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How my interviews ended

I am back in Germany but before I will inform you about the latest changes in my life you have to know everything about my interviewing experiences.

Well, the hardest thing when doing interviews is to find representativ respondands, or TO FIND respondands. I had to give up on the idea of representativity a long time ago when a German Roma Rights activist told me: "Romania? You better go to Slovakia for your research because the Roma population in Romania is VERY diverse!"
This is why I decided to do qualitative instead of quantitative research because the idea here is not to be representativ but to let your research guide you into the right direction. (if you want to know more about qualitative research please go to the next library...)

Anyways, I decided to focus on Roma from the Cluj area. In the beginning I was afraid that people might not want to talk to a blonde German girl. Since I interviewed University students first I did not encounter this problem at the beginning of my research. Then I went to the Garbage dumps and found two women who were happy to be interviewed. It was harder with the men. My first respondand seemed to be drunk and his answers did not make any sense to me. After the interview he wanted to marry me and to come to Germany with me. Two other men I talked to were also more interested in me than my interviews and in the end I asked one of the women I had interviewed to find me some guys who would actually give me honest answers. Maybe not a very representativ way of finding respondands but qualitative research is also about gaining access.....

I interviewed "civilized" Roma living in apartment buildings next. It was really hard to find them. Since most of them are not organized in organizations and do not live in a community you have to know them personally. I went to ask one of my neighbours. And guess whom they reffered me to? Yes! To Vandar the known criminal!!! In the end they all seem to be friends with him.....
I spoke to his sister first. She was very helpful and I did the interview with her. I asked her, If she knew any other people living in apartments and I ended up doing two more interviews. I know that in theory the respondands should not know each other but again you have to consider whom you have access to.....
Unfortunately one of the other respondands told me all kind of stories about him having a lot of money, a house etc. I found out afterwards that he lived with his mother and does not have money either.

At some point I decided to also interview activists. This turned out to be very easy. I just called them, set the date and time, and then did the interviews. Two women, two men. Instead of arranging marriage we arranged future collaborations.....

I still had not given up on my plan to interview some Gabors. I had been told before that it would be difficult to get into contact with them. My rescue was Marita. Vandar´s, the known criminal´s, mother. She speaks Romanian, Hungarian, and Romani but taught her children only Romanian because her husband did not speak any other languges. She sells second hand clothes at the market and has a good relationship to some of the Gabor women. She told me that she could put me into contact with them If I came with her to the market. I tried my luck for four days. The result was a Gabor man who wanted to marry me and jealous women telling me to get lost. One of them even slapped me on the butt when i did not leave fast enough....

After this experiences I decided to change my strategy. I asked my friend Marian to do the remaining ten interviews for me and to stress on making good quality interviews with males. Marian is Roma himself, has access to communities and he is a MAN. Well, actually he usually has the opposite problem than me. Whenever he does community work the women try to hitch on him and last year in the summer one girl was even sent to him at night when he was sleeping in his tent........
9.7.06 10:37

Things are going to work out

I am back in Muenster and will stay here until monday. From monday on I will spend my time in Hamburg until Avtandil finds a new job. On the 15th of July there is going to be a Hospitalityclub party and the host is the dude that wrote the HC article for the Stern magazine. Coincidence....?

I have some good news: I have been asked by the council of Europe to document the Roma film festival in November. Wow. It looks like I am getting closer and closer to my goal of combining my passion for movie making with my work on the field of human and minority rights!

I still cannot believe how lucky I am. Ever since I came to Romania, so to say for the last two years, things just happen to me. I meet the right people, in the right time, and the right place. Last week I spoke to one of my friends from Cluj and she told me that she is going to open an non-profit employment agency for Roma. Imagine how unbelievable this was for me after having spent a whole year organizing seasonal work for Roma in Germany..... (by the way, I managed to send 6 people this year)
9.7.06 11:22

Hospitalityclub party

This saturday I went to a hospitalityclubparty in Hamburg. The host was the guy who wrote the article about HC for the "Stern" magazine. There were quite a lot of other members but also some of his friends.

This party made me realize two things:
1 German parties are very different from Romanian parties. It is just the old story: In Germany you talk to people, you get to know people, and you go home without having taken anyone´s phone number. I really understand why many Romanians think that Germans are cold: In Romania I would have had five phone numbers and an invitation for a coffee the next day. Well, I really wonder how France is going to be like......

2 HC really is a German thing. Before the party began there was a HC media team meeting. Very german: everyone has a certain responsibility and the meeting was quite structured. I told them that I was interested in joining them but they did not seem to be too interested in having me in their team. When I asked if I could join their meeting I had to justify why. I had to tell them what kind of media experience I have and in the end they did not even ask me for my nick name, e-mail address or any other contact data. I guess that means I am out. The whole thing felt a little weired because I always thought that every member can be a media spokes person and then suddenly these people have a complete media strategy and seem to think of themsleves as the one and only media team legitimized by having close contact with the founder of the club.
Well, that was not the idea I had about hospitalityclub and I decided to put my efforts into HC Romania only. Lot´s of stuff to do over there and the thing that makes me happy is that I only organized one party there, told everyone that I would not organize the second one and now things are working out. By the way: There is going to be an HC meeting in Vama Veche at the end of August!
18.7.06 11:58


Avtandil finally found a job as an engineer!!! He is going to work for Siemens in Erlangen.

He will have to invent/ create containers for medical instruments in order to transport them safely to the customers. The Job will start next monday. During the next weeks we will be busy moving and organizing everything.
18.7.06 12:03

When Hamburgians need money

As most of you know I am from Hamburg. If you are a foreigner you might have heard about it because it is a big city in Germany. If you are from Germany you must have heard about the Reeperbahn. Hamburg has a harbour and for centuries Hamburgian women have improved their financial situation by “serving” sailors who spent a couple of days in town. Due to modern technology most sailors do not stay too long anymore and thus new ways of earning money have been explored.
While I was in high school some of my female class mates earned their pocket money Go Go dancing. I was told that they never got entirely naked but still earned a lot of money with it.
Another girl from my class earned her rent by publicly dumping her boyfriend on TV. She only had to change her name and persona to make it look more realistic.
Another guy from my school probably paid for his driver´s license by testing eatable underwear. One day I saw him completely naked on “Wahre Liebe” that is a TV show where you can learn everything you never wanted to know about sex.

Don´t get me wrong. It is not only the high school kids who seem to need a lot of money in order to satisfy their needs. My father´s child hood friend supported his wife and three children by talking about his nymphomatic ex-girlfriend whom he broke up with twenty years ago. He really could not cope with having to have sex several times per day. Half of Germany probably knows about his resulting inferiority complex. He shared his feelings with us on more than one talk show.

A guy from my gym earned his money by stripping entirely naked in a club. I never saw it personally but a 50-year-old women from the gym told me that she had been there to see him.

My favourite story about improving your financial situation is “Bigi´s story”:
When Bigi was in 9th grade she was caught in a bus without a ticket. Since she had already spent her monthly allowance on other things she decided to change her identity into mine. The fine arrived in my mail box. I found out because she had told her mother who “volunteered” to pay “my” bill.
A few years later she must have gotten caught again. Due to unbearable poverty she decided to become a web-cam-star. She is currently working as a “show master” on late night TV. Unfortunately her salary must be little because she can obviously not allow herself to buy some clothes. I wonder why she does not participate in her own show where you can win up to 2000 geile Euros!!!
21.7.06 11:32

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