A Hard Working Romanian Woman


This is the story of Monica Vancea, a Romanian woman who lived for 36 years in the Dragu village, a hilly region of Transylvania. As the youngest daughter in a family of seven children, she grew up helping and supporting her ill parents until she got married and started a new life.
As tradition goes in Romanian villages, when a girl passes a certain age, she has little chances of getting married. Local customs speak of the involvement of close people helping the girl finding a way to a happy marriage and also a good life partner. The Romanian saying is: “The old ladies marry you.” The ladies are in fact the older women of the village who believe and pass on the customs, traditions and superstitions they have learned from their forefathers.
Due to this custom, Monica met Lucian in 2000, a stove craftsman, who became her husband. They began their modest life together by moving in a rent house and establishing a small household, ensuring them the resources for a continued existence.
Monica, who applied everything she had learned as a child and young woman, became an important pillar for the family. Facing unemployment and poverty, she embraced the chance for a new life and meaning given by Heifer International. As beneficiaries of the project, “Alpine Goats for Two Poor Communities,” the Vancea family received five French Alpine goats, providing better nourishment and the possibility to increase their income.

Besides the French Alpine goats which have a special value for Monica, there are also two pigs, some rabbits, ducks and chickens, and a horse used for transportation and agricultural labors. Monica and her husband share the labor and the hardships of life equally. With great devotion, they take care of their livestock together. When Lucian leaves to build stoves in other villages, Monica takes over all the responsibilities.
God did not bless them with a child, although they strongly wished to be parents. But life circumstances changed, and they adopted a 12 year old boy, named Christian, being able to support his needs, protect, comfort and educate him.
Monica became a true mother figure and Christian completes the Vancea family. He has the chance to grow up in a loving and warm environment, the basis for a prosperous future. Even if Monica is not Christian’s birth mother, she is the parent that will  always be there for the child.

Monica enjoys doing work in and around the house on a daily basis, such as washing clothes, cooking for the family, feeding animals and storing food for the winter (pickles and compotes). She even prepares a tasty goat cheese according to an original recipe.
It is impressive how Monica manages to do all these different things without becoming tired. The smile on her face says, “We don’t need much to feel content. I feel complete as a wife and mother; I am always trying to do what is best for my family.”
Even if she faces the harshness of life, she is still sensitive to the “beauty” of nature.  She always finds time to plant flowers in her small flower garden and plants vegetables.

Monica Vancea represents a great example of Heifer beneficiaries. She understood how to appreciate and develop the gift received from Heifer to sustain and increase the income of her family. Monica has never missed a meeting or training related to the goat project. Her perseverance is remarkable!

She fulfills the role of a wife and mother successfully, and the role of an active member of the community by carrying out the duties of all church and village related activities. Monica Vancea is a hard working Romanian woman, one of the many Heifer heroes of our villages.

Laura Manciu,
PR and Communications,
Heifer Romania

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