Friday, October 23, 2015

Who is your neighbor--and fellow citizen?

This is an on-going debate, both in North America and in Europe. Take, for instance, the situation of Romany in Hungary. The European Roma Rights Center published the following 10 FACTS ABOUT HUNGARIAN ROMA to remind everyone that Hungarian Roma are an integral part of Hungarian society. As you read, think about your own (long-term) neighbors.
  1. Roma have been living as part of Hungarian society since the 14th century.
  2. Today approximately 750,000 Roma live in Hungary. That is 7.49 % of the population.
  3. All Hungarian Roma speak Hungarian and only 17% of them speak Hungarian as a second language.
  4. During the Hungarian Revolution of 1848-49 the Roma sided with the Hungarian cause, and many repaired weapons or worked as cannon-casters or camp musicians who assisted the county-level recruitment campaigns.
  5. Numerous Hungarian Roma participated in the Revolution of 1956. One of them was Ilona Szabó, who was shot dead at the age of 17 by Soviet forces.
Regardless of the shared history and shared struggles Roma in Hungary face neglect, discrimination and oppression.
  1. Thousands of Hungarian Roma were killed for being Roma during the Holocaust. Later the Roma worked largely in sectors which went bankrupt after the democratic transition of Hungary in 1990 (mining, heavy industry) and they have not yet recovered: today, only 26% of working-age Roma are employed.
  2. The areas where Hungarian Roma live are mainly disadvantaged areas and small villages where there are no job opportunities. The average life expectancy for Roma in Hungary is ten to twelve years less than for non-Roma.
  3. Between July 2008 and August 2009, six Romani people, among them a 5 year-old child, were killed, and 55 others injured, in a string of racist attacks in rural Hungarian villages.
  4. The openly anti-Roma radical right-wing populist party Jobbik secured 20.54% of the votes during the Parliamentary elections of 2014.
  5. Hungary’s Supreme Court recently declared that the segregation of Roma children in church schools is legal.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Finding ministry opportunities

   A few weeks ago Shane and I traveled to Chisinau, Moldova to attend the annual Gypsy Lore Society meeting. It was interesting to hear papers and discussions about work among Roma from a completely different perspective. It was good to look at the situation of Roma with new eyes and be reminded that we always need to be open and willing to learn. You never know when you might meet a new co-­worker.

   Potential collaborators can appear when and where you least expect them, like in a conversation with an atheist researcher who studies Roma public health issues in Slovakia or with a young Spanish woman studying medicine as an exchange student. You might make a connection with an embassy worker or even the ambassador himself at a meet and greet which will later open the doors when you need to push for the repair of the roof at a local Roma school. Volunteering your time at a local school or library and sharing your story can put you in position to receive and share gently ­used clothes, books or furniture items. Attending a training or conference can open new doors to share ministry ideas over a dinner of pancakes and tea.

   Ministry comes in all shapes, sizes and forms. We just have to watch for opportunities through the right lenses.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

How to Make Your Own Mayonnaise

First measure about a cup of oil.

 While American volunteers were teaching Romanians to quilt, this new Romanian friend (Georgiana) was teaching me to make mayonnaise. It really is very easy!
Just make sure to keep the mixer on the bottom, without moving it until the oil and egg have suddenly transformed into creamy white mayonnaise.

2. Break in an egg.
3. Add a bit of salt.

4. Mix. Keep mixer on bottom.

5. Crush garlic.
6. Chop mushrooms.
7. Mix mushrooms & garlic.

8. Fold in mayonnaise.
10. and watch it disappear!
9. Offer it to your friends . . .