FIRST STEPS IN TRANSNISTRIA
My first trip to Transnistria lasted two weeks, between April and May of 2018. After intensive investigation, searching for information available online and quite frustrating attempts to get some contacts, I decided just to go. I went to "take the pulse", confront reality with everything I've read, try to talk to people to confirm / discard lines of work that I had established.
My first confrontation was at the linguistic level. I knew that Russian was omnipresent but the truth is that I expected that it would be easier to communicate in other languages. It turned out that no. A couple of weeks before traveling I imposed myself a rigorous self-study of Russian at home. If afterwards I was able to handle some basic conversations, it was thanks to this learning and to the similarity between Russian and Polish, my mother tongue. But above all I was able to communicate thanks to the great patience and openness that the inhabitants showed me.
In my projects so far I have never worked with a fixer (I have always moved to places where at least one of the 4 languages I speak was used). I value the direct contact, without any intermediary or translator, because this way I can establish a closer and intimate relationship with the person I want to portray. In Transnistria I felt even more strongly the importance of direct communication. And once again I thought that language, instead of dividing, should serve as a powerful tool to communicate with others.
Now it's time to prepare the second trip.