“It is not what you look at that matters. It is what you see.”
(Henry David Thoreau)
Looking back on the past four weeks, I am very satisfied with my research thus far. Before taking off to the field I made a rough schedule of the research period of three months. I do not think I sticked to it for one single day. But still, I am doing everything that I planned to do, it just takes less time. That’s why I have been thinking about expanding my research to communities in two other municipalities in Dolenjska, southeast Slovenia.
Up to now, I have visited fourteen different communities in Grosuplje, Kocevje and Novo Mesto. It never gets boring, though, because there are a lot of differences in between, and also a lot of internal differences in every community. It is a challenge to get a complete overview of every community.
Some people already told me that if all Roma would cooperate with each other, everybody would have access to water, electricity and sanitation. But I have spoken with many people who said that they might be living in a community, they’d rather live on their own. Even when the relationships within a community are tight, the relationships with other communities nearby are not. I have seen communities in which some people had access to water, and others had to walk thirty minutes to ‘beg’ for water in the village. Maybe, therefore, the term settlement is more appropriate than the term community.
People rather live on their own, because they do not want to be held responsible for the mistakes or even criminal activities of others. One man told me that he does not have any connections with other communities, because he lived in a community without problems. “It is best to be on your own, otherwise (i.e. if connected) all communities would be blamed if something bad happens.”
In the previous blog I mentioned that Roma should see themselves as active agents in the process of improving their living conditions, but in order to do so, it would be very helpful if they would cooperate with each other.