O P I N I O N
by Lina Žigelytė
Residents of Parubanka immediately notice strangers. An empty police booth with broken windows marks the entrance to this Roma settlement in the outskirts of Vilnius. Here, there are no paved roads. A dusty dirt track winds along dozens of flimsy wooden houses and shacks. Some children walk barefoot on paths that have shards of glass and needles protruding from them. After a recent public transport reform, the nearest bus stop is about three kilometers away.
This area is home to 500 Roma people — raging from the very young to the elderly. Each time a car approaches or someone walks by, locals look over wooden fences that surround houses and often recognize visitors. The majority of these outsiders are so-called tarchoks – drug users, who come to Parubanka for a fix. I learnt of this term from Fiokla Kiurė.