In my reflection of my time in Macedonia, I've been answering some questions. Here's question #3. To read question 1 & 2, look under my April posts.
What did I discover about the Roma people during my time in Macedonia?
I discovered that the Roma people are very, very resourceful people. Since they live in great poverty, it is in their instinct to be imaginative with how they use scraps that they find. Eric told me that one of his Roma friends used an old x-ray paper to replace the top on a broken drum head. This is only one example of their resourcefulness!
The Roma are good cooks. They make great soups, bean dishes, pita (a special bread pastry), salads, rice dishes, and meats.
Roma people have an amazing sense of hospitality. They will use their last amount of money to serve guests. They are sad if someone only wants to visit for a short time. The longer the visit, the better.
Roma people are actually really clean people. Despite the filth that we all see on the outside of the mahalas, the inside of their homes are spotless! When they clean their homes, they clean everything. They clear the furniture out of a room and clean thoroughly. They will often paint the inside of the home at least once a year. Their homes are very small, so they want them to be well kept and presentable at all times.
I learned that the prejudice against Roma people by local nationals is deep and long-standing. They are often denied jobs because of their ethnicity. Some of them are very hard workers and want to work and provide for their families. Eric hired some Roma to do a painting job, and they did a wonderful job! They worked hard and took pride in the painting job. Other Roma look for ways to provide for their family; by digging through dumpsters and taking plastic and scrap metals to be recycled. I admire these Roma that work hard.
Most of all, I learned that Roma people are mostly like you and me. Our worldviews may differ but we were all made by God for the purpose of glorifying Him. I was honored to learn more about the Roma people and make friendships with them during our time in Macedonia. Eric and I hope to visit Macedonia again one day, and visit with our dear Roma friends there.