These sisters and
daughter-in-law are working, with their brothers, for funds
for their families. Their mother is now back in Romania where
the rest of the extended family is looking after the babies
and children. So I explained to artists that the Roma are very
chaste, marrying young, being faithful, and could only pose if
fully dressed and chaperoned. I explained, too, that the Roma
have traditionally been artists' models. Jill Hammer and her
friend took us up on the offer. First they sketched them in
the nearby park because their studio mates did not want a Rom
invasion. Then I invited them to our archway, which we found
an ideal place.
I had already
been working with the brothers and sisters, weeding the
Cemetery, planting its bulbs. Next I made the discovery that
the two sisters are excellent carpenters. In one day we built
a cradle which now graces our library as earlier ones had.
One of the
brothers has begged for it as his wife is pregnant, who is
looking after all the children there, and it will go back to
Romania. Next we asked the two sisters if we could visit their
barracca. So we took the bus together, then walked into the
countryside and this is what we found, five bedrooms for seven
people, chairs and tables outside with a fireplace in the
open, water and food hanging in bags from trees. Resourceful,
charming, poor, with dignity. What we say is 'Keep your
culture. Learn ours. Have both at once. Your families are
stronger than ours.'
I shall have them
help me build yet another cradle. Already they have helped me
build more bookshelves for our library. We send the money to
Romania as a donation to their family for their mother. I love
these people for their courtesy, their gracefulness, their
skills. These are Europe's and the world's future. A people
with no army, no frontiers, simply being families. Not to be
feared or despised, but instead treasured and welcomed.
See also http://www.umilta.net/chuppa.html
RAI 1. Il Silenzio di Dio, Isabella Schiavone, Easter Day, 2008.
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