valki pl. (valka, sing. East Slovak Romani)
("valogi", Ungr.) – sun-dried bricks, adobe bricks.
Before the war, and even a number of
years after the war, village houses were frequently built with adobe bricks – valki. Even in
cities, more than one house was built of this material. Adobe brick constructions were more often built in
lowlands, where the earth was suitable for their production.
The production of valki – romaňi buťi, Roma
work, was one of the traditional Romani means of making a living. In some areas, producers of
valki occupied a
lower social status than musicians, blacksmiths or tradesmen (I. Lacková, 1997). Elsewhere – for example, in
places where there was a surplus of music bands – even musicians supplemented their incomes by
As in many other professions, the whole family, including the children, participated in the production of adobe
bricks. They hauled suitable earth (čik) to an open space and mixed it with chaff and cut
straw (phusa). Then they had to tread on it thoroughly with bare feet. The adobe bricks
were shaped using wooden forms. After being turned out, the bricks were laid out and left to dry for two or three
days, depending on the weather.
During the war, customers usually paid for valki with money (as contrasted with many
other services and work which were compensated for in kind).
Adobe brick houses with solid walls – murimen khera – were a symbol of social prestige. If
someone wanted to announce his high social status, he declared, among other things, that he lived in a walled
house. Among Roma, usually only rich swine traders, exceptional city musicians, etc. could afford such a