2009 April

*We pray that April will be sunny and warmYeah! April is here and that means we get to go to Mostar for the Industrial Expo. Ethnic costumes are for sale from this booth.

The band is playing, the fellows are singing, free drinks (and cheese and other stuff) for everyone!

Well, we have had our fun. Now Mary is setting off with Sister Muriel (St. Joseph the Worker) for a day of climbing the hills, delivering food packages to Sister’s long list of impoverished women.
Ted and Siobhan (our neighbors) wish us well.

Sister and Mary need to hold onto the rocks and to one another as they navigate up the hill path and down the hill path.

Fem (Netherlands) and Val (from Wales) are our helpers today for the Tuesday lunches. We buy some items in bulk and pre pack in the garage before heading out to the four corners area.

Val Newton has her own humanitarian Organization to deliver to and help in Romania, Kosovo, Moldovo, Croatia etc. The org. is called Wales Romanian Aid (WRA). Problem areas all over Eastern Europe;

God bless her.

We go to make a food delivery and socialize with Gordon and family.

Volaria, the oldest daughter, is at home babysitting Josip, the youngest brother, while Mom and 4 other kids go looking for more fire wood in the surrounding hills. We leave a little something from Suzanne of Wisconsin.

Thanks to the Croatian government, Gordon and family have received materials to help finish off the home. No appliances yet but the rooms are starting to look beautiful!

Mate is tending to the goats during his Easter school break. Tata calls to him and he rushes the goats to our area for our inspection!

Sunday, the 11th: Janet’s nephew, John, (first guy on the left) is here from Belgium for a quick visit.

And from the right, we see Mike, Sandy and Janet; Janet is their :doer” here in this vicinity. They are always amazing us with the good deeds they do. Sandy and Mike Tobin have returned bringing back with them the gypsy mother and baby.

They brought the two to the States for heart surgery on the baby (5 holes in the heart had to be corrected).

Pictures are passed around and we marvel at them..

Back out in the fields and mountains again.

Beautiful fields of purple and yellow. Spring is here!

Easter Sunday. Ivan and kids are looking for Easter egg cracking contest. We lose this year.
They bring us flowers and goodies and we all exchange greetings and hugs.

Easter Monday. The family from Belgium has been serving at the St. James altar for a few days. We so enjoy the whole family; they have such talent; what a wonderful blessing!
Mary has made some Ukrainian dishes and, boy, we all loved the dinner!

Easter Tuesday and still eating. After the lunches ( 72 fellows ) today at four corners. The two of us and Fem go to Ivan and family for a duck luncheon; Ivan has roasted the duck on a spit and it turns out delicious!

Maja and Fem share a little treat and exchange email addresses.
Fem interviews the parents for her university papers.

We get to take a family (plus Fem) Easter portrait.

and we get a special personal Happy Easter Card from our dearest Kata!!!

HVALA! (thank you)

Thursday, April 16th: Mary talks with Mama Zlata; Mama has brought out pictures of her daughter Marija including the funeral pictures.

Some local English speakers and Suzanne from Wisconsin have contributed to a purse for Mama and today we go to deliver those funds and see what we can help with.

Mama holds a first Holy Communion photo of her daughter; subsequently Marija dropped out of the Medjugorje school after Grade 3.

Each year that we have lived here, the church has set aside a special collection to assist in the treatment and operations for Marija. Some of the operations (5) were in Zagreb and then in Austria.

Mama Zlata displays pictures of her daughter, Marija, who has passed away this year at age fifteen.


We spend some time with the family and are treated to a cold lemonade drink. On our way out, Mary admires the flowering lilacs and Mama insists that Mary take a bunch!

We are at the house of the mother in law; Mama’s husband died 9 years ago. This house is to be passed down to the men in the family. So mama is renting an apartment in Citluk, a neighboring village.

Many bills are left from the family’s misfortunes; life is not easy.

The brother in law is grateful for our concern and insists on passing on a few rooted plants!

Sat. April 18:
Patrick and family are out with “St. Joseph the Worker” to deliver food and love to women and families who live in the surrounding mountains. Mary does the translating.

The three girls on the right are part of a family (mama & 4 children) who receive food bags from St. Joseph the Worker; the girl on the left belongs to a neighboring family who also receive food bags.

The 4 kids (and mama) want to know if anyone could ever bring hair shampoo!

We meet another lady who receives food bags from St. Joseph the Worker. This lady lives with her unemployed 72 year old son; he asks whether there are any clothes available for his mother; “if mama should die tomorrow I have no clothes to bury her in”.

The son also is in need of clothes and shoes.

Sunday April 19 and we head for Humac to St. Anthony’s Church. We are invited to a First Holy Communion Service for Ana.

We find a place to sit on the stairs leading up to the choir loft; Mary sneaks a picture of the boys and girls in their white robes.

We get to have our picture taken with Ana and then we all go to her house for the next 8 hours! Eating and drinking, it never ends!

I say “da” every few hours and that seems to satisfy everyone!

Tuesday April 21: Mary welcomes some of the 72 people for lunch today. We also pass out a bag of children’s clothes to one of the fellows who had a request in and had given us details on his kids. Vince from Australia is helping us today.

Wed., April 22: Mary travels today with Janet; first to a pediatric neurology clinic with the mother and son to see Dr. Kuzman; the father joins the group there.

A pediatric room at the hospital ready for the little patients.

And then a visit to a Mostar funeral home to gather information for the local English speakers in Medjugorje. We need to find out the rules, the procedures, the options. We later email the information to our local friends.

Finally the day is wrapped up with a visit to SUNCE, a place for the handicapped to come and get help, to be educated, to be fed (medical day care). One of the bright spots in Mostar. A regular stop for Janet.

Saturday, April 25: Metkovic. Evelyn, Mary and Bob travel with Janet to this town just over the border in Croatia; a day for grocery shopping along with a stop at the pharmacy.

Then a little food and a drink on the promenade Looking at the river.

April 26: Sunday and we hear a different kind of music in front of St. James Church. We see the bride!!!

The music is jivey!!

Tuesday, April 28: we wake up to rain and know that this is going to be a poor day in that the day workers are not going to be hired.

We have bought 2 loaves (blocks) of cheese and we go ahead and slice those and slip the slices into “sandwich bags”.

Fem, Linda and Vince come over after English Holy Mass and help to bag 80 sacks of milk, apples,cheese, some tea, some hot dogs.

Four of the fellows have asked us for shoes and have given their sizes to us. We have two pairs and a pair of sandals but not all the right sizes.

Disappointing when one fellow points out that the newer shoe is already split from the sole. We did not realize it; three fellows ask for them, that they might be able to glue it back together.

Fem and Linda go with us to the mini market; we all slice and make chicken salami sandwiches and then pass out the two bags to each person. 65 for lunch. One of the ladies asks for pants and maybe a blouse; we promise to bring some on Friday (St. Joseph The Worker Holy Day).

Special requests from two of the fellows: one who has received his size 47 boots but finds they are too narrow for him; we look at his feet, they are “coming out” the sides of his shoes! The other fellows ooh and aw and they decide he needs an extra wide size 48 running shoes! Where are we going to get anything like that?

One of the fellows tells us of his problems; his wife died last year and he has 3 daughters who he really needs clothes for. We write down the ages and promise to bring an assortment on Friday.


Friday the 29th: Mary goes out with Mary Walsh of St. Joseph the Worker to interview forgotten ladies in the little villages up in the hills.

This lady came out to find strangers and started crying, not knowing who the two Marys’ were ( she is partially blind) and not understanding why anyone would come to her place.

Mary comes home and tells me of the day, how one of the ladies today held onto her hand and just kissed it and kissed it, not wanting to let her go.

Time, this evening, for more tears.

“you looking for me? Why looking for me?”

When she gets hungry the lady tells us that she goes out to the side of the road and, sooner or later, someone will bring her something to eat.

Mary explains in Croatian; apprehension turns to smiles and “thanks be to God”. The lady has food. Everyone is finally smiling.

Another of St. Joseph the Worker’s recipients is home bound and alone. This lady is in bed and waits for help from loved ones around her.