Thursday, April 7, 2011

Happy International Roma Day!

Good morning! I'm in Belgrade at the moment where I've been since yestermorn. Today, April 8th, is International Roma Day, a celebration of their history and traditions. This day also shines light on the discrimination facing the Roma and even more generally it calls for universal human rights to be respected and observed.

Yesterday Jill and I left Nis for a two-day trip to Belgrade. Jill's service placement, Zenski Prostor (Women's Space), advocates for women's right and they invited us to participate in a presentation/discussion yesterday called "Polozaj Romkinja u Srbiji Danas" (Position of Roma Women in Serbia Today). Roma women face double discrimination because of their race and gender. About 50 women representing women's NGOs from around Serbia participated. One of the neatest aspects of this session was the fact that it took place in Serbia's Parliament in a room with semi-circled seating resembling the US Congress. Since September we've spent about two weeks in Belgrade walking past this capital building loads of times but we'd never been inside let alone in a room where the Parliament convenes.

Today there's a performance drawing attention to this marginalized people which we're looking forward to and before that we're meeting up with my host sister (from my Nis family) who works and studies here for some coffee and tea, a common means of getting together. I fly out of Belgrade in June but this is basically the last time I'll be here so Jill and I took advantage of the nice weather by walking through Kalamegdan (BG's fortress) and we've been frequenting our favorite bakery, Hleb i Kifle (translation: bread and Serbian assorted baked goods). Then after the performance it's back to Nis!

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