On 12 of July, I packed my luggage and went to the city Cluj-Napoca, in Romania. Why? Because there was a special event: So Keres, Europa?. Hundreds of youngster from different part of Europe met to talk and share ideas about the situation of Roma community in Europe.
I have to confess, my knowledge about this topic wasn’t so wide. But after seven days I discover their culture, traditions, arts…was an amazing experience!

But let me star from the beginning…

 The travel to go there was tiresome. First 3 hours to go to Budapest (again) and from there a bus to Romania. It almost 10 hours trip! My legs were numb, my neck stiff and my butt became square for sitting for such a long time. Still it wasn’t so bad because the people in the bus were nice, funny, the perfect companions for a travel. We arrived, explored a little bit the area and went directly to sleep.
The entire event took place in a big University Campus. I shared a room with other four girls. It was kind crowded, but all of the girls are great! So I had a good time with them, laughing at night and gossip about everything.

The first day, on Monday, was the Opening Ceremony: the organizers explained the event, the programs and the workshops that we could participate. In addition, some of the participants showed their skills: there was a music band playing traditional Roma songs, a beatboxer from Ukraine, a drummer from Italy…It was amazing to see how many talented people were there. In the evening, we were supposed to go for a walking tour around the city, but it started to rain hard! So we had an improvising activities: a quiz game about the Roma culture, a dance lesson and they taught us some traditional songs including “Gelem Gelem”, consider the hymn of Roma people.

Each participant had to choose one workshop where he or she would love to participate: from playing music, to learning history or express oneself with art. I choose to be a civic journalist for a few days. Along with the workers from “Go Free” we made a journal about the event and Roma community in general. I made a Photovoice about the event. We started our work on Tuesday so it would be ready for the festival on Saturday.

Fortunately, the rain stopped on Tuesday (or so we thought because in the middle of the day it started again) and we could do the city tour in groups. I saw the important points of the city: like the monument of King Mathias. And during the night we had enough strength to go party! The DJ put Roma music from different types of countries: Serbia, Hungary, Romania, Spain…It was my first time dancing this type of songs, but I enjoyed a lot. 

The next days we were preparing ourselves in our workshops to show the results during on Saturday for the festival.

But on Friday was a special day. In 2010 the Roma people who lived in Coastei Street for a long time ago evicted by the government because they wanted to build a park, church and a faculty there. The Roma people had to go to PataRat, a place by the city’s garbage dumb. The living conditions there are horrible, far from being healthy. When I was there I saw a dead rat near the place where the kids played. Because of this injustice, the participants of the event and the local people from PataRat joined to make a march across the city to Coastei Street to raise awareness.  The most shocking experience for me was to see a boy around 11 years old crying to see the place where his family used to live. 

Finally, on Saturday we could see the results of our hard work! You can check our magazine here
The festival was a great success, with music, a museum about the Roma history, superheroes, the holocaust…We had a great time, but also was sad because it was the closing ceremony and we had to say Goodbye