A portrait of Viki six weeks before Szofi is due, in the freshly painted nursery. This was the day we discussed starting a ten year documentary series.
They became Christians in 2014, since then Joka has been like a different person. He has given up his old, messed-up life, he works and spends time with the children. Over the last two years has he only been at home during the day if Viki needed help, as with so many children it is impossible to get to a hospital appointment, for example. The grandparents also work, so they cannot get help from there.
Their house has no running water, so they fetch water from the nearby well. Here Virág and Szabi are carrying a ten litre jerrican from the well, wearing the carnival masks they have made in school, or nursery school.
At 8 months pregnant, Viki washes the children’s clothes in the yard.
Lunch in the sultry summer heat. They have four chairs in total, so some of the children eat lunch sitting on the floor.
Leila was born with a hare-lip and a cleft palate, so for years the family has shuttled to Budapest every 2-3 months, either for an operation or a check up. Here Józsi is checking the girl’s wound from a recent operation, to see whether it has opened up or not.
Viki putting on makeup in preparation for the church service, with Leila in the yard.
The family on the way to Eger for a mandatory check up. As the grandparents work, there is no one to leave the children with, so Józsi takes time off work so the family can get to obstetrics.
The leader of the Christian fellowship blessing Viki’s unborn child in the classroom of the local school.
In October they chop up the first furniture with an axe, so they can heat the house.
The electricity was cut off from the family years ago, as they stole it, so they can only light with candles in the evenings.
Szófia Loretta Bordács was born in Eger Hospital on 9 August 2016, in good health. Józsi could only get to the hospital the next evening, in the end his boss took him to the hospital after work, just as he was in work clothes, as he would not have been able to get home by bus.
Szofi has learnt to smile
Szofi was born blond, with blue eyes and light skin just like her brother Szabolcs, so Viki holds out more hope for the two of them. Viki thinks they may have a chance to get ahead in this country.
Viki walking with Szabi and Szofi in Tiszanána.
Viki heating bathwater in their frosty kitchen
Szofi at two years old, standing at the door of her room after waking up from her afternoon nap
Virág, the eldest girl in the family, finds it difficult to communicate and does not cope with conflict. If she freaks out, she hides in a bush and tries to calm down.
Szofi with her cake on her second birthday.
Portrait of Viki and Szofi exactly two years after Szofi was born. Meanwhile Viki is expecting her eighth child, who is due in the October of 2019.
Life of Sophie
I am preparing a visual family history, with a two year old Romany girl, Szofi, at the centre. The peculiarity of the series lies in the everyday nature of the story, as it reflects the situation that tens of thousands of families are in following the political changes: total vulnerability. In my work I attempt to present the daily lives of the family from an internal perspective based on a developing friendship, the dynamic which makes it almost impossible to break out of the “caste” of those living in extreme poverty. The frightening marginalisation of the Gypsy people is a fundamental phenomenon of our age; in my series appear the basic motifs which are familiar features of this marginalisation, also characteristic of the Bordács family: community service, spiralling debt, raising handicapped children at home. It is my hope that long term tendencies will become clear, the pitfalls they are facing, and whether they are able to direct their own fate.