2014 May

3rd week of May
Flooding and slides have happened in the north part of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the adjoining countries there.
Mothers Village and other charities are scrambling to fill trucks and vans to take food and help to those in need.
Medjugorje, except for a fierce overnight rainstorm, is safe.We are too comfortable.
May 1st:Happy faces, happy friends!

Mary ‘runs into’ part of the Sanor family (Christopher & Vijaya) and Dick O’Leary!

Good to see them back to Medjugorje; now we will look for the 3 children.
We look for Aishwarya & Sounldarya(sic) & Aaron!
No, they did not come this time; maybe during the Youth Festival?

It’s crying time again..I mean, it’s sorting time again!

A wonderful donation; this and more from a local family!

We are so very grateful!

The baby and children’s clothes will mostly be divided to some needy in the Surmanci area (Chapel of Divine Mercy).

Patrick and Jane have a discussion with Anne (in the center). The three will be helping with the Holy Mass in the yellow building on the weekend.Thank you.
Fra Marinko, pastor of St. James in Medjugorje, is giving talks from the outside back steps.Wonderful to see and to hear.
May 6th: Francois is here with his sister, Cristian.It is so wonderful to see the two of them together.
After early Mass we all figure this would be a great day to check on the progress of Dijana and family; construction has happened there and some animals have been added.
Dijana has a new roof! The family can now use the upstairs. Water had continually been dripping from the inside ceilings.
We check the ‘farm’!
The two porkers check us out; careful; they have been know to take a nip!
Dijana is just so very proud of the uses for the space; thank you John, Thank you “Help for the Hungry and the Homeless.”
May 7th:Patricia Duggan and Father Damian are in town with a group of pilgrims from Toronto area.

Patricia has donated items for our needy; we are grateful for Pat’s thinking of us.

May 8th:Mostar; we find the right road into the Romani settlement.
We wondered about this for a bit and then realize it must be an out door shower room with a changing room!Neat!
As we mentioned on an earlier page; Fika and family are really special people to Janet, Joseph, Sandy and Mike, OSCE and to us. And then the Romani apartments; six more have recently been added with one
for Fika!
Sandy and Mike http://www.pilgrimspeace.com must be especially pleased inasmuch as they and their supporters have helped Fika’s youngest child to be operated on in the United States early in this child’s life!
Mike and Sandy Tobin at the Vatican.
Fika will be back shortly; we are invited in by two of her daughters (Adela (13) and Fadila (6) ); it is a studio apartment (261 square feet); we note that an electric stove is there.
Adela has finished grade 5 and is now the official baby sitter.
Sparse but clean (oh, oh: and we go in with shoes on).A brother, Adan (14) also lives here.

We tuck a little gift for Mama Fika (now 33 years) underneath a cloth on the cabinet next to the crucifix.

Then we are “invited in” to this family unit; the girl (Indira (16)) has finished grade 8 and is now baby sitting her little niece. The sister on the right is 23 and has never been to school but has picked up some English from the TV and self taught how to read and write!10 live in this unit.
No stove (the new 6 owners may or may not get a wood burning stove before Fall). Right now a portable single gas burner on the floor next to the sink.This family could certainly use an electric stove.

Indira is a jewel; so pleasant. We will be asking her to get us basic facts on the different families here e.g. number, age etc.

and most of the units have space and connector for a washer but we noted only one outside and that one is not functional.
Mary is invited in to another unit for a ‘private conversation’.
We enter another unit; every one is so very proud and happy that they have their own home!Mom and daughter live in this studio apartment.
Đula Huseinović & husband, Ali, with their daughter (Paso) and their handicapped son (Hasi) invite us in for a look see.

No stove here!

Marsiha with daughter, Edita, this family have been friends with Janet and Joseph for a long time; Marsiha seems to be very capable, self sufficient, has the nicest unit.We are so surprised when Marsiha tells us that she cannot read or write; has not been to school.

Six live here; the husband (Fuad), his Mom and Dad and baby girl Edita (4 years) and Janeta (8yrs old).

Fika has arrived home and hurriedly joins us at Marsiha’s place!All of the ‘oldies’ are anxious to hear about Janet and Sandy & Mike; they promise to say prayers for them.
Fika is sorting out her metal,
(from a Google search www.hrw.org)
Following is from a earlier newspaper article:“Fika (age 31) and her 4 children were to be evicted from this makeshift home, which lacked stable structures, electricity and water in an informal settlement in the city of Mostar in October 2011.”
Where to go? What to do?
“Eviction would also mean disruption in school attendance for the two oldest children. For her youngest, who has severe medical problems, it would also likely mean disruption in medical care, which the family would no longer be able to afford on its small income from finding and recycling scrap metal.”
We just know Janeta, Marsiha’s daughter, will be one of our favorites!
We pass out a large box of shoes for the women to go through; they welcome that chance. Every pair finds a home.We leave for the store although we do not announce our plans; we do want to confine the food distribution to those in this area.

We fill the trunk with 40 of oil and 40 of rice and 40 of flour (part of the flour has to ride in the back seat).

The stores in the bigger towns here are well stocked and people can buy most things locally if they had money.
We return, garner three volunteers; they will deliver the three items to each of the 30 units.Success.
We find 5 more needy families in the poorer homes just outside the new development; we take a few more pictures.
We ourselves need to remember:The 6 new units; #13 through #18

Haris Halilović, Sofe Beriša, Šefik Salkanović.Đula Huseinović, Fika Ahmetović i Udruženje Roma „Neretva“ Ramadan Haziri, predsjednik Udruženja.

Haris Halilovic, sofas Berisha, Sefik Salkanović. Dula Huseinović, Fika Ahmetovic and Roma association “Neretva” Ramadan Haziri, President of the Association.

We do see the needs and we will do what we can:

[ ] Food
[ ] Prenatal vitamins jar of 100 or less
[ ] Kids Vitamins
[ ] Medications e.g. aspirin, migraine etc.
[ ] Laundry soap, bath soap, shampoo
[ ] Quality pencils, erasers, pens
[ ] Bunk Beds
[ ] Tables and chairs
[ ] Sofas (for sleeping)
[ ] Electric stoves
[ ] Wood stoves (we will wait on these)
[ ] Washing Machines
[ ] Clothes, socks, underwear (thrift shop)
[ ] Baby clothes
[ ] Shoes
[ ] Blankets

Coming to Medjugorje? Have any extra room?


May 10th”
Mary gets to take a picture of Father Damian in the Sacristy while Father is preparing for Mass.
One of the fellows in Father’s group gets to do the reading at Holy Mass. Splendid!
We head for Caplina; Marko has a possible project and we will examine it.
The kids spot us and come running with papers in hand!Mary, Mary, we are all going to school!!!

Look, here are some drawings we did!

Ana (7 years) tells us that she just loves going to school.
Ajlana (9 years) is so very proud of what she has already accomplished!
Alaxander (5 years) shows us his paper.
We marvel how all 3 kids have colored ‘within the lines’ as well as not running one color into another.
Hard to believe that all 3 were able to do this and then Marko (the beaming proud dad) explains that the kids go ‘upstairs’ to the aunt and uncle (accomplished artists) & that they have learned the basics!
Ajlana and Mary share a proud moment!

Marko brings his papers. A branch of the government here, Federal Employment Agency, announces a call to participate in a program of co-financing a ‘first work experience’ for 2014. Only a short time is allowed for submittal of the applications and each applicant will need 35 KM for the submittal procedure.
Marko is proposing 10 Roma applicants.
We take the details home with us; we will look at the web site, translate into English and see if the project is feasible.

We travel further on to Stolac.

We spot that a fencing has been installed around the area of the cemetery stones; we find later that there is to be a small admission charge.


But it also must mean that the Romani kids across the way can no longer go into the area to greet (beg?) from the visiting groups.

We arrive at the Stolac camp.
Behara is in an ‘off the shoulder’ ensemble with heels on the slip on sandals.
A sweet heart.
We are welcomed. Oonaugh has come with us and all are certainly glad to see her; Oonaugh has been here before and reminds us of her earlier visit.

Gabriela and some of the others have had a bout of intestinal flu??Not everyone is feeling so good.

The food is parceled out.

Then we talk “trailer talk” with Mirisad and Malena; that family is still waiting for their camper.We do know they are anxious and we leave a picture and description of the trailer we looked at in Mostar.

They will go to look at it and they decide.

March 11:We have translated and investigated; think Marko’s project should be pursued.

We phone Marko; he is joyful.

We shall get funds to him.


May 13:Sad.

We can look down from our apartment and from our bountiful table and spot others going through the dumpster next to the school.

May 14:Father Victor (South Africa) is assisting a brother priest (in the wheel chair).
Bob and Patrick (son of our good buddy, Joseph). Patrick is here for his 3rd visit; today we are just above Mostar to finalize a trailer buy. Mirisad and Malena and kids have looked this camper over and decided it is for them!
The men pull it out of its storage; the ‘keeper’ wants us to go to the bank and send the purchase price to the owner in Switzerland and then come back with the receipt!That ain’t gonna happen!
We pay cash and take the camper.
We follow for a while until we reach a gas station where the tires can be inflated; they will take the ‘back roads’.


May 15:Father Frank is here with Marian Pilgrimages; Father is from Hartford and celebrated Holy Mass here on May 13th.



Main altar at St. James Church is especially decorated for the weekend.
May 17:Confirmation day for Andreja; Ivan and Marina’s youngest.

Andreja’s KUM (sponsor) is to the left.

Later we journey to Split and aim for the Diocletian’s Palace.Son Dan and his fiancée, Phally, have been checking out the area especially the hotel Peristil.
A neat hotel of 12 rooms snuggled right inside the old walls.
Hotel PeristilLocated right next to the Silver Gates within the UNESCO-protected Diocletian’s Palace in Split, Hotel Peristil offers an a la carte restaurant. Free Wi-Fi access is available throughout the property.

All rooms are air-conditioned and come with a flat-screen satellite TV and a desk. Featuring a shower, private bathrooms also come with a hairdryer and free toiletries. Some rooms feature original Palace walls and some overlook the Peristile and the Cathedral of St. Domnius.

The scenic Riva Promenade is 200 metres away and the shopping street of Marmontova is about 350 metres from the property. Poljud Stadium is located at a distance of 1.5 km and the forest park of Marjan can be reached with a 10-minute walk.

Split Port with the Ferry Terminal is about 50 metres away, while the Main Bus and Train Stations are reachable within 200 metres. Split Airport is 22 km away.


We find them and we find that they are having too good of a time!
We bring them home where they belong!
Sunday May 18: The English speaking congregation is more often having their weekend Mass in the Yellow Hall.
Mary is honored to do the announcements!
We have a lunch date!
And then we go eat! Hotel Brotnjo in Citluk is one of our favorite places to eat so we have reserved a table.


Some of our favorite people are here!

There is Joseph and Sandra & Zenofy!

We have asked for the outside balcony (enclosed).


Alexandra is with us and she is happy to be next to Patrick (Joseph’s son).
Phally and Dan are across from us but she still is able to steal some of Dan’s beer!
We grin and pretend we are drinking sparkly water.
Well, we are told that there is a group of 70 or so in the ‘banquet room’ (from the first holy Communicants today) so all the meals will take a little longer than usual.That’s OK.
Then the chef decides to send us a free board of delicacies!
That’s OK too.
Free! Did someone say Free? That brings a smile to both Zenofy and Bob!
The next morning! May 19th:Marija Zorka (Maja) and Marina are paying attention to the new addition to the Ivan & Marina family.

A granddaughter, Ema Klara is at center stage.

Father Marinko, our pastor, comes to also pay attention to the new addition.
And the parents? They are snuggling over there. Bob has to point them out!
May 20: We are invited to the grandparents home for lunch!

Everyone is smiling!

Ivan in his new role as working on the land & Marina and Kristina, mama of Ema Klara.

Kata tries her technique on entertaining.
Zoran (that’s the tata) with lovely Ema Klara.
The fellows are all intent on the spinning of the bottle; the winner gets to change the diaper!Oh, I am wrong?

The local guys don’t do that?

May 21:Jelka and Phally compare the plants between Herzegovina and Cambodia.

Hard to communicate but they could certainly learn from one another!

We are grateful (as is this family) for the gift we were able to deliver to Jelka from a frequent pilgrim lady who so enjoys fresh veggies we deliver from Jelka’s garden!

Jelka was in disbelief!

Phally and Dan get into the dirt; we find out that some countries prize the leaves from the early peas!
Mario and Jelka and Phally and Joseph and Dan and Patrick pose for the picture of the day!
The pilgrims make a stop at the market and then to Anica and Ilka. A prayer of thanksgiving is said.The two sisters usually have some wishes to pass on e.g. “did we bring fat bacon?”, “did we bring milk?”, etc.

Yes we did.

Son Dan & Phally will be leaving Thursday morning in order to fly out of Dubrovnik; we take a timed goodbye picture of the 4 of us.
Tom Lamey visits; he and his group will be leaving Medjugorje to return to Nova Scotia, Canada.We have been overawed by the generosity of Tom and his group; they have lugged items for us and for the poor through Fatima, Rome and Assisi and finally to us. We, in turn, promise to pass our gifts out and ask the recipients to join us in prayer for our benefactors.
We have received this invitation to a presentation and signing of (Maja)Marija-Zorka’s book!
It is to be at the Hotel Brotnjo in Citluk on Friday evening, May 23rd!
The title of the book translates to “The Wishes of a Child” and Maja wrote it as a tribute to her brother, Kristijan.
And we cannot go; Bob has had a TIA occurrence (a mini stroke) so we are playing it cautious and sticking close to the apartment. Bob is feeling good and anxious to resume visits.

This marvelous cultural event was put forward by her professor (pictured); how great it was received.

Marija-Zorka (pictured) had a large group of fellow students who read and/or sung pages from the book! Beautiful idea!

Marija-Zorka will be applying the proceeds towards her University education (we like that); we will have books available at the regular 10 KM, (about $8).


And on Monday, May 26, Citluk.net has 22 photos devoted to the evening’s activities!
Of course we reflect back to the help given to us (and the Roma camps) from Marija and her sister Kata!
Aggie and Allison have arrived at a great time; Bob is ‘housebound’; Mary is the caretaker.Help was needed & here they are!


Mon., May 26:A special order for the books are called in and they are immediately delivered!