On a hill on the edge of Romanian district capital Sfântu Gheorghe there lies a Roma village, although you’d never guess that it’s so close to a town. The streets are unpaved, a horse and cart is used to get around and the fields are tilled with a scythe. The Roma live in tune with nature and harvest whatever the land currently offer. One thing they always need is wood for heating. Yet surviving in the present day has become increasingly difficult. Apart from the annual potato harvest, there is scarcely any paid work for unskilled labourers any more, not even in the wider region. Future prospects are equally bleak according to village head Aron, for without money one has no voice in politics. Strong group ties, mutual respect and unwavering faith do at least provide some compensation. Yet young Lavinia still senses what is lacking and hungrily weeps that ‘The Roma never have any money!’
The steady hands of Christiane Schmidt and Didier Guillain succeed in capturing the lives of this oft-scorned and vilified people with extraordinary depth and complexity. It is as if one is on hand to experience the changing seasons with them, pulled into the flow of this family community.