I don´t like to boast, but I´m from Malaga (Illustrious cultural figures)

Malaga is the birthplace of many artists that have left an indelible mark on the history, some of them are universally well known and others less known, responsible for curiosities you can find below:

Solomon ibn Gabirol, also Solomon ben Judah (Latin: Avicebron, a corruption of Ibn Gibran), was an Andalusian Hebrew poet and Jewish philosopher with a Neoplatonic bent. He was born in Málaga about 1021 and is believed to have died around 1058 in Valencia. Gabirol was one of the first teachers of Neoplatonism in Europe. His role has been compared to that of Philo. Philo had served as the intermediary between Hellenic philosophy and the Oriental world; a thousand years later Gabirol Occidentalized Greco-Arabic philosophy and restored it to Europe.

Ibn_Gabirol,_Caesarea

Pablo Picasso (baptised Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad, a series of names honouring various saints and relatives.Added to these were Ruiz and Picasso, for his father and mother, respectively, as per Spanish law. Born in the city of Málaga) is one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

guernica

Antonio Banderas was born on August 10, 1960, in Málaga, Spain. From 1982 to 1986, he acted exclusively in films directed by Pedro Almodóvar. His success as an actor in American came with his role in Philadelphia (1993). In 1994, Banderas won a role in Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles. In 1997, he made The Mask of  Zorro. He performed the voice of Puss in Boots in the Shrek film series, and in the 2011 spin-off film, Puss in Boots. As film director Antonio is responsible of two films: Crazy in Alabama (1999) and Summer Rain (2006). Althought his popularity comes from his work as actor, his greatest artistic successes have came through his work as producer with his company “Green Moon Productions” in 2008 releases “Before The Fall” (2008) winning a load of awards in different film festival around the world and being the 3º film in the “2008 Movie International Watch List“. The other great success comes with the animation short film “The Lady and the Reaper (La dama y la muerte)” (2009) 100% Andalusian production which was nominated to the Oscar’s Academy Awards.

Another illustrious figures are:

The philosopher María Zambrano (1904-1991) was born in Vélez-Málaga (my town) is among the most influential women writers of all times in the Hispanic World. Associated with the Generation of ’36 movement, she was an exile of the Spanish Civil War for most of her life, living in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Italy, France, and Switzerland.

Actresses as Marisol whose became a legend in the ’60s or Amparo Muñoz (born in Vélez-Málaga) she was also Miss Universe in 1974 but renounced months later (being the only person who has rejected) due to disagreements with the organization.

Antonio Molina was a great flamenco and Andalusian copla singer and occasional actor who participed in the Sam Wood‘s movie “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1943). Pablo Pineda is an actor who won the Silver Shell for the best actor award in The San Sebastián International Film Festivalbut his greatest success is being the first student with Down’s syndrome in Europe to obtain a university degree.

I think the best way to finish this post is with music and for that any better than Tabletom, eclectic band formed in 1976 in which mixed different musical styles as jazz, blues, reggae, rock, flamenco…, it has never had the recognition of the general public but is one of the most influential groups on the music in Spain.

 

Ne Vedem!

P.R.

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Manu Chao in Timisoara!

Another of the good things, that summer brings, are the music live… there are several music festivals and concerts almost every weekends around Romania. I went already to Electric Castle Festival in the county of Cluj the last weekend (but I’ll write about that later on, because this experience deserves a post by itself) and the last Wednesday, for example we went to Timisoara to watch Manu Chao.

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One of the things with which I enjoy the most here in Romania is that for any event whenever we get together a lot of friends from that great family which is EVS (and not only EVS, also friends that work or study here) so people from Craiova, Cluj, Oradea, Arad, Resita… from more than ten different countries met us for the Manu Chao’s concert. And it was a really great night: after one hard day due to the heavy rain that was falling during most of the day we arrived at “Muzeul Satului Banatean” and then the rain stopped and we could enjoy with  more than two hours of show in which we didn’t stop dancing.

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After the concert we went to the backstage and then Manu Chao appeared sharing food and drinks for all of us, taking pictures, signing autographs and the most important, talking with us, he was surprised to see a big group of friends together from so different countries. We explained him about EVS, about our different projects and also we were talking about a load of topics with him, I think everybody left the concert with a great satisfaction; after the great show they made on the stage, he was really kind with all of us, despite being a world-famous star, no ceases to be a completely sociable, talkative and close person.

manu chao

Ne Vedem!

P.R.

Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania, Volunteer´s life, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer is Here

Summer is here and, as always, it has a good side and a bad side. In the good hand we can take a walk through the cherry trees that garnish the streets of Arad full of its red berries, if the weather is really hot we can go to the Neptun Lido, besides the fortress of Arad and have fun with the different swimming pools, someones with hot springs (smell of eucalyptus) another with slides and also there are several places to eat something and, why not, take a beer for only 2 lei!

800px-Cetatea_Aradului

Another advantage that summer brings is the goods you can find in the open market a lot of fruits and vegetables very cheap (cheaper than the big supermarket chains where we are used to buy) and, definitely more tasty and healthy. Now is the best period to enjoy of the Romanian goods, it’s easier to eat better spending less money.

But not everything are advantages in this period for us, the schools and kindergarten shut down so we aren’t gonna work anymore with our children, after nine months we’ve taken a load of affection to them. We’ve tried to teach them and I think, in general, we’ve done a good job but, honestly, I think I’ve learnt more with them than they with me. Sometimes we forget the language is something else than connected words, the gestures, the looks, the expressions… children are able to remember you the worth of all of this. There are been 9 month full of emotions, hugs, dedicated drawings, smiles and tons of fun. We’ll remember them as, I’m sure, they’ll remind us.

Ne vedem!

P.R.

Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania, EVS Activities, Gastronomy, Our Beneficiaries, Volunteer´s life, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I don´t like to boast, but I´m from Malaga (Castles)

In the province of Malaga there are more than a hundred of castles and fortresses although many of them were destroyed after the Christian Reconquest or are in a state of ruin. The most of them were building during the Muslim period and others were older, from the period of the Romans or Phoenicians, but they had their heyday during the Muslim period.

It is in the capital, in the city of Malaga, where we contemplate three of the best examples of fortified buildings that exist in the province: theAlcazaba”,Gibralfaro Castle” and the Coracha”. The Alcazaba is occupying the east end of the city walls on a hill 130 meters high. It is possible that originally was a Phoenician construction, but surely was Roman and later Arab. Residence of Muslim and Christian kings and rulers, was built by BadisMaksan and between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, was renovated and merged with the Gibralfaro Castle, a building that occupies much of the top of the mountain of the same name. The Coracha is the wall that connects the two buildings. For more information, click here.

alcazaba

Other major fortifications of the Malaga province are in coastal municipalities. In Fuengirola is located the Sohail Castle, built in the mid-tenth century by Abd al-Rahman III on a hill by the sea. Although it was virtually destroyed during the Christian reconquest, now fully restored and used as a concert hall. In Marbella in addition to remains of the ancient city walls, also find remains of its Moorish castle of the X century. In Estepona, ruins of the walls of the “Nicio castle (IX century) and watchtowers along its coastline asTorre Arroyo Vaquero”,Los Baños”, theGuadalmansa” or theVelerín”, among others.

fuengirola

Once inside the province, there are some municipalities that stand out in this chapter of fortified buildings: Antequera with its Alcazaba and declared a National Monument set in which highlights its Homage Tower (Torre del Homenaje) that is considered amongst the largest of al-Andalus, with the exception of the Calhaorra in Gibraltar. It is surmounted by a Catholic bell tower/chapel (Templete del Papabellotas) added in 1582.

Ronda with the old Urban Walls of XII century, and the door Almocábar” as one of the best known. Built in the thirteenth century and was modified under Charles V. It consists of three successive doors plus two side semicircular towers. These served as housing for the guard. Its name comes from the Arabic “Al-maqabir” as it is located near the old Muslim cemetery.

Teba, with its Star Castle (Hisn Atiba) The fortress, which no previous archaeological evidence relevant to the Almohad Empire period although it is estimated that it was the Romans who began construction occupies an area of ​​25,000 square meters (the biggest castle in Malaga) and has two walled enclosures. The exterior adapts to the ground, has Barbican northeast and has 18 square towers, except for a circular located northeast and another octagonal to the north. It has three doors, the front facing west, towards Ronda, and two smaller, facing north and northeast.

antequera

Another facilities very interesting are the “Hisn Canit” Castle located in Cañete La Real and the “Bentomiz castle” in Arenas. But these are only a little sample of all the fortress, castles and watchtowers that nowadays are preserved, most of them are not very impressive buildings but a lot of them have been witness the most important events in the history of the region.

 

Ne Vedem!

P.R.

 

Categories: Art & Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

S.O.S. Balkans

The worst floods in the republics of Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia in over a hundred years have already caused more than forty deaths. Authorities fear that the death toll rises as waters recede and make the counting of damages. The economic damages will also be important: the losses amount to 1,000 million euros only in Serbia, a country that the floods have left without 40% of its power generation capacity.

The most affected areas are Obrenovac (Serbian town about 30 kilometers southwest of Belgrade, where on Sunday the bodies of 12 people were found) as well as Maglaj and Doboj (both in Bosnia), where thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes . In neighboring BosniaHerzegovina, nearly a third of its inhabitants have been affected. The situation is catastrophic,” said Serbian Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic, who canceled a planned trip to Austria.

The rains stopped over Sunday in the most affected areas (central and western Serbia and northeast Bosnia), but continue growing the Sava river in Belgrade where the soldiers are built a 12 kilometres wall of sandbags to protect the city. Thousands of soldiers and volunteers worked through the night on Saturday to build a 5 kilometres wall of sandbags to protect the Kostolac power plant, also the workers at the plant joined the effort, digging up a road in a bid to divert waters that threatened to flood nearby coal mines. The Kostolac plant supplies 20 percent of Serbia’s electricity needs.

serbia

Otherwise, these floods could dig up thousands of landmines still remain especially in Bosnia and that were placed during the Bosnian War (1992-1995). Approximately one million people live in the affected region, where floods could dig up part of the 120,000 explosive devices that have yet to be detonated in Bosnian territory, officials said. There are also over 9,400 minefields carefully marked with signs and fences that could be affected by the rains.

The Mine Action Centre of Bosnia has warned of this risk to the residents of the affected areas. “As a result of this natural disaster, mine may have been displaced from the danger zones identified. Every possible measure to encourage residents should be taken,” said the organization.

minas

But the disaster has brought unexpected effect has aroused a feeling of unprecedented solidarity between communities that twenty years ago were declared enemies. Regardless of ethnicity or religion, the least affected neighbors have turned to help those who have lost everything. The constant references between affected the war that devastated the Balkans in the nineties give an idea of ​​the magnitude of the disaster.

In the Bosnian city of Maglaj, residents have already returned to see if there is still something to saveAfter the war I found my furniture, and I noticed I could use again, my couch and my cupboard. But now, now I have no cupboard, you can go and check it, we have nothing“, Hatidza Muhic, one of the affected lamented.

In Tuzla, another Bosnian town, predominantly Serbian, a similar image and despair are palpable. “In two days has destroyed everything we got when we returned to rebuild after the war,” said Nevenka Djuric, who has lost his home after a landslide caused by rains.

Gradually, the neighbors try to recover the few belongings that water and mud did not take. But among such loss, at least the stock has gained something: what could be the beginning of improvement in the relationship between opposing communities for many years. Croats, Serbs and Muslims have shown his human side facing the worst floods in the Balkans in the last century.

yugo

There are various ways to help and get involved, either by actively assisting those in need, if you are in the area, or through donations. Many reputable organisations have opened accounts for this purpose, including the Red Cross Bosnia, Red Cross CroatiaRed Cross Serbia, Novak Djokovic Foundation, Government of Serbia, and Association Pomozi, just to mention a few. Please visit their websites and contribute what you can, or at least – help spread the word.

red cross

Also, international organism as UN, EULEX, World Bank and countries as Netherlands, Russia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Hungary… but even in our city, Arad. A group of EVS volunteers has taken contact with the serbian community in the city and we are gonna start a campaign to collect staple goods (mineral water, higienic goods, diapers, non-perishable food…) and send to the affected areas. Tomorrow we’ll start an informative campaign in schools, high schools, universities, supermarkets to try the most of people have the possibility of helping. And tomorrow, we try to raise awareness the people whose come to our barter market “Let’s Swap” about the neccesity to help in these critical moments.

 

Ne vedem!

P.R.

Categories: EVS Activities, Our Beneficiaries, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Swap

We are preparing a great event for the next week. The Thursday, 15th of May (Update: due to inclement weather of the past week, we are forced to postpone this event for next Thursday, May 22) We are gonna make a big barter market in Arad. It will be in Parcul Copiilor from 15:00 to 18:00. Swapping is simply exchanging things that you don’t want or need any more. So the idea is to just get together and exchange things that we don’t need any more, instead of throwing them away. We can exchange all kind of stuff like: cloths, children toys, accessories, books or even food. Every participant should bring at least one object to trade. The general rule is: NO MONEY INVOLVED. In the end, if some things will be not traded, there will be a possibility to donate them on behalf of the community members who are in need.

823533_253473031510747_1685034111285591004_oThe date of this event is Thursday, 22 May

We wanna make to know that everything is worth, maybe your have a lot of things in your house that you aren’t gonna use anymore but for another people your garbage can be truly treasures. This will be the first edition, because if this event is succesful we’ll keep doing new editions in next months. Our main goal is to prove you do not need money to get things necessary or that you really like. To escape a little of that maelstrom of unrestrained consumerism we are used to.

10275489_251890281669022_4827997081089070952_oThe date of this event is Thursday, 22 May

The biggest factor in this project is the willingness of the people. Residents have to be on board with the project and commit to the idea. It would be wise to win support from respected people within the community, people that everyone trusts, who would then lead by example. Additionally getting young people involved can help draw in families and encourage greater participation. Young people should be involved from the beginning and be asked to contribute just as much and perhaps more than anybody else.

This idea is not new at all, already in the neolithic period started to do this practice. And there is also another ways to trade without money as the time banks which, lately, are having a great boom around the world, although this method began to be used in the early nineteenth century with The Cincinnati Time Store. Regarding to the barter markets, one of the most famous in Europe is located in Barcelona.After the “Corralito” in Argentina began to proliferate a lot of barter markets around the country and in Mexico it’s still working out a barter market prior to the pre-hispanic times.

So… you know, if you have something that is useless for you or you aren’t gonna use anymore, come to visit us the next Thursday in Parcul Copiilor. You can also visit our facebook page, click here.

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Ne vedem!

P.R.

 

Categories: EVS Activities, Our Beneficiaries, Our City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I don´t like to boast, but I´m from Malaga (Natural Areas)

El Torcal de Antequera

The “Sierra del Torcal” (or El Torcal) is a small mountain range separating the cities of Antequera and Málaga. It is known for its unusual landforms, and is one of the most impressive karst landscapes in Europe. The area was designated a Natural Site of National Interest in July 1929, and a Natural Park Reserve of about 17 square kilometres in October 1978.

The Jurassic age limestone is about 150 million years old and was laid down in a marine corridor that extended from the Gulf of Cádiz to Alicante between the present Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. These seabeds were uplifted to an elevation of over 1300 meters during the Tertiary era, resulting in a modest mountain range of flat-lying limestone, which is rare in Andalucia. Later, a series of fractures, cracks and faults at right-angles were exploited by erosion and produced the alleys between large blocks of limestone visible today.

Like many massive limestones, the Torcal includes caves and other underground forms, some of them of historical importance like the Cueva del Toro (Cave of the Bull) with its Neolithic artifacts. Their origins are also related to the dissolution of underground limestone by rainwater.

More info: Click here

El_Torcal,_Antequera,_Andalusia,_Spain

Caves of Nerja

The Caves of Nerja (Cueva de Nerja) are a series of caverns in Maro, close to the town of Nerja (50 km to the East of Málaga). Stretching for almost 8 kilometres, the caverns are one of Spain’s major tourist attractions. Concerts are regularly held in one of the chambers, which forms a natural amphitheatre. Skeletal remains found in the caverns indicate that they were inhabited from about 25,000 BC up until the Bronze Age.

The caves were re-discovered in modern times on 12 January 1959 by five friends, who entered through a narrow sinkhole known as “La Mina”. This forms one of the two natural entrances to the cave system. A third entrance was created in 1960 to allow easy access for tourists. The cave is divided into two main parts known as Nerja I and Nerja II. Nerja I includes the Show Galleries which are open to the public, with relatively easy access via a flight of stairs and concreted pathways to allow tourists to move about in the cavern without difficulty. Nerja II, which is not open to the public, comprises the Upper Gallery discovered in 1960 and the New Gallery discovered in 1969.

In February 2012 it was announced that possibly Neanderthal cave paintings have been discovered in the Caves of Nerja. (click here).

To go to the website, click here.

nerja

Acantilados de Maro – Cerro Gordo

 

 

This is a unique stretch of near-virgin coastline in Malaga, which runs for 12km east of Nerja to La Herradura in Granada province and covers an area of 1,815 hectares, including a protected part offshore. Its dramatic rocky steep cliffs (up to 75 meters of vertical) plunge down to the sea, leaving a few sheltered bays with beaches in between, which can be accessed via staircases or tracks. Located on very edges of the Sierra Almijara, these limestone outcrops have been eroded by the sea and weather into fantastic shapes, with offshore stacks and arches and undersea caves.

 

Its popularity with visitors particularly in the summer months means that the beaches can get overcrowded. Camping on the beach, fishing in the protected waters and driving motor vehicles down to the coves and beaches in the coastal park are forbidden.  You can take a bath in amazing crystal clear waters where live endangered species as star coral. We can also find protected species such as the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) and cetaceans such as the short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops trucantus), fin whale (Balaenopteraa physalus).

For more information: click here

maro

 

 

Ne vedem!

P.R.

Categories: Art & Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Campaign against Human Trafficking

As you know one of the most important fields in which we’ve worked for our project has been the Human trafficking, and we’ve been doing diverse activities related with that:

– In the last October we attended the third International Symposium on Human Trafficking organized by our hosting organization The Pro Prietenia Arad Foundation.

– From September 2013 to February 2014 we attended a training in which we received a lot of information about this topic (you can also check our section in this blog, click here).

With all of this, we started to prepare our own campaign to raise awareness among young people of Arad County. We prepared the campaign working togheter with our mates from the “Unity in Diversity” project, and when we had all ready, we started our tour.

 

poză

We start our campaign in the High School of Curtici. The High School director assures to our organization the students could speak and understand english so we prepared the campaign in english language, and that was the great problem… most of them didn’t understand us, so we needed the help of Adina and Claudiu (our mentors) to translate them all the information. Quickly, the students were very interested in the topic and they participated more than we expected so we finish the first day with a very good feeling. Campaign was supposed to last a week but the next day when we showed up, the headmaster cancelled the rest of the campaign arguing that the students should prepare themselves for the exams then we had to leave Curtici very dissapointed by the lack of seriousness of the director and with the feeling that we have lost a good opportunity to continue raising awareness of youth there.

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Our next destination was the university Vasili Godis in Arad. We had in the audience some students from the university and also some Italian EVS volunteers who were really interested in this campaign. We didn’t have problems with the communication due to most of them understood perfectly English, so we have a really good feedback with the students and everything worked out as was expected. The campaign wasn’t only a bunch of information, we prepared exercises and examples to create a debate and clear any type of doubt that could present to our listeners.

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Our last target was Lipova, the second largest town in the Arad County. We made the campaign for two days, the first one was a very great experience, most of the students understood english and some of them helped the rest of the guys who couldn’t understand us, there was a really cool feedback with them and they were totally concerned in the topic, after the first minutes when they were very quiet and shy they woke up (at least a few of them) and we went out from there with a feeling of satisfaction for having passed on the message to listeners. Althought the second day the students were younger a most of them didn’t understand english so Claudia and Adina, again, were talking with the audience all the time.

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To conclude we only can say it’s been a great experience, even with the difficult of the bordier language (also for me, I’d never spoken in public in English) the result of the campaign has been very satisfying for us as well as for our organization.

 

Ne vedem!

P.R.

Categories: EVS Activities, Our Beneficiaries, Our City | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I don´t like to boast, but I´m from Malaga (Malaga’s Speech)

The Malaga’s speech is very peculiar, covers so many words and expressions that for an outsider is almost impossible to follow a conversation without interrumpting to clarify certain terms. Ancient words like “aliquindoi” or “merdellón”, terms used in a different context than usual and spanish vocabulary mutations make a peculiar native dialect.

For a lot of time, many people have been interested in collecting this terminology; the Tourist Board, for example, has published a guide of popular vocabulary of Malaga, in which collects an explanation of the particular speech of locals and a small dictionary of words and common expressions of the area.

In book format is the “diccionario del habla malaqueña” (Dictionary of Malaga’s speech), by Enrique Del Pino, published in 2006, with over 5.000 examples of how the people from Malaga express themselves and through internet blogs and pages that are interested in this topic are countless.

Here are some examples:

Aliquindoi: Comes from when the british sailors were doing tasks in the port and taught to the local workers saying “Look and Do it”. In shorts, it means to be attentive.

Burrá: It means a great deal.

Bartola: It means the potbelly of men.

Borde (literally, edge): It means an unpleasant person.

Canio: Used to refer to a friend, instead of naming him. It comes from “canijo” (scrawny) that means small but taken with an affectionate nuance.

Chiate: It means stream, usually a stream of blood.

Daleao: Comes from “ladeado” and means crooked.

Empanao: Comes from “empanado” (in breadcrumbs) and means dazed, that looks like fool.

Fatiga (literally, fatigue): It means shame, compuction. It refers to a situation in which a person feels uncomfortable.

Guarrito. It’s actually an electric drill. The origin of the word is in the drills brand “Warrington”,  by extension, began to use to name this tool.

Hocicar: It means to fall on his own face.

Haba (or “Jaba”): literally, bean. It’s used to refer to a big foot.

Illo: comes from “chiquillo” (kiddy) and it’s used to draw the attention of someone.

Jopo!: Expression used to cast someone.

Lamio: Comes from “lamido” (licked) and it means mowed to ground level, completely clean.

Majarón: Crazy, sick in the head.

Merdellón: Comes from the Fench expression “merde gens” (shitty people) used by the French people to talk about people from Malaga, It’s now used to talk about rude and tacky people.

Nove!: Comes from “no veas” (don’t see) and it used as a expression of astonishment. It can be used in all situations.

Oú!: Comes from “Jesus”, and its meaning is like “wow” or “Oh, my god”

Ñosco: it means a large stone.

Pitraco: It means apiece of meat of poor quality.

Piarda: It means don’t go to class.

Petao: It means very muscled person as well as something filled to bursting.

Repeluco: It means shiver.

Suavón: It means a person that doesn’t argue but does what he wants.

Sieso: Referred to a person without ease.

Tenis: It means gym shoes.

Ustedes: literally, it means you (in plural) in a polite way, but it’s used in a normal way.

Viae: Comes from “viaje” (trip) and it’s used to talk about a strong onslaught.

Zorruno: It means an unpleasant smell.

Zaleazo: It’s a sharp drop. comes from “zalea” (sheepskin).

And finally, the ways to order a cofee in Malaga.

 

Ne vedem!

P.R.

 

Categories: Art & Culture | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Violența în familie

The people at Pro Prietenia have their share of really serious issues which they deal with on a regular basis. From human trafficking to offenders and also victims of domestic violence, those are some of the topics that are very dear to our foundation. With that in mind, in January, we together with volunteers from Ofensiva Tinerilor, had a course about domestic violence from Pro Prietenia’s main lawyer, Adina Moisa.

Even though all of us were more or less aware of this scourge, the information presented by Adina still gave us a lot of food for thoughts, breaking several misconceptions that some of us had. For instance, the first thing people need to know about domestic violence is how (sadly) universal it is. It goes beyond culture, religion, social status, race, age and even sex.

“Battering or beating is a form of physical domestic violence just as common in the developed as the developing world. In fact, the number one form of injury sustained by women in the United States is battering by an intimate partner.“ (Font: http://worldsavvy.org/)

 

dv2

But after all what is domestic violence? In a nutshell according to the Legal Dictionary (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com) is:

Any abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household on another can constitute domestic violence.”

This is indeed a very specific sort of crime that only happens among family members, and can be express in several ways:

– Physical: The oppressor uses force in order to have control over the victim, inducting all sorts of physical injuries. This can also be applied to the depravation of the basic means to sustain one’s health such as medicine, food or even sleep.

– Sexual: Not only the attempt of having any sort of sexual contact with the victim without consent, but also the act of exposing her/his sexuality to others by force (ex: prostitution). Domestic sexual violence can also be expressed in psychological ways such as: mistreating the person’s sexual abilities or even withholding sex.

– Psychological: It all comes down to the action of inducting fear in the person, which can be done for example by threats, blackmail, harassments, mind games, stalking or the attempt of isolating the victim from family friends or social life.

– Emotional: Degrading the victim’s self esteem and sense of worth by constant criticism on the victim’s abilities and competencies, insults, feeling manipulation, or induction of guilt.

– Economic: Making the victim economical dependent on the oppressor by taking control of the victim’s financial resources.  (Font: http://www.woodbridgedvrt.org)

Needless to say that every country has its own way to deal with such matter when it comes to the law and the consequent punishments applied to the offenders. Even if during communism this was in a way neglected, nowadays Romania does have a strong hand when it comes to penalties to aggressors, having their first legislature back in 2003 with Law no. 217/2003 on the prevention of family violence (font: Wikipedia), which was finally amended in 2012.

“Romania’s criminal code imposes stronger sanctions, including longer jail sentences, for violent offenses committed against family members than for similar offenses which are committed against non-family members;” (font:http://www.stopvaw.org)

Having said that it is not at all surprising that Romania also has to deal with such problem, and in the case of this Eastern European country, it is the women that take the biggest slice of the cake that comprise the victims of domestic violence.

“In Romania, The National Agency for Family Protection reports approx. 9500 cases of domestic violence per year for the two past years, 73% being against women.” (Font: http://www.transitionsgate.org/)

However, the same font also warns us that those numbers can be somehow distorted considering what the reality really is, and many cases fail to reach the authorities.

“Nonetheless, these statistics underestimate the reality of domestic violence, which in most situations, is carried from generation to generation as “normal” behavior. Experts estimate that the more accurate number of domestic violence is approximately six times higher than reported.” (Font: http://www.transitionsgate.org/)

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Romanian women in wedding dresses protesting against domestic violence, in Bucharest. (font: http://turkey.setimes.com/)

Just like in many crimes such as human trafficking, sometimes the biggest obstacles for those who fight it are actually the victims themselves, who fail to report the abuses they’ve been subjected to, due to many reasons. Some of them are the obvious fear of consequences, whether physical or psychological, the shame of being faced as a victim of domestic violence especially (if we consider people of an higher social status), and sometimes even the total lack of knowledge that they are actually being victims of a crime, by facing the aggressor’s actions as normal behaviors. Some victims also do tend to adopt a somehow passive attitude towards the abuses for fear of losing the “loved one”, by constantly forgiving the aggressor’s actions, in the hopes of an eventual change of attitude.

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Cardboard silhouettes representing women mortally victims of domestic violence in Bucharest, Romania. (font: http://www.thehindu.com/)

These reasons, while being absolutely comprehensible, do warn us about the complexity of the problem, that sometimes things are not black and white and stronger reasons counter the apparently logic decisions.

On the other hand raising awareness against domestic violence is nowadays sort of a hot topic, with information being disseminated throughout the whole web, and NGOs who fight against domestic violence being created in almost every country in the world, opening a small door for a brighter future for all the victims of this scourge.

La reverdere…

AS

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EVS experiences in Arad

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EVS experiences in Arad