When we got back to the hotel, it was pretty late. We were tired and decided to get ready for bed, instead of going to see the city. After making sure that we would not leave, the interpreter went and gave the news to the communist agents who were waiting in their car. It was interesting that they didn’t come to make acquaintance yet. I was pretty sure they knew we were aware about who they were, but for now they were keeping the distance.
We went up the stairs and our van left. The car with the two communists was still there. It was with no doubt that the receptionists and the hotel personnel had to keep an eye on us and report our every move to the secret police. That was all right. When we found ourselves without the interpreter, I told my two friends that we were watched everywhere and listened in our rooms.
Next morning at breakfast in the hotel, there was almost the same opulence and diversity of food we experienced in our first hotel in China. The restaurant was filled with men. That was unusual. They were in suits, eating alone or in small groups of two or three, and I assumed they were in some sort of leadership at their work place. They slept in the hotel because their family lived far away, and as every person in charge, they had to be government’s reliable agents. By the time we finished our meal and prayed for the day, the big room emptied and there were only us left behind.
At the appointed time we went outside. Our van was already there. When I got in the vehicle, I was amazed. The back of it was stacked with boxes full of Bibles in Chinese. My heart jolted with such a sweet and humbling joy to see our treasure there. The driver greeted us and started the car. Since there were no seatbelts, my friends and I went to the back of the car and, touching the precious load, we prayed over them. “Lord, use them to bring salvation and hope to the people.” When we got back to our seats, the white car with the agents was right behind us.
We were passing by fields with crops; most of them were with corn. Groups of peasants worked the huge lots of common vegetable common gardens. Because everything there was in common, as it used to be in Romania under Ceausescu. In the villages, people didn’t have their own land. They had a small portion of ground around their house to plant vegetables and fruit trees. The communists took my grandparents’ land by force in the early ’60s. Then my grandparents and their neighbors had to work the land, and all the crops went to the government. They were left with nothing. The wages were so low that they barely could survive. I remembered that, and every communist country followed the same pattern. Everything belonged to the government, specifically to a few great leaders of the communist party. The people were treated as slaves.
A few folks around the world contacted me via Internet. They kept holding to their argument that socialism was the best for a society because everything belonged to the people and so every person’s need was covered by the common care. Sadly, they who never lived in a communist country really believed that the government was like a big daddy that looked for their individuals. The slogan, “Everything belongs to the people” was a grotesque lie. Everything, all goods belonged to a few. I gave them examples of our life when, in our freezing apartment, I had to change the diapers on my babies under the blanket. My children wore their boots in the house. Getting milk was a real struggle every morning, and for so many times we couldn’t buy it, because the store would get a small quantity and the line of the men and women in the snow or rain at 5AM was too long. In communism you cannot think ahead and make plans to grow and enjoy life. Our plans were who, my husband or I, would go and stay in the line for meat, eggs, or bread the next day. We needed to choose. We didn’t have passports because we were not supposed to go abroad. We were watched and listened all the time, and even among our closest family members, friends, neighbors and work colleagues there were secret police informers. For a small amount of money or some sort of privilege, people would spy on one another. And then people disappeared.
-to be continued-
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