i need some help

From: ef (ef@somewhere.net)
Date: Mon Nov 20 2000 - 10:18:41 PST

the family in romania... you know, the one with the 9 kids that i
help... is about the be evicted from their place. as crappy as it is,
at least it is a place to live. they are not the only ones to be
evicted, the other 5 families that live in the courtyard are also to
be evicted. they all got cheated into signing a crooked lease, last
summer. concocted by the landlord and a crooked lawyer in order to be
able to evict them. cause, had they not signed anything, the landlord
couldn't have evicted them for 3 years... they had been living there
since communist times, the grandfather has lived there for 25 yrs. so
when communist property reverted to private property, laws were put
in place to prevent exactly what it happening to them... that is, the
laws are there but can be circumvented with a crooked lawyer who
knows how to take advantage of people who may not even know about the
laws in place. as i said, they were fine, had they not been scared
into signing the crooked lease.

i know all this cause my friend zoli from kolozsvar is trying to
help... so i now know exactly what is going on.

zoli from kolozsvar became my friend a few weeks ago. he was someone
i talked to on irc, a hungarian in romania. i had been looking for
someone like that to talk to. cause i am so far away, you know. so i
found him, he is the sys-admin at a local netcafe. people not being
able to afford computers or netconnects makes these cafes very
important. the one he works at is open 24 hrs a day.

aanyways, zoli at that time was in deep shit himself... 21, 2nd year
university (philosophy), wife and baby, working 2 shifts a day to
support. at #35/mo each. that's how it goes there. at that time he
too was facing eviction, not for the same reasons as the family, but
cause he was 4 months late on his rent. as well, he had borrowed
money last spring and those people were now threatening him.

i know this all sounds like a buncha bullshit, that maybe it is not
real? but it is real. because i did not know zoli very well i checked
out his story. it is real allright, hell, not so unusual thereabouts.

so then i decided to try to help him. and i did. that is, me and my
friends here did. we called it Operation Geek Rescue International.
heh... it was a successful operation... we collected enough money to
get him out of the hole he is in. plus, as an added bonus, i did a
website for a friendamine who in turn gave me one of his computers.
so that's for zoli, this computer. we are trying to figure out how to
get it to him.

zoli was totally astounded that total strangers would do all this for
him. he was astounded that i said, oke, things need to be done, and
then i did them. that we all did them.

anyways... see the thing is that yes, it was a risk. it is always a
risk to help a stranger. but i had a feeling, i am pretty good at
feeling people out. and the thing is, you see, from what is happening
now, that i was right.

when i told zoli my involvement with the family his reaction was not
the usual hungarian reaction. which is in essence, gypsies. it is
useless to help gypsies, they are not worth helping. the usual racist
shit. he wanted to know the details. and so when he noticed that i
was really upset... i had just found out about the eviction, he said
oke, things need to be done and i will do it. he did exactly what i
would have done. he said, i am on my way.

and he hitchiked 200 km to vasarhely and went to see them, to see all
the papers, to try to talk to a lawyer. he borrowed a cellphone, and
we talked when he was on his way back home. he said the situation is
bad, i am coming back here on monday. that is today, monday. we just
talked again. he took the papers to a lawstudent friend of his.

and this is what's happening. the stuff i said in the beginning.
these people have been royally screwed. and there is no time to get a
lawyer, as the hearing is on wednesday. the lawstudent says this is
not unusual, the lawyer who drew up the lease is well known for this.
gets paid well for this, for putting people on the street. especially
gypsy families.

the lawstudent suggests trying to get an extension, to ask the judge
for 2 weeks grace, to find a lawyer to help them. but he says even
then they might now have a chance. but at least a lawyer can pore
over the lease to try to find anything, anything at all. so that's
what we are trying now, zoli is gonna take time off work and go with
them to court. he is not sure they will allow him to speak for them,
but at least he can explain what is happening. the family, and the
other families in the courtyard too, of course, are panicking.

so now we are thinking, well, what can we do, besides this. to
foresee what might happen. if they get thrown out, what will happen.
probably, they will try to force them into some kind of shelter.
which, there, is horror. in shelters there, you are allowed to sleep,
then you are put out on the street early in the morning, then you can
come have soup at noon, then you are put out on the street until
nightfall. and of course, anything you own would be stolen by then.
this is what it would be like in the shelter. and winter is coming,
winters are harsh there. this family with 9 children, essentially
would be living on the street, in the middle of the winter. and the
other thing, of course, is that the shelter is located out of town,
probably in some gypsy ghetto.

if this is what happens to them, they are lost. the children will no
longer be able to go to the teacher i had arranged for them every
saturday... they would no longer be able to get the food i had
arranged for them. they would be lost. homeless.

what should we do, what should we do.

if the judge gives the 2 week extension to find a lawyer, they have
about a 10% chance. not much. but it's something. a bit of time,
maybe. and if the worst happens... which is very possible... the
judge won't even give the 2 week extension.

all we can think of doing is to try to help them find another place
to live. there is a bit of money left in the account i started for
them, the one from which the reverend noemi gets the money to buy the
food. that is, i am hoping there is something left there... but is it
enough to rent them a place, to pay it for a couple of months, until
the father can find some work. zoli says he will try to help with
that too. to give them every chance to help themselves. i am very
aware of the fact that we cannot be supporting them, that that will
not help in the longrun. i mean, that was my idea with the
teaching/food thing... that the children were in a way, helping
themselves, by learning to read and write. and my friends here are
contributing to that. and it was working, goddam it, until this

but now this is different, ain't it. i don't know what to do. you
see, here, even if you are poor, there are resources. well, in
canada, anyways. but there, there is nothing. i am the only resource
they have. well, and now zoli too.

so, you guys, listen. if the worst happens, and they are on the
street. if i have to somehow come up with enough to find them a
place... zoli will do that, try to find them a place... can any of
you help? can you afford something, to chip in? i guess this
qualifies as an emergency. anything. 20 bucks. 5 bucks. anything. me
and my friends here have been doing the teaching/food thing by
chipping in whatever we could. only... now it's an emergency. it's
more than we can do, now i need to involve more people.

gawd.... i'm kinda embarrassed to ask. but i need help. and listen...
it's okay if you don't wanna, or can't or whatever. it's okay, i
won't mind or anything. i just need to ask. i will be asking around
here too. okay, so some of my friends probably think i am a bit nuts
to get so involved... but ya know, it's like this. i am like this:
things need to be done and i will do them. or at least try. cause
like my father used to say, well, the very worst that can happen is
that someone says no. and no one's ever died from that.

i took some pictures of the family when i was there. and i sent the
pictures to them. these are the kind of pictures any family likes to
have of their children, smiling and happy, dressed nicely, to keep
and to show to relatives. only five of the kids are in the pictures
cause the 4 little ones stayed at home. you wanna see them? i can put
them on a website if you like.

(<siiigh>... oke so this whole thing has nothing to do with art,
or... jy take note, fiction, even. art and fiction are a lot more fun
than this, suffer we might yes, but we are playing with our brains,
only. cold and hunger don't seem fictional cause you don't get to
play at all.)


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