Monday, August 5, 2013

A Sighting of Travelers

Roma Travelers
One of the misconceptions of Romany (often called Gypsies) in Eastern Europe is that they travel around the countryside.  While there are a few who continue this lifestyle, the largest majority were forced to settle during the communist era.  We have heard rumors of "travelers" in villages of Romania and recently witnessed them passing through the village of Stoborasti.  Imagine all your worldly goods in a wagon that resembles the Conestogas of the American west in the 1800's.  One enterprising Roma wife rigged a line down the side of their wagon and had her laundry hanging from it.  Pots and pans jangled from the sides and little curious faces poked out the end.  An older girl, perhaps the wife, with a baby on her hip was going from door to door begging for money.  We were told that in addition to begging, often the men will offer to sharpen knives or sell twig brooms they have made.  A little dog followed dutifully behind the wagon.  We saw one wagon stopped by a small stream and the women were busy washing clothes while little preschoolers splashed around.  (There is a definite delineation of men's work and women's work in the Roma culture).  It was fascinating to observe this nearly lost lifestyle.

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