I n my first visit to Hetea, Covasna County, Romania I was taken by the colorful, picturesque setting of the village.  It was like someone handed me a “present”.  As if I was told – it is all yours, just go get if or rather photograph it. I could be there all day long taking pictures and more pictures and even more pictures.  I felt there was no end to the amazing photo opportunities.  But I also realized that they were mainly portraits of people at home or just congregating around me.

Less than two months later I returned to this Roma village, determined to learn more about the villagers’ life styles, daily activities and cultural activities. I had a distinct and nagging feeling that my being there created a situation of “something to do” for the villagers,  as most have gathered around me at all hours of the day asking or even demanding “Doamna poza” – Mrs. Picture! (thus all the portraits). I was not angry or frustrated.  But rather, saddened to realize their lives have little content, pleasure or excitement.

There approximately 700 people in the village, the majority are children. Many of the men spend time in Jail for small crimes, theft and robberies. Others are out in the forest cutting wood illegally. Although weddings as we know them are not the common practice, relationships are formed at an age when one can still say a boy has married a girl.  Many are in their 14-16 years old having babies without practicing any birth control methods.  Very few of the girls have been persuaded to use birth control pills and some who would like to cannot afford it.  It is not unusual seeing a 20 year old woman with 3-4 kids.  Hunger is rampant.

Most of the villagers do not have basic education.  Many have left school after second or third grade.  Their reading and writing skills are very limited if at all. The village is secluded, some have horses and move around using very simple primitive wooden wagons, and others are dependent on their neighbors.

Under these circumstances it is no surprise that none of the villagers are employed.  They barely survive, receiving meager sums of money from the ministry of Welfare, and food supplies from the European Union Food banks. As such, they steal electricity, water and wood. Their houses are tiny shacks with poor flooring and roofing, no running water, providing minimal shelter to some very large families. Poor hygiene and living conditions contribute to major health problem among the children of the village.  As for the seniors – they hardly exist.

_O8B2661

_O8B2641

_O8B2592

_O8B2639

_O8B2047

_O8B2138

_O8B2167

_O8B2498

_O8B2236

_O8B2295

_O8B2301

_O8B2312

_O8B2550

_O8B2589

_O8B2499

_O8B2700

_O8B2702

_O8B3684

_O8B2955

_O8B2987

_O8B2939

_O8B3031

_O8B3008

_O8B3807

_O8B3689

_O8B3792

_O8B3687

_O8B2783

_O8B2769

 

 

One Response to “Romania, Transylvania – Dawn as a Makeup” Subscribe

  1. Kat Miner February 15, 2015 at 8:23 am #

    Ruti, these photos are fascinating! The whole Romania series. Wow. The colors in their homes are so bright and cheerful, almost. Where does the money come from for all the textiles? The people are so interesting looking. Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply