GLOSSARY
Poland glossary

Maria

(POLAND 14)

Sex

female

Age

53

Occupation

works in the bakery

Location

Goworůw

Date

July 1999

 

transcript

I was received very warmly. The conversation took place in the kitchen. You could still see the post-flood dampness on the walls. From the outside, the whole building looked like a ruin at first sight. Mrs Stawowczyk, I think, preferred talking about her plans, her life in Goworůw, than about the flood. I think that when reading this interview, one can feel a certain thirst for more, but I understood that Mrs Stawowczyk was tired and not very well.

Section 1
Could you introduce yourself in a few words, please?
My name is Maria Stawowczyk, I live in Goworůw, number 39, I am 53 years old. I am alone, I mean, I share the flat only with my son.

And you came here from the town, didnít you?
I came here from Dzierzoniůw. I used to live in a housing estate, a new estate, I had a first floor flat, it was nice, but I somehow missed nature [laughs]. With my husband, we were looking for such a place. I like the mountains very much. And so we came to Goworůw, I got to like the place, I was most enchanted by the mountain [points to the mountainside near her house], the one at the foot of which I live [laughs]. These buildings happened to be up for sale, so we bought this house. This house was in a very bad condition. It was the 1980s, 1986, we bought it in July, that was the period when you could buy nothing, I mean, as far as renovation goes, finishing the house, there was even shortage of nails. Virtually nothing was available. It was the period when even food was purchased for coupons, hard times they were, but we managed somehow, slowly. I was working in Dzierzoniůw for another year, I commuted on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays. I brought jars, made preserves at home, I brought here [laughs], I bought, I mean, for the house renovation, whatever was available.
Windows, doors, nothing was available to buy. As much as we could, we managed to renovate the house. After a year, I gave up the job and I settled in Goworůw for good. Well, I donít know if it is so interesting, but the next year, in March, after less than a year, cause I came, I gave up the job in August, and in March the next year, my husband died in a car accident. And I remained alone, only with my son. I was still in debt, cause we had taken loans from a bank. And in addition to the buildings, there were 33 hectares of land. And I was there, alone. Part of the house still requires renovation, but I canít finance it [laughs]. And so, for so many years, Iíve been trying to survive on my own.

Donít you sometimes wish you hadnít left Dzierzoniůw?
Well, I mean, there are such moments, I sometimes feel I would have [thinks for a while] had to put in less effort there, I wouldnít have... I wouldnít have had to care about coal, or the fuelwood, or... but, on the other hand, I feel so attached to the nature, I like it so much here. I donít think I would be happy living in a block of flats. I simply like the nature, I like living in the country, besides, Iíve got used to the people here, the environment, I feel fine here [smiles].
Section 2
Is there anything you sometimes miss, something you used to have in the town and you donít have here?
You mean if I miss anything? Well, I miss someone who would help me do certain things here, I lack money to finish the house, we were planning to go into agro-tourism, cause I think you can make your living out of it - the village is quite nice, but if you want to invite someone, you have to provide proper conditions for them. At the moment Iím doing up the bathroom, the building was flooded during the flood, and there was considerable dampness, we had to dry out the walls, so we couldnít do any more serious renovation work until the walls were dry. Now Iím doing the bathroom, then Iím planning to do the rooms, perhaps Iíll be trying to do the rooms upstairs as well somehow, maybe Iíll manage.
If my dream comes true [laughs], I may be able to rent the upstairs rooms. I was going to arrange a camping ground, so that people could come in the summer with their tents, but the problem is, we would have to fence the grounds, I have already levelled it, I have tidied it up a bit, but you would need to construct some sanitary facilities, toilets. I even wanted to purchase a toilet, I went to the commune office to enquire, but the mayor told me I was the first one to enquire about it. I have seen such toilets, standing by the side of the road, some even with wash basins, such portable toilets. I would even hire such, but I donít know how to arrange it. I asked here, I phoned Klodzko, I phoned Bystrzyca, but I donít know where such things can be arranged, anyway, I donít have it now.

What do you do for a living now?
Well, I work in the bakery. Simply, my profession is totally different, but taking into account the conditions, itís hard to get a job, I had to accept what was available.

Back in Dzierzoniůw, where did you work?
I worked in the Radio Factory ďDioraĒ in Dzierzoniůw, I was in planning. I had a good job there, quite well paid, but thatís history [laughs]. The factory no longer exists as well.

You donít miss it, do you?
[laughs]

Yes, you mentioned that you renovated the house after the flood. Iíd like to ask you about the flood, what were you doing when it started, where were you, were you asleep then?
No, I wasnít sleeping, because, I was already working in the bakery, and in a bakery, you usually work at night. And the flood, I mean, we didnít know back then that it would be a flood. It was like that, on Sunday night, I think it was 7th July, there were signs that something was going to happen, the water level in the river was extremely high, normally it is such an inconspicuous river. It was at about 8 pm, after 8, the water was so troubled that the stones in the river started turning, the water current was so strong that it overturned the stones, and the river bed was so full, but I went to work normally. When I was at work, I got a phone call that our village was being flooded, that I should come back home, cause it was empty at that time, there was nobody home. Well, I was a bit afraid to go alone into the night. I asked my neighbours to phone me again in two hours if there was a real need for me to return home, I didnít realise how serious the flood was. The flood looks totally different when seen on TV from what it really is when you experience it. To experience it is different than to see it.
They phoned me in two hours, they told me my neighbourís barn had been flushed away, that the situation was horrible. So I went home, it was about 4 am. I work in Domaszkůw, I went via Dlugopole, I saw the meadows flooded, the road, only trees indicated where you could [drive]... You could say it was just one, huge lake. At one point, my car stopped, but somehow I managed to start it again, I went to Roztoki, there were people standing by the side of the road, nobody was sleeping, 4 am and nobody was sleeping. The bridge had overflowed, I donít remember exactly, but I think the main bridge on the road to Miedzylesie had been taken away by the water. People told me not to go there, I wouldnít reach home, but, I thought, it would be closer to home anyway, so I went on. I reached Michalowice and I couldnít go any further. I got out of the car, the engine stopped, there was lots of water, all the meadows, roads, everything was flooded. I opened the car, and the water entered the car, I couldnít walk through the village. I went through the fields, it was raining, I was all soaked through. When I reached home, I was so cold, I was all shaking, I made myself tea, put my feet in some hot water, I changed my clothes and I went out to see what was going on. I had come from the other side, from the direction of the fields.
When I went out what I saw terrified me so much, cause I had gone through the village before, there was no way of passing it, I had never seen anything like that before. I was so tired that [sighs] it was just awful what I saw, just awful. Lots of stones, pieces of rock on the road, people were crying, houses were flooded, my neighbourís barn had been flushed away, they were trying to salvage their animals, they took them to a hill, an elevation. The neighbourhood is so formed that you can take them uphill a bit, and all their belongings, whatever they could, they took out - furniture, but first, the animals, and then all their belongings. The buildings got flooded, the water took away bridges, farming equipment, construction equipment - timber boards, fuelwood, coal, somebody had some sand for construction purposes, it was all taken away by the water. Because the water was coming with such a power that itís difficult to describe. Itís not like water spreading over a flat land, I think it would take away a man as well - you wouldnít have had a chance against it if you had found yourself in the currentís way.
Section 3
What did it look like, where was the water coming from?
Well, the water was coming from somewhere in the mountains... Nobody knows where from. Some say it was an extremely heavy cloudburst, it made such huge fissures between rocks in the forest, uprooted trees, flushed them away, overturned electricity installations. We got cut off, we couldnít make any phone calls, at least there, uphill, cause, at the beginning, downhill, the telephones were still working, there was no power, no light, everything broken, trees uprooted, the roots washed out.
Well, itís difficult to describe, it was all like a battlefield. It lasted for three days. The worst period was three days. Later, the water calmed down a bit. Well, at the beginning, for the first day, there were people totally cut off on the other side of the river, there was no way of reaching them, they didnít have any water or bread. At the beginning nobody seemed to care about them. For the first day, we didnít receive any assistance from anywhere. We most needed drinking water, cause the one we had was undrinkable. All the wells were flooded, full of mud. Yes, and talking about the river, it flowed in its bed for however many years, and then it changed it in places, it washed away peopleís belongings, took away the gardens, building lots, yards and things... why? Because it filled its original bed with stones and rocks and the water overflowed and made itself a new bed, until this day those places are not renovated. In some places they deepened the riverbed because it flooded peopleís cellars, cause the riverbed was higher than the cellars, and when it started raining even slightly, the water filled the cellars. So they deepened it in such places a bit, but until this day, it has not been done properly.
Section 4
What did your house look like?
My house and my neighbourís were flooded because we live at the foot of the hill, so the water coming down from the mountains flooded us. The water from the river came up to the building, so the water coming down didnít have anywhere to go, and it flooded us, the rooms, I had water here up to... in the bathroom, in the corridor, in the rooms - it was everywhere. But it wasnít running, there was no current, it just came, and there was so much of it, all the walls soaked up the water, I had to change all the floors, put new ones, take the plaster off the walls, so that they dried out. The drying out lasted until recently, before I started doing it up a bit, renovating, cause until recently, it was impossible. Firstly, there was no money to do it, secondly, Iíd better dry the walls I thought. I had to wait a bit, shortly after the flood I started heating the house, I started the central heating oven and didnít put it out for about a year, the dampness was unbelievable. Besides, itís not only my building, in any building where there was water, until this day there is dampness on the walls - despite peopleís putting tiles on, changing the plaster, but I think it was done too soon, the walls had dried out enough yet, so...

There was no need to hurry, was there?
No, no. Sometimes, thereís no need to hurry. Exactly.

When the flood started, what were you thinking of salvaging first?
Well, I mean, what first? Well, people salvaged their animals first, so that they didnít drown, I mean, in our village, only some hens got drowned because everybody took their cattle, horses, whatever they had, they took them to the mountains, they tied them up there, so that there was no problem so that they shouldnít drown.

And in the home?
In the home, things were flooded. Whatever they managed to take out, people who were living by the river had their flats totally flooded, they didnít manage to take out their furniture, their sofas, bedclothes. Some did manage to, some didnít. But at my neighbourís, they managed to take the sofas out, but later they had to burn them. They were so soaked with water that it was impossible to dry them any more.
Section 5
And at your home?
Well, I mean, personally, at mine, I took all the carpets up to the attic, the sofas, we put them up on timber blocks. In the lower parts, I took out all the bedclothes and whatever I had there, and then I... I didnít take things out because I live on the other side of the road from the river, so I thought that if the water came, it would come up to the level of 20, 30, maybe half a metre, and that wouldnít do much harm to me, as much as those who lived by the river, they had mud in their flats, sand and all that up to the level of the windows. Yes.

What did neighboursí assistance to each other look like?
You know, during the flood, people got mobilised so much, they helped each other a lot. There were no grudges against each other or anything like that. Everybody seemed to forget that they had quarrelled with their neighbour or something. They helped each other out. We salvaged, for example, when I came back from work, I was so tired, but I went to help my neighbour - whatever I could. On a tractor trailer that we eventually situated at mine, we put their furniture, bedclothes, whatever, so that it wouldnít get wet if the water came higher. We took a lot of stuff to the attic, we helped each other. Grain, livestock, I kept my neighbourís hens for a week here [laughs] because she didnít have a possibility, before she was able to tidy hers up, got the water out of her cellar, the fire brigade came and they pumped the water, people carried out the mud, they helped. Yes, as soon as the water dropped, everybody took to tidying up.

What did the situation look like after the water dropped - here, in the village?
I mean, when the water dropped, it left such a battlefield behind, I donít know, you could say there had been a war. Everything, trees uprooted, electricity broken, mud-filled yards, cellars, flats were full of mud. Well, literally, all the fruit trees uprooted, and awful sight.
[The telephone rings, so we broke the conversation while she answered it.]

I said that on the first day we didnít receive any assistance, only later, cause they brought us water by various side roads. Water was the first necessity. And bread, tinned food, that was what we received. After all, there were buildings, for example, the foresterís lodge and other buildings on the other side of the river, where bridges had been broken, and they were totally cut off, they didnít have water, electricity, gas - they had nothing. So they were the priority in supplying, so we received assistance only on the second day, and there was one person living in Goworůw, he phoned to the commune office, elsewhere, as far as I remember, he also phoned Warszawa, he phoned the television, and only then did the assistance arrive. Well, maybe they didnít know what situation we were in.

What did the water take away? Sometimes on TV we could see whole buildings being flushed away.
I mean, my neighbourís barn was flushed away. If someone had some sort of smaller sheds by the river, they were taken away, broken, washed under. Some buildings had to be demolished later, some of them were so washed under, the walls so much broken, that later, when the committee arrived, they declared a lot of them for demolition, but later, when people got out of the first shock, they didnít want to leave their homes, they were looking for some ways of saving them, they wrote applications, begged went to those offices asking for their buildings to be qualified as fit for renovation, so that they could go on living there. They put in a lot of effort, they strengthened the foundations, they saved some of them. There are several buildings like that around here, people live in them again.
Those buildings that were demolished, their inhabitants went to Miedzylesie to live in such barracks, they stayed in those barracks, some of them stayed in them only for a while, until they had renovated their own homes at least a bit and came back. Now those barracks will probably be deserted, the people who are still living there will be moved to a renovated house in Jaworek, they will be living there. They will get two, three rooms per family, quite a nice house it is, it is some old school that has been renovated.
Well, you asked what the water took away. First of all, it took away all the farming equipment, someone lost their car, construction materials, wooden boards, sand, I think I have already mentioned it. I also mentioned coal, fuelwood, it was also taken away.
Section 6
When you saw what was happening, did you then wish you hadnít left Dzierzoniůw? Didnít you just want to take everything and leave the place for good?
No, I didnít. I think nobody would like to leave this area, most people living here, theyíve been here for so long now, everyone has got usedÖ I havenít lived here for so long, I only came here in 1986, but I like this area very much. These are mountainous areas, I like the mountains so much. Youíve got mushrooms, raspberries, blueberries, and generally, the air is so fresh, the forest is so close, I like it a lot. No, Iím not going to leave this place [laughs]. It is hard sometimes, it has happened to me that I thought it would be much easier living in Dzierzoniůw, cause if youíre living in a block of flats, you donít have to think about heating, and I live here all alone, so I have to struggle a bit, not enough money to renovate everything here, not enough hands to do it. Besides, it is not easy to find a professional who would do things properly, and the materials are expensive, labour force, if you want to hire someone, it will cost a lot, especially a professional.

Coming back to the flood, did you have a moment of fear things could be even much worse? Did you have a moment of crisis, a breakdown?
Well, there was, there was a moment on the second day, when the water was going higher and higher, we almost lost faith, we thought it would flood us altogether, that the village would get levelled to the ground, cease to exist altogether. All the buildings would be flushed away. And there was a moment of a real breakdown: people cried, children, it had a powerful impact especially on children, but the adults as well, itís impossible to describe what was going on inside us. Until this day, when Iím talking about it, I can hear the roar of those stones, it was awful. Yes, yes, yes, when the stones were rolling in the water.

How did children react to the flood?
Well, the children, even after a year after the flood, when the water rose only a bit, or it was raining for a bit longer that usual, the children started crying. Their parents talked to them, explained, still they cried. And there were instances of children having such night fears. I had a contact with social assistance workers in Bystrzyca Klodzka, there was such a possibility, a psychologist came from as far as Krakow. I invited those ladies, I sent them to several people, just to have a conversation, even older people had problems, not that they had such psychological problems, some sort of breakdowns or something - there were also some other family problems. It was in the period that the material assistance was divided, some people quarrelled over it, sometimes within families, sometimes between neighbours, so they also helped to alleviate such problems.
Section 7
You mentioned material assistance, what did it look like?
Well, after the flood, there was a committee, they went from home to home, and they decided whose flat was flooded, who was entitled to the 3000 zlotys assistance for renovation. Some of the farm buildings, those that were insured, they received damages from the insurance company, so the damages had to be assessed. So they had some money for renovation, so that they could renew the buildings. A lot of people made good use of it, they put new floors, tiles, you could say some people bettered their standard of living, now all the materials are easily available, all you need is money. Some people received materials as well. There were deliveries of tiles, floorboards as a part of the direct assistance, but it was all very random, for example, there was a transport of tiles from some sort of company, they came down to the village, they stopped at a household and left their load, but they didnít come up here. There was also assistance from the charity organisations, and the local authorities funded some as well - we also received some, when I was the village mayor, because after the flood, in September, I was elected mayor.
Those who were most affected received cement, they received hollow bricks, they got some timber to be sawed into boards, so that they could use them when renovating their households. Well, and they also received some money, some sort of benefits, if you wrote an application that you didnít have enough money to buy coal or wood. I remember [sighs], Iíve just recalled, there was the mayor from Lutomia near Lagiewniki, he came to the festivities that were organised, and he gave me some money, I mean, for two families, the most affected ones: we divided the money among them. He gave them so that they had for their renovation efforts. They also received some money.

Did any charity assistance reach you here?
Yes, it did. Various companies brought various things, clothes, washing powder, and for children, what did they bring? [thinks] They brought tinned food, other kinds of food, food concentrates. There were those spades, some received wheelbarrows. The main centre where those things were brought was the school, the school in Goworůw. And later, they divide those gifts, there was a committee, including the school principal, and they divided those gifts.

In that school, were there the most affected people - were they living there?
There was one family, two families living in the school. Later, they were moved to those barracks I mentioned, because they had to be moved somewhere, and now theyíve come back again here, cause they had renovated their buildings, some families have already got flats, those living in council flats, some of them received new flats, some are still waiting for that building in Jaworek to move there. There is a school that has been renovated, and there will be a few flats where they will be living.
Section 8
You mentioned some quarrels between people when the assistance was divided, what were those quarrels about?
Well, from what I know, it was not only in our village, but everywhere that the assistance was divided, there were misunderstandings everywhere. What were they about? One was less affected than the other. Those who were more affected, they had water in the house, everyone was busy repairing things, tidying up, making the flats liveable again. They didnít have time to look for assistance, when there was some one arriving at or passing through the village, they didnít have time [to get assistance]. And there were people who were not affected by the water, they stood alongside the roads and they used that assistance first, thus misunderstandings. There are honest people and there are dishonest ones. So it goes.

What do you think, who, is to blame for the flood taking place here?
Itís difficult to say whoís to blame. I donít even know where the water came from. Some say it was a heavy cloudburst, others say that maybe it was a cloudburst, but it is the fault of the forest being cut down - the whole mountain slope is barren now, all the trees have been cut down. After all, the trees require a lot of water, and they keep it (the water) from running downhill... and that the trees have been cut down, it will take a lot of time for new ones to grow. Another thing that is neglected is, under the Germans, the river bed was enforced by concrete, but these enforcements havenít been repaired for ages now, so I think when the water came, it did whatever it would, it washed under all those enforcements. And now, if there was another flood, God forbid, it wouldnít be any better, cause nothing has been done. There are various things you can say about the river. Apparently, I donít know for sure, cause I donít have access to information, but apparently, there was money for the river bed regulation, there was money for water supply system, for a drinking water intake, but later it turned out that there wasnít enough money to continue the regulation, the only thing they did was to deepen the river in those places where water flooded peopleís cellars, and they regulated it at the length of about a kilometre, they started work on a sewage system, and that was it. Apparently they ran out of money.

What were the promises then?
Well, there were promises that there would be water supply, sewage system. There are pipes, but there is no money for further modernisation, I donít know how that happened. They say there is money for the road renovation, they are to put a new asphalt road surface, but I think it is pointless, because they will have to dig it when constructing the water supply and sewage systems. But nobody knows when that is going to happen. I certainly donít know the answer.

What do the inhabitants expect, what should be done, what should be done here, in the village?
Well, in the village, I think that the sewage system would be most needed, cause, you know, frankly speaking, most of the sewage goes down directly to the river. Even if the sanitary services got interested in that, I donít know who would have to be held responsible, because most of the sewage goes directly into the river, so the sewage system is necessary. And water supply, a lot of people have installed their own water supply installations so that is not so urgent, but the sewage system is.
Section 9
Are there any promises that have been kept? Things that they promised theyíd do?
Well, yes, they installed telephones as promised. They promised that to us and they have kept their word. But other than that, nothing. The road, we asked to be done, I did myself, to renovate the road, there are those holes that were filled with sand, but what good such filling is. A lot of cars have got broken because of that, you canít drive there, there were such holes in the road. They promised, they said thereís no point in doing the road cause they would be digging when installing water supply and sewage systems but [smiles] nothing has been done, and probably nothing will. Eventually, last autumn, they filled those holes a bit, so now the road is passable, but it wonít take long, the holes are beginning to appear again. Apparently, there is money for the road renovation, an asphalt surface, but thatís pointless. First of all, they should do all the necessary digging, level the surface, but there is no money for that. I donít know why. Apparently there was money, but there isnít any now [laughs]. I donít know.

Coming back to the flood in Goworůw, after all it was one of the most affected villages, were there any casualties here?
Yes, one person got killed. Well, he was there, trying to salvage the bridge, working there, apparently there was some sort of a wooden board that got stuck, cause the water brought all sort of things along its current, various kinds of equipment, bicycles, various things, he was going to get the board loose, and he got caught in the water swirl. It was such an accident. We were all so sorry it had happened.

Did people leave their homes or did they want to stay despite the danger?
Well, they were so afraid in the peak of the flood, for those three days, when the water was so fierce, nobody stayed at home, no, no. Nobody stayed, everyone went elsewhere, to their neighbours, or they didnít sleep at all, or in a tent somewhere uphill, I donít think anybody stayed at home then, they were afraid the houses could be washed under and collapse, and there was no way of trying to oppose the wave, the current was so strong. Nobody would have been able to stand it and save their lives. So, nobody stayed at home. From what I know, they spent the nights her, on this side of the road, where the danger was no so imminent.

Were there any rumours about some prophecies?
They later said that they expected a flood the next year, because they said it was the seventh, that it would be it, they waited for the flood to come, but it didnít. Fortunately. Now, they say that Ď99, four nines, I also heard about it, but I hope nothing will happen [laughs]. Besides, they say there will be the end, the end of the world, the year 2000. Young people sometimes say, ďWhy should I learn, there will be the end of the world anyway.Ē

Do you remember some other floods like that taking place since you arrived here, or maybe you have heard from others about them?
No, even those who settled down here after the war, even older people donít remember so much water at a time, they say that itís happened that it rained for a months or so, but nothing of that sort happened. Everybody was surprised where did so much water come from out of a sudden. It started, yes, it had been raining for about two weeks, there were moments that the rain was quite heavy, but in the evening the water got so high, in the night, the wave came and it virtually swept the neighbourís barn away, and also the bridge. Now I remember, the previous mayor, he had this bridge, it was quite a heavy and robust one, with metal reinforcements, it was quite a large bridge. And I wanted to make a phone call from his, and I thought I would go and make the call, but then I thought no, I wouldnít, and I was lucky not to go there - firstly, the telephone was no longer working, but also, in a few minutes, the bridge was broken and swept away. On this side of the road, you could walk quite safely, but down there, you couldnít walk across the village...
Section 10
Have you heard people saying that the flood is a punishment from God?
Yes, some say it was a punishment [laughs]; others... you know, if something happens, people often say, ďItís Godís punishmentĒ. Now, the weather is so bad this year, there were just a few warm days in May, no good weather in June, raining most of the time. They said, I couldnít make my hay, and they said it was a punishment from God as well [laughs]. There is always something. Maybe itís a fact. People are bad. There is so much hatred among people, such envy, if there is someone a bit better off, there is so much of those, those murders, so much violence... nobody knows what it will come to. I simply donít know.
I remember, you may not, you are young, but when the communism collapsed, everything changed. Back then, who would have thought such things possible. Everybody had jobs, they worked. Or when you graduate from school, you canít get a job, you get a benefit. So when you donít do anything for a year and you get money for nothing, you get so lazy, you sleep till noon, get the money, in the afternoon, your energy is boiling, young people have to have some sort of occupation, and I think that all the hooliganism, all the violence is because young people no longer wanted to go to work. They tried to avoid it as much as they could. Itís not the way it used to be. Now, they donít get any benefits after graduation, maybe they have become a bit wiser than that, you have to work a bit. We are learning [laughs] from our mistakes. So does the government, but I think they should take the example of other countries, those that have had democracy for so many years. What else could I say? [laughs]

Youíve mentioned young people, did they take part in the reconstruction of the village?
Well, the youth, I mean, in the families, they helped each other. Children helped, there was... Ah, and I wanted to tell you that there was such a form of assistance that children were sent on holiday for free. Yes, they went on holiday, so it was also very important because they could relax a bit from all that, I mean psychologically.
They participated in the reconstruction, who else would do it? I mean, if there was something do be done that required some heavy equipment, like move some huge rocks, or a yard all covered in grits and stones, heavy equipment was needed, and it was made available, but other than that, everybody helped.
Section 11
You mean, one another?
They helped one another, and then the commune authorities gave us heavy equipment, so they helped later. Who wanted to work, whole families would gather, and they helped each other remove the stuff that the water had brought. Neighbours, those less affected, helped others. So, you could say, there was help, you canít say there was nothing.

And those people who had to rebuild parts of their houses, where did they take money from? Apparently the government promised some money, later there were some misunderstandings about them, quarrels?
I mean, we got only those 3000 zlotys and, as I said, later from the insurance company, if you were insured. I know a family, they were really affected, but their house was not insured, and they received nothing, only those 3000 zlotys. Well, later, we divided what we had received, so they got some hollow bricks, some timber, some cement, and the rest... they had to manage somehow on their own... with their own funds. And that lady, she had a house that was qualified for demolition, but somehow she managed to arrange for the commission to assess it once again, and they annulled that decision...

Looking back, do you think that you gained something by leaving Dzierzoniůw?
You mean did I gain? You could say that in a sense, yes, I did. Back then the value of those buildings was not that high, now itís quite considerable. And I think, if I were living in Dzierzoniůw, only on my salary, I donít think I would have achieved much. What can you do there? You live hand to mouth, you have to pay the rent, all the bills, you donít earn much. Well, my salaries were not that high, but later, when I was no longer working there, and they were closing the company down, people cried when they were made redundant, the company was going bankrupt, life wasnít funny for them, either.

Is there an aspect of a big town that you miss here now?
I like going to town, do the shopping, walk around a bit. I used to go to the operetta, to Wroclaw, I liked it. And here, somehow, slowly, I canít afford much, to go away - all the money is invested in the house. Well, after the flood, I received some money, I bought some materials, but labour force is so frightfully expensive, I just canít afford such a luxury [laughs].

Did you have any specific reasons why you left the town and came here?
I like nature very much, I like the mountains and the peace and quiet here. When someone comes to visit me here, they say the silence is so deep that it lulls you to sleep. I know, on one hand, why do I need that? I donít have a family, small children or anything, but once Iíve come here, I think I would miss it - shortly after my husband died, there was a moment that I wanted to sell everything here and leave, but I didnít get a good price, so I stayed. It had cost us too much effort to renovate it, and I think, my son is growing, maybe he will want to start some private business hereÖ whatever, I didnít sell it. Living in the town, maybe life would be easier, I could just lock the door and go on holiday or to a spa, wherever, but here, you just canít leave like that. How? You canít leave all this.

How do you feel in this environment, how did you get acclimatised?
I feel much better, cause when I go to Dzierzoniůw - I often go there, to my husbandís grave, and also, there are a lot of my husbandís relatives, we keep in touch, so I often visit them there - I donít feel well. Somehow, everybody my age have either left or got old, their children have grown. Itís somehow different. Everyone is closed in themselves, they go shopping, stay at home, somehow itís all changed. Dzierzoniůw has changed. Above all, there are very few small workshops that used to be there, everything is private, shops everywhere, I donít know, itís somehow changed. Well, I like Dzierzoniůw, itís a nice town, itís quite an interesting one as well, but somehow... no, I feel much better here. Here, everybody knows me, I know everyone. You go out, you can have a chat, I donít know. Maybe itís because Iíve got used to it.
Section 12
Doesnít the fact that everyone knows everything about everyone bother you?
Yes, sometimes it does, cause I donít like being nosey. When I was the mayor, people came up to me with various problems, I got to know certain things which I wouldnít like to know, all those family matters. I found out how people get interested in others, how hypocritical some could be... I found out a lot of things that I hadnít known, but Iíll keep them to myself [laughs].

How do you feel in this environment, so different after all?
Do I know how I feel? I wanted to do a lot of things, I had plans, they didnít come out, I donít know precisely. I simply wanted to develop tourism, have contact with people, those coming here, but I donít know if Iíll succeed, time will tell. Iíve got some plans, but I donít want to talk about them, weíll see...

When you first came here, did you learn anything new, did you expect to learn anything?
I donít know. I mean, when I came here, I had to go to such a fierce school of life... Before, I thought certain things do not concern me, but most people, who were not affected by any misfortune, they behave differently, they donít understand other people, but I have gone through such [her voice breaks], I could say, Iíve gone through such a school of life that I think I could understand everyone. Yes, I think, in a way, I grew up here. Maybe itís the misfortune of mine, maybe itís the hard work, cause, you know, I was left alone, after that accident, I had to pay back the loan, I had to work hard, arrange for everything, it was just myself to care about everything, rearing the child, the whole house, it was hard to get a job. We were not going to go into farming, there are just 33 hectares of land together with these buildings. I tried to manage on my own, I hired people, I was trying to make ends meet somehow, I managed, you could say, but later, it had an adverse effect on my health, so I gave it up, I found myself a job, it was not easy to find it, I worked in ďModwestĒ (clothing company), we sewed jackets there, later I went to this bakery, simply by accident [laughs]. I underwent training, cause it was not my profession. But I managed. Recently, I got a bit ill, now Iím on doctorís leave.

Why did you choose Goworůw of all places? Did you have any acquaintances here?
No, I didnít know anyone. We were simply looking for an interesting place, something near the forest, the mountains. Well, we had this opportunity to buy another place, elsewhere, but somehow we decided to stay here. The area there was quite nice as well, but I didnít like those buildings, and the location, the arrangement of those buildings, that wasnít what I was looking for. We came across information about this place in Goworůw, I came here, got enchanted with the mountain [points to the mountain], the beauty of these mountains, this location, as well... I just like it here. When someone comes to visit me - I always have visitors, every year - some relatives or friends, someone always visits me, all year round, if I could afford it financially, I could have visitors all the time. I mean, at the moment I have three rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, a corridor, Iíve got central heating, running water. Now there are... there is my mother, my son and myself.
Section 13
How were you received by the village community when you first came here?
When I moved here? Well, at first, the usual approach when there is someone new, and everybody else knows each other, I think I was watched, they wanted to get to know me. We were under observation, they wanted to know what we were like, whether we go to church [laughs], that is very important [laughs] for some. Then, I think, they were very sorry because of my husband, although he hadnít lived here long, but they were sympathetic when he died. Until this day, they remember him as a good man, good neighbour, well, he was a good man [sighs].
Everything went gradually. At first, they just observed us, sometimes some asked, why, what are you going to be doing here? what do you need those buildings for? The approaches were varied. And we had just one simple plan, one aim. We wanted to go into agro-tourism, we didnít want to breed cattle, go into farming or anything, no, our plans were different. Nothingís come out of them as yet, this accident happened... [sighs] but I must say I like this village, I like it a lot.
Coming back to the flood, I hope it will never happen again [smiles]. Old people say that they donít remember the river overflowing so much yet. Apparently, in some books, in the parish of Roztoki (a village near Goworůw), it says that there was a similar flood in this area 170 years ago, so maybe, God forbid, in however many year, it may happen again, but we will no longer be here, when it happens again [laughs].

Would you say you donít regret your decision of leaving the town and settling down here?
I mean, no, I donít regret leaving the town, only sometimes, Iíve got this fear inside. I think, maybe, if I hadnít come here, the accident wouldnít have happened, that tragedy, you know - sometimes I have those moments of depression. But you have to go on living. What can you do? Some things cannot be undone.

Have you got any other wishes?
Wishes? First of all, Iíve got that wish for my dreams to come true, Iíd like to finish the renovation of the house, Iíd like to start those agro-tourist services, and, first of all, Iíd like to be healthy - thatís what I lack most at the moment, health.

Then thatís what I wish you and thank you for the conversation.
Thank you very much.

Thank you.