joi, 3 august 2017

Refugee refuge in the middle of Serbia. Part one: Getting there.

Parental advisory - God, grace, prayer and other slightly religious language ahead. Who would have known that a regular Sunday evening service will turn into one of the most meaningful experiences in my life? I mean, I like the singing on Sunday evenings, the sermon is usually good and there is tea afterwards but still, I did not expect what was coming. An OM representative spoke and said that four volunteers were needed for a refugee camp in Serbia. This was not first refugee contact I have ever had, but definitely the first one I can talk about. Two weeks and almost no information later, I got in my car and started for Sid, a small place about two hours away from Belgrade. I picked up my companions for the road and ministry and left, a little worried about the drive and surely not excited about the company. I don't like travelling with strangers. It was an unusually smooth drive, a little too long, but not at all scary. Serbia greeted us with the most beautiful view and gave me a little reason to panic since I found no gas station for almost 65 km while I was getting seriously low on gas. The small Nis gas station and the drive alongside the Danube reminded me of rural Romania. I kept praying I would not fall asleep... So, by God’s grace, here we were, in Sid. The guesthouse looked acceptable from the outside but proved to be filthy from the inside so I started praying the “ please God do not let me touch anything while in the bathroom or shower” a prayer that would have continued for two weeks had it not been for my first day of camp. I did not know what to expect, but it was definitely not horror on our first day. The OM kitchen is smaller than most kitchens I have been in, which is something considering I lived in communist Romania where 17 square meter apartments actually existed. That tiny kitchen with two gas burners and a blue hose for water was going to be my love place for the next two weeks but at that time I did not know…

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