Isolation people experience in a village this small is deafening, if you dare to listen. Talking about feelings is considered a sign of weakness, and mental health is the last concern when survival is the main priority in a small, poor village, during drought season. Daria and her neighbor are widows. This means horses will most likely occupy their houses after they pass away. This is the natural course in Letea. This is the silent pain you hear if you stop and listen.
Sound piece created during the SONIC FUTURE RESIDENCIES organized by Asociația Jumătatea plină and SEMI SILENT to Letea Village, Tulcea County, Romania in June-July 2019.
Photo: Vlad Bâscă, 2019
Ana Teodora Popa is a sound engineer and composer, passionate about theater, radio and innovation. She lives in Iași, Romania.
Recording, editing and mixing by Ana Teodora Popa for SEMI SILENT
Transcript translated in English:
Daria: Take it, ma’am, buy something from me so I can feed the kids. See how we ended up in our own country? Not good. Who gets to decide our faith?
Daria: I’m an old lady and I’ve got two dogs. My husband lies in the ground but I still roam the Earth.
Daria: I am the way I am. A widow on Earth, but I still want to talk to anyone because I’ve got no one… I lay between four walls…
Daria: I had three children, one sits in the ground, God rest her soul. I don’t know what she had. She had the “children’s disease”. I don’t know the name for it. Four and a half months old. I was outside, washing. When I came in from washing di… the… clothes, she had… she was laying like this, and her eyes were… like this… under… here… up. I wasn’t supposed to bother her, because she had the “children’s disease”. So I panicked, since it never happened to me before, grabbed her and ran outside, yelling, found this woman, my neighbor…
A woman: You were supposed to throw a black cloth over her.
Daria: Well, I didn’t know… “Leave the child here, go find Todorania (she was our neighbor, there was Marenca too, and others) to cast a spell over her. I ran, left the baby there. I was still young, I didn’t know any better. Well, what else can I say? She didn’t live. Two-three days, then she died. I took her to Tulcea. And the doctor told me, Ms. Munteanu: “Ms. Daria, I see you suffer for every child here, but listen, tomorrow morning I’m letting you go home, because your daughter won’t make it.” I instantly fell to the ground.
Birds. Voices. Engine.
Daria: It’s my yard, and I’m helping anyone, but when it comes to me, there’s no mercy.
A woman: We’re old now, nobody sees us.
Daria: They take everything, it’s never enough, and… Nobody wants a Mother. They all want billions now. Nobody sees the Mother, because I’m not a Mother anymore… I’m…
A woman: She drinks all night, she screams… she yells all day, God help us. There’s no woman like her in the whole village.
Daria: You have no idea how many mosquito bites I had to endure. My dad used to beat me across the hands and head because he was saying “right” and I was making left. Because I was little… ten years old, and couldn’t hold the damn paddle. Paddle, you know what that is? That big oar? It was three times my size and I was supposed to paddle with it. And Father would beat me as hard as he could. Upon arriving at Sulina I was all swollen. Head, hands, everywhere, because I didn’t know how to hold the paddle, yes. But at the age of ten, to make fun of me like that… Well, he was mean, my dad. He taught me well.
A woman: Those were the times.
Daria: But what I say it’s the truth. The truth, дочка. Well, I don’t want to cry or sing anymore.
A woman: It’s nobody’s fault. Who? No. But whose fault could it be? Nobody has done anything to deserve this, this is coming from God. This is what He gave us, so this is how we endure it. We’re isolated here too, so that’s how God treats us as well.