Stories and reports

The Agreement Saved the Village

Skopje, October 17th

The war crisis seems to have passed, but it left the inhabitants of the crisis regions with other problems of their own. Most of them are out of job, some of them could not cultivate the land, and yet others still cannot return to their homes. But, those that do return have insufficient living conditions, and will have to wait for reparations of the houses from the conflict.

The Macedonian Center for International Cooperation, during the crisis, was engaged in supplying food products humanitarian aid in the limited access regions. And now, after the crisis, it has taken up repairing the damaged objects. An MCIC team was engaged in identification of the damaged houses that need to be repaired in the Tetovo region, in the villages of Nerishte, Glogi, Belovishte, Rogachevo and Slatino. We also visited the village Odri, where the inhabitants submitted a request for completion of the water supply system in the village.

Odri is a village in the Tearce community with 350 households, inhabited by around 2,000 ethnic Macedonians and Albanians. The villagers leave of agriculture, but most are working abroad in the European countries, while most ethnic Macedonians work and live in the United States of America.

"We have never had interethnic problems in the village. I have not the slightest notion of who started this. It was very difficult for us during the military activities. Supplying with food was especially difficult", told us uncle Aziz.

He told us that there was almost no fighting in the village. They made an agreement with their neighbor villagers Macedonians that they will not participate in the fighting.

"Who knows what would have happened with the village, but all ended well. As them, we also have nowhere else to go", told us uncle Aziz with a slight smile.

My colleague, Aleksandar, discussed the need for completion of the village's water supply with representatives from the local community. We also went four kilometers from the village to see the reservoir. It is a monumental object that the villagers built with their own contribution, but still requires completion.

We headed of towards Nerashte to look at the damaged houses in need of repairs. It is a big village with about 700 houses and a population of 5,000. During the crisis around 2,000 displaced persons were sheltered here from Radusha, Orashje, Dvorce, Nerashte and Lavce. As the villagers told us, the three houses that were damaged were repaired by the villagers themselves. They only asked us to take a look at the school. Truly, the building was very old, but with some founds they managed to repair a part of the school, and only the gym had a hole in the ceiling and its windows were broken. We directed them towards certain foreign agencies that work in the area of education so perhaps they will come to their aid.

After taking our leave, we went towards Belovishte and Rogachevo, which come under the community of Vratnica. Fights were not led in these two villages, but several grenades were fired by NLA representatives, so several houses were damaged. From the five damaged houses in Belovishte only one in need of reparations remained, while the others have been repaired by the villagers themselves. In Rogachevo one of the three houses was more severely damaged.

"It was fortunate that the son was in the house. Suddenly we heard a great noise. All windows shattered by the detonation. My mother was hurt in the back and still can not move about freely", Zhivko who worked in Jegunovce told us.

The roof tiles on one side of the roof are almost all missing, as well as the windows of the two neighboring houses. He showed to us the damage inflicted by the grenade. He also told us that his son's bike could be recompensed that was split in half. We told him that the evaluation that will be conducted is only directed towards buildings and not household material as well.

"Ok, ok, I only asked if it could be recompensed. There, I have been working for so many years in the apartment assignment committee and I gave everybody apartments but never took one for myself!" exclaims Zhivko with a deep sigh.

In the end we went to Slatino, where MCIC will conduct reparations on the damaged school. Besides certain fissures on the facade and the broken windows, the school is fully in mint condition.

After passing through all of these villages we saw that, generally speaking, people seem as if though they started living normally. A certain amount of reserve may still exist with the people, but they do understand that coexistence in these areas is imminent.

Water reservoir 4 km away from the village
Odri inhabitants discuss about water problems with the MCIC representative
Damaged roof of one of the houses
(hold cursor over photos for detailed description)

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