Photographer's Note

Last year, on a day my brother and I were visiting the Siriu Dam (on the Buzau river), it was the last day of school for the local kids and it looked like everybody was gathered in school. It got very quiet as we moved away from the school building. Up on the dam we met this local man, though. He was old, his kids were grownups and they were not living in town. Maybe he did know some neighbor’s kid but it was more important for him to take his sheep and cow (not shown in this shot) out for a stroll. It wasn’t a walk in the park rather he had to take them out grazing. It was one of his daily chores and his way to survive his senior years.

I liked his look, typical for many inhabitants of the rural areas of southern Romania and probably the entire country. I’ve seen so many people just like him wearing neither a traditional costume, nor something you could buy from the store but rather something they saved from way back when they were commuting to the city, working for some manufacturing factory. The jacket he’s wearing is such a clothing item. During the communist regime years the authorities led a strong campaign to both transform the rural areas, the villages, in urban type environments and also to industrialize the country. Lots of people in the rural areas were commuting every day by bus to work in the polluting factories built in cities all over the country. A jacket like that was very common in those years.

In the early 20th century Romania was a predominantly agricultural and rural society but by the late 80’s and then the 90’s the villages were getting abandoned by young adults and sometimes by their entire population in search for a more comfortable life in the city. However, as the harsh realities of the competition based economy hit the Romanian industry, starvation pushed people back to the villages where they came from or wherever they could find a piece of land to grow some food on. I heard that my home town of Buzau has lost a third if not more of its population over the past several years. In less than two months Romania will become a member of the European Union and tough agricultural policies will begin to be implemented. People like the old man in this photo will probably begin to lose their livelihood. Will they survive this new calamity hitting them? The communist sent them to the city, the privatization of the industry sent them back to the village... Where are they going to go now? Most people have gotten some land back after the fall of the communist regime but many of them are old and inexperienced in modern agricultural practices. Lots of aspects of the inefficient traditional agriculture will become obsolete if not illegal. How are these people going to survive if the law will forbid them to practice the only lifestyle they know? How are these retired people living on little or no income going to learn to live differently? This kind of subsistence agriculture will disappear. Will people dependent on it disappear too?... I dare to ask the question but I’m more fearful thinking that soon we’ll learn the answer.

anducina, isabela_sor, teutza, VeeJayCee, edcone trouve(nt) cette note utile

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Additional Photos by Iulian Rujan (Iuli) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 134 W: 120 N: 221] (838)
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