Barry Gossett, Baltimore, stands with Emil Dragan of
Vurpar, in front of the Brukenthal High School, a
German school in Sibiu. Sibiu is the administrative
center of the county in which Vurpar lies. Because
there is no high school in Vurpar students wishing to
continue their studies must go a school in Sibiu, such
Toma Coldea is a village elder. He survived the Second World War and
endured the Communists. Here he stands with village-son, Simon Dragan
of Fort Wayne. Coldea maintains his farmstead and his animals that
support his wife and adopted daughter. He is a member of the town
Simon Dragan, at right, and two villagers in their more traditional
clothing in the living room of their home. Average income is approximately
$20 a month in the village. Most people in Vurpar have reverted to
barter, some receive pensions, a few have earned income and some receive
money from family and friends in the West.
She has raised her children and maintains her farmstead. Her husband
died a few years ago and she still mourns for him during traditional
Parastas ceremonies where the living help the dead rise to heaven.
Her farm is over the hill from Vurpar in Tichindeal, a neighboring
village, but she is also part of the family of Vurpar. She is pictured
with her nephew, Simon Dragan.
The rhythms of
the life of the family are played in the courtyard. Here pigs are
slaughtered, vehicles are repaired, crops are dried, cloths are hung
and celebration conducted. These days the barn often serves to store
farm tools, an occasional car and the remnants of a non-functioning
tractor, as well as housing oxen, cow and horse.
In Vurpar each family is self-sufficient. It is a definition of subsistence
farming. Each family farm is a collection of buildings arranged around
a central courtyard. A barn, a main house, a summer kitchen, a lager,
a chicken coup, a pig pen, a woodshed and an outhouse are joined by
walls and gates to create a secure compound against thieves, stray
animals and visiting armies. Compounds usually adjoin one another
forming a sort of walled village. Most doors open into the courtyard,
not onto the street.
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