SHE IS NOT JUST A STORY

Dirty clothes hugged her body; drops of perspiration stood out on her face. Julia is sixteen years old. Treyana and Maria, her younger sisters, sat close to her; one on a chair beside her and one on her lap. Her face was expressionless, but her story was achingly bitter. Her father is dead, her mother sick. The eldest child, she dropped out of school to try to provide for her family, but in Bulgaria work is only available to those aged eighteen and older. I was told her story, a typical one in these gypsy villages. A few minutes later she and her sisters quietly slipped from the room.