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With so many leaving, how do we keep Romanian traditions alive?

Last weekend, at Valea Viilor’s prestigious festival “Martian Negrea”, I was invited to represent Clear Public Space Ltd & Asociatia Un Viitor fără Gunoi (Association A Future without Rubbish).

After an in-style welcoming by Mayor Ilie-Avram Pinte and his wife, I joined the festivities at the church’s community centre, where a “Twin Town” agreement was signed between Valea Viilor and the village Plop, (Rayon Doduseni) in the Republic of Moldova.

President of the ‘Sibiu Regional Ecomuseum Association’ Marius Halmaghi, coordinated the symposium ‘Patrimonial and Traditions in the commune of Valea Viilor’.

The vital question of “How do we keep the traditions alive in rural Romania, while so many people are leaving the country”? was the centrepiece of the festival, as several performances of ensembles from Valea Viilor (Romanian, Saxon, and school children) and Plop continued throughout the evening.

Eugenia Parlea (who teaches students local stitch and embroidery work) admitted mournfully that she does not know if, or when, the teenagers will return.

After a speech by  Radio Romania’s Ioan Vulcan-Agniteanul, I was then encouraged by the festival to say why I decided to move to Romania: I  explained it was the welcoming and warm population, who lived in a wonderful countryside with its amazing food & drinks, and in accordance to traditions and seasons, etc.

I presented Clear Public Space’s & Asociatia Un Viitor fără Gunoi project which, from 2016, was implemented and developed in Valea Viilor’s Kindergarten, and now is also working at primary school level. I showed some of the project’s activities we do with the pupils, what they get out of it, and I took the opportunity to present to the audience why, what and how to recycle. On behalf of the Asociaţia Un Viitor fără Gunoi, I received the ‘Martian Negrea’ Festival's diploma. How great!

The President of Sibiu County Council Daniela Cimpean, joined the festivities, as well as the mayor of Bazna Lucian-Gligor Scumpu, Mayor Marius Grecu of Axente Sever, and of course mayor Aureliu Gutanu of Plop (MDA).

I had the pleasure to dine with them after the festivities, at Mayor Pinte’s house – in his very special “crama”!

Mayor Marius Grecu was really interested by Asociaţia Un Viitor fără Gunoi and maybe enrolling Axente Sever in the project, and also Mayor Aureliu Gutanu from Plop (MDA) said he will be in contact to progress this further. Mrs. Daniela Cimpean, while confirming the absolute necessity of our work, also congratulated us on our project.  Thank you, Daniela!

And saying goodbye to Valea Viilor to return towards Sibiu, I felt wonder and joy at making my life in Romania, all these years ago. Yes!

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