EVS Stories: Another world (V)

Kiryl is working as a volunteer in Baia Mare, until the end of February! He shared some of his  thoughts with us, as impressions of his stay in our town.


Today I want to share with you my thoughts about a Craica: roma community (Baia Mare), which I visited some weeks ago.

First, the visit was organized by a Caritas Center, whose mission is to help poor people. It means that I was there with people familiar to inhabitants of the community. Otherwise it would be rather risky to go there alone. Why? I could be wrong, but it looks like minorities are often a closed community where everyone knows each other and doesn’t like strangers.

I was there in an early foggy morning and, perhaps because of this, everything I saw there seemed a bit surreal. It was a good scenery for a photo shoot, but I was thinking about inhabitants of the community… I’m sure that I have never met anything like this.

My first question to the Caritas workers was – ”Am I in the European Union now?” ”This is  another world!”, said one of the workers.

As far as I know, around 500 people live in the Craica. All these people live in one ‘street’ along the railway in dirty huts made from garbage. The ‘street’ is made of extreme dirt with a lot of trash. There is no asphalt and no infrastructure for a normal life. Craica inhabitants steal water and electricity from neighboring houses. The people don’t have a residence permit…

Perhaps due to the early morning I met there more domestic animals than people. I met a lot of dogs, a few chickens and only one cat. By the way, according to my observations, dogs make up the majority of domestic animals. I knew I could also meet horses there, but I didn’t.

Instead, I met a much more unexpected thing. I paid attention to one very fashionable thing in courtyards of the huts – carpets that cover the ground. It’s funny and sad at the same time.

I know that the Craica is illegal, but it exist more than 6 years. I have no idea how people can live in such conditions for so long. On the other hand, I know that some children from the community have smartphones!? How?

In short, in this case, I have more questions than answers. In particular, I have a lot of questions to the Craica inhabitants, people that live around them in ordinary houses and, of course, to the local authorities.

The volunteer is hosted by Team for Youth Association in a joint project with Office of Initiatives Promotions  from Minsk, Belarus, on a two-month European Voluntary Service project. The content of this testimonial does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. The responsibility for the information and views expressed in the article rests entirely with the author.