RE: transylvania

From: Bill (
Date: Sat Aug 26 2000 - 16:48:19 PDT

Last fall I was in Ecuador, way up in the Andes, and I met this boy with a
slingshot made from stuff he had just found lying around and I bought it
from him, we bargained fiercely and both got a deal worth bragging about,
and then we ate some crackers and greasy atun before he went off to see what
other stuff he could get off the gringos. His name was/is Jorge. I wish I
was there with you in Szamosujvar to spread a little joy. However momentary,
it is still joy to get the toy you had no hopes of getting.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: ef Fischer []
> Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2000 1:55 AM
> To:
> Subject: transylvania
> okay, so the last thing i sent was supposed to have the subject
> line "transylvania", erdely in hungarian.
> hope it got to all of you. i cc'd it to several places at once
> and this email thingie is screwy.
> we really really have to figure out some way to help people here.
> their situation is very bad. they joke that before communism
> fell, they had work, money but there was nothing to buy. now they
> have no work... and the ones that still do have work get paid a
> pittance. oh yes, now there are things to buy indeed... only...
> no one can afford to buy anything, including for many, food.
> that kid i mentioned... i found him searching through garbage. i
> followed him for a while, watching. what was he looking for. a
> mother with a kid, the kid pushing a bicycle, passed. he watched
> them pass, roundeyed, staring.
> so i went up to him and asked him, what. what, i said, why are
> you looking through the garbage. a toy, he said. i'd like to find
> a toy. he was looking to see if he could find something. he had
> found two plastic boxes so he had them in his arms.
> he was such a little kid, someone had done a real bad job of
> shaving his head. it was full of nicks. he was wearing nothing
> but a grownoutof pair of pants. barefoot. how old are you, i
> said. he said, five years.
> so i said, well, why don't we go buy you a toy then. what would
> you like. a bicycle, he said. don't think i can afford that, i
> said, so lets try for something else.
> i had seen a toystore on my walkabout, so we went off to find it.
> down a steep street. here? he said, is this the toystore? he
> peeked in a door. grocery store, i said, the toystore is further
> on. so he took my hand and we kept walking. he kept looking in
> store doors.
> three blocks later we found the toystore. he turned round and
> around in the middle. oh, he said, oh. a kid's mother was buying
> a waterpistol. one of those, he said, can i have one of those.
> one of those, i said to the salesgirl, and could you please put
> some water in it. but you can have something else too, i said to
> the kid. can i have an airplane, he said. an airplane, i said to
> the sales girl. no airplanes, she said. okay then, i said to the
> kid, lets look around for something else. he said, can i have a
> kittycat, looking at some stuffed toys. sure, i said, but hey, i
> see some neat trucks over here. oh, he said, oh. the big red one,
> he said, the big red one!
> so we bought the big red truck and the water pistol. then we sat
> on a curb and we played a bit. he sprayed me with the pistol and
> then i sprayed him with the pistol. he giggled.
> you hungry? i said. thirsty? let's go buy a cocacola. so we went
> into a place, sat at a table with two cokes. a cake he said, can
> i have a cake. so we had the cake too, sitting at the table.
> he ate half the cake. we wrapped up the rest and put it in the
> truck. the truck now had the waterpistol and the halfcake.
> there was a fruitstand outside. he pointed to something, he said
> i need one of those. what, i said. i didn't understand what he
> said. a banana? i said, lets have the banana too, and those
> cookies. he took them and he put those in the redtruck too. then
> he pointed again, i need one of those. what? what? the fruitstand
> lady said, he wants a plastic bag, that will be 2000 lei for one
> of those. about a dime.
> he took the bag and then carefully stuffed the red truck with the
> pistol, the halfcake, the banana and the cookies in it. i'm kinda
> lost around here, he said, how do i get back. so then we walked
> back the same way we came. walked up the steep street.
> he said, brother, brother, little sister, mommy. he said their
> names but that doesn't matter here. brother, brother, sister
> mommy, hugging the stuffedfull plastic bag. this way, he said,
> this way, hurrying now.
> we got to the top of the street. we have to say goodbye now, i
> said. my train is leaving in a halfhour. okay he said, we will
> say goodbye now. goodbye goodbye, waving. then running off,
> hugging the bag to his chest, goodbye goodbye.
> this is the way it really happened in szamosujvar.
> you guys have no idea what it's like here. oldladies begging in
> the street for food money cause pensions are about 800,000 lei a
> month. that's about 30 bucks.
> that's one of the reasons i have to go back, after i finish here.
> i gotta try to find that kid again, the kid with the toys for his
> family. maybe i'll find him and maybe i'll have enough money left
> for that bicycle. if not, then maybe we can find an airplane.
> -e

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