This past weekend I found myself in Cheb. I’m in Cheb many weekends. There are four other teachers with my organization there who are all fun to hang out with and so it gives a nice change of pace when I am not teaching. Cheb is slightly larger than Sokolov and very close to the German border. This location allows it such things as a Tesco, an Alberts, and an Interspar. For those who don’t know these are all large supermarket/department stores with a Super Wal-mart feel. They wouldn’t be that exciting except they have significantly better selection than our two lowly supermarkets in Sokolov, Kaufland and Billa.
All that is to say going to Cheb is a fun time. My fellow teachers there often find out about mission teams that come through. When they can, they like to help out and meet the teams that come in. This past weekend a team from YWAM (Youth with a mission) in Germany visted Cheb. I can’t tell you exactly what all their plans were but what they wanted to do on Monday was hang out and play with poor Roma (aka gypsy) children in the town. Roma are discriminated against here in employment, education and pretty much anything else you can think of. Unsurprisingly, they often live in pretty sad looking blocks of flats in the “wrong” parts of town.
A fellow teacher and I decided to go meet up with the team, bring a GIANT inflatable ball for the kids, and to hang out for a while. So on Monday afternoon in a steady rain I found myself running around a trash-strewn courtyard playing soccer and hanging out with the YWAMers and Roma kids. The main highlight was a cute 6-or-7 year old kept jumping on me and smiling. So I put him on my shoulders. He laughed. I laughed. It was fun for a good three minutes. And then I tried to take him off. He had latched on to me with the grip of death to my jacket. So I proceeded to keep running around and everything until finally I managed to pry him off about fifteen minutes later. This kid was nothing but a pile of smiles and giggles.
I’m a teacher here. I want to teach, meet students. I have no idea how to “fix” the problem of poor Roma. But on some days its just nice to make a kid smile.