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Reaching Out: How a local woman helped ease the suffering of children in Romania

In a bed at St. Nicholas Children’s Hospital in Barlad, Romania, a baby named Andrei was wailing. Suffering from Hydrocephalus, the abandoned child’s head was slowly filling with fluid, swelling to twice its normal size.

He was in a facility that houses sick or deformed children cast aside by parents who see them as God’s punishment, or by caretakers on whom the shackles of alcoholism weigh too heavily to care for another human life.

Even in a place where suffering is commonplace, many were overwhelmed by his condition.

“I think everyone was intimidated,” recalled Nicole Mueller. “I was too. He cried 24/7 and he had sores all over.”

Mueller, at the age of 23, is a picture of health - Andrei’s opposite in nearly every way. Athletic and copper-skinned, she flashes white teeth in a frequent smile and speaks with unflinching Midwestern amiability. She was in Romania with the Global Volunteers program.


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