Finally she realized that she was Rom

Rokycany, Czech RepublicFebruary 24, 1996
Ilona Ferkova,Writer; Coordinator, Rokycany Roman-Czech Kindergarten
We didn’t know Ethela this way, did we, Ondrej? I’m her own mother, but I’ve never known her this way before. She has changed incredibly, her way of thinking. I don’t know if I told you, but whenever she spoke about Roms, there was a certain distance. But one day we were in the car, and she started to talk. Ondrej looked at her and said, “Ethela: you’re completely different now.” And she said, “No, I’m not. Why do you say that?” “No, you are.” Ondrej said. “The way you speak about Roms. You’re not at a distance from them anymore. You’re a part of them.”
She was given a lot by the Stories Exchange Project: she started to understand Roms, and finally she realized that she was Rom.
Ondrej GinaDirector for the Czech Republic, Romani National Congress;formerly, member of the Czechoslovak Federal Parliament
That’s the problem of the younger generation of Roms. They are cut off from everything that was before.
Without this experience, Ethela would have stayed in the same position, she would not have changed her attitudes. She was distant from the life of Roms; she was cut off from their life experiences. But she got the chance to get back to it, to get back to a way of perceiving that was part of her: she’s a Romany, and she never had the chance to know that way of feeling.
She got the chance. It did something: it’s perfect. She was taking it seriously, and she realized that her aunt really went through that.
She lived through what her aunt had lived through. She was absorbing her aunt’s experiences.
And that was the change. It was good.