In this day and age, the advertising industry and social media has managed to teach what are the things we need, deserve and should want to have. Unfortunately, that makes us take things for granted. We subconsciously think we are entitled to the things we own, use or have access to. In the early 1900, they made a list of things necessary for decent living and they had 16 important items on the list. In the recent years, they have redone the list with the things necessary to a decent life and the number jumped to 114 items. We will let you decide for yourself what to think of these numbers.
Working and spending many days in the gypsy community of Lazareni, we have learned that the so-called list of indispensables is so relative.
These people have had to live without one of the most basic need, water. For as long as we know they have had to walk or use horses and carts to go and fetch water from a source that is 2.5 km away. No effort is too great when you consider that water is vital to surviving; however, in their case they water they were fetching was not anywhere near to the standards we consider safe to drink. You can only imagine the problems created by lack of water and proper hygiene all those years.
Caleb Foundation, has tried over the years to find ways to make water more available and safer to drink. From drilling four wells, some as deep as 220 meters (720 feet) to distributing very efficient water filters to all families within the community. The drilling yielded no results and the geological tests only confirmed what we suspected, that there is no water in the region. Even though the filters only needed basic maintenance within less than a year, they were no longer being used.
One remark that was part of a discussion about the possibility of having running water in 2018 stands out. A young lady said: “when we have running water we will be clean and smell good like you”. One can only imagine how difficult must have been to always be self-conscious of the fact that you smell bad, thus avoiding interaction and socializing with other people.
They mayor a young and very determined individual promised he would see to it that the Lazareni community will have clean running water or he will run for office until it happens.
It took 7 years of hard work, lawsuits and fighting bureaucracy to finally in September of 2018 have running water in most of the village.
What an historical moment to see the kids spend most of the day around the improvised water source in the middle of the village in August 2018. They could not get enough of it to drink and play with. They behaved like “we better take advantage of this while it last” not believing this is for real and is here to stay.
Celebrate with us this new era where the precious Gypsy community of Lazareni can now enjoy the benefits of having clean, safe water in their homes.
- Now they will be able to wash and shower, keep their clothes clean and stay healthy.
- The Diaper a day Project will take advantage of the re-usable/washable diapers, diaper liners and hygiene products.
- With water made available and not having to walk for miles to get some the families will now be able raise animals and cultivate their soil in order to grow fruit and vegetables that are so vital to a balanced diet.
- In addition, probably one of the most valuable outcome is that now the Gyspys will be able to regain their dignity and no longer fear rejected because of being and feeling dirty.