1992 Jan 26 – 3rd Sun Ord (Bulletin Letters)
A perspective from Germany
THIRD SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
JANUARY 25/26, 1992
Recently in the news, it was reported that American’s are more optimistic about world peace than Western Europeans. Maybe it’s because the Europeans are closer to the realities of the demise of the Soviet Union?
Below is a copy of the first part of a letter Rita and Bill Strabala wrote to Jim and Loene Hermen from Germany. Rita is the daughter of Hugh and Pat Zahner. Rita and Bill live in Fulda, Germany. Bill is a teacher in the American Schools and a librarian. Rita works in the school office. They have lived in Fulda since 1972. They lived and worked in Cuba before moving to Germany. Bill has been teaching abroad for 25 years. Bill and Rita have three children, Greg and Maureen, students at Iowa State University in Ames, and Erik, who is attending his first year of college at a branch of the University of Maryland in Munich, Germany. Erik plans to attend ISU next year.
Another year has rolled around, and, unfortunately, things in Europe don’t seem to be improving. We have witnessed a further deterioration in the situations in both Russia and Yugoslavia. It is extremely sad to see the misery and hardship these people are going through. It certainly dampens the Christmas spirit. There have been pictures in our local newspaper of Russian people digging through garbage for something to eat. The horrible inflation rate, and the serious food shortage in Russia, has brought the Russians to a very critical situation. Both the U.S. and the European governments have promised aid to help control the situation. We pray the New Year will bring improvements to all those suffering in the world around us.
The German situation is also frightening. The ultra right and the neo-Nazis are terrorizing foreigners in Germany. There is a large refugee population living in Germany, and there seems to be a very concentrated backlash against these people. It makes one wonder when our turn may be coming.
The ongoing drawdown in the American military community is causing dislocation and reorganization as well. Services, i. e., Civilian Personnel Offices, etc., are being centralized in hub communities, making it difficult for patrons in outlying communities to get the services they need. Fulda is not a hub community and has lost many of the services it once enjoyed.
There is a strong indication that the Department of Defense Dependent Schools will also centralize their operations in Washington, D. C. Not a happy prospect for day-to-day operations! We are expecting cuts in teaching slots at the semester.
Many of the military communities are losing population because of the drawdown, making it necessary to reduce support staff…teachers. The situation in Fulda looks stable for the time being. However, this is not the case in southern Germany. Munich Military Community will be closed by the end of summer ,and many other communities in the south will close or be greatly reduced in size. DoDDS is no longer a career opportunity for new teachers coming into the system.