Help comes in many forms. Like prayer and thanks, it is expressed in as many ways as there are people who offer it and the moods they happen to be in.
By Monday lunchtime, enough money had been donated. By that evening half the sum again had been donated. On Tuesday and Wednesday, money continued to flow towards me. On Thursday and Friday, the torrent started to calm. On Monday we had to start thinking about how to get the money to the hospital without losing too much in currency exchange and transfer costs. My brother and husband were not too interested in these details and I know nothing about numbers and money – if anything they scare me and given the choice, I leave them well alone. So I called a friend who works as a banking lawyer. I was hoping that he could help me calculate what I needed to pay from which account, but he wrote a letter to my bank, Raiffeisen, explaining the situation, outlining the community support I had received and asking if they could help. This was on Tuesday morning. The person he wrote to replied almost immediately – could I send the invoice from the hospital and my bank account numbers so that he could look into it. On Wednesday I got a call from an unknown number – a friendly voice speaking English (the earlier letters had been in English). I suggested that if it was easier, we could speak in Romanian. Gladly, and she explained why she was calling: the bank could offer a better exchange rate than the one they had offered in their letter the previous day (a rate which had differed from the official national bank mid rate by only a couple of hundredths of a percent) and to apologise for the fact that the cost of the transfer to the hospital would be deducted automatically, but to reassure me that the bank would reimburse this cost.
My lawyer friend explained what had happened so that even I could understand these devilish financial matters.
It’s like you go to the local market to buy 28 kilos of potatoes and you ask for a good price. The stall holder rings up his supplier who buys potatoes directly from the farmers and asks him “what are we paying for potatoes?” “62 cents a kilo” and he turns to me and says “62 cents a kilo. That’s what we buy them for, and that’s the price I can offer you, Dóra.”
“Thank you so much!” I say.
“Where would you like them to be delivered?” asked the friendly stall holder.
“I was just going to ask that. Would you be able to deliver to Professor Kotz in Vienna?”
“No problem. My mum has a stall in Vienna. I can ask her to deliver them from her stock. There will be a small charge for delivery, but I’ll sort that out with her. If we have a deal, the potatoes will be with Professor Kotz tomorrow morning.”
We did the deal and the next day I sent the money – my hand shaking somewhat in case I messed something up. I had after all been entrusted with such an enormous gift from the community and given all the help I needed to get it right by Raiffeisen Bank.
I would like to add that I asked the bank if I could write about this. I don’t have a lot of experience with financial institutions, but the support they gave me (which went far beyond its not insignificant financial value) is more than I expected any institution to give to a mere mortal like me.
Why Raiffeisen? I checked out the Wikipedia about the history of the finance institution, and found various points of connection whit my case: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Wilhelm_Raiffeisen