The life of a group of Gypsies looks hard, but very romantic. We have been living a stone’s throw from three large tents with real Gypsies. They have been camped in the field in back with their horses, carts and family. We watch them, amazed that their life lived from the back of a horse cart, traveling from place to place, still exists in 2013. And so close to the solidly middle class homes of Chinicato.
They are, to be correct, the Romani people and have lived in Portugal since the 2nd half of the 15th Century, there are 30,000 to 50,000 in the country. These are the most hated people in Europe. I was amazed when I went to Google to see some sites on them; it goes way beyond “don’t let your daughters near them”.
This morning after picking up the day’s bread, we took a path by the soccer field that would lead us quite close to their camp. We passed a group of blossoming trees filling the air with a wonderful scent. Were they apple? Cherry? No, it was some kind of nut. After looking one nut over carefully we realized it was an almond. These trees are everywhere, blooming like crazy and we have been wondering what they were, mystery solved.
The citizen stops me and points through the bushes, a sheep with her lamb was less than 50 yards away hiding in the shrubs. She was still breathing heavily and the baby couldn’t stand. Mama was licking the lamb getting it to nurse and was clearly uneasy with our attention. We worried about this newborn’s safety, what if one of the dogs that run freely around the neighborhood should come across it? Where was its flock?
Just a few steps later, a Romani delegate was sent to check us out and ask for a Euro, we had spent all our money on bread and didn’t have a Euro on us and he went back to the family. We watched as they packed their lives on their horse drawn carts and pointed their horses east to the next empty pasture.