The Story Of The Lost Kendama @ Street Delivery Craiova

Cris Pîrvu

During the late summer of 2018, a few friends of ours - Mirela Bercea, Ana-Maria Cratita, Patricia Ionescu and Corina Radu - organized the first Street Delivery event in Craiova. We were happy to be there too!

The event took place on Popa Şapcă Street, early September; it was a success because Corina, who has been living abroad for years, was persistent enough to offer her native town a space that people can reclaim and fill with fun activities. As a declaration of love for Craiova. Or as a manifesto.

We stretched our tent in the street, laid a beautifully colored quilt on the ground, and spread around several copies of The Story Of The Lost Kendama, some crayons, some drawing paper, and some colored chalk. For two and a half days, children of all ages came to our stand and read from the Story, looked at the illustrations, or simply drew kendamas on the ground.

 It was also interesting to talk to the children's parents: no matter what their reactions were, I found that discussing about Roma and intercultural education directly, far from the protective space of Facebook, is always a must.  Some of the parents were happy to discover a diverse children's book and were concerned by the damage done to Roma children by the hate speech and the discrimination so pervasive in our society; others had harsh replies that I will not repeat here because I am sure you can imagine them easily.

I remember what my friend, Corina Radu, the main organizer of Street Delivery Craiova, kept telling me whenever she would see me strolling around, basking in the sun, away from our stand:

"Cris, go to your tent and talk to people because in Craiova we have no such projects and this is an important discussion to have."

And I went ... because we really have to have these discussions in the public space, where we can see each other, where we can listen to each other before deciding that our truth is the only one that matters. We should prevent ourselves from becoming that ''little tyrant'' who builds up walls of pride and unyielding certainties between people.

I want to invite you to take a moment and think about what Amin Maalouf, a Franco-Lebanese writer, says in his book, In The Name Of Identity: "For it is often the way we look to other people that imprisons them within their own narrowest allegiances. And it is also the way we look at them that may set them free."