So far it is has been an appalling winter in Bulgaria. Indeed, to quote Shakespeare, “A Winter of Discontent” plus much more. People travelling by road in the new year were suddenly struck by hurricane winds and rapidly forming snow drifts. Cars and heavy trucks shunted to a standstill causing a chain of accidents. There were no available machines for clearing the snow and people were marooned in their vehicles without water, food and medical support. The temperature plummeted to an agonising minus 9 in the day and minus 22 at night! This is coldness in its extremity.
In the poor, deprived project areas where we feed the children and elderly conditions became considerably worse – the ghetto areas were gripped by an epidemic! Young and old were inflicted with severe flu conditions resulting in many dying. These poor people receive no medical care, there is no National Health system, neither can they afford to purchase medication. The epidemic was probably due to a combination of low culture and poor hygiene.
Our faithful Bulgarian representatives, Oggy & Bobby Todorov travelled 80 miles to give an in-put to these poor, marginalized people. With financial assistance from Door of Hope, they arranged protective lint to cover nose and mouth, especially when feeding the elderly and children.
Oggy and Bobby paid the price for their kindness as they too were smitten with the virus and are struggling to recover.
During this year, in an effort to improve the people’s hygiene, health and resistance against diseases, Door of Hope plans to introduce a training course. Also, next November, to pay for the visit of a doctor who will administer vaccinations to as many people as possible.
But this information is but a background to the annual need that I once again bring to your kind attention.
Some of the ladies receive no financial support whatsoever! Their diet consists of bread, cheese, beans, corn oil and potatoes. They have no central heating or running water in the hovels where they live. Some have no electricity. Water is collected in plastic bottles from a nearby communal tap.
In these terrorising weather conditions (somehow, poverty always seems worse in below-freezing climates rather than a hot ones), Door of Hope has been providing meals for elderly people striving to exist in the worst possible conditions.I might have mentioned before that I actually witnessed a granddaughter throwing her grandmother out of the ‘home’ because she had become too much of a burden. The interesting thing I have found with these elderly ladies is that they rarely complain.
Due to the weather, we have taken on extra people this year, mostly elderly ladies struggling to exist on small social support of about £1.80 a day. I have seen elderly people searching around in dustbins. Their beds, from what I observed, appear to be a mattress on the floor covered in rags.
We have also found that most of our poverty stricken elderly ladies live alone. Husbands have died, their children have left home and sadly it is not uncommon for grandchildren to be totally dismissive of their grandmothers.
Sometimes they attempt a smile through their lined faces. However, this soon stops as they become aware of the few teeth they have in their withered mouths. Every week they shuffle along to our Feeding Centre that was founded and continues to operate because of your kind donations!
In feeding these poor ladies, we desire as you do, to give something of the presence of Christ who said that in giving to the poor, we give to him. THANK YOU!