Saturday, October 25, 2008


Books are Books of the Dead, are Books of Life. We have joyously been working in this 'English' Cemetery with a Roma family with their writing of a book in four languages. You can read it on-line at And with their building their cradle for their coming child while also conserving all the beautiful iron work in this 'English' Cemetery.

Daniel Dumitrescu and Vandana Culea making their cradle for their baby who will be called Gabriela.

And this is the new cradle:

Then I went to Romania, where I found they lived twelve to one room next to the horse's stall. They are now building their house in a flower-filled meadow I also saw when there.

Today they have sent pictures of Gabriela as she now is

and of the house-building.

Only its roof is lacking. Can we help with this most essential part by paying Daniel to do further restoration in the Cemetery? Pray that this be allowed.

Look at the courage of the grandmother. How empowering she is.

Two of Christopher Alexander's beautiful volumes, The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe, have been lent to me. He is saying much the same. that the hut on water in the Mekong Delta of a poor family has more beauty and utility than has a cold modern architect's fantasy. Look him up on the web. I like his story, teaching at Berkeley he has retired to Sussex; it's rather like mine.

Our library is the Mediatheca 'Fioretta Mazzei'. I think you will see why when you read her little book:

Fai attenzione alle persone e alla natura:
E` molto più importante che leggere un libro.

Paying attention to people and nature
Is far more important than reading a book.

Creating a book from beginning to end. That is what I have always done. And now more than ever. All my many published books have been researched, written, typeset and many of them even hand-bound by myself. I think it is important teaching even very small children the art of the book. I used to bring wooden blocks and show children how the letters came out backward/forwards when they were inked and pressed on paper. Then let them do paintings and collages and tell me their stories which I typed up so they could place them with their drawings. These three and four-year olds, knowing their own stories, then could read them to their mothers and fathers! I used to so want such programs for the Head Start schools. Which instead said: 'No, we can't do that. We must keep these children away from books. They must first learn socializing skills. So deprived they are'. Not understanding their very teachers were enforcing deprivation and illiteracy. All you need for a young girl to become a writer, a scholar, is a library she can explore. She doesn't need schooling apart from that.
Think of Christine de Pizan, of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, of Mary Somerville. Mary, with no university education, only six months of schooling in an iron cage to straighten her back, discovered two planets, wrote scientific books that were used as text books at the University of Cambridge, and taught Ada Lovelace mathematics, who then with Charles Babbage invented the computer, she suggesting to him using the Jacquard loom cards with holes punched in them and the binomial theorem.

We have a friend born in the Mugello, where Giotto was born. He comes many Sundays and recites Dante's Cantos, many by heart, while we record him, our Roma families often listening, too, while looking at Botticelli's drawings for the poem. He is better than Robert Benigni! Most recently, our American scholars at the conference on the City and the Book V found his performance the most moving of their stay in Florence. You can find him at and the conference Proceedings at

Now that lovely design on Gabriela's cradle. It comes from the house in the midst of a garden in Rome of the Cardinal Bessarione. I fell in love with it when I first saw it, at 21, with my first baby, Robin, in my arms. I sketched it then in situ, and many times afterwards from memory, when that lovely house was shut up and abandoned. A Paradise to which I always yearned to return. The Cardinal at the 1439 Council of Florence reconciled Greece and Rome, the Orthodox with the Catholic, though for so brief a while, bringing so many Greek classics into the Latin West. Why I paint the design on the cradles of Roma babies, whose ancestors had already reached Romania by that date and become themselves such devout Orthodox Christians, though never accepted by either Church, indeed being the slaves of Romanian monasteries from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. The design is everything William Morris and Christopher Alexander espouse, the use of natural forms, here the pomegranate of poets, of natural colour, of spheres, not harsh man-made, machine-made boxes.

There are wrong books and right books. Wrong books are for power and against people, David Ricardo and Milton Friedman's laissez-faire economics that caused Ireland's genocide and our present disasters, Machiavelli's Prince and Dean Swift's Modest Proposal, written sarcastically but taken straight, leading again to corporate greed and the Irish genocide of the Potato Famine. Behind these the figures of the Medici. Before them and again under Savonarola Florence was a Republic where Christ was King and where beauty reigned, skilled crafts being prized and the entry into government by the people, of the people, for the people, of great creative energy. Recall those early rooms in the Uffizi filled with saints and gold leaf, not the later ones filled with the Medici, bitumen backgrounds, pornography. About self, not the whole; about greed, not the charity of the Misericordia, the Ospedale degli Innocenti, the Buon'uomini di San Martino; about power, not prosperity; about lust, not love.

There are right books. Most of the Bible, certainly Isaiah, the Gospels. The Egyptian Book of the Dead describing how married couples shall have a garden they will tend and reap if they have been kind to their slaves and done no ill, but individuals who have been for themselves, who have murdered or stolen or worse. shall be devoured by a monster. The Koran where it speaks of Mary's Annunciation and of how good Jews obeying the Torah, good Christians obeying the Gospels, good Moslems obeying the Koran, shall be saved. And Julian of Norwich's Showing of Love.

My Bibles. Their covers had broken off from their much travelling. I took them to my book-binding maestro, Enrico Giannini, whose family have been binding books for five generations, and who has taught me and my Roma families how to marble paper, how to bind books. Together we discussed how best to save them and all the genealogical notes I had written on the end-papers, my family in Ireland, my family in England, my family in Portugal, my husband's slave-owning family in America. I told Enrico the story of how my sandals had become too old, too odorous, in Dallas. How I went to a shoe store and was so ashamed that the salesman was Black and knelt before me placing new sandals on my feet. And I apologized, explaining I hated changing old shoes for new, the old so comfortable but far too smelly. And he agreed. It's just like that with his Bibles, he said. When he completely knows his way around them their covers are falling off and he must buy new ones. Leather-covered Bibles, leather sandals, Christ's feet. And now Enrico has telephoned and they are ready. So I cycle across the beautiful Ponte Santa Trinita and come to his workshop and they are splendid. I have the money to pay for the work. No, he says. But what he would like are two packets of Irish moss for marbling paper. The Carageen moss coming to me in packets, because in Ireland it is for human consumption, for breakfast, and not expensive, and these packets always arriving exactly when they are needed from a great Irish scholar in Cork, Maire Herbert. Who had come to the first and second City and Book conferences in Florence we organized, giving marvellous papers at them.

Medieval monasteries, obeying Benedict's Rule, knew that for physical, mental and spiritual health a balance was needed, of work, study, prayer, the use of the body, the mind and the soul. Our modern education, forgetting this, now has the young rebelling with the ugliest graffiti even on the beautiful convent where St Therese of Lisieux stayed as a young child in Florence. Perhaps because there is no healthful recreation. We recall the beauty of her sister's photography, the play-acting they did of Therese as Joan of Arc, and the loveliness of her theology written by one so young. This is what our library is about in this cemetery, a place where we weed and garden with Roma families, build with them cradles for their babies, share with them Dante and Botticelli, and where photographs of them are honoured on its walls and they are welcomed. In seven years they have stolen nothing. The dry walling has been repaired, saving the cemetery, the beautiful cast and wrought iron conserved, the garden planted and weeded, and soon -- we hope -- the tombs cleaned. The first family came to us with the mother, who is illiterate, singing this as her lullaby to her baby and which I recorded seven years ago: [cut and paste this in the URL line to listen, then reduce that page and return to this one). And now over seven years our Aureo Anello Association has made possible first the buying of a house for this family, the re-building of a flood-destroyed house for another family, the rebuilding of a roof of a third family headed by a widow and the sending of her 18-year old adopted son who was first in his class the one year he had had in school to study in a six month program for his diploma, and now the building of this house by our fourth family, these extended families living in one room, around twelve people each. We have done this through listening to the women begging in Florence's streets, learning their greatest need is the roof over their family in Romania to be intact, and next the education of their children. A cemetery restored. Fifty Romanian Roma of all ages - many lacking schooling - helped to become European Citizens. Done through a library in a cemetery. 'From Graves to Cradles'. Of which we have now built ten. Nine of them with babies in them. The tenth for our library. Flouting Heloise and Abelard!


Julia Bolton Holloway
Hermit of the Holy Family

President Aureo Anello Association Mediatheca 'Fioretta Mazzei' and Friends of the 'English' Cemetery
P.le Donatello, 38

We are now at 1498 signatures on the web at,
'That the Swiss-owned, so-called 'English' Cemetery in Florence be kept open, be restored and be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site', and with 4190 signatures in-house from our visitors, for a total of 5688 signatures. We have decided to keep them coming.

If you wish to donate to the Aureo Anello Association for the restoration of the 'English' Cemetery you can do so by a cheque made out to 'Aureo Anello' and posted to 'English' Cemetery, Piazzale Donatello 38, 50132 Florence, Italy; or through the Pay Pal 'Donate' button below, which can also be used for the CDs, for the hand-bound limited edition books or for the sculptures of Elizabeth and Robert's 'Clasped Hands' or tondos with their portraits (Amalia Ciardi Duprè's sculpture can also be found at, or some or all of these.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008



We are in the grips of control by 'shock'. For which see Naomi Klein:

We are returning to the partnered tactics of Hitler and Mussolini. The use of a scapegoat.

I speak for the Human - and the European - Rights of the Roma. And in particular for the European Rights of the Roma from Romania.

The Roma from Romania are Christian, Romanian Orthodox. They were the slaves of the monasteries from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century.

For seven years, 2001-2008, I have worked with families of Romanian Roma who attend the Mass for the Poor established by Giorgio La Pira, the saintly Mayor of Florence, and continued by his saintly friend Fioretta Mazzei in the Badia of Florence. I visited these families I have come to know and love in Romania at the end of July 2008. I met there also with Gruia Bumbu, President, and his Roma associates, of the Romanian Government's National Agency for the Roma in Bucharest. They spoke of the need for housing, education, medical care for their people.

I believe our fear of the Roma, and especially of those of Romania, is because we have not understood their culture. And that we are afraid that their poverty might be our own future.

The Roma are matriarchal, based on the family. They have no country, no army. Their criminality is the same as for other groups, but they are at the margins of society, their children starving. They are not allowed an official address. A baracca they build in an open field outside the city limits of Florence from scrap no one else wants and which costs nothing is bulldozed over and over again. It does not count as an official address. Without an official address they are not allowed to work. Without work, though they are European Citizens, they are considered criminal. To survive, they can only beg. Or worse, steal.

The Romanian Roma leave their children with their grandparents while trying to seek work in Italy. From which they are blocked and forced into the undesired begging. But I have found that the women tell of what they most need, roofs over their houses that are not leaking letting in the snow and rain, education for their children, medical care, and that they then organize their families into work groups, men and women together, their sons and their daughters, their husbands, their in-laws, even their friends and acquaintances. And that they work together admirably as families. Our laws do not allow this.

The Romanian Roma have saved the Swiss-owned so-called 'English' Cemetery in Florence. First by rebuilding the dry walls that had collapsed in the rains of 1966. They built these walls expertly, the women holding their babies sitting at the iron railing, telling their husbands and brothers where to place the stones, the men first cleaning out the earth, then throwing and catching the stones and putting them in place, in two hours building many metres of wall expertly. That was seven years ago and I next was told it was illegal for them to work to finish the job and had to send them away. In return for it though I bought that family a house in Romania. Since their work no tomb has slid downhill. Then, last year, a young Roma woman organized her mother, her brothers, her sister, her sister-in-law into restoring the garden the Cemetery had once had. Everything had been put to weed killer for many years and the Cemetery was grey and ugly and dead. We forbade the weed-killer. They weeded, planted bulbs, separated irisis and the Cemetery became again the dream landscape it had been. This year Vandana returned with her husband, asking that he work in the Cemetery. They are both 23. She became pregnant with their third child. They were living in a baracca they had built outside of Florence. They had already bought land in Romania on which they hope to build their house. They came every day at 8:00 a.m., even on May 1st when they walked for four hours to be here on time and returned to their baracca on my bicycle, there being no bus service that holiday. Later, Vandana was taken by the Carabinieri in their car and threatened with expulsion if she did not leave their baracca. That night she lost her waters and Daniel had to call the ambulance. Their baby Gabriela was born after a week, premature by two months, weighing 1 kilo 200 grammes. We took them in under our roof, denounced them to the police as living with us as required by Italian law. With that legal address (they already had their 'codice fiscale' numbers) we were able to write a work contract for Daniel and pay his contributions to the state. Daniel in these two months, waking at dawn each day, conserved the iron, brass and copper of 87 tombs in the English Cemetery. The difference is tremendous and appreciated by all, by experts in restoration, by international visitors, by our neighbours. I hired Daniel as my domestic, but he worked as a volunteer member of our Aureo Anello Association through the writing, together with Vandana, of a book he also illustrated, a vocabulary, a dictionary, in four languages, Romany, Romanian, Italian and English:, and in return we donated to them the funds for them to build their house on their land in Romania. In Romania, if the Roma have a registered decent house and a diploma they can legally work, not otherwise.

Both Romanian Roma families who stayed under our roof were the cleanest house guests we have ever had, conscientious, courteous, with dignity, and grateful. They observe strict ancestral hygienic precepts (which go back beyond their arrival in Europe in the Middle Ages, for they are from north India and are Aryan, their Romany language Indo-European), seeing us as unclean. In seven years nothing has ever been stolen by them from us. We give them and other Roma families used clothing and share meals. We invite them to our library. We build wooden rocking cradles together: We have taught parents who cannot read or write to write their names to get their baby back from the hospital where it was born, instead of being placed for adoption by an Italian family. (I quoted in this case to the judge Roman Polanski's statement that it was worse to be an orphan than to be poor). When I have visited Muslim Roma families in Poderaccio I have observed the same cleanliness, the same courtesy. Outside there is rubbish. But, inside, the houses are spotless and beautiful. Often I have seen the only piece of furniture is the ancestral wooden rocking cradle, with colourful carpets and hangings, the family sleeping and sitting on the floor, after taking their shoes off on entering. The carpets are constantly washed.

It is crucial in dealings with the Roma to centre on the women, on the family, remembering they are a matriarchy. At the same time taking away from the men that despair that commonly drives oppressed males in minorities to selfish anodynes like cigarettes and drink (Native Americans, Blacks, Aborigine, Irish, etc.). The Roma want to work. But are forbidden by law to have work unless they have a legal address and sufficient literacy. The Roma marry very young in arranged marriages and are faithful to their spouses. That faithfulness is enforced by internal tribunals among their people. I have seen excellent, loving marriages among them and the joint caring for their babies who never cry, being always held and nursed, rocked in their cradles and swaddled, therefore beginning their lives with a sense of great security and of being loved. Our first Roma mother's ninna nana, her lullaby to her baby, was 'Alleluia'. I recorded it and it was played during the RAI 1 2008 Easter Sunday broadcast on hermits as background to the Mass for the Poor at the Florentine Badia this mother attended. Our own children no longer receive that child-rearing. We can learn from them and they can teach us.

In the midst of Daniel's work in our 'English' Cemetery I visited the Roma families that we know in Florence in Romania. I discovered that Vandana and Daniel sleep with other members of their family in one small room, twelve people all told, children and grown ups together next to a stall with a horse in it. This is why this couple works so hard here to build their own house there for their three daughters. Another family is headed by a widow with her four children, one adopted, their three spouses, and her four grandchildren, their house having a leaking roof with holes in it. We are helping them repair their roof and the adopted eighteen-year-old is studying in a six-month programme for his diploma. He had been first in his class the one year he had in school, his family being too poor to continue his schooling. The family that restored the dry walls seven years ago is now prosperous from having earned the house to replace their baracca where twelve had been sleeping. Schooling is said by the government to be free but the parents are billed for heating, books, and must buy clothing which they cannot afford. Medical care must be paid for after 18 by those who do not have work, particularly the grandparents caring for grandchildren. Relatives visiting hospitals must pay to enter. Water even from a tap a distance down the road is billed highly, failure to pay carrying a prison sentence. The families go hungry and lack clothing. I saw our family cook in a pot on an open fire outdoors their lunch of just potatoes. We have found that when we pay money it is immediately sent back to Romania to feed the children. I found in these families that despite their great poverty they generously adopt orphaned Roma babies or unwanted Romanian babies.

My first Romanian Roma mother, who is illiterate, one day told the story of 'Cristos who was so poor he was born in a baracca with the animals, the horses. And the people were hungry so he gave them bread and fish and potatoes. And then the envious killed him'. I came to understood her telling more truly when I saw the animals' rooms beside the humans' room and the cooking of a pot of potatoes over an open fire outdoors in Romania. Families cannot afford to send their daughters to school when everyone is hungry. They can barely send the boys and for a few years only, not to the level of the diploma which is needed for work.

We suggest to our families that they work together in solidarity, helping each other rebuild their roofs. When they help each other in Romania we are more willing to reward them with seasonal work in Florence. We suggest these families come together as a building and learning association, the families together thus strengthening each family within it. The name in Romany for the Association, 'Agrustic Somnacuni', is the same as ours, 'Golden Ring', 'Aureo Anello'. This is a part of our project to be submitted to the European Union called 'From Graves to Cradles'.

The answer to the problem of the poverty of the Roma is to permit them a legal address so they can have legal work. Italian Roma, Romanian Roma all should have this right to exist. The Romanian Roma only ask for seasonal work here in Italy, for labour-intensive work Italians no longer want. Then the poverty, the begging, the stealing, and our fear of them would be alleviated. The Romanian Roma want to return to their own most beautiful country. Its agriculture is splendid, the land fertile, no petroleum fertilizers or pesticides being used. They are skilled workers in metal, agriculture, gardening, dry-walling, carpentry, sewing and their poverty has them be resourceful and not wasteful. They are the florists in the streets of Bucharest. They make the farm tools of wood and iron used by the Romanians. They often work for Romanians and then often are not paid. They are intelligent and love beauty. Victims of the Holocaust, they received no reparations. The least we can do in reparation is allow them and their families to survive. They are not nomads. They are not dirty. They are no more criminal than are others. They are under greater provocation to resort to illegal behaviour because they are illegally treated as being outside the laws of the land. Instead, they are most truly Citizens of Europe, gifted in its many languages as well as their own. They are not rubbish. They are a great treasure we are rubbishing.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Dearworthiest Godfriends,
Wednesday I flew to Bucharest, Karen Graffeo, my American photographer friend, meeting me at the airport. Bucharest is most beautiful with Roma florists everywhere.
Thursday we went together to Buzau meeting her friend Stefan who is Romanian and who came with us to visit our two Roma families, Hedera's and Vandana's. Hedera with our help has become a rich gypsy. But it was lovely seeing Leonardo and Robert. I had baptised eight-day old Leonardo because it was the only way his mother could shelter her baby with us in a cemetery in the midst of a tremendous storm, when the police had thrown them out of an abandoned warehouse. The women in her family are so beautiful, colourful pleated skirts, gay scarves, long black braids.
Then Vandana's family all living together in one small room, many children, many grown-ups, the horse stall next door with a fine white horse, their cooking potatoes in a pot on the ground over a wood fire, Maria's baby, like Vandana's Gabriela, born prematurely, both of them from their mothers being menaced by the police in Florence, Maria being forced to return to Buzau, a bus journey of two days, and her oldest child in hospital in Bucharest, her mother just out of hospital in Buzau.
Friday morning we saw Gruia Bumbu, President of the National Agency for Roma in the Romanian government, and his two assistants, all of them Roma. They loved the book Vandana and Daniel had created, which you can find when my website is on-line again at and would like them to create another on hygiene and medical care, a vocabulary with drawings for these needed terms and concepts in Romany and Romanian. And they have invited Karen to exhibit her photographs of the Roma with theirs in Bucharest 2 August.
Friday afternoon we visited Romanian Stefan's family and saw the houses he was building for them. He would like to work with our Roma families as he is a builder and has the right documents that could make this possible. He, too, came from great poverty. Everywhere we went were long carts heaped with hay, farmers sitting or lying on top, drawn by beautiful horses, great scythes and rakes made by the Roma. Then Stefan took us to the village in a valley of nine churches and many houses where a married Orthodox priest has brought together children, who were to have been aborted, who were abandoned on the streets of Bucharest, who live in houses with the villagers. The church was beautiful. Father Nicolae Tanase had built it at night, paying the fine each day, as building a church was not allowed under the Communists, the children painting fine frescoes of saints and prophets on all its walls. We struggled to get back to Bucharest in time before the Metro closed down. But Father insisted we stay to dinner - in silence - delicious - with his children. On the train, as it was too late for the Metro, a young couple offered us a ride to where we were staying.
The next morning was by train to Rimnicu Sarat to see Costanza's family and their house with leaking roofs, her four baby grandchildren and her adopted son Cristi, whose schooling we had paid for for getting his diploma. Cristi had only one year in school and had to leave because of their poverty but had been head of his class and won a prize. Now he is so happy to be studying. They had started rebuilding the roof with the money we gave them but ran out of materials, so instead Costanza had painted its walls the most joyous colours.
From the train so much beauty, great fields with many strips of crops using no fertilizer because the soil is so rich, nor pesticides because they were not uni-cropping, but instead multi-cropping, all fringed by mountains. It was like Italy in the sixties, simplicity and beauty all together.
Then on to Buzau again to spend more time with Vandana's family, Karen taking photographs of everything everywhere, especially all the children and adults in that one small dark room. We went to see Maria's newborn baby in its incubator in the hospital - and we couldn't get in until we had paid to enter the hospital! Poor Romanians have to keep paying for everything. Then we went to see Vandana's land. Which is beautiful, wild flowers growing everywhere, and a horse in the field. Daniel's plan for it will surround it with fruit trees.
Everywhere I examined roofs and roofing material, in Father's village, in Bucharest, from the trains. And saw that the best were all made with sheets of shining long-lasting zinc brought from Sweden. We dreamed of our families forming a building association and having Rotary, for instance, buy a container of zinc roofing so its price would remain stable while the economy changed and using this in their Roma projects with Romanian Stefan to rebuild leaking roofs.
And now I have come home to little Gabriela sleeping in the cradle we have made, Vandana caring for her and Daniel finishing the work of restoring the cast and wrought iron in the Cemetery. With the money they earn they shall build their house, bringing all three of their children under its roof. They are just 23 years old. Cristi being 18. None of this would have been possible without Assunta's caring, her victories over Italian bureaucracy, her generosity. And to top it all off Guthrun Asmundsdottir arrived with a generous sum given by the Sisters of Mother Teresa in Iceland for this family. Guthrun is the actress who had come to the lecture I gave on Dante in the year 2000 on Iceland, and a most faithful Godfriend ever since. And she came with her family. So now we plot how to acquire enough powdered milk for premature babies and a system for the boiling of water for these two little ones, also cloth diapers.
The choices these families face is whether to eat or to roof their houses against leaks or to send their children to school or pay for life-saving surgery or medical care. So we are together writing the proposal to the European Union for a project called 'From Graves to Cradles', where these families seasonally come here and restore the 'English' Cemetery and form there a building association for repairing roofs and home-schooling their children and legally entering the Romanian labour market as well as the Italian one through having the required address and decent housing. Vandana in her long and full and graceful skirt and her long black braids has just now taken her little Gabriela out into the Cemetery to watch Daniel at work. Thus we build Paradise.
A thousand blessings,

Saturday, June 07, 2008


It is a splendid June morning after thunderstorms yesterday, perfect for weeding the cemetery, the dandelions and stinging nettles coming out with their roots intact from the damp earth so easily and filling our wheelbarrow to the brim, blackbirds singing their hearts out, swallows darting about the sky. Daniel, Rom from Romania, is treating the beautiful but long-neglected nineteenth-century wrought iron work, scraping off its rust, then two coats of anti-rust and two coats of enamel. Assunta is still weeding. I have harvested much lavender to join our drying rose petals for pot pourri. Vandana has sewn the bags for these. Soon it will be the hour for the Mass for the Poor at the Badia.
Vandana and their prematurely-born Gabriela are still at Careggi, Gabriela's vbirth weight, 1 kilo 200 grams. A long story. We have made them legal. They never were illegal, being European citizens but have been harassed by the police, why Vandana went into premature labour. Collectively our dream is that Daniel earn the money for building their house on land they already have in Romania. It has a well nearby. They build their houses by making blocks of earth and cement. Roofing materials are difficult to obtain and gypsy roofs are in ill-repair because of lack of materials or money for these. If a gypsy house is not up to standard a Rom is forbidden legal work in Romania. The same in Italy. If a Rom does not have an address which is not a shack (built by himself from thrown-away scrap at the end of a bus line in an open field, costing nothing to others) he is forbidden to work. If he has no work in Italy he risks imprisonment. If he has no work in Romania his family starve, his children cannot go to school, they cannot afford medical care. Why they came here, begging, now no longer allowed. So they are starving also in Italy.
Last night we finished the book Daniel and Vandana are writing, a Vocabulary in four languages, Romany, Romanian, Italian and English, with Daniel's wonderful drawings, a splendid introduction to gypsy life. Then, talking about his drawing of a sheep that we were scanning we spoke of Cimabue discovering Giotto drawing a sheep, so Daniel plunged into a book of Giotto's paintings, next an illuminated Dante, Commedia. This is my dream for this Mediatheca 'Fioretta Mazzei' as we now call our library, that it is open to all, finding the poorest can work at the deepest level in it.
Plus we have been building cradles: Now we have done 10! The first seven already are in use with babies in them in Romania and in England. We will keep one in the library, the other two being for Vandana and her sister Maria, both pregnant at the same time, Maria's baby not yet born.

Daniel Dumitrescu and Vandana Culea making their cradle for their baby

And this is the new cradle:

Hermit of the Holy Family