Vasile came to Harja when he was almost three. He appeared to be a baby; he couldn’t stand or walk and had been found by the Director of Child Protection in the street where he had been put out to beg. The temperature was minus thirty. School was a struggle for him (and his teachers) but at the vocational school he did well and had a job in Onesti, the nearest town, for two years where he was well liked and put in charge of his section. He is a generous boy, shy for it is not easy being a gypsy in Romania.
Two years ago, at his request, Betty took him to his father’s village – a man of wealth who immediately offered him a car and a job. He stayed there for a night; when the offer was repeated and he was asked to address his parent as “father”, he said “you are not my father, you have never done anything for me. My family is at Harja”. And so he came home.
Under a special scheme, he was selected to do an engineering course and is now doing a further year there.