The Broken Mirror

Unless you want to end up inside a horse

Hana KozurikováNymburkJuly 2000When I was a little girl, my Dad told me a drastic story someone had once told him.As a grown-up I heard it again. This time from a friend who didn’t see it himself either. Then, not long ago, I discovered that in the village of Ratenice in Nymburk County lives a Mr. [...]

I never saw such respect for old people

Tereza VrbováPragueBohous is my sister’s husband. At the moment he works as a bus driver, but when my sister first met him, Bohous drove an emergency ambulance. His encounter with a Romany family, described in the following story, took place in those days. I had to make quite an effort to get this story out [...]

He noticed a hand-carved violin on the kitchen table

Eva Ridajová Nové StrasecíAugust 2000This is the fourth year of my distance studies at the Secondary Social and Legal School in Prague. In the third year I met a Romany assistant – whose name I will keep to myself. We met in the university residence hall where we stay every three weeks. He was there with some [...]

His tunes meant bread,water,fire,rain and sun

Jan Horváth August 2000StudénkaI would like to tell you the story of a man who has made history in Romany music. Unfortunately he is no longer with us. He died three years ago. Jozef Gina was born into a musical family in May 1928 in the Saris region of the Presov district in eastern Slovakia. [...]

Hearing the music really opened the kids up

Monika HorakovaMember of the Czech Parliamentin conversation withJohn W. ErwinDirector, The Stories Exchange ProjectCzech Ministry of Foreign AffairsPrague1 December 2000Jack ErwinAs you know, we’re beginning to work in Brno. We just had a very exciting session with Romany musicians in a school. As you know, the Stories Exchange Project is working on a Romany music [...]

It’s a much more beautiful welcome to the child

Eva RidajováNové StrasecíAugust 2000I have a non-Romany friend, Jitka. A short time ago she came to see me and asked for a piece of advice. She had given birth to a baby boy. They called him David, and he was about three months old. "I’ve come to ask you how I should go about christening [...]

Aunt Margita hasn’t forgotten who she is

Emilie HorackovaMimonJuly 2000My aunt Margita grew up in the Slovak village of Dubrava. She and her family were the only Roma in the village, and were very poor. But they lived in harmony with the other villagers.Like other Roma, Aunt Margita came from Slovakia to Bohemia to find work. Workers were needed in the Czech [...]

We must never lose our Romany spirit, language and culture

Jan Horváth Sr.August 2000StudénkaMrs. Elena Lacková is one of our most important Romany personalities and one of the most important Romany writers. She was born in March 1921 in a Romany community in eastern Slovakia to the family of a Romany first violinist and vaida – mayor of the community. She was the only girl in the [...]

Pregnant women are sacred

Lucie HrdlickováPragueSeptember 2000In pregnancy a Romany woman has to cope with various restrictions. According to Romany tradition, pregnant women should not watch horror movies or wild-life programs. The Roma believe that if the woman´s attention were attracted by a monkey and she spent a long time gazing at it, her child would be ugly. At [...]

Roms can be helped only by people from abroad

David FerkoUsti nad Labem I think that Roms in the Czech Republic can be helped only by people from abroad, by people in other countries who are interested in Romany issues.In the past the Czech state—the Communist state – didn’t care whether you’re Romany or not. Whereas now it’s difficult for Roms to join a wider community [...]