in the same way as everyone we get to help and support is special!
Thank you so much for your support and interest in our work. I will continue to reply to your emails as you write to me, so feel free to drop an email when you can. And keep in touch!
During this month the updates on your special interest will also be sent, so there is important news coming up for you to read.
of Smiles Foundation Romania