Today was a social/ work visit. A few of the guys that work at Little Oak come from Romania and they go back home in the summer to visit the family. As we were passing through the area they live, we stopped off to visit Miki, Florin and George.
It was an interesting day and fascinating to see things from the other side of the coin. Back in the UK a lot of conversation (the main issue underpinning Brexit) is focused around over population, too much immigration, too much focus on economy and too much pressure on the environment and ecology.
In Romania, the conversation is almost the opposite. There is a major brain drain occurring, a de-population in some areas, few job opportunities and re-wilding occurring over large areas as farmland is abandoned. In the community/ family we visited, all the young generation work in Western Europe (France, UK , Italy and Germany) and only some parents and grand parents remain in the village. Most houses are empty and land abandoned for most of the year.
We enjoyed a feast of local food, produced on the parents/grand parents small holdings. The land to the back of the house was producing corn, legumes, tomatoes, plums, proper free range chickens (eggs), goat and sheep (milk and mutton), pigs, turkeys, guineafowl and they also had a horse. Unfortunately it was a social so I couldn't have a proper look at the many butterflies flitting around and I only managed to see Red-backed Shrike in between eating, drinking moonshine and chatting but the habitat looked good and there was lots of re-wilded areas across the whole area.
It was a strange contrast/ paradox , almost the eco-Marxist fantasy of the founders of Extinction Rebellion (but not vegan) but founded inadvertently from an exodus to the Capitalist west. Pure irony and does beg the question about nature conservation at the Western Palearctic level and where best to spend money and resources in preserving the ecological diversity of this biozone and where best to pursue the development of modern world eco-centric communities where in this part of the world they are naturally evolving.
View over the Maramures region- described in the Lonely Planet as the best preserved Peasant Society in Europe.
Miki and Florin. We had a tour of the village and the brothers described life growing up on the self sufficient small holdings. They summed up the self sustainable life as working all day from 6am to the evening, busy all day with different skilled tasks such as animal husbandry, fruit growing, farming, building and forestry and not making any money at all. The hard work was simply to feed themselves and their family. By working in Western Europe and sending money back home they can develop the small holdings (replace the old farm houses with modern houses) and plan to retire back home later.