Arrived last night to Plemetina. It always takes some time for the eyes to adjust.

From Novi Sad, through Belgrade, south Serbia and then Pristina … if you have ever passed this way you can imagine all the differences in scenarios your eyes soak in. If you did not … well you should J Such a big change in Pristina just after a year, it grows and builds up like those thingies that expand ten time their size when put in water or like mushrooms after rain, as grannies would say. Shinny buildings, glass, concrete, commercials … wooow. Then a short car ride and the glass and chrome giants are replaced by very different giants indeed, the coal power plant A and B. As tall, as impressive, as scary? Black smoke gushing through chimneys, mountains of ash, yellow concrete monster spiting its guts to welcome blue skis. That’s fun, sky seems to be blue every time I am coming even if sometimes it seems impossible it can be blue, like a little representation of something so typical for people all over this region – “inat”. Some translate it like “spite“, some like “just because“ or  “just opposite“ or “whatever“. The truth is, I would say, that it’s untranslatable. Many “inat” all around this corner of the world, but here in particular it re-amazes me over and over. Here it is – willingness to survive, readiness to laugh, take the brighter side, prevail despite what ever life throws at you.

All this goes through my had as we are entering the village of Plemetina. First the tent settlement -mountains of garbage, like a dumping site almost; then the community building – ruined, half burnet, walls piling; big wall – separating or containing, cannot really tell; unfinished temple – not sure who for; dusty streets; then “mahala” – the Roma settlement and no streets, crocked houses and chicken … In all this mass of faces – most strangely, smiling kids; so many kids – smudged faces and big eyes. Suddenly another thought comes into my mind, these are all images you would see if somebody would do a short TV reportage. Man, does it go deeper than that? I learned just how much deeper in time and am still learning. So you might too J and this blog of ours can be one window.

My name is Lea and I come from already mentioned Novi Sad, a second biggest city in Serbia – nice, makeup(ed) and polished, at least from regional point of view J There, I am for years involved in one of the coolest organization ever – Volunteers center of Vojvodina, yea!  There are so many connections between GAIA Kosovo and VCV, in people of course – activists here, activists there, activists everywhere! So this is where this partnership started too. And me – I was for months excited about this project –ART IN ACTION 2!

So here I am in the evening of my first full day, tucked in a blanket in the house in the end of “mahala”, trying to put some impressions into some words. Outside people are laughing, neighbors are gathering to sound of voices and smell of food. The team is cooking after a full day off planning and I am too tempted to join them, so this blog of mine will just have to continue tomorrow, and tomorrow the participants start coming, I cannot wait to all those colors to come in to this painting of ours. So till tomorrow…

Lea Cikos

In Plemetina, 16th September

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