In the middle of activities around the flood in Serbia, we came upon an opportunity to feed a Romany family (also called Gypsy) which surprisingly appeared out of nowhere and settled under the stairs in the hall of the Railway station in Novi Sad. ACT Serbia members, Klara, Aleksandar, Bilja, visited them twice. Today we brought them food and drinking water that we had bought in a supermarket.
There are 14 newcomers, several adults and eight children, each of them a bit older than the next one, and the youngest one is a baby. They came to Novi Sad from Bijelo Polje in Montenegro and they claim to be one family. Why they moved here we know from their answer. Our ACT Team member Bilja talked to a boy who says that they came here to see the doctor to schedule a surgical operation for his brother Ramiz. “Why didn’t he came alone with his mother only?” “It is our principle, when one goes, all of us go,” he says. “People talk that you came here to stay? You certainly cannot stay here under the stairs. At the moment ACT Foundation cannot find you a home, but we will inform local authorities to take care of you.” We did inform the local authorities and also called the institution responsible for such issues, but it is the weekend and nobody answers the phone. “We aren’t going to stay here”, the boy said, “we are waiting for the train to leave when the water goes away”. According to his words, they came here for one or two days but stayed longer because the railway traffic has been stopped due to the flood issue. In the meanwhile they ran out of food, and as the weather got colder, their clothes or shoes weren’t suitable any more at all. They came completely unprepared for the weather change. Begging is not unfamiliar to them, because a little boy immediately asked for money. Why didn’t they schedule the operation in Podgorica, we don’t know. We hope that the the Center for Social Issues will take care of them and that they will go back to Montenegro as soon as possible. It is upon us to do whatever we can, and at this moment it was to feed them.