A group of Romani children living in Warsaw’s Prague districts participates in our new project. The children learn about the culture, history and the contemporary times of the Polish Roma and learn Romani. The goal of the project is to strengthen their awareness of their cultural affiliation and to build their sense of the Roma identity.
The care for the children is provided by Ewa Pawłowska – a Romani activist and, in one person, Romani Assistant at the Social Projects and Specialist Assistance Department at the Social Assistance Centre in the Warsaw’s South Prague District. Agnieszka Caban, the promoter and animator of the Roma culture, supervises the programme’s content. Agnieszka leads classes in Romani, she is the author of the “Jane Roma” programme. Małgorzata Brus is the coordinator and caretaker of the artistic part of the project and the originator of creative activities.
The first classes are already behind us. The inauguration took place in Świetlica Matejki, club for different activities at ul Wincentego 130. Agnieszka Caban talked to children about what it means to be a Romani. We talked about the history of the Roma, the wandering, the traditions. We remembered the phrases in Romanian and figured out what we know, what we do not and what we would like to do. It was a creative preparation for further action.
By the way, we learned that our participants as adults will have their caravans. That it is their dream and resolution. We hope that thanks to our activities, it will be easier for them to realize their dreams.
The project was funded by the Polish Ministry of Interior and Administration.
We would like to thank Mateja Julia Petelska for permission to organize classes in her beautiful, modern and very friendly Świetlica Matejki.
THE LEGEND OF ROMA PEOPLE
Once upon a time, beyond seven seas, seven rivers and seven mountains in the city of Kanaudż lived people called the Roma. Among residents of the city there were great warriors, who with their prowess and courage, were scaring away the enemies of the city. They were called TE MARIBEŁ, wore decorative clothing, and each warrior possessed a unique sword that added +10 to his strength during battle. Thanks to it, the warriors were undefeated.
The next group of people called Roma, were those magically gifted. They had the ability to see the future. Every wizard and sorceress had a unique deck of cards and a magical sphere that showed future. Magic sphere was adding +8 to their intelligence. In addition to the warriors and wizards, there were also great dancers named TE KHEŁEŁ, who were able to hypnotize the audience with their dance. They were performing with musicians TE BASIAWEŁ, who possessed magical instruments like flute, mandolin and drums that made people do everything the musicians ordered them to do. These instruments gave them +7 power to agility. Therefore, other civilisations seeing how strong the powers of the Romani people were too terrified to enter warpath.
This powerful tribe was lead by KHENIGO WASYL who possessed powers of all groups, warriors, wizards, dancers and musicians. He stood undefeated for many years and was respected by his subjects. But first of all he was a very righteous king who loved his people above all else. He had a wife KALI VASYLKA who was the only person that could talk to animals. She often strolled through the forest with her tiger friend – BARO KHACA, who was the most powerful cat in the wilderness, had steel claws and teeth like sabers. His powerful jaws could kill the elephant with a single bite. The king and queen had the most beautiful daughter of all – MURA with beautiful black hair reaching her ankles, dark carbide eyes and beautiful amber skin. She inherited all her powers from her mother and father, so in the case of danger she would be able to defend the entire kingdom by herself.
One warm morning princess MURA went out on the river like she would do every day, just to talk to her favourite animals. To her astonishment, she met a beautiful young man. He introduced himself as RUBIN. At first the princess was cautious of the stranger, but after a long conversation she became friendly and trusted him. They agreed that each morning they would meet up by the river, because the princess was afraid of her parents’ reaction. After a few weeks of acquaintance, the young man proposed princess to go with him to KIRCZIMY, i.e. to an inn. The princess was afraid that someone from her subjects would recognize her, so the young man said she should dress up as a dancer. The princess agreed and they went to the inn. There, the young man offered her some tea with fruits, which in fact was a love elixir. Unfortunately, the young man was not the person he said he was. In fact, he was an evil wizard who had made a potion that changed his appearance. The wizard was the subordinate of the great king called GADZIO, who ruled the kingdom of Afghanistan. The king has been planning to kidnap the Romani people for a few years and he wanted to turn them into his slaves. Unfortunately, after drinking the elixir, the Princes fell in love with the evil sorcerer. One day persuaded by him the Princess used her great power of hypnosis when all the people came to the castle for the birthday ceremony of KHENIGO WASYL and hypnotized her people to lead them to the evil king GADZIO. For hundreds of years, the kingdom of Afghanistan has grown in strength thanks to the power of the ROMA people who have been able to defeat any unfriendly nation.
With each generation of the ROMA people hypnosis faded until at some point it stopped working and the people decided to free themselves from slavery. They did not know the history of their origin, so they head out on the way to the unknown to seek the land of milk and honey. This land turned out to be Europe, where the descendants of the Romani people live to date.
The legend was recorded and edited by Agnieszka Caban
Translated by Michał Tuszyński