Gloria saves people from being frozen to death
Mid February, Ceadîr Lunga, Republic of Moldova. For weeks, the small country between the Ukraine and Rumania has been in the grip of freezing temperatures. Nikolai, the level-crossing attendant, approaches members of staff working for Gloria at a busy crossing: two men, probably drunk, are lying in a house nearby, with no heating and food, and are in danger of dying of exposure.
The Gloria employees immediately go to the dilapidated building. They knock on the door, they call the two men - but nobody answers. Only a dog barks and howls pitifully. The Gloria helpers try everything possible to get the keys to the house - in vain. In the meantime it is completely dark. Renewed calling, knocking and rattling at the door - no reply. In the end, Vitaly Paunov, the Head of Gloria contacts the police on his mobile. Together they force the door open with an iron.
It is pitch black inside when the helpers find the two men, wrapped in blankets lying on rusty bedsteads. The room they are in, is not heated, it is squalid and smells of urine and faeces; they are the owner of the house, Dimitrij, who is not yet 30, and his friend Valery from a neighbouring village, who has only one leg. The only light comes from Vitaly Paunov’s torch, who persuades the two men, with the help of the police officers, to accompany them to Gloria, to warm up. Valery, still dazed by alcohol, is quickly persuaded. But Dimitrij declares that he would not come because smoking and drinking were not allowed at Gloria. In the end, he too agrees to come with them.
At the medical centre, the night watchman gives them something warm to eat and a cup of tea. One can see how hungry the two men are. Afterwards they are having a bath followed by going to their freshly made beds in the emergency shelter.
Three other “refugees from the cold” have shared this tiny space before them; however, in the meantime they have been transferred to the shelter for the homeless. This home was intended to house 25 people. But even now, 33 men are living there already.
Some days later: as soon as it became clear that Valery and Dimitrij had no infectious diseases, they too were able to move to the hostel. The initial medical examination showed that Valery’s still existing foot had also suffered from frostbite. Vitaly Paunov reported that 50 % of all hostel residents had been found in the streets or in freezing houses, before they were admitted to the Gloria accommodation. Thanks to the alertness of the level-crossing attendant Nikolai and the efforts by the Gloria team, Valery and Dimitrij now have a chance to get on with their lives.