On Tues. we went to Osijek, Croatia to get our Serbian Elder's immunizations from his doctor. They have to see you face to face with your passport in order to pick up any medical records. As we drove over, we went right through his home town. We ask if he wanted to stop to see his parents and he, at first, said no. Then about 1/2 mile down the road he changed his mind so we turned around and went back. He and his companion got out and as they went up to the door, his father came from behind. His father was upset and told him basically to leave. His mother called something that he did not hear and the father said something back to her, so the Elder did not see her. His father ask him not to write any more and they left. The visit lasted about 5 minutes. We could tell that he was hurt, but he put on a brave face. Later, he said, "Do you know that they bought burial plots for all the children in the family, but not for me." His father spent time in prison as a war criminal against Serbia. I guess if you can do human rights crimes against people, you can disown your own son.
We went to a funeral on Wed. for a man who was 92 years old and has been a member of the church and a Branch Pres. for many years. They had his funeral at the cemetery. The caskets here are much more narrow than ours and they do not use vaults to hold the caskets. They bury the casket directly in the ground. The color of your headstone, either white or black, is determined by whether you are Orthodox Christen or Muslim. The white headstones are usually Muslim and the black headstones are usually Orthodox Christian. And most of the headstones are very large and mostly made out of marble or granite. Not just the headstone but the whole grave site looks like a king size bed of granite. Serbian people very much honor their dead. It is very common to see people having picnics at the cemetery or there decorating the graves.
I thought that I would share some different tid bits about how things are done here:
- When you go to the store and buy produce, each item has a number by it and you go to the scale and punch in that number and a slip will come out with the weight and price. Not a bad idea.
- The city is very conscientious about keeping the city clean looking. They have a crews of men that go around and cut huge areas of weeds and they cut it all with weed eaters. Then a man rakes it into piles and another crew comes with a truck and picks up the weeds. Many people also use the weed eaters to cut their lawns. They also have people who their only job is to walk around and pick up litter.
- In the fields farmers will plant about 50 yards of corn and then the same of wheat and then corn and then wheat. We haven't figured our the why of this yet.
- It is common courtesy to take your shoes off when you go into a home. Most people wear house slippers around their homes.
- Another interesting item that we found out from one of our English students who is a nurse. He drives to Novi Sad every day which is about 45-60 minutes from here depending on the traffic. He is full time 40 hours but within the month, he is allowed by law to work and get paid for another 40 hours. This would work out to be 50 hours/week. He does not get over time for these extra hours. But what is interesting is that he works about another 40-50 hours per month and they consider that volunteer time with no pay. When ask what would happen if he did not do it. He said that there are plenty of nurses wanting work and they would let him go and hire someone else. So sometimes he works 12 hours a day for 7 days....and we complain.
- Because the government is in control of certain things like the post office, police, hospitals, schools, and government offices, a person's job security is determined by the political party they belong to and who is in charge.
Well this is a windy long blog...we are going to district meeting. The missionaries are finding out about transfers today and they are all on pins and needles. I am pretty sure that our Serbian Elder will be transferred. We'll know soon!
|Men cleaning the lot across the street.|
|Our Elders and Alan in Osijek on the river inlet...we ate in|
a restaurant on the river..Best food we've eaten since coming
here...but it was in Croatia.