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TEM Lab - Fall, 2017
Written by Amy Titus
Photos by Jeff Webb
“Our ability to handle life's challenges is a measure of our strength of character.”- Les Brown
The last five weeks have been a gratifying experience for us. Through the travels we have made and the people we have met, we were able to understand the beauty of Romania. Adversity is a word that might best explain the challenges that these people have lived through; while things may seem bleak to the outsider there is so much hope for a brighter future.
On April 8, 2008, Taparo experienced a devastating fire. Speaking with Mr. Filip (the owner of the company), he shared this story with us on our first day. As our time went on we quickly understood the resounding impact that this incidence has had on the company. Taparo isn’t just a company; it is the life blood of the villages that surround Târgu Lăpuș. When the fire overtook Taparo many wondered if it would be possible to keep the operation running. Thanks to the drive of Mr. Filip and the two other subsidiary manufacturing companies also located in Târgu Lăpuș, they were able to get things back up and running. Recovering from the loss and damages has been a difficult process--one that nine years later they are still trying to overcome.
This last weekend a storm rolled into Romania with wind speeds of 100kmp, a category 1 storm surge. We were driving through the city of Dej when we first understood what this really meant. We first experienced the wind, followed by the pounding rain, that soon turned to hail. Upon passing through the storm what we found was complete devastation.
Driving through the small villages we saw home after home with roofs ripped completely off and businesses destroyed. The closer we got to Târgu Lăpuș the more concerned we were. When we finally arrived what we saw was destruction. Taparo, while damaged, didn’t suffer nearly the damages that Sofa Works and EuroComfil Invest did. Both of these businesses owned by the Taparo Group had many roofs blown-off of buildings, the debris slammed against other structures leaving these businesses looking as if a tornado had blown through.
In the face of this devastating storm what we found was a community: people who knew how to rally against all odds to overcome the current adversity they were facing. Monday morning Mr. Filip was onsite determining to continue operations. By midday they were up and running. Speaking with the people this week we have seen what fortitude is, and how impactful it can be within a small close-knit community. While they still have much to overcome the people of Romania will find a way.