Many people got off the bus coming from Szeghalom in the center of Csökmő on a weekday morning. An aging woman was at the doctor’s, her traveling companion had stopped shopping, but there was also someone who was managing his affairs in a government office in a small town nearby.
– Are you peaceful in Hajdú-Bihar? – we asked some residents of Csokmó. Of course, our interest is not without reason, since there was a period when the management of Csökmő, which is almost “glued” to the county border, with a population of almost two thousand, strongly considered changing the county and moving to Békés instead of Hajdú-Bihar. Nothing came of the local referendum, but this did not change the essence: when the people of Csokmo hear the word ‘city’, they immediately think it’s Szeghalom.
Why is? In addition to those who get off the bus, we also have longer conversations with people from Czökmö.
“Of course Békés!” – says Szilvia Baranyáné Csuka, the mother of five children, and then starts listing how they are connected to Szeghalom and Békés county. – My oldest daughter is now a university student in Szeged, she went to high school in Békéscsaba and elementary school in Szeghalom. My son goes to high school in Békéscsaba, but he finished the eighth grade there and also went to kindergarten there. My middle daughter studies at the secondary school in Szeghalm, and also went to kindergarten and primary school in the nearby town. My husband works in Körösladány, also in Békés, and is taken to and from his workplace by bus every day. But if you ask anyone here, it turns out that there isn’t a family that isn’t connected to Békés County because of work or school. Then the shopping! Of course, we go to Szeghalom and to Békéscsaba for big shopping, when we go to the dormitory to pick up the boy at the end. We even have our family doctor in Szeghalm. Why are we more attached to Békés and Szeghalom? It’s simple: Berettyóújfalu is 37 km away, Szeghalom is 10 km away – Baranyáné lists the arguments in favor of Békés, who reveals that in her youth she could not imagine that if it were a city, then it should not be Berettyóújfalu, if it was a big city, then it should not be Debrecen. However, the smaller distance and the simpler and safer means of transport brought changes in his life and that of his family. He also adds that both Debrecen and Békéscsaba are 70 km away. Csaba, on the other hand, is a smaller town, with significantly fewer cars on the roads, no traffic jams, and everything they need. For fun, they go to Gyula the best, but sometimes Debrecen is also mentioned.
We also knocked on the door of the director of the Village Hall, Andrea Földesi-Kiss. In addition to workplaces, schools and shopping, he includes the easier handling of official matters to prove why the population of his village is oriented towards Szeghalom, despite the fact that it is the other county. However, he noted: it is true that they go to the nearby small town for medical care and treatment, but if they need to go to a hospital, the people of Szeghalmi prefer Berettyóújfalu.
– Culture, programs? – the director returns to her field of expertise. “It’s as if the county border doesn’t even exist!” We are talking about neighbors or the neighbors of our neighbors, and this is how it goes everywhere in cultural life and in the program offerings. If we organize an event, we send the organizer, if they do, we receive it from them, so we have a close relationship with the cultural institutions of the surrounding settlements. At our regional events, the people of Vésztá, Szeghalmi and Füzegyalmati are also here, just as the people of Csokmo also go to the three nearby towns. District competitions, where we have graphics, also come from localities in Békés County. The program of our camps also includes locations in Békés county, more precisely, we are in Békés at least as much as in Hajdú-Bihar. The closest beach to us is in Füzesgyarmat. Children from Csokmó go there for swimming lessons. In such cases, we bring and take them by bus every day for two weeks, he listed.
However, Tibor Nagy, the mayor of Csökmő, is already shading his town’s ties to Szeghalom and Békés county, not denying that in everyday life the residents’ ties to their neighbors are perfectly understandable. This is also helped by the hourly bus service. However, the distance speaks in favor of the Békés settlements. But what about official, municipal matters? “Please, we belong to Hajdú-Bihar in this,” states the first man of the village. – Previously, Csökmő belonged to the nearby Szeghalom in several areas and associations. However, we have left these behind us in the last decade. For example, the family support service: The center was moved to Dévaványa, then the small town of Békés split off and became independent, and we headed towards Berettyóújfalu. As with all our municipal matters, the direction of management is Berettyóújfalu, Debrecen and the Northern Great Plain region. (Békés, like Szeghalom, also belongs to the Southern Great Plain region – ed.) Of course, we have maintained good relations with the settlements in North Békés and their mayors. We attend each other’s events, we are there at the meetings of the Füzesgyalmati micro-regional association. We are only in the association in the medical service, which is now provided by the ambulances, he said.
Former Bihar Villages
And what’s going on in the small town of South Bihar, Komádi? When we were there, Mayor Ferenc Tóth was in Debrecen on official business, so his deputy mayor, László Hídvégi, informed us about his city’s relations with Békés county. In the introduction, he said that the border of the historical Bihar county was between Gyula and Sarkad. So the settlements that are now in Eszák Békés were integral parts of the region to which Komádi belongs.
“What connects us is education and jobs.” Our students go to secondary school in Gyula and Békéscsaba, while many go to Békés settlements to work thanks to the company’s worker flights and excellent bus transport. They also come to us, for example from Zsadány, or to do business from Körösnagyharsány. it is ordered by the cooperation of civil organizations – so to speak – on a daily basis. He doesn’t talk about family and friendships. Komád residents do 90 percent of their bulk shopping in Békés towns. And if we look at the distances, Békéscsaba is a little closer. 59 km away, while Debrecen is 63 km away – he concluded his thoughts.