An early start at Heathrow on Sunday saw our intrepid band of 29 hardy pain, blister and sunburn-free trainees board the plane for Romania. We arrived in Cluj that evening and caught up over dinner and drinks, eager to see what the work-hardened reps from Habitat for Humanity had in store for us at the site the next day.
The site is just outside the city centre and (another early start later) we were introduced to our supervisors for the week. They took us through the week's programme and we split into groups to begin work under a strong Romania sun, finishing off plastering one house and digging the foundations of another. We all found our areas of strength (and muscles we didn't know we had) fairly quickly and enjoyed getting involved in some physical work (even if those of us who were digging trenches did ensure that the rest of the group knew everything of our tireless and peerless physical efforts in the 30 degree heat).
At the end of the day and after a much-needed scrub-up, we went to meet the families who would be living in the houses we were building. They welcomed us with open arms and we soon forgot our aching limbs. It was very interesting to speak to them about their lives in Romania, and what the houses would mean to them. Dinner was at a restaurant with a spectacular view over the city, where the reps told us more about the culture and history of the country. They also joined us in sampling the local food and drink, and the evening continued in a local bar where we met some of their friends and unwound after the day.
During the second day progress in the building work improved. In my group this was accompanied by some light-hearted competition between the offices in the digging stakes, along with a healthy dose of mutual satire (with my group arguably coming out on top in both categories despite a valiant effort by my colleagues). After another very rewarding day we're all looking forward to seeing how the rest of the week pans out both in terms of work and play. Whatever happens, I'm sure it will be as eventful and enjoyable as the first two days have proved to be.
Want to find out how the rest of the trip pans out? Visit www.lawyer2b.com again next Thursday.