European Dignities - Summer 2014

Page 1

Words of folk wisdom – in education Wise Words from Armenia In the way of coffee

ISSN 2360 – 6355 ISSN-L 2360 – 6355


•Editorial •



When you find yourself in a moment of retrieval, nostalgia, deep feelings, love, you know you have to be involved, to believe and to live. But when you find yourself in a moment of discovering to complete your education, then you have to search, to ask, to act and to believe again. „Words of folk wisdom” is not just a simple issue propose to the young people from Europe. We decide to build a space of communication and sharing based on three elements, to give us the strength to understand, to be focused on our values and to believe in people. 1- Education – is the key element of taking the chance to become a human. 2- Networking – the free space of interaction and acting together. Sharing! 3- Imagination – is what makes people funnier, more tolerant, and more creative. Old sayings, proverbs, words of folk wisdom come to fulfill the desire of trusting the past, to complete the present and to believe in the future. You can have the chance to see how these kind of wise and old sayings are thought in Armenia, or Greece and not only. You can find in the pages of this issue a path, a road from the symbolic and mystic part of old times, old people and old sayings to the new way of learning with non-formal, informal education. We will try to do the same thing with the next two issues, one dedicated to the European Youth Capitals and one dedicated to the best lines or verses. I wish you a good reading!

European Dignities Journal • Editorial BOARD • DIRECTOR Dragoș-Andrei Preutescu (Iasi, Romania)


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mihaela Diana Podariu (Targu-Frumos, Romania) CREATIVE DIRECTOR Chevuk Kelevra (Mexico) SECRETARIAT - Bianca Aelenei (Pascani, Romania) TRANSLATION Anamaria Avădanei (Câmpulung Moldovenesc, Romania) Antonia Amarandei (Iasi, Romania) Mădălina Mihaela Porcilescu (Paşcani, Romania)


PHOTOGRAPHY Alexandra Muscalu TEAM COORDINATOR - (Pașcani, Romania) - Alise Artamonova (Riga, Lituania) - Fuior Bogdan (Pașcani, România) - Puiu Cristina (Pașcani, România) - Josipa Uzelac (Zagreb, Croatia) - Gabor Sebastian (Pașcani, România) - Time Shooters team (Grecia) - Theron LaBounty (Colorado, USA) DRAWINGS - Nadia Elena Spulber (Iasi, Romania) - Carmen Ciobanu (Botoșani, Romania) CONTRIBUTORS - Victoria Baltag (London, UK) - Electra Braska (Athens, Greece) - Paula Horrell (United Kingdom, England, Lincolnshire - ProjectRevolution: YOUTH) - Daniela Borontiș (Drobeta Turnu Severin, Romania) - Elena-Laura Tencaliuc, (Moldova-Sulita, Suceava) - Lara Kim Leitner, (, Armenia, Stepanavan, Full Life NGO) - Andi Valentin Sâsâiac (Targu Frumos, Romania) - Ştefania Argeanu (Romania, Iaşi) - Alin-Constantin Costin (Romania, Iaşi)

NEXT ISSUE COVER PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Mihaela Diana Podariu, “NonFormal Education”


• High Education • Words of folk wisdom - in education P. 06 • In Community • “And she maybe was waiting to help her”. P. 12 “Wise words from Armenia” P. 20


“Words of folk wisdom in Greece” P. 25 Romanian Thoughts P. 29 “Romanian Traditional Costume” Testimonies and Witnesses About the Genensis of the Romanian Costume P. 32 • Diplomacy & Culture • “Everything is going to be just great” P. 40 “In the way of coffee” P. 45 • Profile Hunters • Formal, non-formal and “Words of folk wisdom” Interview with Angela Cășăriu, Romanian Teacher P. 50 Interview with Andreea Râsuceanu P. 56 “Words of folk wisdom across the world” Interview with Theron LaBounty P. 64 • Know How • “How can an individual get some crazy sh*t from culture shock” P. 72 “Sociological and anthropological approaches to the education of marginal and impoverished groups” P. 74 • What’s in the next issues... • Autumn 2014 - European Youth Capital 2015 Cluj-Napoca P. 84 Winter 2014 - Best line (lyrics) P. 85


Hig h E d uca tio n


Education is a complex subject, one that is debatable (to say the least); one that changes over time, or at least should change over time; one that is loved (or hated). However, learning is part of our daily lives. We mostly learn without noticing, in time. Along the time, there have been many words of folk wisdom with regard to education. Here, we will discover a few of them from across the world. Let’s start with the Latin. “Plenus venter non studet libenter” – meaning, a full tummy does not love studying. Of course, it can mean that one should not eat too much before learning for exams, but probably it refers to the idea that many times, when someone has “the basics” covered (food, shelter, etc), he/she forgets to keep



The learning process is related to the age of the person – there is no way to deny this, but the learning process is even tighter related to the motivation of the person. on learning. And this happens many times when the full tummy is not a result of hard work and initiative, but the result of a care given by the others. When it’s so easy to pass through life with the help of others (family, friends etc.), one can easily forget to bring his/her own contribution and remain hungry for learning more. This Latin word of folk wisdom somehow managed to infiltrate into many cultures around the world. Maybe it is such basic information, that people discovered it even before, or in the same time in different places. In Russia, people say “Don’t learn until you are old, learn until you are dead”. Very much related to words said at a late age by famous Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo (the source is not quite clear – but I guess this is not the point here, but the point is the message it entails): “Ancora imparo” (I am still learning). The learning process is related to the age of the person – there is no way to deny this, but the learning process is even tighter related to the motivation of the person. I believe there is a tendency to place learning on a secondary level later in life. For example, one pays more attention to meeting his/her basic needs, and forgets to also care about what is new is a field, or technological advances. Besides this, routine is a very powerful enemy of learning. One feels so good and comfortable in his/her everyday life, that whatever might take him/ her out of this is regarded as unnecessary. In Romania, people say “Nimeni nu se naşte învăţat”, meaning no one is born as a wise man. And “Omul cât trăieşte învaţă” – as long as one is alive, one keeps on learning. The first one is also connected with asking questions. For example, I have heard it many times when something new was introduced at work. Let’s say there is a new type of bread that a bakery wants to introduce – then, all sorts of questions are being asked by the employees, to make sure that everything is clear. Some of those questions might sound stupid – but it’s better to ask them, because “no one was born as a wise






man”. We were all there, at point zero, at a certain stage. The second one is such an international saying, that I am pretty sure one can find it easily in many parts of this world (we already talked about its Russian correspondent). The interesting part is to notice how the words are being used: in Romania, it is more like a statement, a self-explainable truth; whereas in Russia it is more of an advice. The same goes for other general words of folk wisdom, found throughout many countries. In Greece, people say that „Whatever is good to know is difficult to learn”. From my point of view, this is partly ok, partly not ok – because the not-so-explicit message is that things which are easy to obtain have a smaller value than those more difficult to get. It’s good to know that one should not cross a busy street without looking out for cars – but this lesson shouldn’t be learned by experience, and it should be quite easy. However, I do agree that many of the things which are most valuable for us were hard to learn, and we had to put in many hours of study, practice, and understanding. A Chinese saying goes like this: „Learning is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back”. And when we think, for example, about students of a medical university, these words are as real as they can get: if the future doctors are not learning about the latest discoveries in medicine, they could still be prescribing aspirin for curing kidney diseases. Especially with the fast pace of technology advances, it is essential that we keep rowing upstream, remain up to date with whatever is happening in our field, and continue to learn. From my point of view, the best thing that technology and progress have brought is access to information, and an ease to learn. This is the best future that I can imagine, a future in which we can learn easily about things that matter to us, a future that puts in front of us all other data and discoveries done in a certain field, a future where it is so easy to keep on learning, to be educated.





In C o m mu nit y


In those four tribes: gorali, lemki, boiki and huțuli, they used to be born, they are and will be the Arheus people. The Arheus man is mystic and can be totally distinguished by modern man which is the magic man. I met a woman in the huţuli’s country which is a gifted person with the power of pray for everybody who lived, are living and will live. This is a proof of Petre Ţuţea’s saying: „the old woman who is kneeling and praying is more important that any savant which is talking about God. This is the message of the Arheus woman, mystical and kids and grandchildren loving, which if she will be a smoker, she will certainly smoke Mahoarca and Papirosa, to the magical modern man of the computer and air conditioning, the man of the surrogate drinks and of traditional fat free foods. - Auntie Victoria, I am looking at you, I can see a combination between classic and modern. What are you doing? I was born in the middle of the mountains, at Ulma and I’m living in a deep relationship with the tree, the bird, the flowers, hedgehog, the



cow, the calf, the lamb and with the whole of God’s creation. With all of this I have learned many skills as I can sustain the gaining of live hood and thinking how I could help my family. I’m a hairdresser, butcher, painter, chef, farmer. In time I grown up 10 cows and I am mostly farmer. The most I like to live in a spiritual connection with the cows. I would like to understand me very well. I’m in a difficult situation; I don’t know how to ask auntie Victoria. A few years ago I saw a movie called „The Horse Whisperer” with Robert Redford and his character was in a spiritual contact with horses, an older theme in his filmography. I is thinking if it could establish a man-horse similarity, woman-cow dialogue. - How is one from your life with little cows? How the cows react are when they see you, are you spoiling them, what the work assumes with so many animals? - In the summer time is easier because I don’t need to bring wheelbarrows with trash. I have got spinal disc herniation, but if I would think about this I won’t be able to do anything. I have 3 daughters, 4 grandchildren. I’m thinking to leave something behind me and everyone will enjoy it in the future. Now, in the summer, I am waking up at 5 o’clock in every morning, climb the mountain Hrebeni and calling the little cows. Only after I’m pampering them with Pişcanea, nea, nea ide babtii they’re coming down the hill. I called them by names, there are waiting to be flattered, I’m stroking them under the neck, on the leg and I kiss them on the snout. They also are God’s creatures and they need to be loved. After I milked them, I filling up the can and the buckets and I am going back home where are waiting for me galetia: Vasilică, Fram, Rinti, Stichi, lambs. - Are you pampering galetia from home too? - Yes, I am. If somebody will look at me one day he would say that I am crazy. I am always talking and they understanding me. I am talking to them in huţulă, is that the way I taught them. Rinti, the dog from PHOTOGRAPHY BY: BIANCA AELENEI ”SIMPLE, BUT PROFOUND”. (PAȘCANI, ROMANIA)


home, is 15 years old and he is my guardian. Sniffing the air, chasing the flies or the bees which they want to bite me. Now he is got rheumatism, but few years ago he used to accompany me to the little cows and he was helping me to bring them in a shelter. He was sneaking, then he was catching them by ratiţi and he was barking to them, like he was arguing because they wandering through grass. Stichi when she is hearing the jingle of the trolley where is the can with milk is coming to welcome and is wallowing, I’m telling her Coceise and she is tumbling again, until her white fur becomes dirty. She is very hard working. She always is hunting and she brings me her capture to praise: birds, mice, everything. One time I have a gander, Şiurec, he was so much attached that he was entering in the house after me. In the spring time when I was going to break the trash and the geese where laying on the eggs, Şiurec was climbing with me on the top of the orchard, like a dog and then she was remembering of his geese and he was running to see what are they doing. After he was sitting with his geese and he was seeing that they are alright, he was climbing again to me. When he was bitten by a shepherd dog by head, I cried few weeks after that for him. I can notice in auntie Victoria story a disturbing truth: Has an anonymous housewife a same conclusion like the famous savant Konrad Lorenz noticing the same behavior of the geese? But, unknown are yours ways, God! I’m again in an extremely situation, I would like ask her: What is happening with the animal when they become too old? Thinking of Rinti, suffering of rheumatism, he won’t be able to walk, I will ask: - Auntie Victoria, What are you doing with the ill and old animals? - It’s a tough question, which I would not like to ask me, but with the God’s help I could manage this problem too. I never sold a cow. I could not! I’m thinking that cow served me so many years and now; when she is old I’m taking her to the death. Once, my husband John sold a cow and I passed by the vet house, just like that, occasionally. The negress felt me nearby, she kneel down and started to moo. My heart felt apart, I felt



like a traitor. I see that animals understand everything and maybe she was waiting for me to help her. - How do you spend the days when in the Orthodox Christian calendar shows Feast holidays? - I’m going to the church on Sundays. I like very much to listen the Evangelical words and to sing. I’m not singing in the choir but I’m singing by myself. God is listening to me. I never had a holiday, I never went to the seaside, I traveled a bit, but I’m happy with my life. I’m happy with everything God gave it to me, kids, grandchildren, the days light. I have a succesor, my younger daughter, I’m praying to God to be well. I’m not making differences between children, but she is younger and I hope God will look after her. I’m interested about this theological vision of this woman and I dare to ask about her relationship with God. - What do you think about God? - I know that Bez Boha ni do poroha. I’m not praying a lot, but I’m praying in my thoughts, when I’m starting working in the garden, in the house, anywhere. I’m saying a short prayer: Boje, borone nas I pomelui usi hrisnichi. I’m getting upset sometimes that when I’m preparing to pray the temptation appears: someone is coming for haircut, or I remember that I left bucket somewhere and so on. My mother was always saying a prayer when she was taking the cows to the grassing. In the springtime I’m telling it too.: “Hospode sohrone usu liut cu marjenu, tai nasu. Oborone boje vad hromu tai blescu usu zviri vid lisu, vouc, medvichi, res.” I’m not a real Christian, I’m a sinner, but at least when I’m praying I can cry for my sins and to be closer to God. From what I understand, I believe in everything says in the Bible about Jesus, I love Jesus and I never lose my hope. I’m crying for how much Jesus suffered for all of us. We are so sensitive for any word, any trifle, but Jesus... I’m crying because I’m not able to do everything what Jesus Christ has left for us. I believe in what my mother said „When you are feeling good don’t enjoy too much and if you are feeling bad do not be too sad”. Once John - my husband aged 35 years old had an accident. God whispered to me and relieved me, it’s like he told me “Be calm, I’m with you!”



While we are talking, name of God is working when she’s milking the cow and when is chopping the wild mushrooms in the kitchen, near God’s Mother sanctuary where she is praying for her children. This woman thanks to her honesty she rediscovered the Jesus Christ theology after Siluan Atonitul and his disciple Sofronie Saharov. The Tsar tree from the Victoria’s garden. Auntie Victoria is showing me the „Grandmother” park, special ordinance for her grandchildren which are coming in Hutulisca, where „there is a park everywhere.” Spending my childhood in Moldovița - Sulita, somewhere in the heart of Huţuli, looking after cows, I was picking wild mushrooms, blueberry and cranberry. I was a little girl and people close to me they called me ditena. I was so young, the trees were enormous and I was feeling the same fear like Cossete. I was looking very surprised at the trees, and when I was coming to my grandpa Stefan I was noticing the elms. I was living an unexplained attraction for the red calina, a tree less imposing than others and more close to me After the old people saying, the Russian Tsar, in the despair moments and insurmountable situations he was squeezing in the garden finding a right place for praying, near the red calina. Like the Russian pilgrim, was saying an old prayer in the Slavonic language: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner (Hospode Iisuse Hreasti, sen Bojeiblahoslove nas hrisnich). In the „Grandmother Victoria’s Garden” I see again calina and I’m asking myself: Is she praying under the same God blessed tree? The huțuli children at Easter time The Arheus woman has gone through some strange facts, but Ana, the closest sister of her, keeps alive in her affective memory the story with the kids’ Easter. Amazed by the character of this woman with the metallic voice like iron, which besides of the premonitics dreams she is fighting with the cunning, I’m listening the story about her sister Victoria (Vicuta). 40 years ago, Olga and her husband not long after Easter, they were not been at home, and the children were left unattended... When the cat is not at home, the mice are playing on the table. Crushed of parental love - the slapping is taken from heaven I pray, the little stick, the little kids under the Vica’s charge the head of naughtiest, a


clever child, restless, they started to play and copy the grownups Easter. What a childish! Red eggs, horseradish, like Valahian style horseradish and beetroot salad. Vica, with her talent to copy and thanks to her age, maybe because of archaic memories, instead of horseradish she took out from the ground a very rich harvest of roots. She called about all her brothers: ’I, Vica I declare you my apostles and we celebrate the young huţuli’s Easter. We boil the eggs and beetroot and I will grate these roots which I am sure there are horseradish roots. Look how thick they are.’ In those places of Ulmilor, the people, living in a endless magic cultivate Atropa Beladona and used it as a medicine or as a magical plant. The imitations children had some doubts about that herb, but being immature and without discernment, they enter without their will in the unseen game of the other. After I become familiar with Mircea Eliade’s lectures, I started to understand that there was about a Dacians ritual bound to „the cherry of the wolf”. The elders were telling that when the wolves attacked with ferocity, before to attack the prey, inclusive the people, were standing with their feet hinder and on the tail, eating those black grains, grains planted like a bumble. Some peasants resembled this wolfish conclave with the Order of the Peasants, a juridic reality of ancestral people. The magical-hypnotically effect of this Queen of the Herbs „transformed the world of Vicuta in an invasion of big gujulii which was tickling her and tried to harm her. The little apostles, after the ending of the culinary Easter were looking

now to an inedited spectacle. The vigorous leader Vicuta was fighting with gujulii, the only weapon used by her was a battered broom. In desperate battle cry: „Look at the bugs, all the bugs must be killed”. Vicuta hit the floor permanently and she shacked her hands like when she was picking the white hotter roots. The apostolic devotement was deserved, but where are the gujulii which were harming so bad the patriarch of little huțulii? In innocence and helplessness to understand this mystery, the brothers called their aunt, a neighbor of them, in order to save this Don Quihotita, tired to battle the abject insects. At the door, Vicuta saw a big bean instead of aunt Vasilena and she tried to figure out why the destiny is against her, bringing this time another more powerful enemy to fight. In those times and in those places the access at the traditional medicine was limited, only by alternative medicine defined by unstopped prayers to God formulated by mother Olga saved the tricksy Vicuta. The father, a Hasidim from Ulam which knew the secrets of the forests, mountain ridges and huţuli, managed to remove the clay from memory and, from parental responsibility, convinced by the magical effect and immortality of the story, he solved the mystery. In a village now Ukrainian, but in those times still ours, named Seletin was living a beautiful and rich girl, but full of arrogance. The proud of the maid which was to defend her honor with any price provoked in week conscience of the horny young men to elaborate an Machiavellic - diabolical plan. In the world of the huţani, the vegetal, after being a cure and a medicine, can become a way to the unseen magic. Preserved in the collective memory of a hundred years, the ritual of mandragora gathered the village boys, refused by the relentless maid in the woods. All naked and simulating the sexual act, the Machiavellic harvested the black fruits for a potion. At the Sunday dance, there where young spirits are dancing, where all things can happen and the happiest maids are drinking something with grades. The treacherous young men poured the potion in glass of the girl enough for the village see comic - dramatically spectacle. The virgin maid, the vestal of Pitia, in madness access unveiled her breasts in everybody eyes, and the men who felted before repulsion became her targets. The effect of the spell didn’t last long, but the reputation of the innocent girl remained stained for always.





Lost in some mountain villages from northern Bukovina, huţulii - named by Mihai Eminescu “the free Slavic Dacians - don’t have ledgers and charters in order to know their origin place or who are their ancestors. The oral legends and stariche (the elders) are the only source of authority. In every huţul house you can find people with red cheeks, who will put on the table „buieniţa” (smoked ham), solonenca (bacon), branza (cheese) and I tell you, if you will win their trust, they will tell you a story about the seen world or unseen world.



Proverbs can be found in every part of the world, in each culture, in each language. They reflect values, beliefs and acquired knowledge that is sometimes used to push us in the right direction as helpful advice, as an ironic statement defining a variety of situations and most of the time a sentence that is supposed to contain an ultimate truth. In this article I would like to talk about ten Armenian proverbs that are still popular today and could be indications about traditional Caucasian guidelines. 1.) Չկա

չարիգ առանց բարիգ:

Transliteration: Chka charig arants barig. Translation: There is no bad without good. This saying is usually said to someone that recently suffered from a streak of very bad luck. Armenians believe in the balanced existence of good and evil and try to see something positive in every encountered crisis. While this saying is probably present in most of languages around the world, this proverb should not be looked at without the frame surrounding Armenian minds: The genocide of 1915 is not even a hundred years old and after several other unfortunate occurrences it is very hard to believe that these people still believe in positivity. But this fact explains why Armenians are admirably hardworking and rarely let a disaster get in their way of development even though some parts of Armenia still seem to be stuck in the last century along with a few very outdated values. 2.) Սուրճ

առանց կոնֆետ ոչ մի բան է:

Transliteration: Surch arants konfet voch mi ban eh. Translation: Coffee without sweets is nothing. Coffee is a very integral part of the Armenian culture. After inquiring about your name, age and marital status locals will probably ask you if you want to drink coffee at their house. Offering an espresso sized cup of strong, black coffee (with or without sugar) is more an offer of conversation, friendship and all the pre-dinner desserts that will follow, if you decide to take someone up on it. It is actually considered quite rude to not accept something as good as the local coffee, so ask for tea if you like herbal hot beverages better. But as the proverb states drinking coffee requires more eating than in other cultures. Chocolates,




cookies and fruits of the season will be pushed onto your saucer if you do not convince them that you can eat enough all by yourself. Armenians are quite shy themselves, so they will ask you a few more times even after you have said “no” just to make sure you are satisfied. In the Caucasus coffee is undoubtedly a symbol of hospitality. 3.) Ընկերովի

մահը հարսանիգ է:

Transliteration: Enkerovi mahe harsanig eh. Translation: To die with friends is a wedding. If you have friends even the act of dying can become something pleasant. But more importantly than their help of making transcending into the afterlife more worthwhile, this saying tries to make us understand that everything is possible if you are not alone. Another interesting aspect of interpretation is the use of the word “wedding” which is apparently the ultimate form of celebration. 4.) Գեղ

կանգնի գերան կկոտրի:

Transliteration: Gegh kangni geran kkotri. Translation: If the village stands up, the rank will break. Another proverb about teamwork and making things happen together rather than alone. Armenians are very keen on sharing responsibility and doing


everything together instead of using a more western approach to labour division. Especially people who come to the Caucasus will notice that trying to do all your assigned tasks by yourself is already a demonstration of leadership that is very welcomed, because Armenians feel very uncomfortable doing so as a single person: If something goes wrong, the feeling of guilt will be distributed evenly. So maybe a single person can break the rank but the village will break the rank together. 5.) Գնա

մեռի, արի սիրեմ:

Transliteration: Gna merri, ari sirem. Translation: Go die and I will love you. This is probably one of the fancier techniques of rejection and it shows some of the more sarcastic humor that sometimes sneaks into a heated conversation. The meaning behind it is that “I would like you more if you were dead”. A very short statement that could either be the plea to be left alone, a joke one would laugh at or a marriage refusal: It depends on the situation entirely.

մեռի, արի սիրեմ:

Transliteration: Argelvats ptughe kaghtsr eh. Translation: Forbidden fruit is sweet. What may be a hint to the story of Adam and Eve is actually a very common proverb and something that does not seem like an unfamiliar saying. It is present in many other languages and plays on the ancient human desire to try out the forbidden. These words of folk wisdom do not encourage this act, but acknowledge them as a natural thought process in our society. 7.) Լավություն

արա, ծովը գցիր:

Transliteration: Lavutsjun ara, tsove gtsir. Translation: Do good things, throw it into the sea. You should only do good deeds for the very sake of them and not expect anything in return. Just like something you cast away into the sea, the energy you invest into helping others is something to may not come back to you. Armenians feel the urge to help out when they see someone in distress and will not leave you alone until they are sure that you will be okay on your own. Likewise every conversation starts with “How are you?” and once someone is close to you they expect you to tell them whenever you feel down, because they want to give you advice and see you smile again due to the fact that they appreciate being helpful.



6.) Գնա



8.) Մորը

տես, աղջկան առ:

Transliteration: More tes, aghjkan arr. Translation: See the mother, marry the daughter. The English counterpart for this proverb would be “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. If the mother is a good woman you should marry her daughter, because she is the one who was brought up by her. Being wed to a beautiful and proper girl is one of the life goals that the Armenian culture expects the male community to reach. Correspondingly young women are comparatively dressed fancier and are expected to be pretty and glamorous everywhere they go and whatever they do. High heels, bright colors and long, curly hair will catch male attention and allow a girl to become a wife like they ought to be. Because of this older, unmarried women that chose their career over getting married are viewed as weird. 9.) Ճտերն աշնանն

են հաշվում:

Transliteration: Chtern ashnann en hashvum. Translation: Chicken are counted in the autumn. Do not count your profits on your first day of work. You never know what may come in between you and your success, so you better expect the unexpected and “do not praise the day before sunset”. What is interesting about the Armenian equivalent is the conjunction with the sector of agriculture which has been of the utmost importance in Armenia and still offers the most job opportunities due to the very suitable landscape and family farms being passed down from older generations. 10.) Զու

գողացողը ցի էլ կգողանա:

Transliteration: Dzu goghatsoghe dzi el kgoghana. Translation: The one who steals an egg will also steal a horse. Someone is a criminal, no matter how small the crime might have been. And once you have crossed the line to illegal or unjust acts you will do unrighteous things for the rest of your life. This proverb is used as a guideline and explains that you should not trust someone who once did something regretful. It paints the portrait of zebra thinking that is still very present in the Armenian culture: Someone is either “bad” or “good” meaning that the grey areas of debatable morals are put aside in favor of rules that are easy to understand and do not need to be questioned. Sadly this results in prejudices against foreigners and the fear of modern culture, because it would mean having to reassess the existing values.



Words of folk wisdom in Greece WRITTEN BY: ELECTRA BRASKA (ATHENS, GREECE)

Words of folk wisdom or proverbs are called „paroimies” in Greek. The word itself is ancient Greek with an interesting story behind its etymology. In Ancient Greece Hermes was the God protector of travelers. Busts of Hermes were located along most major routes and crossroads and on the base of these busts, words of folk wisdom were carved. Their purpose was to offer to the travelers’ food for thought, something to occupy their minds during long journeys. So this is how the word „paroimies” came about since its composed of the word „para” which means close and the word „oimos” which in ancient Greek means route. Proverbs are usually condensed phrases easy to remember that resonate an important truth. A lot of the times we have to do with metaphors since the words and the images used are symbolic for a different meaning. They are used to express truths that would probably be censored if expressed publicly since they usually touch very sensitive issues of the private or public life. Words of folk wisdom played an important role in societies as they were usually perceived as universal truths and they were a way of passing on wisdom from one generation to another. Studying words of folk wisdom of a certain region can reveal us a lot of intricate details about the society that created them. It mirrors the world view of the people that lived there, their traditions, the relationships between men and women, the rapports between the young and the elders, their sense of humor. It is amazing to see that a lot of the proverbs have travelled to us through time and are used still today. We can’t help but notice that a lot of them revolve around the major issues that trouble our society still today. Popular sayings once used to offer guidance are still valuable to us. In an age where there is a profusion of information and in which it is easy to feel lost, words of popular wisdom can serve as food for thought in our journey to discover what’s essential and what’s not.



Here are some examples from Greek proverbs and their meaning. Άγιος που δεν θαυματουργεί,μηδέ δοξολογιέται. The saint who works no miracles isn’t glorified. (In order to win recognition a title is not enough, you should also produce work) Αν δεν παινέψεις το σπίτι σου θα πέσει να σε πλακώσει. If you do not praise your own home, it will fall on you and squash you. (You should never speak badly in public about your family) Αν μπείς στο χορό θα χορέψεις. If you join the dance-circle, you must dance. (Once you commit to a project you have to do whatever it takes) Από ρόδο βγαίνει αγκάθι και από αγκάθι βγαίνει ρόδο. From a thorn a rose emerges and from a rose a thorn. (You can never guess what the offspring will look like by his parents) Απ’ έξω κούκλα κι από μέσα πανούκλα. Outside a doll, inside the plague. (Used to describe a beautiful woman with bad character) Γριά αλεπού στην παγίδα δεν πιάνεται. You can’t get an old fox in a fox-trap. (With age comes experience) Έβαλαν το λύκο να φυλάει τα πρόβατα. They put the wolf to guard the sheep. (On putting the wrong person in charge) Όποιος είναι έξω απ΄το χορό πολλά τραγούδια λέει. Whoever is outside the dance-circle, can sing a lot of songs. (When you are not doing yourself it is easy to criticize) Η γλώσσα κόκκαλα δεν έχει και κόκκαλα τσακίζει. The tongue has no bones but bones it crushes. (On the power of words) Καλύτερα να σου βγει το μάτι, παρά το όνομα. Better to lose an eye than your name. (On how important it is to have a good reputation)


Μια του κλέφτη, δυο του κλέφτη, τρεις και η κακή του μέρα. Once for the thief, twice for the thief, three and it’s his bad day. (If you commit a crime you will eventually get caught) Μην φυτρώνεις εκεί που δεν σε σπέρνουν. Don’t sprout where you haven’t been planted. (Do not interfere with the affairs of others if you are not asked) Νηστικό αρκούδι δε χορεύει. A hungry bear does not dance. (If you don’t eat or metaphorically get paid you can’t work) Όποιος δεν έχει μυαλό έχει πόδια. He who has no brains has legs. (Usually said when someone forgets something and has to run back to get it) Ο ψεύτης και ο κλέφτης τον πρώτο χρόνο χαίρονται. Liars and thieves rejoice in the first year only. (They eventually get caught) Παπούτσι από τον τόπο σου κι ας είναι μπαλωμένο. Shoe from your place, even if it is patched. (Better to marry a woman from your town even if she’s not that great) Όπου ακούς πολλά κεράσια, κράτα και μικρό καλάθι. When you hear of many cherries, hold a small basket. (Be suspicious when you hear of a very good thing as people tend to exaggerate) Στου κουφού την πόρτα όσο θέλεις βρόντα. At the deaf man’s door, knock as much as you like. (If someone doesn’t want to take guidance or advice it is useless to insist)



H φτήνια τρώει τον παρά. Cheapness eats the money. (When things are cheap people tend to buy more than they need Κόρακας κοράκου μάτι δεν βγάζει. The crow does not take the eye out of another crow. (People who belong to a group with same interests don’t hurt each other)


Φασούλι το φασούλι γεμίζει το σακούλι. Bean by bean, the sack gets full. (On the merits of saving money) Ο έρωτας και ο βήχας δεν κρύβονται. Love and cough cannot be hidden. (When you are in love it’s obvious even if you try to hide it) Η αρχή είναι το ήμισυ του παντός. The beginning is half of every action. (On the importance of taking the first step) Sociological and anthropological approaches to the education of marginal and impoverished groups …Gypsy and Traveller parental definition of being educated are limited just being able to read and to write. (Myers et al., 2010) PHOTOGRAPHY BY: JOSIPA UZELAC “FIND YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE AND DO YOUR BEST TO KEEP IT ALIVE”



You can find in Romanian dictionaries with “words of folk wisdom” and this is wonderful. You can start from a word, let’s say “happiness” to a meaning “how to work” or what is meaning of working. For this reason I had a hard job to stop and to present only a few of these old sayings.



Romanian Thoughts


1. The cherries are passing, but the cheek remains. (Cireșele trec, dar obrazul rămâne) It is a better way to say that sometimes good behavior or a good education is important. What you have on your face, on your cheek reveals your beliefs of being a human with other humans. The cheek is the symbol of our attitudes, believes, and cherries are the symbol of the unpredictability of human behavior and changes that occur. The thickness of the cheek is measurable in Romania, like in any other country. 2. Better less vegetable and lot of love. (Mai bine legumă puțină și dragoste multă) I am not sure if it is about how to feed or how to love. But I think there can’t be one without the other. Or eat healthy to love well. 3. The eyes see, the heart is requesting. (Ochii văd, inima cere) This old saying is very use by men, when they see beautiful women. And they are right to say so or to do it? Because sometimes appear divorces or breakups. I do not know what is better, to close your eyes, or your heart, or to say to your mind to think before. But one thing is certain; it is possible to have an equality in the future using this old saying, for women and men. 4. It was born in the sign of happiness. (S-a născut în zodia veseliei) This is one of my favorite, because sometimes I live in this sign. Do you remember the movie „Patch Adams”, when a crazy guy believes laughing can save your life occasionally? It is true. But is not all about laughing. I know some lines of a poem saying these: I will take my life like a joke, every time with one octave above – mas o menos (Voi lua viața mai în râs/ Cu o octavă mai sus). You can answer to the Russian question (is the idea of a Romanian philosopher) „what is happiness?” or you can do it every day. Depends on the purpose.



6. Either you lose or win, you are still a merchant man. (De câștigi, de păgubești, tot negustor te numești) Merchandise is sometimes an ally of fortune, when you do it for real. But if you work with public budgets the situation is different. Think about it! Unpredictability is the key word to do business, but if is based on work, luck and trust in yourself worth the risk. 7. The death is looking for him at home and he is walking through the neighborhoods. (Îl caută moartea pe acasă și el umblă prin vecini) I know this explanation is use for old people. The bad ones, like mother-in-law for some. 8. Make shadow of the ground with no purpose. (A face umbră pământului degeaba) This is the perfect definition for laziness and stupidity. What else can I say? If there was a place in the air for this kind of people who knows what could happened. The air could be black or gray. Maybe this is the reason for the color or our ground.



5. Cunning man is wearing 2 faces: either he’s wearing sheep’s skin or the fox’s leader. (Omul viclean se îmbracă când în piele de oaie, când în piele de vulpe) Be aware of this kind of people. Are the most contemptuous beings in this world! We can take a model for it: politicians. Ok, I have to say they have also a costume for gala (the one of wolfs). Forgive them because are human and „don’t know what they are doing”, but do not follow them or try to be friends with them. Never!


“Romanian Traditional Costume” Testimonies and Witnesses About the Genensis of the Romanian Costume WRITTEN BY: ALIN-CONSTANTIN COSTIN TRANSLATION BY: ANAMARIA AVADANEI

The true “identity card” of the residents from different geographical areas of Romania, the traditional costume has appeared within a long process of creation. Countless archaeological, historical, linguistic and ethnographic documents provide continuity throughout the ages, shape the Romanian culture and civilization and reveal their ancestors in the Carpathian-Danubian-Pontic space. The earliest evidences of the clothes date from the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age. The geometric designs found on the body of clay idols - Venus from Craiova and the figurines discovered at Cârna necropolis, in Oltenia have been interpreted by well-known experts such as Al. Tzigara-Samurcaş and Vladimir Dumitrescu as possible trims on the garments of those times. The same can be said about the recently discovered figurines belonging Gârla Mare culture (1600 - 1150 BC), Mehedinți County, Oltenia.

Other iconographic testimonies about the Dacians ancestors clothes date from the ancient Roman period and can be found on two famous monuments: Tropauem Trajani (108-109 AD) from the Adamclisi Monument, Dobrogea, Romania and Trajan’s Column (113 s.Ch.) in Rome, Italy. Each of them, as the Romanian archaeologist, Alexander Odobescu, stated, preserve the image of male and female costumes carved in stone, which presents striking similarities with contemporary clothes of peasants from the mountains. Dacian knee-length shirts, worn over tight pants, with small horizontal pleats (called iţari), strap, additional sofas thick sleeveless clothes (called suman), hooded hood folded over hip, sandals linked with belts and pointy hats are pieces of clothing that have kept almost unchanged the morphological structure (tailoring), until the middle of the twentieth – century, in various mountain areas of the country. The costume worn by Dacian women represented on the LIII and LIV metopes of Adamclisi monument is common for the summer outfit.



The shirt has around the neck all the pieces of cloth that forms the front, the back and the sleeves, its specific tailoring represents both Dacians and Illyrians. From the waist down, the woman’s body is covered with a fabric which tightly wraps it, called fota, represented even nowadays in Moldavian and Wallachian clothes, and the assembly process of the cloth sheets which forms the shirt (called brezărăul) is identical to that used until the end of the nineteenth century, in the Northern Moldovian region. Dacian clothes, both for male and female, are very well designed. Men’s costume consisted of a pointy hat, shirt with a cleft from the thigh down, tight or wrinkled iţari with transverse or oblique folds, trousers, buckle rectangular or slightly rounded belt, hood, a kind of relatively tight suman, and shoes called opinci. In addition to these pieces that are part of Romanian clothing style - except the slotted liner shirt which lasted only until the beginning of our century -, Dacians wore a cape, like a short and wrinkled garment with sleeves, similar to a padded coat, which was not preserved anymore in Romanian clothing. It should be noted that the sandals called opinci (see Fig 2) can be found at Dacians in two forms: “Adamklissi” (nowadays is the model from the country of Loviște) and the socalled tongue sandals, represented on the Histria star. Regarding the female clothes, the evidences show two models. The first one consist of little pieces of summer outfit: shirt and Fota. It is a neck wrinkled shirt (see Fig 1.), using a string that passes through the chest, back and the sleeves. The shirt has no collar. The second piece is fota, a piece of woven, lengthwise wrapped around the body. The same shirt can be found today in the Northen Moldavia and the fota is common for Moldavia and Muntenia. The second clothing model for Dacian female can be seen on the reliefs of Trajan’s column and it is characterized by long hair, covered with a veil and the shirt is replaced by a garment with a wide draped on a petticoat. The extraordinary similarity between the Dacian clothing, the Illyrian and the Romanian ones, that goes to the exact duplication, proves that the genesis of the Romanian clothing is Thracian-Illyrian. In the feudal period, Romanian traditional clothing kept the same shapes, which are found until recent years.


The desire to express their personality, the artistic taste and the sensibility through clothing has generated a strong dialectic between “what should be” and “what you want” to wear within the Romanian villages. Constrained by the economic status and the limited opportunities for access to qualitative raw materials, the peasants proved to be very conservative in terms of clothing, fulfilling through tradition and customs authority, the obligation “to wear your cloths and to talk your language. “ Characterized by a remarkable morphological unit - materials, cutting, types of items – the Romanian outfit particularities, both in terms of decorative aspect and color, can be seen in every region of Romania.

The nature of the events was visually transmitted through a subtil cromatic message of the embroideries. The multitude red shades, according to the clothing style for every age, was the simbol of the young girls and wives during weddings and other traditional parties. The dark red (so-called “appeased” red) or the “rotten cherry” type was the expression of the maturity; the black was the sign of the old age and the expression of the pain before death; shirt with black embroidery and headscarf were dressed in funerals and then throughout the mourning, regardless of age.



This diversity which sometimes is manifested within the same territorial unit is the expression of the need to adapt the cloths, not only to the environment and climate, but also to the moral rigors imposed by age and marital status, and to the psychological needs of each generation to impose their own artistic taste and even to answer to the rural fashion needs. Different frameworks or public traditional events- the church, the dances, during Christmas and Easter, during specific holidays such as Nedei and festivals of churches (celebration of the saints) – have imposed particularities for clothing, leading to new motives with symbolic and ceremonial functions. At weddings and funerals, no matter the age and the social status, peasants respected the basic structure of traditional costume, but they made them ​​ of high quality material - wool, cotton and silk - and they used gorgeous embroideries, others than the ones used for daily clothes.



The jewelries had the same role of “ceremonial marks” being able to communicate the meaning of the event in which a person was involved. The crown of the bride, the ornament of the groom, the napkins offered to the godparents, the governor ax, the hats of Calusari or the masks used for New Year traditions, comnpleted the ceremonial costume, providing an original identity, in line with the specific occurrence. In conclusion, we can say that the sobriety of cuttings and the simplicity of linen, hemp or wool, is completed by the richness of embroideries and their colours, giving each constume a longlasting value. “For every nation in the world, the traditions and customs have the holy spirit. Through them, the parents live and keep the memory of their predecessors alive, show their ideas and beliefs, their wealth in order to carry on working, living and revealing the beauty of their world”. Case Study: Moldavia In the general context of the Romanian popular costume, the Moldovan port illustrates perhaps the most conclusively, the principle of unity in diversity, keeping unaltered by the passage of centuries an ethno cultural unit of invaluable documentaryhistorical and artistic value both in mountain regions (Dorna Basin, Campulung Radauti, Bistrita Valley, Neamt, Suceava, Fălticeni Trotuş, Oituz, Casin, Middle Siret Valley, Vrancea) and in the plateau areas (Botosani, Dorohoi, Roman, Iasi, Vaslui, Tecuci). The morphological, plastical and decorative structure of the base pieces preserved archaic formulas - brezăratul and altita separate for female tailored shirt of Carpathian type and the male shirt​​ from a single piece of cloth, with sleeves caught on the shoulderscreating specific parts. Of these, the best known for their artistic qualities and aesthetic and functional ingenuity of solutions are the mâniştergurile / linen headgears, made from cotton in seven to nine threads with geometric embroideries in the Northern part of Moldova; female garments made of silk between ankle and knees, worn in Botosani, Iasi and Vaslui; bernevicii with starch from BosanciSuceava; cheptarul with belt and hem from Radauti; the coat with cap / hood in the northern areas; marten fur coats created at VamaCampulung and Radauti and those embroidered with black and



the gray astrakhan, from Pipirig, used throughout Moldova, not only as pieces of clothing, but also as goods sold at fairs by artisans that sometimes worked for the administrative authorities. Hence, according to a note from the orderly room of Alexander Lapusneanu (1552-1561), the prince ordered at Bistrita the creation of 200 grey coats to give as gifts to the New Year. The female costume of each ethnographic region of Moldova is characterized by a great decorative diversity of compositions that adorn the sleeves and chest of shirt, resulting from the combination of a small number of motifs and colors of the garment. The skirt worn over skirts, known in turn, the same spread in all mountain areas, with the variations in the Moldavian Plateau localities the wide skirt (androcul), made of ​​ woolen fabric rich decorated arranged in vertical shapes and a special, rare piece: the peştemanul of Racaciuni - an ornate fota on foot and ends. Men’s popular costume is characterized by the straight, wide and knee-length shirt, made of ​​ linen, hemp or cotton and, particularly in the areas of Iasi and Vaslui, from fine wool fabric. White silk embroideries, with exquisite color accents on the collar only, ennoble these parts. The trousers/Iţarii of wool fabric, curly and raised on legs and the polychrome waistbands, with white beads on the edges, complemented by calf leather black boots, astrakhan hats, bundite and peasant coats give refinement and distinction to the ceremonial male costume. The Romanian female port is generally characterized by a rare decorative glow due to its functional dual role: practical and decorative. The costumes have a typological variety, which is understandable, given that in its evolution, the female costume is more susceptible than men’s to generate variations because of the continuing concern to enrich it with something new, with artistic valences. The type of costume refers to that established form that has the ability to maintain and transmit in stereotyped shapes. This is closely related to its deeply traditional nature. Other characteristic of the Romanian port is related to the hair styling and covering, which differs from one area to another and sometimes from village to village. Specific for the Romanian women, we note



three major categories: the towel in different shapes, sizes, layouts and materials; the cap of different types; and the crowns. Another feminine trapping is the narrow fabric beads with colorful ornaments that adorn their beautiful neck.



Traditional village ornaments and jewelry (waist and hip ornaments, jewelry and handcrafted jewelry, ornaments and leg jewelry) helps us frame in time and space, in addition to the artistic structure, some older aspects in the development of the Romanian popular costume. In conclusion, the folklore of our country, the priceless treasure of the people consists of games (in Moldova we have, inter alia, the just-married game, the hen game, the devil’s game, Marieşul, Măriuţa etc.), songs (outlawry songs: „Alelei luncă frumoasă/te-am ales să-mi fii mireasă, /de când am fugit de-acasă. / Tu cu umbra, / eu cu mândra, / tu cu frunza ta cântând, / eu ciocoii numărând, / numărând şi vămuind, / cu durda la mir ţintind”, “cătănie songs, songs of shepherds, bejenar songs, songs of love and longing, mourning songs, old songs, songs of joy, traditional costumes and popular shouts. In Romania, the traditional dance has mainly an entertaining function, but also has preserved the cultural belief and semnification, often embracing all the important moments of the life cycle. The traditional art, in its classical sense, representing a pantonomic phenomenon of all artistic values ​​ of the traditional culture, is doomed to extinction. However, the creative talent, love for art, the traditional creation with specific ethnic character, deeply rooted in the traditions and cultural realities will eternally remain active. The applied decorative art, the art of the people, the traditional art will never disappear. But the folk art, crafts, decorative arts exist all around the globe. But for many, many generations they will have to manifest in their specific ethnic characters. Through the art of ethnic caracter, the value of life will identify, in its fullness, from the self-knowledge desire and integration into the global society of the ego and individuality, not only biological but also psychological and ethical, with ancestral cultural and artistic accumulation.



Diplo m a cy & C u lt u re


“Everything is going to be just great”. He said, as if I didn’t already know. Everything was already great. I had the wind in my hair. I was taking the biggest chances in my life so far, taking the best steps and at the same time I felt free. Free from all of the troubles that life brings to any normal person, and there we go, that’s the thing, I wasn’t normal, I am not normal, I am me. I was in Georgia home to the likes of musicians such as Katie Melua, poets such as Irakli Abashidze and Soviet leader Jospeh Stalin. It was some training course about gender equality, the beginning of June and summer was already upon us. My alarms rang repeatedly. It didn’t matter how many times I rolled over to press the snooze button they still managed to wake me from a deep hypnotic kind of sleep, although somehow I wasn’t surprised after the previous day’s adventure of some



1252km maybe even more from the west of Georgia to the centre of Armenia and back. Nonetheless, I had to wake up. As I entered into the breakfast room someone approached me telling me that two men had come to speak with me, but that they will come back. I had no idea who it could be, I told almost everyone I would be in Georgia and that if they wished to see me they should come to visit me and so it seems, someone did. I walked through the room wondering who these mysterious guys could be and from the corner of my eye emerged some figures outside, I knew instantly who it was, at least one of the guys anyway (and the second I would come to know), I ran with all I could and hugged him stronger than I had anyone in a long time, it was a beautiful moment to see him again. He had changed, not physically, but I could feel his energy, a strange kind of positive and negative mix. Anyway, introductions were held and that was that, we took off on an adventure. So this is the story of the first meeting with someone who changed my life long after it had already begun to be changed, of how I met the person who really made me notice this ‘Everything is going to be just great, ’ statement. I would tell you the rest of the story, but for now-although the story is one of love and romance and curiosity and adventure and dreams and hopes and wishes- it’s not important to the reason I want to tell you about this beautiful sentence compared to any other wise words that anyone ever said to me. I came to realize after one, maybe two weeks that actually, everyone was telling me everything would be great right from the very beginning of my life and I’m sure too that it wasn’t only me this happened to, I am almost certain that it happened to you too. Take for example your mum or your dad, and your first day of primary school or nursery, the first time in your life when you were really afraid to do something, to be left alone, to dive wholly into the unknown, when fear almost stopped you from playing the game, someone convinced you otherwise, that actually in the end everything was going to be ok and so you did it, you let go of your mums hand and you walked awkwardly into the playground of an unfamiliar surroundings, full of unfamiliar people and then you were just a face in the crowd the same as the guy next to you. Sure, some things maybe didn’t go to plan and they went horribly wrong, but the fact is, you were told it was going to be ok by the people you love and you did it, you believed in someone else words more than your own. Someone else allowed you to believe in yourself, to discard all of your fears in one moment forget that they existed and you achieved something amazing, you made a new friend, or


“Everything is going to be just great”. He said, as if I didn’t already know. Everything was already great. I had the wind in my hair. I was taking the biggest chances in my life so far, taking the best steps and at the same time I felt free.





realized that you like to play in the sandpit, that you like to talk and pretend to be a nurse, remember that feeling? No me either, but I can imagine it. ‘Everything is going to be just great, ’ and yes it was, after a failed first love when your world is turned upside down and you thought nothing can save you, it was. When you left after an exam hoping you could’ve done better, and knew nothing could be done now, it was. In our happiest and in our saddest moments, in life and in death, in questions and in answers, in love, in heartbreak, in hope and in regret, believe me when I say, that ‘Everything is going to be just great’.


Now, every time you feel like the world will end because of a decision you made or something someone said, because you’re afraid, take a mirror look at yourself, tell yourself over and over again until you believe that everything happens for a reason and repeat to yourself out loud that, ‘Everything, is going to be just great.’




I am not a coffee drinker, or one who is addicted to it, but from time to time it is curiosity who makes me to search, to see. I started to be interested in the history of coffee and how is made, where, after I read a book written by one of the well-known man who learn to make coffee from Armenians. He has a store now in Bucharest, is a controversial man who made business with coffee during the communist period in our country. From the same book (“Confesiunile unui cafegiu”, by Gheorghe Florescu) I had the idea for this issue of this number of the journal. There I found out what importance has the „words of folk wisdom” for different communities, families, countries and so on.




In the final there is another important stage of understanding the symbolism of drinking coffee: the objects to prepare the coffee. If in many places are similar, in each place is different how you use it or who uses. In Armenia youth people remember how they always were grinding the coffee for their parents or grandparents. Or they still do this.


Do well and throw it in the street, because you never know when you’ll find. (Armenian proverb) Curiosity for Armenia and the history of coffee was thoroughly when I had the opportunity to visit this country. Together with Mihaela had planned to find the diversity and unique way of drinking, preparing and speaking about coffee. First we entered in a usual coffee shop and we start to ask questions and to watch at the people who buy coffee. We had some ideas about some of the most quality coffee’s that you can drink, and we just want to check if is true. One of the truths was that people believe in drinking coffee. It is a battle between how you drink it and what taste has that coffee. In the same time coffee can create symbolical behaviors, myths, stories around people (usual or celebrities), family or friendship cohesion. Exactly like smoking in a different way than usual smoking.



After, we started to become some legend hunters or hunters of proverbs or old sayings about coffee. We thought that we gonna unlock the mystery of drinking and preparing coffee. In same way we did. We started to drink coffee. When you have coffee you also need a place, a place where history and traditional symbolism can be found together. So we start to search for places, with Armenian friends or by ourselves. In the final there is another important stage of understanding the symbolism of drinking coffee: the objects to prepare the coffee. If in many places are similar, in each place is different how you use it or who uses. In Armenia youth people remember how they always were grinding the coffee for their parents or grandparents. Or they still do this. Coffee is a way to communicate, to believe and to be human. Like dancing, singing, smoking. We just experience another way to be human – through coffee.



Pro file Hu n te rs

Formal, non-formal and “Words of folk wisdom” Interview with Angela Cășăriu, Romanian Teacher WRITTEN BY: BIANCA AELENEI (PAȘCANI, ROMANIA) TRANSLATION: AMARANDEI ALEXANDRA/ANTONIA

Mrs. Angela Cășăriu was my history teacher in highschool and she is the kind of teacher who can never upset you even when she gives you a bad grade. She uses to combine formal and non-formal education very well and doing so, she forms strong relationships with her students. I’ve always wondered how she does it, because in general a teacher can be either formal, either non-formal. If we are getting prepared for an exam, a non-formal teacher is not the one that we need. But if a teacher is just formal and doesn`t have any non-formal characteristics it will be very hard for him to capture our attention. That is why a teacher should mix these two types of education, because his mission is to educate the young generations and make them become ready for an unpredictable future. I




think Mrs. Angela Cășăriu is an example for all the teachers because she`s not only a formal teacher, but also a very non-formal one. During time she organized and won a lot of projects and this way she offered her students a lot of opportunities for their personal and professional development.” What is your opinion about the Romanian formal education? The Romanian education is an area in which many performances occur, but there are many aspects that should be changed, such as, for example, the relationship between the theoretical knowledge and the pragmatic relevance of the information. The programs and the school textbooks that are being used today respond only partially to the motivations, skills and differentiated capabilities of the students. At a general level, the school knowledge applications are not prospected in the everyday life, the students are not taught to work on projects or to solve problems of personal or regular nature, not to mention to relate to specific aspects of the adults life. In a dynamic society, school must adapt to the specific needs and motivations of students and also it must promote the knowledge application in situations as varied as life. Perhaps, now more than ever we, the adults, the implicated actors in the learning process, should comprehend that we should not educate our children for the present world. This world will no longer exist when they grow up... we must learn them to adapt!


What are your thoughts about the non-formal education and its importance? Today, the school cannot ignore all the experiences gathered within such activities. Just like the formal education, the non-formal education is aiming to create such behaviors that will promote lifelong learning, transferring knowledge is various situations, developing the critical thinking and multiplying the positive experiences. Non-formal education is any organized action taking place outside the school system, through which a bridge is forming between the knowledge taught by teachers and their implementation. These non-formal activities are attractive due to their various forms which promote teamwork and require a closer relationship between the educator and the educated. This modern type of training eliminates the stress for the grades of the imposed subjects (Biology, Physics, Mathematics, etc.) and the compulsory subjects. It is the pleasure of knowing and developing yourself... Do you believe these two (types of education) can be harmoniously combined in a student’s life(style)? A combination can be made, of course, and it is recommended that students engage themselves in various activities, during school classes or outside of school, but unfortunately there are very few students that know what they want, they do not learn enough or they just engage in the learning process in a less proper way. Today young people should focus more on their own learning. The adolescent is a time when one should learn, train himself for life and for the future role as a professional and, above all in a constantly changing society students should be able to identify their own potential and to capitalize on their cooperation, accountability and organizational skills. Is is the only way they will succeed in life and successfully face the challenges.



As a teacher, how do you manage to combine these two ways of education? I have always liked challenges and... the deadline. I am an active person and I like to think that I have successfully transferred the interest for projects to my students. The involvement in projects determines students to mobilize themselves, to seek motivation and inspiration for personal development, especially when these activities focus on their own interests, inclinations, concerns and preferences. Tell us a few things about the projects you have coordinated so far. There were projects and activities concerning different areas: ecology, initial training, involvement in the local community issues, history or coordination of some school magazines. One of first successful projects was the participation to the European contest called EUSTORY, an extraordinary experience. My students received the award in 2008 and 2010 for the completed history projects and after that we held an interview for the selection to the EUSTORY Academies an event organized by the Kroeber Foundation in Berlin. Another interesting project was the one that took place within the EUROSCOALA contest,�Bridges between generations� where my students have been Members of the European Parliament for one day. The Euroscoala project involved, in a first phase the implementation of some activities through which the bond between the young and the old should be strengthened. How did they seem to relate one to each other, the young and the old people? The launched theme was a challenge for us, for we have realized that the links between the young and the old are not very close


and the teenagers are not familiar with a lot of things about the old ones. There is an old Romanian saying that says ,”he who does not have elders should buy them”. This is precisely because older people through the experience they gathered over the years are a treasure of wisdom which they are ready to share it with others, a legacy which the young people must pass it over the next generations. We live in a time when the aging of the population is a reality and thus, each person, regardless of age, should be a resource for the community and valuing the potential of each member, the interaction, the dialogue and the communication bridges between generations are quite needed if we are to build a strong society. The valuable formative experiences of elders is a priceless ,,dowry chest” for today’s youth and the student’s involvement from ,,Mihail Sadoveanu” College in such a project resulted, I believe, in supporting the youth in their effort of finding a place in a world where the core values are as important as ever, despite the changes. Do you think that the old people’s advice and the words of the people are still valid today? How can these two elements influence the lives of the young people? The experience of the old ones should be harnessed as much as possible, but unfortunately, the young generation is often expressing reluctance. Such an interaction would lead to the creation of a sense of continuity within the community for we sometimes can find in the old man sitting in front of us a life model and even a mentor. What is the proverb or the saying that your grandparents told you and it has remained in your mind and soul from childhood until now and why? My grandmother used to tell me the Legend of the Virgin Mary, a story written in lyrics, which impressed me every time for she knew it inside out and she used to tell it with great passion and soul. It is in the same manner that she used to tell me about her childhood, her youth, about the war and the Russian troupes that came after 1945. My grandmother never spoke Russian but she was familiar with the famous Katiusha song. It was only later that I came to understand that the Russians forced the people to learn this song giving the fact that they were being removed from work...


What do you think about the idea according to which in order to build our future we need to acknowledge our past? The future has always raised many questions, but the past has almost always designed the present and the future. That means that we are living in the past, in that knowledge gained and preserved as memory and which the future generations need to protect. For each and everyone of us, the present should be a reflex from the past, for a more secure future. What advice would you give to the young Europeans regarding the values that they should keep? The society must constantly generate to the individuals a sense of community belonging in order for them to resist the challenges, and that is why it benefits us all to never forget our roots and origins.



The passion for history came from my grandparents; their stories generated a special interest for this science... I have brought many of these aspects into the projects I have promoted with my students. For instance, in 2010, we have created a project about the world of work from the soviet GULAG, ,,The free ones go into exile�, where I told the story of my grandfather, a political prisoner, who spent ten years in Siberia.



“I applied self-discipline; I got that courage which usually the feeling of a successful ending, the last word in your book gives you”

The two Mântulese are looking each other in the mirror, while the collector of the story adds one bookmark to each element of the space, to every historical information that is coming in her confession. She carefully studies the pieces of the letters puzzle, she attaches both to the documents found in the Parisian libraries archives, and especially to the residents of Mântuleasa Street. Passionate about interpretation, patience and curiosity, she solves the geographical codes of Eliade’s short prose, in particular and the Romanian literature, in general. She starts, in fact, with the distinction between space and place in order to highlight a new vision of the literary text (not explored yet in the Romanian space), a vision that leads “literature to geography and geography to literature, “ as Collot well said. And this is not all. Because Andreea Răsuceanu arrives with a tram in the old Bucharest, the journey continues with the same “psychopomp vehicle” because, this time, the tram rides through the mind of the reader... In this initiation journey, from memory to idea and word, the writer nostalgically highlights the colors of the vegetal symbols within the Mântuleasa Church; she pictures through words, the lights of the chestnuts leaves, she records in her pages people, facts, historical events of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. The main geographical coordinates of her work have been, for sure, Mântuleasa Street and the Bucharest from the period of Mircea Eliade.



Ştefania Argeanu: „Literature: a code that you should decrypt” is the definition given by Roland Barthes (a French specialist in semiology, also trained on encyclopedia, essayist, critic, philosopher and theorist of literature) in the book entitled Mythologies. How is the reality of the literature for Andreea Răsuceanu? What are its forms? Andreeea Răsuceanu: My passion for literature comes from an early interest for everything that is hidden, mysterious and difficult to bring to the surface, beyond its shell. Therefore, the book and their connection with the reality have always been present in my life. Gradually, the interpretation code, the decoding methods have changed, but the passion for interpretation remained. In addition, I slowly realized that, in fact, every day of our live we write our own story, so life itself is literature. I believe that, for me, literature is the only bearable reality. Ştefania Argeanu: In the article “S.O.S. Mântuleasa Street”, which you have published five years ago in the Issue no. 486 of the Cultural Observatory, you stated the followings:


“We started doing over and over the same imagination exercise: as will be shown that incredible light that bathes the classrooms from Mântuleasa school, all day long, but especially when the light of the day turns pale and the reflection on the chestnuts leaves guarding the street, where the school of Mircea Eliade has been until few years ago”. Let’s assume that the same imagination exercise recalls you. How do you now believe that the incredible light looks like in the classrooms of Mântuleasa School? Andrea Râsuceanu: The light has survived, of course, in that area is that low unmistakable light of the sunsets in Bucharest whereof many writers have spoken, with a mixture of melancholy, nostalgia, a sort of tear without an obvious reason when you really feel that anytime you can slip into another time and remain trapped there. It’s also the most vivid memory that I have about Bucharest. When I am away from the city, the first sign that I miss it is the feeling that nowhere in the world the sunset is so heart-breaking, hard to bear and in the same time so attractive and seductive, like in Bucharest. Here, the light is special, only literature can speak about it, as a part of its reality. Ş.A.: On the other hand, the nostalgic aura you evoke determines me to find a correspondent, a similarity with the response that Mircea Eliade has given, at some point, in the book Ordeal by Labyrinth, to the journalist Claude-Henri Rocquet, when it was asked “what images come to your mind from distant childhood?” And the answer brings into the light the memory of a summer afternoon, where he has entered in the room banned for the children, because writer’s mother did not want the “huge amount of toys to be seen by her children” before the celebration. The essentials are his confessions about this mysterious room, a memory preserved by Eliade when he was two and a half years “. One summer afternoon, around four o’clock, the family was away, my father to the barracks, my mother to a neighbour. I went closer... and I reached out, the door was open. I went inside... For me it was an incredible experience: the windows had green curtains and as it was summer, the whole room seemed green and strange, I



felt like in a grape. I was fascinated by the green light, a green-gold light surrounded me and it was an unprecedented space, a whole new world”. It can be said that at two and a half years he had a huge intellectual curiosity.. A.R.: Yes, it’s the time of an early revelation, which Eliade evokes several times, entering into the room bathed in green light, where the child feels like inside of a grape. I wrote in my book about the Sambo room and the experience of Ştefan Viziru who enters in a “prohibited” room and then looks for his whole life to relive that moment of bliss given by the feeling that he has lived an extraordinary event in the middle of that “green fairy”. It’s actually about a moment of initiation, of access to a deeper understanding of things. Ş.A.: When gathering the necessary material for the literary research that you initiated, you followed Mircea Eliade. In this regard, you have asked for meetings, discussions, interviews and you have searched for images of the old Bucharest, signs and symbols of Mântuleasa Street. For instance, what was the purpose of the meeting with Douglas Allen, who was a disciple of Eliade? Meeting that I know you recorded it, later, in an interview from June 2012... A.R.: There were several important meetings, without which things would have certainly been organized differently than it happened. The most important meeting I had with Sorin Alexandrescu, the professor who decisively marked my intellectual path, whom I also met in a crucial moment, at my graduation, when any young person confronts with all kinds of self-doubt, disorientation and confusion states. It was probably one of the most important meetings of my life, because everything that followed it was meant to happen: MA at CEIS (Centre of Excellence in Image Studies), a world completely different from everything I knew, very open-minded to new things, where classes were stimulating and interactive, where I have discovered that, in fact, text interpretation can be done differently, and especially the place where I got rid of stereotyped formulas and any prejudices borrowed


during faculty; followed, naturally, by a Ph.D. Programme with the thesis about Mântuleasa, the literature and the ‘real’ ones, and the postdoctoral fellowship, the time when I wrote the book about the Bucharest from the period of Mircea Eliade. Meeting Douglas Allen has been a happy event, because I had the chance to meet another person who had known Mircea Eliade. I remember that our conversation has continued long after the interview, it was very interesting!... Ş.A.: What did you feel when you met with the contemporary image of Mântuleasa Street? What was the predominant emotional colour? A.R.: Many people told me that through my books, I have succeeded to revive the lost charm of this part of Bucharest. I believe that everything is still there, almost intact, of course, only Mântuleasa School and several homes that have suffered some changes more or less successful, are different now, while the street is not completely changed. And as Eliade has revealed, the real Bucharest is not the geographical one, the objective one existing on the map, but the one shifted through memories and nostalgia. And, especially, Bucharest exists through literature, because there, places are most well captured, there, the true geography is written. Ş.A.: One day a letter arrives at the editorial office of the magazine where you are writing book reviews. This letter is an invitation form the “discoverer of the Philosopher’s Stone.” Therefore, I propose a dialogue of ideas between the two writers: Andreea Răsuceanu and Mircea Eliade. What would be the first words to address him? What would you like to know about him? A.R.: A very hard imagination exercise... I do not know what I would dare to ask him, but I think I would start with the big questions, the ones that I think he found the answers. Ş.A.: I know that you meet Sorin Alexandrescu, professor at the Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest. If you should summarize what you’ve learned, what you took from him.. A.R.: It would be difficult, and the space is too little right now. I have learned a lot, primarily about the vital importance of self-discipline and



rigor, but also about the permanent connection to the western literary theory. It also inspired my passion for everything that interpretation and image theory means. In fact, he taught us how to really look at a picture. I remember a very fascinating course that focused on the spring of Botticelli - we had never imagined that the paint of the Italian maestro can have so many hidden meanings. I learned a lot about Eliade, of course, we have talked a lot about his work and knowledge without my books would have been different, for sure. Ş.A.: What has changed, what has shaped and crystallized in you, within your personal beliefs, in all these years of meticulous research of the Eliade’s work – many valuables years, in terms of gains and experiences? A.R.: First of all, a way of writing, understanding text interpretation, designing this report which is still the subject of so many books, between reality and fiction and between the author and his writing. I have discovered a lot about myself, about fears, uncertainty, personal doubts, but also about things I can do, about my own forces, what we call the measure of your own talent. I have learned to think in a constructive manner and I applied self-discipline, I got that courage which usually the feeling of a successful ending, the last word in your book gives you. I’m sure that if I had started with prose, because that is what I wrote in college and I wanted to continue, I would have stopped somewhere on the road, I would have been stuck by be self-doubts and fear of failure. However, I have learned to write in a disciplined manner, to think on the structure of a book, to actually build a book, because this is the real problem, not whether or not you are talented.


Ş.A.: Have you ever felt that there were mixed feelings related to both training and personal deconstruction, in this extended research period where the centrum mundi had Mircea Eliade, Mântuleasa Street and literary geography as keywords?... How was the manifestation -latent, in a symbiosis of “sacred” with “profane” or, the opposite, as a state of cognoscibility? A.R.: Yes, anyone who writes a book reflects into its pages, reveals its soul to regain himself and turns into someone else at the end. I always had a sense of a hard attempt, a continuous struggle in my life. Ş.A.: What are the geographical and temporal coordinates evoked in order to solve the labyrinth of Eliade? I know that you have followed specialized qualitative training abroad... A.R.: There were two internships during the postdoctoral program at Sorbonne-Paris nouivelle 3, where I worked in the middle of a research group coordinated by Professor Michel Collot. I believe it was crucial for my research, because I had access to the libraries of Paris, but also because there was the possibility of direct contact with the European researchers and not only, of those interested of literary geography, geocriticism, geopoetics etc. Ş.A.: During this training, did you have access to some ideas, books, pictures, people that you could only find in the seminars and libraries there? An example, in this context, is... A.R.: Very important, for me, was the meeting with Michel Collot, who invited me to be a member of his research group, but also with Marc Brosseau, who came from Canada especially for one of our seminars. I believe that his book, Des Romans-géographes, shows, how useful this new method is, in fact. Ş.A.: After the Bucharest of Mircea Eliade, the geography literature elements, could Calcutta or India described by Mircea Eliade follow the literary geography? A.R.: No. I think not, actually. I believe that a literary geography study will follow, but little different from what I did before. Ş.A.: The reader of a literary text has no direct access to the images, but



to the words, then to a series of abstract representations, which then translates into sensitive visible files. Reading your book, “The Bucharest of Mircea Eliade, “ I have found at some point the statement of Bertrand Westphal: “City is read like a book.” Therefore, with the eyes of the mind to the visual expression is necessary to have the linguistic logo. Can we speak of a camouflage of the word into the image and the image into the word? If “images are stories”, as you say in “The Two Mântulese” then what stories mean for you? A.R.: The two questions are connected. It’s a known fact that each image contains a narrative element, telling a story, as any narrative involves a series of images. There are narratives, stories designed from a photo, for example, I find it a great imagination exercise for a writer. Stories are images. As in any image a story is hidden, a narrative, in fact, similarly, any story involves a sequence of mental images, which are simultaneously formed with the act of reading, which are more spectacular compared to any real image, being the result of imagination. Ş.A.: “For the modern man, reading is vice or a conviction. We read in order to pass exams, to inform or read for our profession. I am thinking, though, that reading may involve noblest functions, more natural, “ said Mircea Eliade in Fragmentarium. What noble functions of their naturalness and natural in their noble involves reading, for you? A.R.: I have already said, along with many other writers, critics, etc., the only bearable reality I find is literature, so one mediated by reading. How life without reading or world without books would look like is already a nightmare. Fortunately, I do not believe that people will be able to actually ever live without fiction, it is a permanent need of an energy source and a refuge, designed to make things tolerable and, especially, to provide access to a sense of the world, of their lives, without which we would be lost. Reading is actually the most common method of survival, and I think that more and more people discover this.


“Words of folk wisdom across the world” Interview with Theron LaBounty WRITTEN BY: ALEXANDRA MUSCALU (PAȘCANI, ROMANIA)

I always thought that descriptions realized by another person are always subjective. The reason why this happens is because you are trying to offer a perfect image of someone, but you will fail in a point. No matter how well-prepared you are, you can`t know for sure what`s worth saying or not. The following interview it`s not about descriptions, as you maybe thought, but it’s about an example of dedication and desire to offer the best you have to the people around you. Theron LaBounty is the person who had the pleasure to answer a few questions related to this second number theme of our magazine and I was thrilled to see that he still encourages volunteering actions even if his internship in Romania has finished. Maybe you are asking who is he, what internship and why I choose him to ask the following questions. Well, everything happens for a reason! Theron is an American man, born in Colorado, a full of passion volunteer who came in Romania in 2011 thanks to Peace Corps government organization. He was a teacher here for two years and meanwhile, he established a Photography Club and an IT Laboratory for students. Here comes the interesting part: not only he likes volunteering, but photography and a degree in Computer Science describe his multilateral personality. Without trying to „offer a perfect image of someone”, I will let the interview to speak for Theron! 1. Traveler, photographer, volunteer, a teacher for a while and you have also a computer science degree. Which of all these activities makes you passionate and happy? I am passionate about all of these activities, and they each make me happy in their own unique way. I love traveling, mostly to see other cultures and to see how other people in the world live. Every place I have visited has something wonderful to share, whether it is food, natural beauty, interesting architecture, or simply the hospitality of the people.





I love photography because it allows me to capture and freeze a moment in time that will never be repeated. It forces me look at the world and my surroundings differently. Something very mundane and ordinary can always be the subject of an amazing photograph, if you can see it in a new way. There are so many different ways to volunteer, and they are almost all rewarding. There is something beautiful about giving of yourself without any expectation of receiving anything in return. The amazing secret of volunteering is that you never go home empty handed. Your gift might be a new friend, a newfound understanding of the world and people around you, or a small measure of satisfaction that you have made the world a better place because of your work. Research even shows that volunteering will make you healthier and live longer! Teaching was part of my volunteer service in Romania, and for me I think I learned more than I taught. I never thought that I would be able to stand in front of a room of 30 youths day after day, and come up with fun and exciting ways to talk about English. The best part of this experience was getting to know some of my students as friends, and continuing that relationship now that I am no longer their teacher. I am so excited to see where their lives will take them, and I hope that I helped to kindle their passions for English, critical thinking, and the arts just a little bit. Finally, software engineering feeds the parts of my brain that need to solve problems and need to continuously learn. One of the most gratifying parts of this job is when I have a seemingly unsolvable problem and with time and hard work I solve it. I recently read an article by David Auerbach about getting “high� from coding ( coder_s_high_the_intense_feeling_of_absorption_exclusive_to_ programmers.html). The intense thought and concentration required can allow you to forget about everything around you except for the problem that



needs to be solved. That can be surprisingly fun and even addictive, but it’s a high that comes from just using your brain. What could be cooler than that? 2. The team of European Dignities magazine is all formed of volunteers and I know you did this activity in Romania for two years. When, how and why did you want to become a volunteer? I have been a volunteer for about as long as I can remember, but becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer is something else entirely. Having the opportunity to be a Peace Corps Volunteer is something quite special, but it is a very big commitment. Volunteers serve in their country for over two years, learn the language of the host country, and live as a part of their community as much as is possible. Peace Corps Volunteers do all sorts of jobs depending on their abilities and their country, from being an English teacher as I was, to working in health education, as an environmental specialist, or even helping with small business development. I am not a typical Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) either, in that I am in my mid-30s and married. Most PCVs have just graduated college and haven’t started their careers yet, or they are retired and finished with their careers. Many people ask me whether it was my idea or my wife’s to join the Peace Corps, but we somehow came to this decision together. It is something we have wanted to do since before we were married, and this was just the right time in our lives for us. While we were both happy at our jobs, we also felt a need to try something new, and to give something back to the world. We were very inspired by Obama’s election in 2008. He has said “Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” We wanted to take his message of hope to heart and to share it. The day of his inauguration on January 20, 2009 was the day we made the decision to pursue our service in the Peace Corps. It took us two years to go through the application process, but we finally arrived in Romania on April 28, 2011.


3. The theme of this number is „Words of folk wisdom”. Which is the perspective of U.S.A population regarding words of their folk wisdom? The USA is such a young country when you compare it to the rest of the world. We are also a country made up almost entirely of immigrants, most of whom have lost much of their original culture and tradition. When you say „folk” with respect to the USA, I think only of a type of music from the 40s, 50s and 60s led by Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan. But from my time in Romania, I know that there is a deeper and richer possibility. In Romania, and specifically in Moldova, there is a folk tradition that goes back to a time before anyone can even remember. You have hand-painted eggs for Easter and people dressing in goat masks and bear costumes for Christmas. You have a day where you pick Sânziana flowers and braid them into crowns for the beautiful young women of your villages. The list could go on and on, and these wonderful, ancient traditions make me long for something like this in my own country and my own life. Maybe in 1,000 years we will have something as rich and beautiful as Romania has today. 4. Write for us a „word of wisdom” about Romania regarding what you experienced here. One of my favorite things about Romania is the hospitality I felt when I was there as your guest (even if it was for two years). I hope that you never lose this tradition. Every time I went to a friend’s house, there was hot borș on the stove and a cold drink in the refrigerator. I never felt like a stranger there. 5. I know that you traveled a lot. Tell us a little about the countries you visited, the places that have something you found special about. Every place I have been has its own unique beauty. The mountains in Montenegro are more beautiful even than the mountains of my home in Colorado. The city of Taipei, Taiwan is so crowded that I felt a little like an ant in a colony, but it was also extremely vibrant and exciting. I think I could be happy living there. Sarajevo, Bosnia is also one of my favorite cities, even though I only spent one night there. The mixture of religions and cultures was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.



But one of my favorite places in the world is Paris, France. I haven’t been there in many years, but it will always be a special place for me, because I asked my wife to marry me there on a bridge over the Seine River. Thankfully she said yes! 6. Tell us the most interesting or curious experience from your trips. One of the most interesting experiences was from my time in Romania, when my wife and I traveled up to Breb, Maramureș. It was our first trip to this part of the country, and we had heard stories about how remote and traditional it was. We found that we could walk across people’s farmland and orchards with no worry. We even bought some fresh eggs from a woman in her courtyard. People were incredibly talkative and loved that we were American, but spoke Romanian. My wife, Sarah, happened to meet the master woodcarver in the village, Pop Pătru, and we decided to give him a visit the next day. The village is quite large and spread out, but we wanted to walk to his home. We had to stop and ask directions more than once, but finally we found it. The directions were usually something like “go over the first bridge and then take a left at the big tree.” When we arrived, nobody seemed to be home, but after we got the dog barking at us an ancient woman came out to see us. No problem, she just had to get her husband up from his nap. He showed us his workshop, tools, and talked to us about his technique and work for about an hour. All the while his wife worked on her loom making a blanket that would be so warm you would sweat even in the winter. It was an unforgettable visit. 7. Any person could be a good leader or the person who wants to be a leader needs an entire process to create this ability? I think being a leader is like most things in life, where the more you work at it, the better you will become. It can be very scary to put yourself in the lead, and you will definitely fail at it sometimes. The important thing is to learn from those failures and keep trying. Some of my lessons as a teacher failed miserably, and those days were really hard. But I kept trying, and I got better at it by the end of my second year. PHOTOGRAPHY BY: THERON LABOUNTY “VISIT TO THE EXIBITION OF THERON ABOUT PASCANI YOUTH FOTOVIDEOTEK” (COLORADO, U.S.A.)


8. Which are the positive parts and the negative ones from Romania regarding politics, economy and social life? I didn’t learn much about the politics in Romania, but I do know that most Romanians are unhappy about the current situation. I also know that the economic problems are very big. It is completely understandable, but extremely sad, that so many Romanians are moving abroad to work, often leaving their homes and families behind. I hope that someday these problems will be solved, maybe even by the new viewpoints and leadership of your generation. I did experience a lot of Romanian social life, though, and I think we could learn a lot from you here in America. In general, Romanians are more willing to be spontaneous. You don’t need to plan a celebration in advance. What’s wrong with celebrating right now? And nothing compares to a Romanian wedding. Here in the U.S. we think a wedding is going pretty late if it finishes up around midnight. 10. If you have the opportunity to choose between going on a trip for one year around Europe and implement a project for young people in U.S.A, what would you choose? How about a project for young people from the U.S.A. traveling for a year around Europe and I can tag along? In all seriousness, I think that one of the most important things for youth from any country is to travel to see and experience a new culture. It’s a great way to kill racism and hatred. If I could plan this trip Romania would definitely be on the itinerary! 11. Describe in one sentence the connection between nowadays Americans and the old American generation. I’ll quote George Orwell for this one: Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it. 12. A message for European Dignities magazine`s team? I am so impressed by the work that is being put into this magazine, especially because it is entirely done by volunteers. I look forward to reading the next issue! PHOTOGRAPHY BY: THERON LABOUNTY “GUESS WHO`S OBAMA” (COLORADO, U.S.A.)




“How can an individual get some crazy sh*t from culture shock” WRITTEN BY: ANDI VALENTIN SÂSÂIAC

I was in my early 20s when I went to Angers, France, as an Erasmus exchange student. When I was heading towards my French linguistics exam, I stopped for a cigarette right in front of the university building. The professor (who, I assumed, was in his late 50s), came out to do the same, and asked me whether I was feeling prepared for the exam or not. “Well, professor, yeah…I guess”, I firmly answered. As he had finished his cigarette, he just said “alors, je te dis merde!” as he went inside, leaving me there amazed, shocked, astonished. “The professor literally said “I tell you shit’” was all I could think of (and I believe it sounds a bit more brutal in Romanian). It took me a while to learn that he actually wished me luck by saying so. Today, many of my students are fully aware of how to wish a friend good luck in French and are, consequently, more interculturally competent than I used to be.





“Sociological and anthropological approaches to the education of marginal and impoverished groups” WRITTEN BY: VICTORIA BALTAG (LONDON, UK)




‌Gypsy and Traveller parental definition of being educated are limited just being able to read and to write.

(Myers et al., 2010)

Note*** This is a study of how formal and informal forms of education are combined in Roma communities in Romania. Doing so, I start my work by reviewing from a number of theories and previous researches related to: literacy and access to literacy, educational home and school practices, social reproduction in school. A noticeable part in my research will be focused on analyses on space, school environment, community, the security/safety feeling being at school as well as the actual processes of class-room learning. Pre-school education will be also included as a start in of the process of formal education. This is not an exhaustive statement of research aims and types of data required to be collected as the paper here has the status of an embryonic research and many other theories or information may occur afterwards during the field work or at the stage of writing the results. Literacy in anthropology of education I will start my literature review with theories about literacy as I find it important for understanding the Roma way of learning, considering the fact that in Romania they have been illiterate more than 500 years. Saying so, there has been available for a number of years, a well-developed approach to the study of literacy as a social practice (Poveda et al., 2005). Therefore researchers have criticized traditional accounts of literacy and literacy acquisition as a unitary phenomenon with clear social and cognitive consequences. A new portrait has been drawn of the nature of literacy based on ethnographic works related to communication (Schieffelin & Gilmore, 1986) as well as new literacy studies (Barton et al., 2000). Along with this theory, literacy was underlined as one of six traits summarized by Barton & Hamilton (2000). They say that literacy should be understood as a social practice, and that there are different literacy practices associated with different areas of life; likewise social institutions and the power of the relationships make some domains and literacy practices more visible than others. Additionally they stress


Furthermore, literacy is viewed by Gypsies as a useful instrument in transactions with non-Roma in economic, bureaucratic, legal, and other similar contexts. that literacy is always historically situated, and thus literacy practices are meaningful and ingrained in larger cultural practices. Barton & Hamilton (2000) also added that changes in and new forms of literacy practices are appropriated by daily sense-making. Most research was focused on formal education and institutional practices, especially on work and state institutions as the principal places of acquiring knowledge (Hull, 1993). On the other side, families and informal literacy were treated as less relevant, or were considered mostly in relation to how they contributed to the acquisition of literacy in other contexts, for example, how families support the learning of reading and writing taught in schools. David Poveda (2005) noticed that recently the literacy research scenario has changed significantly. Multiple forms of literacy have been discovered coexisting alongside the official written language, such as the slang writing used by some teenagers in schools (Camitta, 1993), or unofficial family literacy (Gregory & Williams, 2000). Usually this parallel literacy, taught unofficially within the family or within specific groups, is also a literacy characteristic of minorities and of the margins of a specific social system, according to Michelle Fine et al. (2000). ‘Hidden’ communities (for example the Freemasons, criminal organizations, religious cults, certain industry sectors) have developed their own literacy practices. Along with these, Gypsy culture has its own literacy practices, although, being an essentially oral tradition; written language has not developed as a major means of communication or form of transmission (Smith, 1997). Many Roma people see literacy acquisition as an index of acculturation (San Roman, 1990), and even though Gypsies who are more literate are so because they have been involved in activities with non-Gypsies or within institutions with literacy requirements (i.e. in the press, or working in cultural, religious or non-religious institutions). San Roman (1990: 114) concluded that written culture ‘seems incompatible with traditional Gypsy culture and obviously it has no use or cultural support to stimulate it’. Furthermore, literacy is viewed by Gypsies as a useful instrument in transactions with non-Roma in economic, bureaucratic, legal, and other



similar contexts. Hence, illiteracy is not a ‘social problem’ as long as each family or social unit has at least one member who is literate and can play the role of the mediator with the host society (Baynham, 1993; Jones, 2000). Therefore, it seems that there may be certain analogies between Roma literacy and literacy in some indigenous communities (Schieffelin, 1996), in which writing and reading skills were considered an external technology (Poveda, 2005) introduced by outsiders. As David Poveda (2005: 90) has suggested, within indigenous communities literacy practices are transformed, reproduced, and in time considered internal to the community. Yet, in order to be able to communicate, contact or bargain with non-Roma people, Gypsies may have had to engage in a more dynamic process of acculturation in order to manage their social boundaries and exchanges (Mulcahy, 1979; San Roman, 1990). In this respect, David Poveda (2005: 90) agrees that in recent decades, Gypsies (in his example, Spanish Gypsies) have registered important cultural transformations. Since for decades Gypsies have had this indispensable need to communicate with their host society in order to survive, and literacy and knowledge acquisition have both been very important elements in their existence. Moreover, considering the fact that for decades, as slaves or vassals, Gypsies were prohibited to study, and adding that nowadays Roma do have the chance of studying, there is still difficult for Gypsies to fully involve in formal education. Saying so, there are a couple of analyses on this involvement in formal education and most researches started from analyzing the educational practices that Roma children have it home and at school. Home and school practices The potential differences and discontinuities between acquiring knowledge at home and at school had been identified as a significant issue (Heath, 1983; Resnick, 1987), considering the view of the uncertain boundaries between accommodation, acculturation and assimilation of Roma people (Levinson, 2007). In its attempts to empower the disempowered (to use Levinson’s words), the state often came across the assumption that the acquisition of, at least, a standard literacy would prepare the youth with certain skills which would provide greater opportunities as well as social and economic flexibility; apparently, this strategy of gaining knowledge discharges other skills and information acquired in Roma home settings (Levinson, 2008). Moreover, James Paul Gee (2000) concludes that literacy needs to be considered in ‘its wider social, cultural, historical, economic and political context’; Levinson (2008) continues with this idea, saying that the impact of the social, historical, political, and economic contexts should be viewed in the interaction


between school literacies and alternative literacies gained at home or within the community. In this respect, some recent researchers on Gypsy education (as Kiddle, 1999; Derrington & Kendall, 2004; Danaher et al., 2007) place greater value on the knowledge/skills acquired at home and suggest the potentially negative interaction between home and school learning (Liegeois, 1987; 1997). Piasere (1987: 48) offers a detailed explanation of the key differences between the Romany learning strategy and that of the host society:

Likewise, Lee & Warren (1991) agree that formal schooling is embraced only if it is useful to the Roma – helpful for the individual and group outliving. Desirable competences are literacy, numeracy, and, nowadays, facility with computers. Other learning has no obvious connection to the home environment, as Levinson states (2008). Within the family, Roma children gain the most important skills that they will use in their lives. Lee & Warren (1991) emphasise the importance of informal learning, especially of acquired skills such as mechanical ingenuity, bargaining and salesmanship skills, manual dexterity, highly developed memory, and knowledge of both the people and the economy of specific localities. O’Boyle (1990) stresses that home, children gain from their elders (mother, sister, grandmother, aunt) a wider sense of responsibility as carers and providers. In this respect, girls develop skills in cooking, housekeeping, childcare, etc. along with general selling strategies or fortune-telling techniques (Okely, 1983; Smith 1997). Similarly, boys acquire mechanical abilities, negotiating skills, arithmetical aptitudes, knowledge of metals, etc. (Adams et al., 1975; Smith, 1997). Hence, in the view of Lee & Warren (1991), Roma were perceived ‘not to reject training in skills as such as reading and writing, calculation, and mechanical operations, but to reject the inevitability of future roles related to that training’ (Levinson’s quotation, 2008). In short, training is accepted when it reinforces the Roma way of life. Also, Gypsies differentiate between schooling and education - they reject the latter as they equate it with ‘socialization into an external society’ (Lee &Warren, 1991).



‘Gypsy pedagogic technique differs from the non-Gypsy in one principal aspect, but one which for us is the quintessence of education. For them it occurs within the context of real life activity by participation, rather than by verbal instruction out of context, in preparation for future participation. Pedagogic content is also dissimilar :since the problems with which the Gypsy deal in daily life are predominantly connected with personal interaction, abstract generalizations are unknown and useless, replaced instead by concrete and specific symbolism which reflects shared and reciprocal experience. Knowledge is gained not by asking questions but by living out responses’. (Piasere, 1987, p.48)


As Roma population integrate learning into real-life experience (Smith, 1997) and they involve learning in everyday life participation (Piasere, 1987), children are encouraged to perform some useful roles for the family/ community at the same time as they are learning. This learning practice is quite different from that operating inside school, where the payoff for acquiring knowledge is deferred – learning being mostly perceived as a foundation for some general future activities. Moreover, home learning occurs through participation and observation where children have the freedom to create and initiate their own learning experiences (Smith, 1997), a practice which is almost the opposite of the classroom technique of memorizing general information from different domains. At home, cooperation learning is common (parents or relatives work alongside the child), while in contrast, the school pursues a competitive individual strategy. At home, the method of learning is almost never abstract, theoretical or booked-based (Levinson, 2008); at the same time, each role-playing learning experience at home brings a measurable result (the child sees the result of his or her work) but at school the result is mostly symbolic (i.e. the marks awarded by the teacher). Akinasso (1992) agrees that inside school there is a discontinuity between formal learning and practical learning, which may confuse the pupils, while in their homes, in comparison:


‘Gypsy children have gained expertise in a wide-ranging set of skills. These skills connect closely to envisaged future roles. In a sense, learning at home is somewhat more like work experience than schooling, and such an education begins at a very early stage. However, the aims go beyond the acquisition of a knowledge/skills base; they embrace a pedagogical philosophy that connects to social and communal identities. It is envisaged that children will acquire not only a set of skills to assist them in future life, but an enhanced sense of autonomy and of group membership.’ (Levinson, 2008:246) Space, school environment, community: safety, security, comfort When we speak about Roma education, we need to consider the community and school environment as a space of comfort and security. Parents play a significant role in their children’s education, and so many education anthropologists (Bhopal et al., 2000; Klarck and Greenfields, 2006) emphasised the adults’ point of view of schooling and education. Roma parents’ main concerns in relation to school attendance were: fears of racism and bullying, safety fears (e.g. public transport, school trips, learning in the same classes as non-Gypsies, and engagement with culturally sensitive subjects like sex education) (Myrers, 2009). Bullying and racism are considered a consistent reason for families not sending their children to school (Liegeois, 1987, Reiss, 1975). Moreover, some Roma parents think that their children do not receive as high a quality of education as the non-Roma do (Bhopal and Myrers, 2008, Lloyd and McCluskey, 2007). On the other hand, non-Roma parents see Gypsies as exaggerated strangers (Myers, 2006), but some Roma do not wish to be called Gypsies, because they no longer behave as Gypsies (they have settled homes, they send their children to school, they have permanent jobs, etc.). Once the Roma children are in school, the feeling of safety and security is very important. For example, they would like to study where many other Roma pupils are also studying – especially friends, relatives, etc. The roles of the teachers and school staff are also important. Myers (British Journal of Educational Studies, 2009) finds that GRT (Gypsy, Roma and Travellers) pupils feel more secure when their teacher and school staff show them more understanding and protection. Another notable issue is that Roma pupils feel more comfortable if they know that their parents can come at any time to the school to help or protect them, or to solve their problems (Myers, 2009).



Another important factor in the decisions made by Roma parents as to whether to send their children to school is based on notions of safety and the trust they have in the school (Bhopal et al., 2000; Warrington, 2007). Another argument against institutional education may be the parents’ nomadic life style (Ofsted, 1996). Nomadism has been identified as an essential cultural symbol among the Gypsy population (Liegeois, 1987) but the nomadic life can also be an ‘obstacle to education’ (Ofsted, 1996). Levinson and Sparkes (2006) came to the conclusion that sedentariness and schooling have been associated with assimilation, and so many Roma do not feel so comfortable with it. Another source of discomfort is when parents need to choose between school and home duties for their children. It is known that in Gypsy families, children work with their parents as adult members of the family: many Gypsy children may leave school to work with their parents in February and not return until December (Myers et al., 2010). Family traditions and obligations are also a reason for disrupted school attendance: when the grandmother of one group of Roma died, the children lost six weeks of schooling due to the funeral (Myers et al., 2010). Saying so, I may believe that one of the most important factor in encouraging/discouraging a child to involve in schooling is the approach that the family has it on education. Following the later, the family has also a very important role in the pre-school life of a child. Pre-school education and its schooling predisposition Shirley Brice Heath (1982) concludes from her research that bedtime stories read to children, and the education they gain before school influence their school results in the years immediately following. For example, the school-oriented parents and their children interact in certain ways in the pre-school years, and in so doing, the adults teach their children (through specific instructions and modeling), different ways of learning. These learning techniques exist in societies around the world and prepare children for the next step of literacy in school. Heath (Language in society, 1982) distinguishes between some communities where the ‘ways of schools and institutions are very similar to the ways learned at home’ and other communities where ‘the ways of school are merely an overlay on the home-taught ways and may be in conflict with them’. A key concept for these studies is observing the literacy events within the family: bed-time storytelling, watching Tv, etc. Heath (1982) agrees that each community has rules for socially interacting and sharing knowledge in literacy events.




The implication and involvement that children from a marginal and impoverished group (as the Roma community in Romania) have, relates closely, in my point of view, to pre-school education and its schooling predisposition. Moreover, school should be considered a place that provides safety, security, and comfort, especially for the marginal groups. I agree that the practices these families have at home related to education are very important in supporting the child’s learning. My supposition would be checked during my research field work.




What’s in the Next issues...

Autumn 2014 - European Youth Capital 2015 - Cluj-Napoca We want to bring in attention intercultural experiences and not only that a city, considered as one of the youth in Europe, proposed a series of events and manifestations of this type for a year. We want to hear details, to discuss about the experiences and programs proposed by the organizers from Cluj-Napoca in 2015. Moreover, we want to connect European youth cities that have gained their status in the past or are willing to acquire it, in order to observe the impact of such a European project. We will film, photograph, take interviews and narrate. We will wait your experiences in ClujNapoca, the city designated European Youth Capital for 2015. We also want to know how did take place the cultural events held in the other cities having this status and what preparations do those who will become European Youth Capital city in the coming years.

Maybe you remember a song, a beautiful poem or some good lines from movies. This is the reason why at the end of 2014 we want to give the opportunity to everyone that have some special lines to share it for our readers. From Goethe to Whitman, from Woody Allen to Lana del Rey we are sure of the wonderful lines and the healty environment for understanding created by them. Like W. Whitman said – “I am enamour’d of growing out-doors”, let’s leave this best lines to generate open doors for our imagination, happiness, creativity and human understanding. At the end of the year we just want to be in the world of best lines to have a great 2015.

Your opinion is very important for us, share it! e-mail:


Winter 2014 – Best lines (lyrics) -


European Youth Capital 2015 - Cluj-Napoca


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.