2016 February

jakov 02Father Jakov (born in Yugoslavia,
emigrated to the U.S.A., did well there and became a priest in later life)
has returned to the area of Medjugorje to be close to his birthplace; Konjic.
Father has a goal to bring back jobs in that area and to invite the Croatian
catholics who had left because of the war to come back and enjoy those jobs.
Our friend, Father Jakov
has passed on. Father has been residing in a Retirement Home in Split,
Here, Mary is fixing a brunch for Father Jakov and Bob back in 2008.
Jakov 01Good memories.
Vinka & Sima have invited Father
Jakov (and us) to their home to enjoy the companionship and a slice of lemon
meringue pie.
We will miss Father Jakov.
MARINA GREENHOUSEMarina (wife of Ivan) is in their greenhouse;
a wonderful source of veggies to feed the family and to put away for the winter.
Funds (thank you John and the HHH
charity) have been forwarded to Ivan for his family’s well being and for the
purchase of specific food and goods for specified families.
Now to make
the deliveries.
Smoked lamb, potatoes
and bread are being brought to Teresa, Janja and Niki in Stolac.
Arrangements are made to have the garden cultivated, fertilized and planted.

an elderly mother with heart and other medical problems along with two adult
children with advanced Muscular Dystrophy. Food, medicine and fire wood are
constantly needed
Janja is now in need of adult diapers; Niki is now more or less bed ridden;
Teresa struggles but says “I have to change Mama; there is no one else to do
Now, Janja has fallen, broken a hip and is in the
Mostar Hospital. Janja is to return home on 2/29/2016. We and
Joseph will do what we can.
STOLAC ROMANI KIDSIvan and Marina arrive at the Romani gypsy camp in Stolac; the children
appear and run to Ivan; Marina marvels at the love shown to her husband by
the kids.
The smoked lamb and bread is divided
among the four households. Everyone disappears. Marina cries out
“come back, come back, Mary & Bob want pictures!”
And they do.
are four households that have been considered but two more are being
re-established! One family has returned back from Italy; one family
back from Germany; broke, depressed, no worldly goods, nothing to cook,
nothing to cook anything in.
Dijana planting field

Here Dijena is standing in the middle of a field that finally has been
plowed, fertilized and planted!
The family does have a field and have now planted that with wheat and
barley; they can already see the sprouts; this would be for the animal
feeding. The wheat would be taken to the mill for flour. They have an old
stone walled barn on the property and are now fixing the roof and patching
between the stones.

This is what 2 half-pigs look like in the trunk of the car.
BUKMIR BARN 01Dijena and family are made aware
that they are to receive help with a cow, maybe two. The goal is to
make the family self sufficient.
Our ‘barn has not been used in years,
the roof is no more and needs a complete make over.
A floor must be smoothed out and concreted, the walls of boulders must
have their chinks filled in; we can do it!”
bukmir cement
bukmir cement 03Mama still gets to check in and give compliments for the good job!
No one has fallen through!bukmir cement 02
“Our cow will have the best roof in
the neighborhood!”
COW 1Feb. 8:

This weekend Dijena got the
first cow. A calf is due in June!

Ivan’s bones and teeth are in bad shape. Dijena told
him that he has to drink lots of milk so that his body can heal
better. He already had 2 dental surgeries without anasthetic.
This Thursday he is booked for EEG, MRI and blood work.

Today is the one year anniversary of Ivan’s car accident.
On Sunday they all went to MEDJUGORJE to Holy Mass.

Dijena leads their new cow, ‘Honeybear’ into
her new home! The family is so excited! “We will have milk and
cheese and yogurt to eat and we will have extra to sell so that we will have
an income!”

The initial milking! Dijena was aware that some cows are more
accepting and gentle when a stranger attempts the milking! That was
one of the tests made before selection. Further choices resulted in a
young pregnant cow with the offspring due in June.
CHEESE IN PRODUCTIONFinally! Production has begun.
A beautiful cheese presentation!
We had better test it first!
cheese plate
BUKMIR FAMILY IN MEDJIt was great! The family goes to
Medjugorje to offer special prayers and thanksgiving.
Finally; all of the Bukmirs are home!Bukmir family
BELJO 01Monday
Today Ivan and Marina will make a
delivery to the Beljo family just outside Medjugorje.

Mrs. Beljo and family are to get potato and onion seeds, some manure
and about $10.00 in cash.
Ivan passes on the half
of a smoked lamb!
BELJO 02Smoked lamb is highly desired; refrigeration
is not needed.
Of course some of our families cannot all partake of
very much of the smoked meat; we have heard comments such as “we just
want to smell it”; “it reminds us of the old times”; ” just to flavor the
The truck is at the Beljo’s home with the bags of

Shopping for seeds.
Mrs. Beljo had triplets during war time; a tough
time. Two of the kids are special needs kids. The family had no
bathroom (only an outhouse when we met them), no kitchen, the triplets slept
on the cement floor (can be so cold) on a mattress.
There are also
two older sons who both suffer with PWTS (Post War Traumatic Syndrone); hard
to hold a job with that diagnosis.


The husband has had a stroke and a bleeding ulcer along with a few other
medical things.

A daughter, one of the triplets has finished school and
on her own got a job as a part
time sales clerk in a souvenir shop . We are so proud of her.
Women are the work horses with little pay and almost no rights. It’s a man’s
world over there and they too can have a tough time.


A day of prayer was held for special needs kids about an hour away and Mrs.
Beljo took some of her kids. Whenever we visited this family they always
insisted on sending fresh garden produce home with us. At times we felt that
“our poor” were more sharing with us then we were with them. We have learned
that the poor always had a little something to give to us. That was a part
of their hospitality, their culture and their spirituality.


Zeljana has sent us a beautiful
picture of Allison and the Bukmir family.Allison is President of
and she (and others) are in Medjugorje during part of October 2015.
We hear that the group is visiting and helping some of those families who we
also loved.
And visiting and helping again in February 2016!
Allison & the Bukmirs
Clair & DawnFor praying out loud!
Clair and Dawn are
part of the pray the Rosary group on Wednesday mornings here in Florida (we
are also).
Clair and Mary recognized one another from both having been in

gypsy families at Domanovici. This is mother (father is deceased)there are 3
adult children living with her; two males and one female; the male (Mirjano)
has artistic talent but his eyesight is deteriorating rapidly. The second
son drives a van and is quite talented in electronics. One daughter
still at home looking for a job and a husband. The other family
consists of a married son (Marko) and his wife along with their four
children. The children just recently have been accepted into elementary
school and are so very excited about that.
mama and son
Marko and family The
local Mayor has gotten funding from another country in Europe and a building
is currently being erected with 5 apartments of, roughly, 10 feet by 40 feet
each. It is as far away from civilization as could be

found but they will find stability. The soon to be neighbors have already
issued numerous threats but may have been ‘bought off by the Mayor promising
to bring a water line into the area. Maybe they will have water and
electricity, maybe not; they will need reliable transportation. We
anticipate a need for furniture and a stove etc. as well as food.
Jelka; a typical wonderful peasant woman with a low functioning husband
along with two low functional adult sons. The daughter is married and lives
with the husband’s family as is the custom. Jelka and the three males work
hard but their garden area faces tough problems each year with possible
flooding and need for fertilizing. I (Bob) am particularly fond and
appreciative of this family. I had my first ‘passing out while in the
cabbage field with this family. Jelka has offered a series of 9 day novenas
of fasting and prayer for my health; a wonderful family to be on any one’s

Dragica & 6 daughters: the father was ill for a very long time and
gradually lost the use of his legs; he died three years ago. Three
daughters have married over the last 5 years and now there are three at home
with the mother. The family raises tobacco; dries it and then prays that
some wholesaler will come to buy it. One daughter has found employment.
The youngest daughter is doing good in high school.
Dragica and the lambDragica and family receive their half of a
pig at Christmas.
Father Dennis has come to visit us
here in North Port, FL. Our turn to get excited; we met Father
Dennis over in Medjugorje; there he gave one of the most beautiful homilies
we have ever heard.
We go to the Bishop’s Cathdral in Venice, FL and pass
through the Holy Door.
We had been told that the Romani gypsy
family in the Stolac village will be baptized as they have been asking; that
the husband will be able to have employment. The children attend the
Catholic side of the village school and are taught religion by a local nun.
We are excited and grateful!
Joseph and Pat and group
baby Robert 01

baby Robert 02

We receive later information that the
baptism of the Romanis is
not to happen, that any job offer is not to happen. So nothing has
changed to benefit the group in Stolac.
In addition, the Romanis’ who have been given new houses out of Domanovici are
now more away from making an income, even by begging. The country who
made the donation of the homes and the car pass the money through the bureaucracy
who tend to have sticky fingers. It could be visually seen that in the
mattresses delivered which, even by local standards, were heavily used.
The new addition to the family has been named ‘ROBERT’; hey, that’s my
Thank you.
Father BernieNovember 2015
Father Bernie has come for a
visit; so good to spend time with him.
Father is the person who introduced us to
Father Bernie has returned from a 2 year missionwork in the
poverty stricken areas of Honduras!
Maja (daughter of Ivan & Marina) reciting at a school event,
winner of a trip to Vienna!
We are proud!
Maja reciting
the buildersIvan is mixing cement to put up floor and walls for a goat barn!

Ivan gets help with the construction from son, Andreja, and brother in law,
We are so glad to get this note from Jesenka
of OSCE referencing the Romani gypsies at Domanovici. OSCE has
worked hard to get funding from the Swiss government for this project.
Jesenka is justly proud of this effort.

Dear Mary,

First of all, let me wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

How is Bob doing? How are you?

Thank you for sharing the great news from Medjugorje.

I also wanted to share a pice of very good news – Marko Adzovic and the Roma
families in Capljina/Domanovici were handed over their newly built houses
last Monday, 23 November. Five houses, for the five families. The families,
especially the children, were happy beyond words.

They still lack stoves and furniture, but the UNHCR may do something about
this, as I have learnt from my colleagues who work there. Of course, they
will still need all the assistance they can get in their new homes, and to
this end I shall be in contact with the Social Welfare Centre, and the Red
Cross, whose means are unfortunately quite limited.

I am writing from home, as it is the BiH Statehood Day today and a
non-working day, but when I am back to work, I shall send some photos of the
new houses to you.

If I may also ask you whether Joseph, in Medjugorje, can be reached at the
same phone number as you used to be on? I was thinking of offering, if he
would be available, to join me in one of my future visits to Marko and the
families on the new location, so that he can have them in mind if any kind
of assistance is available. I would value your opinion if this is a good
idea – i hope it is.

Thank you once again for all the good that your stay in our country has
brought to those in need.

Best regards,

Jesenka Falak

National Program Officer – Human Rights

OSCE Mostar Office
Pat Tempro (Alberta, Canada) has
arrived in Medjugorje again! Clothes and gifts have been brought to share
with some of the families we kind of have adopted!

Also in this picture is Warwick (from Perth, Australia) chatting with Erin

Thank you all!
Pat Tempro 05
Pat Tempro 02Bisera at the Stolac Romani camp is also very
grateful to have Pat and the group arrive.
Pat Tempro and Erin are two of the
visiting group.
Amela and Gabriela are getting bigger,we could hardly
recognize them. Kids!
Pat Tempro 04
Erin and Joseph are asking all to queue up!Pat Tempro 06
Pat Tempro 07How about a group picture
or two?Pat Tempro 08
Pat Tempro 09Sabahudin is always so happy to see visitors.
Sister Krunalava at the Holy Family
Home in Mostar is always looking for ways to improve the mental and physical
states of the kids (and adults) lives.
Many hospitals and centers here in
the U.S. and thoughout the world are developing “Sensory Environments”>
sensory 01
sensory 02These are ‘safe rooms or ‘quiet places where
an instructor can interact with a person to stimulate (or quiet) a troubled
Will it help?Holy family 08
Sister KWe surely will see more smiles.
This enviroment can be so helpful to
some; maybe many!
sensory 03
sensory 04An instructor has been found; educated and
trained in this technology; available to help in-house and day time
An earlier photo of the day when
Father Kevin Devine met with Fika & Fadila at the Romani houses in Mostar.
Fika and
Fadila were brought to the US for heart surgery on the
little Fadila; thanks to Janet and to Mike & Sandy’s (Pilgrims Peace Center
in Florida).
Father Kevin has returned to New York City after having
lived in Medjugorje for ten years. Thank you
Fr. Kevin Devine c Fika & Fadila
floor cracksHoly Family Home is quite large and in dire
need of ongoing repairs; some of the floors are badly damaged and resistant
to wheelchairs thumping over them; some areas are inaccessible.
Many areas of the molding need repair
and replacing.
molding and rot