A PETERHEAD man has had his eyes opened after spending a life-changing eight days in the poorest country in Eastern Europe.
Peter Duncan retired from his job heading up the procurement department at Grampian Police in 2010 and planned to spend his retirement with his family and friends, going to church and going on holidays.
His latest holiday, however, a trip to Moldova with the New Hope Trust, has changed his views on life, and he already has his heart set on a second visit.
Peter met assistant general manager at the trust, Mark Morgan, three months ago after deciding he wanted to make a personal contribution to the children of Moldova. He said: “I’d heard all about the orphans and the work that the New Hope Trust carries out overseas and I wanted to see for myself what was going on and how the trust was helping. I’ve supported their work previously by donating all of the unclaimed bikes from Grampian Police.”
Peter and Mark made the trip to Moldova on June 16 and he was prepared for the worst after hearing horror stories from people he knew had visited before.
“I had all the anti-sanitising products you could think of,” he says.
“Although I couldn’t believe it when I got there, shiny wooden floors, clean dormitories, hot and cold water and an inside toilet, along with smiling children who welcomed me with open arms. From then on I was their grandad.
“That night I sat down with Mark and asked him if we were at the right orphanage! The place really was a hell-hole and the New Hope Trust had turned it into somewhere children felt wanted, they were all so well-mannered and their belief in the Lord Jesus Christ was unlimited.”
During his trip, Peter spent time with some of the older girls at the orphanage who shared their personal stories of their upbringing.
He added: “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and it grieves me to see kids rioting in the streets of Great Britain after hearing those stories.
“One of the nights I was playing cards with nine of the girls and I told them I wanted to buy them a treat for being so kind, here you’d expect children to ask for a bottle of cola or a bag of sweets, but all the girls wanted was a banana each!”
Peter hopes he can return to Moldova to support the work of the New Hope Trust again.
“I really hope I can go back soon to be their grandad again,” he said.
“I think about the children every day, their wholeness and sheer enthusiasm amazes me and I’d go back tomorrow if I had the opportunity. I’ve learned how lucky I am to have had a Scottish upbringing with a good Christian Faith.
“I’d urge anyone to support the work that the New Hope Trust carries out overseas and at home.”
Mark, who went on the trip with Peter, added: “When you see it through someone else’s eyes, it reminds you of the great work you’re doing and the difference your making to these young people’s lives. Sometimes you don’t realise the scale of what your doing.
“Our aim is to put a stop to trafficking in Moldova, as quickly as we have the money and resources available. Some 74 kids were put out on the streets on June 1 and had we had the money and space to take them in we would have.”