LIFE IN ""THE SWAMP""
by Bogdan Croitoru
Beside a minority that got rich exploiting barely-legal economic opportunities, for more than two thirds of some 1.5 million Romanian gypsies, the tumultuous years following the fall of communism meant a transition towards hopeless poverty, delinquency, and violence.
None of the nearly 1,000 Roma that live on the hill nicknamed ôMocirlaö, on the outskirts of Buhusi, has a fair place to work. A few dozens left for Italy and send money home. Those left behind live off stealing, welfare, state child support, and occasional odd jobs. More than 80% of the men have been to jail.
Until a few years ago, MocirlaÆs inhabitants worked in the felt factory in Buhusi. After the factory's restructuring, they were left to manage however they could. They are all waiting for a Messiah with a different face (a second Ceausescu to resuscitate the country or at least a patron with a lot of money to resuscitate the factory, and give them what they need).