Periprava is a village located at the country's eastern border, in the Danube Delta. In order to get there from Tulcea, one needs to take a five-hour ship ride. The ship makes a round trip once every two days. Not long ago, the local media announced that once the winter season started all connections with this world forsaken village would cease, be they by water or by land.There are about 200 houses in the village. Most of them are covered with reed, but there are some covered with tiles. "Ever since 1934," the spouses Petre and Pasa Boerencu told us, "the tile was made by the craftsmen in Valcovo. Here's our house. It's already 64 years old and still hanging on under its tile." The yards are in Lipovan style. Each one of them has flowers nurtured with love and vine bowers. Here they don't make caves, because the water infiltrates easily. "When the Danube's level rises," Feodor and Eufrosina Danilov told us when graciously hosting us for one night, "in the village the water seems to spring everywhere." In Periprava bathrooms are white. Our hosts were generous enough as to fix us a great steam bath."Around 20 years ago," another collocutor, Stifei Isariev, told us, "we used to sow cereals, especially wheat, around here. They used to thresh it right on the field. At that time, we had about 46 farm tractors and around 20-30 combines. But now, there's nothing besides maize. Even the sunflower is scarce. We don't eat seeds. 2-3 tractors and a combine execute all the agricultural works in the village. People are vegetable and fruit growers, but the gardens are constantly attacked by pheasants. Not long ago, the ox was replaced by the donkey. There's no abundance – neither vegetables nor fruits. Trade is down to zero. All we produce is for daily necessities and winter provisions. Only the fishermen, who are scarce as it is, sell their fish by contract to the Fish Breeding Commercial Society in Tulcea, managed by Vladimir Suhov, under very bad terms for them."There are also the Danube Delta ecologists who reduced to a minimum the fishing tools that the fishermen had used since the beginning of time.The allotment of land to the Periprava people is difficult and the mayor cannot be easily approached on this matter, because one has to walk no less than 12 km ever since Periprava has ceased to be a commune in favor of the C. A. Rosetti village.Besides the four-form school there is no cultural activity in Periprava. Youngsters can't find any entertainment. There is not even a real disco place in the village. In the buffet-shop, whose owner lives in Bucharest, there are only expensive cigarettes and exotic drinks, equally expensive. The young and beautiful seller Liuba would have liked to sell flour, sugar and butter, as well as bread and sweets for the kids... but there's no bread. It's been brought in from Tulcea and expensively traded for fish by the rare ship crews.The church, built in 1934, still fulfills its traditional and noble functions, whereas the talented icon painter Boris Varnavici embellishes the houses of the inhabitants of Periprava. from The Sunbeam over Carcaliu, edited by the Russian-Lipovans Community in Romania, 2007

by Andrei Ivanov