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THIS IS THE HOUSE THAT DANIEL BUILT



                          
                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Daniel-Claudiu Dumitrescu, President
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Asociatia Agrustic Somnacuni
                                                            

The Roma women from Romania in Florence kept telling me that their roofs leaked because of the weight of the snow and the poor materials they used, not being able to afford good materials. Some lived in shacks, others in houses but where there were too many living together, with the younger couples unable to obtain their own homes. One family were twelve to one room with no windows, in another family where the father has tuberculosis, they are eighteen persons in two rooms, thirteen of them small children. After learning of this from the women, I went to Romania to see if these stories were true. We had already built a cradle and bought a house for one family, which had been living twelve to one shack, but we could not repeat that €10,000 on my small pension.



     




But we could see how much that helped that family.

Then there was Stefano, left in hospital in Florence where he was born because his mother Doina and his father Luca could not pay for the return tickets to Buzau (€200), nor for the metal and plastic baby carrier for a car (which they did not have) that the hospital required (€60), nor for the travel document for the child to return to Romania (€55) nor for the tickets to and from Milan to acquire it, nor for repairing their flood-destroyed home in Buzau. Our first family helped our second family rebuild a room of their flood-destroyed house and took in their other children during the building.



Social Assistance was going to put Stefano up for adoption. I went before the Judge, saying that it was worse to be an orphan than to be poor, and she gave them their child, Doina and Luca carefully writing their names, as we had taught them the night before, to have him. This is Stefano home in Romania.



Our next family, in a household headed by a widow, were about to have a baby. I advised them to have him born in Romania, not Florence, so the baby would not be taken by Social Assistance. Here they are - in Romania with their new-born.



Another family, those who were twelve to one room, with no windows, came and worked intensely hard, restoring the garden of the Cemetery which for years had been put to weed-killer. They earned the money to buy land. While here in Florence they built a five bedroom shack out in Osmannoro. Which the police then bulldozed.







We described them in our essay, Rom Apprenticeship. Then, the following year, one of them, Vandana, returned with her husband, Daniel.

Daniel in two months restored all the wrought and cast iron work in the English Cemetery. In our library of the Mediatheca 'Fioretta Mazzei' in the English Cemetery he drew this plan of the house he wished to build, a house with three rooms and four windows, surrounded by fruit trees.



She was pregnant so we together we built another cradle like the one for Hedera.








Karen Graffeo and I visited Romania and saw the land Vandana and Daniel bought with their work in the English Cemetery. Their new-born baby Gabriela is in this photograph within a photograph, held by Vandana's brother with her sister Maria, who the day before gave birth to Bianca, her baby who is blind.



And then Daniel built the walls of their house in that flower-filled meadow I had seen when I visited Romania.






 AUREO ANELLO. ASSOCIAZIONE MEDIATHECA ‘FIORETTA MAZZEI’ & AMICI DEL CIMITERO ‘DEGLI INGLESI’, PIAZZALE DONATELLO, 38, 50132 FIRENZE, ITALY (39) 055 582608 holloway.julia@tiscali.it

                                                                                     Firenze, 6 settembre 2006

Il Presidente, Il Segretario

 

 

 

To Whom It May Concern

 

This letter attests to the excellence of Daniel-Claudiu Dumitrescu’s work in Florence Porta a Pinti Cemetery, the so-called ‘English’ Cemetery owned by the Swiss Evangelical Reformed Church.

 

Daniel Dumitrescu has conserved expertly the iron, bronze and copper work on circa 70 nineteenth-century tombs in the space of two months, by stripping them of rust, next applying two coats of anti-rust and two coats of paint. He carefully masked the marble and other stone of the tombs before applying the paint. He is also an expert carpenter in wood, building rocking cradles and library shelves. As a worker he is diligent, courteous and careful. He carries out tasks and cleans up following work without having to be asked to do so, knowing instinctively what to do. During this time he has caringly looked after his family, including the premature birth of their third daughter in Florence. Together with his wife he has also written and illustrated the ‘Romany Vocabulary’ which lists everyday items in four languages. These achievements have been praised by all who see them, including experts of the Opera del Duomo in Florence, the National Agency for Roma in Bucharest, etc.

 

It is our hope that Daniel Dumitrescu return to Florence to continue the excellence of his work. We recommend him most highly to any employer.

 

Sincerely,

 


 

Julia Bolton Holloway

 

 


 AUREO ANELLO. ASSOCIAZIONE MEDIATHECA ‘FIORETTA MAZZEI’ & AMICI DEL CIMITERO ‘DEGLI INGLESI’, PIAZZALE DONATELLO, 38, 50132 FIRENZE, ITALY (39) 055 582608 holloway.julia@tiscali.it

                                                                                     Firenze, 6 settembre 2006

Il Presidente, il Segretario

 

 

To Whom it May Concern:

 

This letter attests to the excellence of Vandana Culea’s work in the ‘English’ Cemetery in Florence, organizing her sisters, brothers and their wives from Buzau in 2007, to restoring it to the English garden it had been in the nineteenth century. She returned with her husband Daniel Dumitrescu in 2008 and he restored all the iron, bronze and copper work while she maintained the house, excellently. With the money they have earned they have bought land and will build a house surrounded by fruit trees for themselves and their three daughters.

 

We are profoundly grateful.

 

 

Sincerely,

 


 

 

Julia Bolton Holloway   



Next another family came, he a stone mason, and she desperate because Social Assistance in Romania was going to take away their three children because of the state of the house. He had bought land and the house from work he had had. We gave him more work so he could repair the house and save the children. Which he did. They were able to save two of their children, but the youngest baby died.

      

Before                                                                               After

But prejudice reared its ugly head and for a year we were forbidden to have the Roma work for us. So Daniel was unable to build his roof. Social Assistance next came and threatened to take away Daniel's three daughters because their housing was not adequate. I sent them the money to buy temporary roofing and a stove so they could move in and save their children. Daniel earned money making the lilied crosses in copper that I use in the library on its shelving.

A young mother of three children she had left with her mother in a wheelchair because she had no feet in the garden so the daughter could beg for them in Florence came to me because this had happened to their house.




Which we helped repair.

Our friend Margarita from Constanza who gardened for us so well had to live like this while here in Florence and at home lived in a room rented from the city. I taught her the alphabet and how to write her name.





Then the police came and bulldozed their shack in Osmannoro in the coldest winter, when the Black Sea was so frozen one could walk on it at Constanza, and they forced these poor families to sleep in the open in the streets in groups of not more than three, women with babies, elderly people with illnesses.

Finally, this year Daniel could return and he cleaned and conserved many marble tombs, earning first the money for his roof for conserving the tomb of the almost ancestress, Sarah Elisabeth Gough, of an English lord who paid for the work,






 



 

 

and now earning the money, partly from the Waterloo Committee for repairing their tombs, to build the roofs of other Roma homes in Romania, giving them as well gutters and drain pipes for water collection.



While Daniel is carrying out this work he is also directing Alphabetization School in the Cemetery where the older Roma teaching the younger ones who missed schooling because of poverty. The school master we have chosen, who is just out of hospital with tuberculosis, has a satchel with alphabet sheets and pencils and is teaching many other Roma in the streets of Florence. And also in our Cemetery.








These teachers conduct classes in Romanì, the Indo-European Romany language that they speak at home in their families, the language Roma are happiest in. We talk together about this dream we have of 'Home Building, Home Schooling'. The Roma tell me their great needs are for a house, for a school, for a job.



Aa     Bb      Cc     Dd     Ee     Ff     Gg
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Hh     Ii        Jj      Kk     Ll     Mm    Nn
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Oo     Pp     Qq      Rr      Ss     Tt
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Uu     Vv     Ww    Xx     Yy      Zz
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Anau  Nume  Nome  Name:
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Prenume Cognome Surname:
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This project with the Asociatia Agrustic Somnacuni of which Daniel-Claudiu Dumitrescu is President has its members learn the alphabet in order to write their names to be members and thus form a cooperative of women and men in which those who know how to read and write teach those who do not yet know, in 'home schooling', while at the same time helping each other with rebuilding their roofs and homes with gutters and drain pipes for water collection and later with solar panels for electricity.

Just this evening, going through the files of photos and other images I pulled out Daniel's plan and said to him, 'It is amazing that two years ago this was your house, just a sheet of paper. Now it is built through your work, here and in Romania, and it is beautiful.' We are calling this project 'Home Building, Home Schooling'. It is being submitted to the Open Society Institute founded by George Soros in Budapest.

The Roma in Romania were slaves from the Middle Ages until the nineteenth century when Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin was translated into Romanian. Their housing was built with whatever materials were at hand. Yet it was their labour that built so much that is permanent in Romania. Here we see an engraving of a Romanian slave village. These are the shacks that are being bulldozed in Italy and France, without any provision being made for better roofs over the heads of European Citizens.



   
Gabriela, born prematurely in Florence when a Carabinieri menaced Vandana, dragging her into a police car.

Roxana, Roma adopted from Kazakhstan, with Daniel and Vandana's book Romany Vocabulary.

But now disaster. The rich family who had owned Daniel and Vandana's land before Communism, insist on having it back. The police came to Vandana while Daniel was in Florence, working on cleaning the tombs of famous people in the 'English' Cemetery. This is an account of the work he carried out in 2011: http://www.florin.ms/Restauri2011.doc. The appeal trial is today, 15/12/2011, in Poliesti. The land and house, bought from the municipality, and the house built by Daniel, were all registered legally with that municipality. But the privilege of wealth has more power than has poverty and work. This is injustice.

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AGRUSTIC SOMNACUNI || ROMANY || CRADLE || LET US PRAISE THE ROM || CHUPPA || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA MAZZEI' ||  'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || AUREO ANELLO ||