Kosovo Glocal “Getting by in Gorazdevac”

Our cooperating partner Kosovo Glocal, presents their latest piece, ‘Getting by in Gorazdevac,’ a longform reportage detailing the everyday life of the Serbian community residing in this village.

Spending weeks in Gorazdevac, just outside Peja, the author Ilir Gashi learned about the patterns of life in this sleepy village where the square is usually empty, as people flock to the other side of the main street where most of the village’s informal institutions are located. There you will find two small village stores, one opposite the other, where locals drink their beer; a small bus stop with a wooden bench; a coffee vending machine (the only place in the village where you can have an espresso); and a small kiosk. And in this kiosk, or around it, you will find Aunt Ljilja. Her role in this community is simple, yet more important than any other: “Selling bread to the hungry”. Every day, from seven in the morning to seven in the evening, Ljilja sells bread to the hungry, even on Sundays, because people get hungry on Sundays too. That’s how it’s been for the last 20 years.

Gashi also observed the Serbian parallel system in effect, the financial lifeline it provides for an impoverished place, but also the opportunities it creates for clientelism. While some benefit from no-show jobs in the public sector, others work two or three jobs to make ends meet.

Many houses in Gorazdevac are in ruins or only slightly better. Some display ‘FOR SALE’ signs in giant letters, while others are modern and well-maintained. People told him that the village was increasingly struggling with drought, water restrictions, dried-up wells, and the destruction of the nearby Bistrica River due to illegal sand mining. Several farmers utilized potable water for irrigating their fields, while others illicitly tapped into the pipelines.

Locals from Gorazdevac have been going back and forth to Peja for years, most often for groceries, but also to get their hair cut, have their car fixed or for restaurant meals, as these amenities are unavailable in the village.

“My goal was to bring readers a view from deep inside the community — toward the community itself and toward the outside, meaning both Kosovo and Serbia — that wasn’t following any particular political agenda, which seems to be somewhat of a rarity both on the Serbian and Albanian side of media reporting.”

He extended his exploration to the local schools, the main bar “Podrum” and embarked on bus journeys to immerse himself in the rhythms of daily life, seeking a genuine understanding of the community’s pulse.

Read the full story at: Kosovo Glocal “Getting by in Gorazdevac” 

Photos: Atdhe Mulla / K2.0.


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