My Romania Story - Ramona Petrella Cummings (US): My time in Romania changed my whole perspective on life
We’re inviting our readers to share their stories with us and tell the world what Romania means to them. Ramona Petrella Cummings, an American woman who has founded a non profit in Romania, has decided to join our campaign and fill in the questionnaire here. Below is her Romanian story.
Ramona Petrella Cummings, 41, moved to the northwestern Romania city of Oradea 18 years ago to live and work at an orphanage. She later decided to start a non profit here. Named Project Hope for the Children, the NGO focuses on helping orphans, disadvantaged children, and at-risk families in Romania.
"My time in Romania changed my whole perspective on life. Seeing how my new friends lived with so little, but with so much grace and contentment made an impact on me and what I considered important going forward in life," she told Romania-insider.com.
She is currently living in New York, but being the executive director of Project Hope for the Children allows her to travel to Romania quite frequently. Still, she hopes to live here again one day, even if only part-time.
What is your name and how old are you?
My name is Ramona Petrella Cummings, and I am 41 years old. I am the founder and Executive Director of Project Hope for the Children, Inc. working in Romania.
What is your nationality and where do you live now?
I am American and currently live in NY but travel back to Romania once or twice a year.
What is your connection to Romania?
In 2003, I moved to Oradea, Romania, to live and work at an orphanage. I ended up starting a ministry working with abandoned babies being warehoused in the local pediatric hospital. That has grown into a non profit that has several projects in Romania.
Is Romania an important part of your life and why?
My time in Romania changed my whole perspective on life. Seeing how my new friends lived with so little, but with so much grace and contentment made an impact on me and what I considered important going forward in life.
Running my non profit allows me to travel back to Romania frequently, and I love that!
What are the things you like about Romania and why?
I love the way they have preserved their cultures. In Oradea, we have Romanian culture, Hungarian culture, and Roma culture. Even with Western influence, Romania still maintains its charm and beauty! The people are generous and lovely, and the land is gorgeous! Hoping to live there part time again one day!
What don't you like about Romania and why?
I struggle with the Socialistic governmental policies and the inefficient way things are done in business. Also, there are so many areas that tourists would want to go to, yet they are run down, poorly advertised, and not well run. It is unfortunate as there is so much to see and do there!
If you had to advertise for Romania as a country, what would be the top things you would mention to promote it?
Gorgeous landscapes, great people, beautiful architecture!
What are your favorite places in Romania and why?
Oradea is my "home" city, and it is beautiful and located very close to Baile Felix, a natural hot springs area. Sibiu is another fantastic city with plenty of culture! The Carpathian Mountains are breathtaking to drive through, visiting castles along the way. The underground salt mine amusement park is so unique, and the Bear Caves is a nice day trip!
Anything else to share with us, that was not covered in the questions above?
Romania is an undervalued country that definitely deserves a second look! The country still struggles with social issues, and I wish they would open up their international adoptions for their orphan population.
(Photo source: courtesy of Ramona Petrella Cummings)