“Take good advice, make sure it is good advice, then do it your way.”
Vidal Sasson

The Element

One Romanian Woman in a Japanese Tsunami

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A single Tsunami has shaken up the lives of so many people, yet it’s too far away for me to relate to it. I spent a few minutes consuming a bit of mass media (TV, Internet) and I despaired – it’s hard for me to connect to any real human experience beyond the superficial, sensationalistic and overly dramatic repetition by plastic reporters dressed up as humans.

I am however carrying with me in my heart and thoughts one Romanian woman, the woman we regularly buy milk from at the market. We first purchased milk from her during our first weeks here. Over recent weeks something has happened to her. She doesn’t look well, her smile is almost gone. We’ve asked her and she said she isn’t feeling well, but the hectic-market is not a place for lengthy intimate conversations.

Last week we purchased fresh milk from her. On the way home we drank from it (it went really well with the cookies we were snacking on) and Andreea sensed something is not right with the milk. When we got home we placed it in a pot to boil, Andreea went out again and I drifted off at the computer, forgot to turn off the gas, and spoiled the milk. When Andreea came home and looked at it she found traces of milk-powder.

What is happening to our milk-woman? What is her suffering? What could cause here to dilute her marvelous fresh milk with milk-powder? Will a few more lei make her suffering go away? Can I do something for her? Should I speak to her? Should I buy my milk elsewhere?

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