A gift of flowers

Different countries – different habits

When spring blossoms in our hearts again and again ... Its setting is akin to a fairytale. At the former location of the ancient Roman fort of Drobeta in the city of Drobeta Turnu Severin, the modern dialysis centre nestles on the left bank of the Danube, where the river emerges from the gorge in the Subcarpathian valley of Topolnita.

And just like in a fairytale, the patients have radiant faces, thanks to the diamond sparkles reflected by the greeting cards they have received or by the Romanian NephroCare patient magazine “pentru tine” they are reading.

Manciu Ioana (Ioni, as her friends call her) is one such patient. Many times, her battle against the disease made her lack the energy to go on, but the “Gifted Hands” project made her aware of her value and her inner strength. The support of her family and friends and her positive attitude played a key role in her acceptance of dialysis as part of her everyday life. Today, dialysis is not the end of the road for her, but a new beginning. She has finally rebuilt her self-confidence and realised how valuable she is, and she wants to give something back. That is why, wanting to put a smile on everybody’s face, she has drawn up a plan: next year, on 1st of March, the sun will shine …

She thinks of wintertime, when everything seems still. The windows are covered with frosty patterns. When she closes her eyes, there’s a field of glittering pearls in front of her. The winter wind seems to whisper a story:

“Once upon a time, there was a widower who lived with his two daughters, both very smart and curious. The girls always asked him many questions. Sometimes he had answers for them, sometimes not. As he wanted to give them the best education, he sent them to the house of a wise man for their holidays. The wise man always had answers to their questions.

One day, one of the girls decided to deceive the wise old man. To this end, she brought a blue butterfly. “What are you going to do?” her sister asked. “I shall hide the butterfly in my hands and ask the wise man whether the butterfly is dead or alive. If he says it is dead, I shall open my hands and let it fly away. If he says it is alive, I shall close my hands and crush it. So, whatever he answers, he will be wrong.” The two girls immediately went to see the wise man and found him meditating. ”I have a blue butterfly in my hands,” the girl began. “Tell me, wise man, is it alive or is it dead?” The wise man smiled serenely and told her: “It depends on you... as it is in your hands. Our life, our past, present, and future, are just like the blue butterfly. It depends on us to choose what we do with it!”

On 1st March, the fresh blades of grass are yet to have emerged and joined nature’s dream. And Ioni began to make her dream become a reality. At Christmas, although she knew it might not turn out right, she started to draw sketches for her big plan. By the turn of the New Year, she had already created many different shapes and drawings for her March amulets. With her imagination and creativity, she designed templates for two unique March amulets, and created them with her hardworking and gifted hands.

On the fifth day of January, she started to make them in the little workshop she had arranged for herself in her living room. Day after day, in every free hour, Manciu Ioana sat there, modelling snowdrops, butterflies and flowers. During each dialysis session, she counted the ever growing number of little envelopes. For her big plan, she recruited other patients as well: Răducu Mirela, Cioculescu Ion, Secu Daniela, Ciocan Nicoleta. With a lust for life that only spring can evoke, they all transformed the quilling strips with eager hands.

Every year, the March amulets are a source of deep emotion and joy for everyone. They mark the beginning of spring and a time when a change blossoms in all of us. For a moment, we are all touched by the March amulets around us as we pause to admire them. Anca Abănăriţei, senior nurse at the centre, has done more than just admire them. She has joined in with the creativity by buying ladybirds and little butterflies to make her own amulets.



Loredana Popescu, psychologist
Fresenius Dialysis Centre,
Drobeta Turnu Severin, Romania