A couple weeks ago I went with some of our Orphan's Promise staff to several of our project sites we have spread throughout this country.
One of the locations we visited was Mukachevo...a town nestled at the edge of the carpathian mountains and home to a significantly sized Roma (or Gypsie) population.
We have a local staff that has been working among these people for several years now, bringing education to their children on a regular basis and aid as well.
It is difficult to describe what it is like to walk amidst these gypsie communities. Sometimes only a stone's throw away from their Ukrainian village neighbors, and yet the lives they lead are so different.
poverty...and yet a satellite. priorities are sometimes interesting
Upon entering one of the gypsy settlements you instantly put aside all of your own problems. They suddenly seem insignificant in comparison to the needs of the people living in these communities. The poverty of the living conditions are even more shocking when winter sets in. Houses have dirt floors, lack doors, and are not built with heating or a water supply.
So much poverty. So much need. So much corruption and injustice.
One home I walked into was all put 2 rooms with 2 beds...and yet 10 people slept between the two beds.
Many in Ukraine blame the gypsies themselves for the state of their life and the choices they've made. Others blame the State for not trying harder. When I look at the problem it becomes clear that it can't be a blame game. There is just tremendous need...mainly among the children- and most families have 6-8 of them.
Last winter, our staff from Kiev traveled to several homes in the region and installed several economical heating devices, fixed roofs, installed doors, and distributed blankets and warm clothes. People were so grateful for the help, and to know that people cared.
The SEED project (something to eat every day) is another project that OP has begun in this region. The project’s goal is to help the poorest of the world’s populations through farming. People in the hardest of conditions are taught to change their lives with their own hands.
You know the saying...give a man a fish and I he can eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish and.....
The results of the project have been wonderful so far. As the gypsy people started to gather the first fruits of their labor nobody could believe the reality--it was working. The success has inspired and encouraged the entire community.
Another project is the building of a bathhouse. Since there is no running water in the community this is a chance to use the bath facility for families to bathe in clean water and also learn principles of hygiene. Its a long road ahead to change a mentality that has existed for generations...but this is the beginning.
I look forward to sharing more as these projects progress. But in the mean time, please keep these beautiful people in your prayers...
"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."