Macedonia a small country on the Balkan peninsula in Southeastern Europe is home to Macedonians, Albanians, Turkish, and Rome people. These four enclaves share a complicated history of economic turmoil and ethnic divide. Their future is equally connected as they harbour nostalgia for the past while settling into the new responsibilities of a developing country. This is a heavy burden for some to bare.
While there I conversed with locals about politics, tourism, and stark differences between America and Europe. I also conversed and captured orphaned youth.
The Roma people are transplants who immigrate from Eastern and Western Europe. They are considered Europe's social pariahs. Mostly, due to their reluctance to acculturate and assimilate. The social service system requires Macedonian citizenship prior to receiving support. The Roma, afraid of losing their identity send their children to solicit tourists at local tourist venues creating an unsafe avenue of survival.
The Macedonians are both paradoxical and patriarchal. With the transition from the third world to developing country, many Macedonian men have begun to learn British English while the women remain in their dominated roles. The increased access to education will expand entrepreneurial opportunities and international employment. However, educational access is limited for rural families. Most heads of household have little formal education. They are living below the poverty line. Some families have contracted with social services which require them to place their children in orphanages. The orphanages take responsibility for the child's education and wellness until the family can support them.