Down the Road with Refugees

Down the Road with Refugees

Help for those in need.

Marija teaches English and is the women's dean at the Belgrade Seminary.

The evening of August 12, 1995, didn't seem very different from others. I sat in my favorite armchair resting from lecturing at the English summer school at the Belgrade Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. Then I turned on the television to see the news. There before my eyes, streamed huge lines of refugees riding their tractors and wagons coming from Serbian Krajina toward the Yugoslavian border.

Evening after evening, I watched, sympathized, and prayed for them. But this evening, as I cried silently over their tragedy, I determined to do something, however small it might be. My husband wasn't home right then as he was driving a refugee family to the nearby town to friends who would pro­vide shelter for them for some time.

As he stepped into the house, I said, "George, I've been thinking. I've decided to do something for these people. I know, I can't do much, but I simply must do something. I have to . . Maybe my students and I can go to the school kitchen tomorrow afternoon and instead of the usual afternoon activities, we can bake some pies, croissants, and pan cakes. Maybe we can go to the highway then and distribute the food to the people."

Delighted with the idea, he said he would be willing to help in what­ever way he could. The next day, he shared our plan with our business manager, who in turn, shared it with our union president, Radisa Antic. He, too, wanted to help financially,

These refugees had traveled more than ten days and now were delayed hours to be registered to enter the city of Belgrade. They waited there so thirsty, hungry, dirty, exhausted, and desperate. As we talked among ourselves on how to start helping them, George and I decided to buy some watermelons to quench their thirst. This would be in addition to the food to be prepared at the school kitchen.

I shared my idea with my students and they became as eager and enthusiastic as I. After our Eng­lish lessons, we went downstairs to prepare the food. Everybody went to work together, boys and girls, and they IA ere quite good at it, too. We have a baker's son, and he was a great help and an expert at mak­ing croissants. Six hours later we packed in­to the school van and headed for the highway. George was already there, with two students and our five-year old son, distributing watermelons and some candies for the children.

In two days we distributed 5500 kg. of water, melons, several thousand pieces of pies, croissants, and several hundred pancakes made by our 25 students.

Disbelief at first, then tears, and faint smiles accompanied their simple words of thank­fulness. "Thank you, thank you good people" they sighed in gratitude.

I thank God for the privilege of serving Him and our fellowman.