ROB; [August 16]:
All good things must come to an end. Sunday was our final full day in Hungary. It started out at 6am for me, as I got up early to look for some last-minute gifts. The morning started out rough -- I could not find a cup of coffee anywhere; Budapest slows down on weekends and very few businesses are open on Sunday. On my return from the market I ran into Michael Simmons, a human rights activist and radio DJ originally from Philadelphia. We met Michael and his wife Linda (a lawyer and activist) at the <a href="http://raday.blogs.com/salon/2009/08/candlelight-vigil-for-roma-victims.html">vigil for the Roma woman, in our first week here. Michael reminded me to listen to his radio show, which is on every Sunday from noon to 2pm. He does a show of classic soul with a drop of political commentary. I was also reminded that we were all invited to his <a href="http://raday.blogs.com/salon/about.html">Raday Salon</a>, where he and Linda invite activists from the social justice community to discuss issues of concern.
Michael's show was great. He dedicated it to the folks from Sherwood Forest whom he met for the first time when visiting with us the previous Tuesday. He mentioned how he stumbled upon PTH at the vigil and thought it was an incredible project that we were undertaking in Budapest. He also mentioned about Brandon and I sending him text messages and he appreciated us listening to the show.
At 5pm we headed to the Simmons' flat, which was just down the street from our hostel, with plenty of wine in tow. There were already members of Sherwood Forest and other members of the homeless formerly-homeless community like Csurika and Laci. Hugs and kisses were exchanged and we sat down to a great meal prepared by Linda and Michael. I ate two plates :) There was plenty!
The evening featured speakers from the homeless community and social justice movement, including PTH, Michael and Linda, along with questions from the group. It was a wonderful evening. At the end there were many speeches, hugs, and tears of joy and sadness. The evening ended about 10pm and we all said our sad farewells on the street. We all had a hard time leaving. I hugged Tessza and Balint one last time, thanked them for bringing us over, and walked away. It was hard.