We stayed in yesterday, Bex having a raging case of what I suspect is food poisoning from the grilled chicken at one of our favorite local restaurants. It’s passing and she is starting to feel better. But, wow, was it a doozy. Poor girl.
This, however, has made me reflect on the unsanitary conditions we find ourselves around as of late. Take the pool, for instance. Children pee in the pool, nauseating fact, but true for pretty much all pools. Maybe not all children take that liberty, but a good enough percentage that leads me to rationalize that we have been swimming in excrement in Serbia. Modesty aside, nude children, infants without the swim diapers mandated by pools in Canada, are free to urinate and defecate in the water here. But it’s not just infants. Older children, as old as eight, have also been swimming around us, naked. There are no showers at the pool, just a foot wash, so…in you go, dirt and all. Did I mention the heatwave we’re going through? Heat like this has a smell, heavy and sour, and it’s washed off in the pool. That we swim in.
I’m not sure that the food safety standards here are on par with Canadian standards, either. I’ve seen more flies on uncooked meat, more blood pooled in deli counters. The food is sure tasty and most often cooked perfectly. Still, it doesn’t take much to tip the delicate balance of harmful bacteria. We’re working through this with probiotics and very helpful natural remedies suggested by our friends back home.
For now, here are more tidbits for you and a fun little safety video:
-Children must be 7 years old to start grade one in Serbia. Laura needed, and received, special permission to register for grade two as she is only 6. She will be the youngest in her class but the girls are going to an International school and we’re told the education they’re going to receive is going to be phenomenal.
-Serbs get a legislated, floating holiday, called a Sava, or Saint’s Day. Families choose which Saint resonates with them and honor that Saint on that Saint’s particular day. One family’s Sava may be tomorrow, while another family’s Sava may be in May. (I believe I got this right, but please correct me if I’m wrong.)
-Safety costs money and so often isn’t the first priority. I’ve seen crowds milling about around bulldozers and other construction equipment, while the equipment is in operation. Too many holes in the ground to count, many of which are VERY deep. Barbed wire, rebar, broken glass, wires, dangerous dips and divots…..none of these are blocked off from the public. A rare public warning will be yellow caution tape, inadequate and never enough to fully surround the hazard. We’re careful, but my anxiety level shoots through the roof when I’m walking with the girls. There is just so much that can hurt you, pretty much everywhere we go. Mix this with all of the people that drive on sidewalks, and it often feels like a war zone — with everyone out for themselves.
I’ll leave you with a fun little safety video. It’s really just a smidgen of what we see, but true nonetheless. Enjoy your day and stay safe!