Four months ago, Florian (3) was unwell. He stopped walking, vomited and blood came from his nose. His parents took him to the local hospital in Gjakove, close to their hometown.
The doctor instantly saw that there was something seriously wrong with Florian and told them that he should go to the hospital in Pristina. After several tests, the diagnosis of leukaemia was concluded.
'It is in God's hands', says his mother Elizabeta (28). She cries. 'There are many good doctors and nurses here; I hope they can help him.' For his parents the illness is catastrophic. It is difficult to find work as gypsies. They barely earn any money and are dependent on the government and generosity of others. Even though her husband works as much as he can, life is expensive. The travelling costs from home to Pristina alone are already substantial. It is a blessing to them that Care for Kosovo Kids is covering the costs for treatment and medication.
'I hope it is God's will that it will be okay', she says. Elizabeta was married for fifteen years before she finally became pregnant. Florian couldn't have been more wanted and now he's deathly ill. 'I hope God will allow him to live.' Barely two months after his birth she became pregnant again. Tears swell again when she says that her youngest is being cared for by the neighbours during the day.
Florian and Elizabeta have already been at the hospital for nearly three and a half months. Sporadically she takes the bus home - a trip of over an hour and a half - but only when Florian is allowed to come. Thankfully, he is not in pain any more, though he is tired from the therapy. She doesn't know whether he will be cured but he appears to be doing better. He is at the start of the treatment and they will have to come back many times. Her husband is working hard to cover all of the additional costs.
After this conversation, they will leave to go home by bus, to return in a week. They stay in the hospital on alternate weeks. 'I have to say goodbye to my youngest son every time. I feel guilty that I can give him so little attention, he's still so young.' She wipes the tears off her face. 'When we are all home again, we are happy. Florian gets thrilled when he sees his little brother again too, he cuddles him the whole time.'