From Brasov to Belgrade

Doroteya Nikolova

Did I say that I have an unhealthy interest in Balkan countries? My last trip, which included both Romania and Serbia, just proved it.

My first stop in Romania was Brasov. Because I live in Varna – at the bottom of the Balkans, geographically, (as we say in Bulgaria) it was not easy to reach Brasov.

It took me a whole day by public transport. I liked both the city and my interview with a young woman from Brasov who had offered her womb to become a surrogate mother.

Timisoara, a beautiful town in the Banat, was my real discovery in Romania. I understood what it meant to be for centuries a part from one great empire – the Austrian, instead of another – the Ottoman. It was quite incredible to sense and almost to touch and feel this.

I had several useful meetings in Timisoara and was provided with some exceptional help by my Fellow colleague, Mircea Opris.

Maybe the most interesting meeting was with an expert in child psychology. This woman was incredible with her explanations about all aspects of prenatal and postnatal relations between the mother carrying the child in her womb and the child itself. Biology, but not only biology…

Last stop was Belgrade. This city means a lot to me. But I have a feeling it doesn’t like me. Each time I visit Belgrade it’s been rain, rain and more rain. In fact, my Serbian sojourn was a bit disappointing.

Many people I met and talked to, even Serbian women seeking surrogacy, refused to say anything in public. They all fear that somebody might get to know about or just suspect their sympathies or opinions on this illegal issue. No matter if those were affected women, family therapists or medical experts.

Yes, this situation proved that the surrogacy issue remains a real taboo, but frankly, I never suspected to meet such a definite and determinate refusal to talk about it.

When I described this situation to a Bulgarian social anthropologist I know, he suggested that I was encountering some almost tribal habits and responses of a type that still are quite common in the Balkans.

Fellow Bio

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Doroteya Nikolova

Doroteya Nikolova, from Bulgaria, is currently employed as a radio show host, news editor and broadcast journalist at Radio Varna - a regional station of the Bulgarian National Radio network.

Topic

Topic 2010: Taboo

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