străini în bucurești – nora tesa
eram acum 2 săptămâni în dianei 4 la o bere. lângă masa noastră stăteau 2 nemțoaice care la un moment dat au venit să ne întrebe cum se traduce în română ‘fuck you’. din una în alta ne-am luat la vorbă, am aflat că una din ele este în bucurești pentru un internship pentru drepturile rromilor și cealaltă era în vizită pentru o săptămână. vă las să citiți povestea ei despre bucurești, cu precizarea că roma-rights se referă la drepturile rromilor. am încercat să îi explic că nu ăsta e termenul dar nu mai contează. lectură plăcută!
I arrived in Bucureşti nearly three month ago now. I came here for doing an internship. Back in Germany many people told me “Wow! You’re going to Romania. That’s amazing.” Their next sentence was “You’re going to Bucharest? That is the ugliest city you could have chosen there.” So I was kind of expecting the worst but still telling myself that it can’t be that bad.
Well, I arrived, the weather was great, the people were friendly, welcoming and helpful and I loved the place right away! It is such an interesting city, a city of contrast. There are the most beautiful houses from founding period right next to ugly blocks built in the communist era. So you have to search a bit for the beauty of Bucureşti but when you find it that makes it even more beautiful. There is life here! Some things are happening, there are really cool places to visit. And furthermore, Romanian landscape is just amazing!
But there is also the drawback, the negative contrasts, those thought-provoking contrasts of life in Romania or, in this case, in Bucureşti. It is the contrast of poor and rich. There are huge and expensive cars parking right next to homeless people, and there are a lot of homeless people. And also a lot of huge cars. Also when I talk to people I get the impression that even if you are not homeless it is really hard to live a comfortable life (related to financial aspects) because the salaries are mostly quite low.
At this point I have to come back to my internship. I’m working at Romani CRISS. This is a NGO which is fighting for the Roma-rights in Romania. Before I arrived here I was aware of the fact that Roma are not having the best life here. But I was not aware of the really big amount of racism and prejudices against them. I got the impression that, no matter to whom I’m talking to, no-one would really understand why I’m doing what I’m doing. Because Roma are the bad people, they are not Romanians, they are not educated, they are dirty and they steal. Because of them the rest of the world has got a bad picture of Romania. There is no sense in helping them because they don’t want to be helped. That makes me sad. I’m not saying that some are not bad educated and some are also stealing; of cause not all of them. But at this point you should not just tell that it is in their culture to live like that. They are poor, really poor, strugglmg, they want to survive. Again, not all of them, there are also educated, integrated Roma who are leading a normal life like the average Romanian. Most of my colleagues for example do so. For the others, you should ask yourself why they have to live like that because I’m pretty sure that most of them do not just decide to do so. It is not a way of life you choose. Another really important point I would like to mention here is that I got the impression that most of the people I talked to put poorness on a level with being bad. I visited a Roma community and furthermore the Roma who were evicted from their homes, now living in tents in the middle of Bucureşti. Those people are totally poor, just lost their homes and freezing every day. And they have been so friendly and welcoming to me! They even insisted on sharing the little food they have. And though they are living on the streets, more or less, they take care of themselves, they are not dirty and also some of them have a regular job, earning their own money. The positive thing which I have to mention here is that there are people, volunteers (educated Roma and also non-Roma) supporting these people with juridical advice, food and company, giving them the feeling that they are not totally left alone in that situation. But still, I think the whole thing about the Roma in Romania is like a vicious circle. It is hard to tell where it begins and definitely even harder to end it. There has to be done so much work, on both sides, the Roma and the Romanian. The picture of Roma which exists in the head of most people has to change and, of cause, also politics in Romania has to change!
But I don’t want to end this in such a negative way because that is not my opinion about my whole stay here. I am totally happy that I decided to come here, not only for seeing what the whole Roma-situation looks like in reality but also for experiencing life in another county, having great and enriching conversations with people who have different backgrounds, expanding my horizon and getting to know the great city of Bucureşti which I would maybe never have visited without this internship. And I’ll try to improve the picture of Bucureşti among my friends back home, it is definitely worth visiting it!
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