5. Slovakia, the Word for the Roma.
One story goes like this: Dad goes into jail, because he refuses to send his children to school. After three months, he is free again. Mom goes into jail now, because, she also refuses to bring her children to school. After six months of experiencing jail, they both agree: Our children are allowed to go to school. That is good news for the children, and also for the government, because in this way they try to limited the level of illiteracy in Slovakia.
The map to Sol in Slovakia shows a green area and it is beautiful and pittoresk indeed. The landscape turns into some relief. The early spring sun gives quite some warmth already and shows signs of hope and life. We enjoy being on the road again and we pas the border without even showing our passports. This is seemingly also an option with borders here. Another hour of passing through little villages, smoking chimney’s and fruit trees. We pass the big, beautiful city of Kosice and than finally we climb quite a mountain. The GPS says 700 meter above sea level. We see snow and the kids are excited. But is wasn’t without danger. The roadsides were steep and there was no salt to protect the slippery road. (We took a different way home later that day.)
And than, down the hill we see Roma settlements. Pretty easy to recognize. Life is happening on the street: A boy plays a guitar, girls are jumping with a rope next to him. Laundry lines, dogs and people and more people and children and more and more children. Later on we hear that nearly every village has this kind of Roma settlement.
Just before we are where we want to be, one of the kids asks: Where are we actually going? To one of dad’s vague friends? And do they have kids? Well, after ten minutes the kids who didn’t know about each others existence found each other and how! Within five minutes they played Uno and other games with so much noise that we had to let them go into the kitchen. There was no doubt that they were having fun. The kids went for a big hike into the mountains and drank from a clear stream. (the instructions were: take your mobile phone with you and be back in three hours;)
Pierre and Lisa have worked in this part of Slovakia for a long time and we asked him the same kind of questions that we asked earlier that week to Doug in Uzhgorod. How many Roma live here? What do you really like about your ministry? What are the hard situations? How do you keep your boundaries as a family? What about begging? And giving of gifts or money? Which languages are spoken here? And what Bibles are used? I cannot repeat all the answers here, but you can imagine that this was a very helpful day for us.
Pierre let a team translating the New Testament in an Eastern Slovak Roma language and a team is now working on the Old Testament. We will stay in touch and see how we can work towards the same goal: The word of God for all Roma in a language they best understand.
We have been on our springbreak journey (read more about here, if you like.) This was our fifth stop. We stayed in the place where the orange flag is. The other places are: Debrecen (Hongary), Oradea (Romania), Uzgurod (Ukraine) en Sol, (Slovakia). The blue flag is home in Osijek. I posted every day of this week. This is the fifth and final post. I hope that you enjoyed. (I did;)
We’re back home again. A few more weeks of hard work, with school and every day things of daily life here. It is good to be home, and I am taking a break with blogging. Let’s see how long that one will last! Warm greetings, Janneke