Romania – Bucharest
Currently I am working on a project on the deportation of the Roma people (commonly known as Gypsies) by the French government this summer. I was originally not sure if the story would best be told in France, where they are targeted, or in Romania where they are being sent. After discussing it with my classmates and teachers I was encouraged to go to Romania and tell the story of the communities they are in now. Since arriving in Bucharest, Romania I have met with the NGO Alianta Civica a Romilor din Romania (a group working on Roma rights in Romania). They provided me with more information for my story as well as several names and numbers to contact in cities outside of Bucharest (the people I am looking for are not in Bucharest). I was able to reach one of these contacts who has agreed to help me upon my arrival in my next destination is the city of Constanta on the Black Sea. I leave tomorrow morning by train and with any luck will begin the real work of my project tomorrow.
The more work I do on this project, the more excited I become. Although I have not taken a single usable photo yet, I have found great people willing to help me accomplish my goal. Along with the people I have contacted through my research I also stumbled into a contact through a man staying at the hostel. His friend teaches Roma children in the city I am traveling to and works with aid groups as well. This story has presented a challenge for me on nearly every level; a country and language I have no experience with, a community of people I can not relate to and a subject that is important and large. No matter what happens this has (and will be) an experience unlike any I have had before and a chance to learn.
Sorry this post only contains one image (and not a good one at that), but I wanted to provide a project update those curious. My last project will be posted soon, but I am still unhappy with the order and want to keep working on it.
Bucharest is a fantastic city, very different than anywhere else I have been. If you get a chance to travel to Eastern Europe do not skip it. Also I would like to thank Catalin Abagiu, a wonderful photographer I studied with at Mizzou and who is currently living and working in Bucharest, for helping me understand the Roma people better and welcoming me to his country.