Lauri is also here. He is a 34-year-old Romanian, and has been my assistant on this project since 2003. The first time I met him, he actually believed that gypsies were cannibals. When he was a child he was told “Gypsies eat human flesh”. He is not the only Romanian who has been programmed with lies and exaggerations when it comes to gypsies. It is part of the upbringing the Romanian children are exposed to. They are threatened with being given to the gypsies if they do not behave in accordance with the parent’s desire. Many have never spoken directly with a gypsy for their entire life. Lauri is a fixer and he is my guide and translator. The journeys he has been on with me have totally changed his view of gypsies. Now he almost prefers to be amongst gypsies rather than Romanians. Today he will drive the car to the company which will decorate it with gypsy photos, while I will be attending a pig slaughter along with the TV team and Alex.
The first time I came as a guest to Tudor’s village, his mother was taking care of the slaughtering. A young pig was slaughtered according to gypsy traditions with a knife. An earlobe was cut off and given to me as a token of honor. The earlobe was still warm, and I had to put it in my mouth. A tough little thing – I spat it out when nobody was watching. This is a tradition I would like to show on Folk I Farta, and I wanted Alex to be exposed to the warm earlobe, but it turned out a bit different. This time it is a Romanian farmer who is selling the pig and taking care of the slaughter. We all leave, Alex, the TV team, Tudor and the girls, Andrea and me.
When we arrive, there are two pigs for sale. We assess them, and choose the smallest and leanest. It is pulled out after its ears and screaming like a pig, and it probably understands what is going on. The other pig is continuing eating unsuspectingly. The slaughter victim is put onto the ground and the knife is stabbed into the throat and towards the heart. The whole display is followed by cameras and microphones. The audio guy is not feeling too good when the blood is splashing and the last breath can be heard. The pig looks him directly into his eyes when it disappears into another dimension. The team is concerned with the fact that Tudor lets his children watch this, but this is what it is like in their culture, real things are not covered. Maybe it is better than in our culture, where death is kept hidden, and all food are industrially produced, neatly wrapped and unrecognizable.
After the slaughter, the pig is brought to Tudor, where it is it is cut up. Tudor’s father and sister, and the Romanian farmer are helping. Everything is used, nothing is wasted and they are working fast. Chops and legs are carried inside and stacked in a fridge. The intestines are used for making sausages. NRK paid for the pig and it is food for the whole family.
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