Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Poland - The People

The Assembly

Lucia and Konrad
Lucia is Swiss, Konrad Polish.  They met while Lucia was visiting relatives in Perth, Konrad was busking on a street and she stopped to listen.  They married in Switzerland in 2002.  For five years Konrad worked as an orthopedic technician and Lucia as a nurse; and every so often Konrad would go back to Poland and while there would be telling people about his experience with the Lord.
 In 2007 they moved to Slupsk to support the growing assembly.  Work here was hard to find and they lived off their savings for 12 months until  they found employment, as English teachers.  As time moved on, they opened their own school – Lucia works there while Konrad is still employed by another school.  Konrad is now Pastor and looks after an assembly of twelve from around Poland.

Dagmara and Raff
We arrived the day Dagmara delivered her baby…Anya.  We went to visit the following day, she was in the hospital at Utska, her home town. The hospital dynamics are reminiscent of the fifties, a nursery for the babies- no rooming in; a dragon lady matron who was in full force, and Dagmara had to sign a waiver so that we could see the baby!! ..who is gorgeous

Lucia checking out out Konrad!!

Irek, Magda, Dagmara & Lucia

Annette and Wiktor
Live in Slupsk….  she has part-time work and Wiktor is an auto-electrician for Scania buses.  He is also the master-mind behind the conference Skype which operates between the three locations where there are church members.  So each time we meet Wiktor sets up the laptop, sound etc and makes sure everyone is on board before we start.  He is a typical Pole; he has an enormous capacity for food, especially the cakes!!! He says the plate is for Annette, and then he downs the lot…very funny.

From the left: Wiktor, Patricia, Pawel and Annette

Not a bad the extra cream!

Patricia and Pawel
Live a 6-8 hour drive (depends on the day and driver, I guess!) from Slupsk. A jazz blues musician, who occasionally plays the odd gig for extra money.  By day a store-man.  A larger than life personality, animated when talking, loud, a big laugh and facial expressions to rival Marcel Marceau (look him up if you don’t know!).  He speaks very little English, says “translate” to whoever can, so we can be involved…but he doesn’t really need it, you get the picture anyway, he makes us laugh.  His wife Patricia is obviously his opposite, a little more reserved….she admits to Pawel to being her rock.

Magda and Irek
Live in Gdansk…about 2hrs from Slupsk.  Magda is a very outgoing, open and warm woman, who has a great love of God; her husband is more serious and totally besotted by her.  He sits and watches her with a bemused expression; married only in December 2010, I just love watching themJ …He is a very considerate man, who spends a lot of effort speaking to us in English, to include us in what is happening at the time…

Food is important :))

....and our new friends

Kasha and Angela
Kasha owns the gym we’ve joined. Angela is her 20 year old daughter who is an instructor and after whom the gym is named.  We head down 3 or 4 times a week and so we’ve established an easy - going rapport.  Once again I think our friendly Aussie smiling manner has placed us in good stead, as it’s certainly not our Polish!! or her English.  I have developed a very friendly attachment to Kasha’s dog, which comes to the gym every day with her.  He now follows me around the floor every so often… tho’ I reckon that this might have more to do with the fact I feed  him cabanossi when I come, rather than the fact that he actually likes meJ.
Angela and Kasha

 Tony on his favorite machine

The view from the treadmill


Is our Italian teacher whom we see twice a week, a colleague of Lucia’s; she  has two degrees and currently works as a teacher of Italian, German and French; she can also speak English and some Russian.  She is a Pole who has probably spent the last thirteen years out of the country, living in France, Germany and for the last 10 years, in Italy.  Not only has she tried to teach Italian to us (we are way too Australian to be able to pronounce Italian the way it should sound, tho’ Tony has a more realistic accent….when he gets his hands moving!!); but she has talked to us about life in Poland.
She is passionate about her country…has moved back with her daughter, to live with her parents in a three bedroom flat. Her grandparents on one side were taken from Slupsk to Germany, during the Occupation to work in German labour camps; her other set of grandparents were taken by the Russians, to do the same, however, in Russia. Her father is an architect, who went to Uni under Communist rule.  When he graduated, all his year were sent to work in factories for two years….common for every graduating year under communism.  Out of his class, he was one of only a few, who continued his chosen profession.  The Russians paid low wages, and made Vodka readily available, so the majority ended up as alcoholics who couldn’t keep a job.  Alcoholism is rife here…encouraged under communist rule…it dulls the senses and strips away any desire to improve your circumstances, therefore rebellion. 
She talks about the “mentality” of the Poles…as being down-trodden, un-enthusiastic, made so by being  under German then Russian rule; she has such energy, fighting against the norm, wants to make a better life for herself and her daughter.  She can see an opportunity in years to come as more EU money comes into the country….she has been our steepest learning curve. 
She and Tony spend ½ of our time exchanging stories about Australia and Poland!!!!…she is very earthy, and heaps of  fun.


  1. Some interesting insights into the polish assembly/people. My impression was the youth in Poland have quite a lot of energy and enthusiasm but are drawn away by the prospect of employment/higher wages abroad.

  2. Great travelogue guys- its making me jealous!!-

  3. Most impressed! You sound as though you are having a wonderful time. It's Mother's Day here and I'm at Trudi's with Ged and Alison and the rest of the family.

    When you let me know your address I will send you a card because I think that will be quicker than my learning how to use my computer.

    With much love,