We are in the Northern region of Hungary, called Palócföld, in a small village where the inhabitants often say that in World War II not even the Russians were able to find them.
I’ve known Rózsi néni since I was a child, but I was an adult when I first visited her, and since then I’ve regularly gone to see her to listen to stories about the past, about her life. As I listen to her, I can in a way live her experiences, good and bad ones as well.
A few years ago she still whitewashed her house, and instead of her running water in the house she always draws water from the well for cooking, washing.
I had eleven siblings, each of us had only one dress, my mother sewed them. I got married rather late, when I was over 21.
I don’t know how I’ll bring in my firewood next year, but everything will be solved somehow. Three years ago I was in hospital… the doctors said I needed an operation, but I came home. Who would have looked after the hens and the garden?
I sometimes think – what’s the point of having such a big garden. And then spring comes, it’s time to have the garden ploughed, very expensive, but, well…., this is how things should be. Take some parsley and basil… I would send home a few plums as well, but there wasn’t much fruit this year.
As we say goodbye, she says
Faith, hope and love are the three things which keep me going… and strong will.
…and on my way home I recall her words and flip through the pictures I take home. I think again: we must hurry to take photos of these people. There are ever fewer and fewer of them left who are kept going by their will.