Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Roma....

Every day we see them, dressed in strange, never seen before, colorful clothing. They ride bikes every where. They share their bikes with loaded down, filled to the brim plastic bags. Filled with any thing that they have deemed valuable from the dumpsters that they have visited. We aren't sure how they figure the dumpster thing out, do they have a specific route they take?  Do they ever fight over the "best dumpsters"? Why do we usually see just the women? What do the men do? We see them cross the bridge on the way to their camps, sometimes we see them in the grocery parking lots, begging. We seldom see their children, unless they have a baby in a sling while they are begging. But unlike the little ones in Mexico, that follow the gringos around at the bus stops, we don't see the kids. Finally got the answer to that one. The Croatian government pays the parents more welfare if their children are regularly attending school. If they miss too much school, with no medical excuse from a doctor, they don't get the added amount of money. That works for the kids until they get into high school, and then the high school principle said that the girls start really well, integrate well into the school and then one day they just don't show up, they never see them again. Come to find out their parents sell them to what ever gypsy family can pay the most for a daughter-in-law for their son.  Education over. Riding bikes and going through dumpsters begin. So sad! They do have more children than the normal Croatian families, so Croatia will soon be populated more by Roma's than by Croats. The government really seems to be trying, but like most of the Balkan states the Roma's are not an easy population to deal with.
  We brought little cars for the kids from the Happy Factory in Cedar City, Utah. If you want to know more about them look.. HERE
   These people are wonderful! Early in December I e-mailed them and requested 100 cars for our little Roma project that we were planning. About a week and a half later someone rang our door bell. It was Fed Ex with two big boxes! They were labeled from the Happy Factory so I knew immediately what they were. I asked the delivery guy if he had children, he said, " yes, a son, three years old"  Ahhh perfect, wait, just a minute. I have something for him. So I opened the box on the spot and gave him one for his son! He went away one surprised and happy delivery man! They had sent us 200 cars! We didn't have to pay anything for them, they even paid for postage. What a great organization they have with good people who really care. We can't thank them enough! We gave about 35 of them away today at our Roma preschool...and these are the smiles they produced.

They got apple juice from the man that brought us to the preschool. They were pretty impressed with that as well as the cars.

Could they get any cuter?
He just captured my heart!
Even the girls got a car. They got really excited when the teacher told them that they could take the cars home with them, that they were not just for the school. Yeah!
This is the Roma village. All the home are heated with wood, so you smell like a bonfire if you stay outside very long.
More of the village. Last year the city next to them brought in asphalt roads. Before that our tour guide told us it was just pure mud. No gas lines, our project is to hopefully bring heat into the school. But it would mean the city has to cooperate with us to bring in the gas lines for a boiler. A wood burning stove would not be a safe thing for a preschool with 30 kids!

                          THANK-YOU HAPPY FACTORY!

1 comment:

sara said...

the pictures of the kids melt my heart. what can i do for the kids?! i want to make something or do something... any ideas?