“The Finder” from a Romani Perspective
I think I may have mentioned in the past that I have a friend of Romani descent…if not here, then certainly on Twitter. I incorrectly remembered that she is not of half Romani descent, but is indeed a pureblood. (Who lives in a house with three Outsider roommates, in case anyone wonders.)
Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to get Aunt Tana’s response on Willa’s living situation, Uncle Shadrack and a few other things. So I present you with an excerpt from a recent email (with minimal corrections), translations provided where necessary. (She’s taught me a few words in the time I’ve known her, so that’s why some aren’t translated.)
Sa se Rrom (I am Romani), if what you were asking is were both my parents, yes. Va de fa Calderon. (We are of Calderon/Kalderash descent.)
It’s perfectly possible for Romgeri[/Romani] to live in brick-and-mortar houses, they don’t all travel all the time. As for living in the trailer, yes Willa does [live in it by herself], but [Walter and Leo have] control of it. There’s nothing that effectively keeps them out of it if they want to go into it. There is, as you said, a pitiful lack of chaperoning and what passes for it is all male and [Willa is] single. I cannot believe that [her] family would allow that. We know she might be fooling around with Timo, but dammit there should be an attempt to keep her innocent until she’s married, and CERTAINLY an attempt to make sure that if she’s NOT, it’s ONLY Timo and [that there’s no one else they can accuse her of fooling around with]. There’s a lot about the appearance of impropriety. And [Walter and Leo] are doing nothing to protect her, and living alone in a trailer owned by a couple of single guys…NOT a [good] way to do that.
And yes, if Shadrack was [as] stupid as he appears to be and that far against the will of the clan, the women would have him out so fast his head would spin! Yes he’s in charge, but there has to be SOME amount of goodwill there. He’s not a god, and he’s not a total dictator where whatever he says goes no matter what. And all it takes is for one of the oldest of the dukkerin [fortune tellers/divination experts] to make noises about how the spirits say he’s BAD FOR THE CLAN. The men may be in charge, but the women can put them there. After all, the women make the babies that increase [clan membership]–you don’t want to upset [those responsible for] the next generation.
Are there [betrothals] that piss people off? Sure. Are there matches specifically made to end disputes and all? Yes. But most of the time the people going into those are fully aware of that, and steps are taken to make it okay [among all parties]. You try to find a pair that will [agree to the betrothal] without being pushed too hard. And if the match is SO bad that one side is trying so hard to run away that they’re [willing to involve] the gadjee [Outsider] police…someone with power [in the clan will intervene]. [Traditionally speaking], there [should be] LIMITS to [Shadrack’s power]. Actions like, that pushing Willa THAT far, pushing Timo THAT far, endanger the entire clan and all it’s allies.