beard brothers cazare bucuresti

Journal of a hostel receptionist – episode #1

The bright story of our receptionist Ioana Ciocănel

Starting with the autumn of 2015, I got myself immersed in the hostel life, and begin to be fascinated by the world unfolding in front of the reception desk with each check-in I did.

Beyond keeping the business going and growing, I found myself dealing with a rainbow of people, each color so unique and yet sharing a subtle essence. These new encounters that come across are offering me a chance to admire beauty and acknowledge the interdependent needs shared by us all. The various human connections made possible by the hostel environment, highlights the importance of quality interactions, observing without evaluating as good or bad, and being curious about life.

Thanks to all these conversations, came forth the idea of writing about the people I meet and the universal themes they helped me grasp. My intention is to articulate what I see and feel while bringing homage to these souls.


Episode #1:
Today I will tell you about The Beard Brothers, “probably the most unconventional NGO in Romania” as they call themselves. Present in Bucharest to sustain their 10th fund raising campaign that aims in gathering 30.000 Euro for the medical equipment of the burn unit, part of the Emergency Hospital in Cluj.

This initiative was born after the tragedy that happened during a metal rock concert on the 30th of October 2015, in Colectiv Club (just around the corner from Bucur’s Shelter Hostel), when so many people died and many are still suffering since. Thousands of people gathered to commemorate the victims and then to protest, asking for the resignation of the governmental officials in charge at that time. Moreover, the shock of it, brought to light the existing conditions in Romanian hospitals and party/concert clubs. Some actions were taken by the authorities, and people seemed more eager to come together for helping one another.

beard brothers hostel bucharest

So, these men and women, members of The Beard Brothers took action for helping others as well, and because they were accommodated at our hostel recently, I got the chance to meet them and talk a little. When they entered the reception room, laughter and a comfortable vibe accompanied them. Soon jokes started to take shape and I felt happy doing “my job”. I didn’t know about their activity even if it is a fast growing one. They started in 2013 with 7 people involved, and now in 2017 they reached 590 members and helpers that continue to extend on a national level. Their intention is to change mentalities and take responsibility, by cooperating with different other groups, in order to find and implement solutions for old and new challenges in our communities.

They took up the projects forgotten or rejected by public administration such as fund raising for the medical care of different people, a blood donation campaign, renovating a village school around Cluj, purchasing and donating a bus for the kids with special needs that attend a kinder garden in the same city, and also the acquisition of two cars that now offer free rides to disabled people or various social cases (“The Beard Mobile”). “It’s up to you” an ongoing campaign that talks about volunteering and social involvement in schools and high schools also caught my eye, because they make it look cool to take charge of what needs to be done, while empowering the new generation. The list is bigger and growing, and more info can be found on their website.

In the beginning of their activity they encountered difficulties in collaborating with other people without offering money. Explaining that what they want to get done is for the sake of all, and not for a selfish interest sounded like alien talk. It took strong determination, commitment and numerous tiring negotiations and to make things flow with compassion. I think their joyful way of seeing the world also helps so they don’t give up or go mad.

Meeting them, triggered admiration in my heart, and made me meditate again on the influence of money vs people. They see money as a tool, not as an add-on value of humans. Our society, today, still appreciates and promotes material comfort, and dwells on getting more for oneself ignoring the real needs of all. I see this money oriented behavior as a substitute for authentic human connection, and as a pillar sustaining a dysfunctional society. By not assuming the responsibility for what grows in our garden we easily offer the decision making of our wellbeing to some power or excuse outside of us. When we cannot see the forest for the trees, we fail to see the universal human needs of acceptance, appreciation, empathy, trust, harmony. These have more chances of being addressed by acknowledging the interdependence of all around (humans and nature). The more we practice self-worthiness, and authentic decision-making, in order to address the real needs of the tree/forest, the more substantial our contribution to the enrichment of life becomes.

I feel grateful for meeting these Beard Brothers, and inspired to exercise my own power more by giving that which chips in for the co creation of a peaceful, joyful and functional world.

Jah Bless!

Ioana Ciocănel,
Bucur’s Angel storyteller