Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2000 10:18:41 -0800
From: ef <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: i need some help
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 4 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.
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, and talked 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 happened!
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.
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