April 18, 2024

A five-member Serbian family lives in a cave

2 min read

Entering their “home,” it was as if we had stepped back several millennia. A person cannot help but think – Serbia, 21st century.

I have never been afraid for myself, not even during the bombings, I didn’t run away. Now I am afraid for the children, there are so many cracks.

Once the earth collapsed, God forbid my child to be hit. In front of us is a car where we keep things, potatoes and other stuff, it’s our pantry and closet.

We keep it there because we don’t have anywhere else,” began the kindly host Svetozar. The most difficult situation is for their oldest daughter Zlatica, who has epilepsy, frequent seizures, and speaks poorly, so she can never be left alone.

We take a basin and wash ourselves, there’s nothing else to it. We don’t even have an outhouse, so we go behind the hill.

There’s nothing better, that’s all there is. When it’s not there, it’s not there,” Svetozar almost smiled as he told his story, showing that, despite everything, he does not lack spirit and will to live.

The Čuturil family lives on social assistance and child benefits. Svetozar tries to do odd jobs where he can, although he says they exploit him and often do not pay.

Or rather, they exploit “all the poor people”. In my house, there can’t be a situation without something.

Even if I don’t eat, my children have to. If there’s no money to buy what is needed, I go to the neighbor to borrow some money, a thousand or two, so I can buy for the children.

So they go to their grandmother’s nearby cottage, which, as frightening as it may sound, may be in an even worse condition than their own hovel, and it’s not even theirs. In one bed is my son Miloš, he was recently operated on, in the other are my daughter Savka, grandchildren Mira and Miloš, and in the third are my daughter Mira and granddaughter Zlatica.

There are seven of us squeezed in here. It’s cramped, but what can I do.

I can’t kick them out, I would go out before that. I am happy to be with my grandchildren.

It’s hardest for me when I see how they struggle, but what can I do, my child. Sometimes we lie down hungry.

That’s how we live,” said Grandma Jovanka, who turned 86. I don’t need anything, I just want to help my children, for them not to end up on the street.

For them to have their own house and bathroom, that would be dearest to me. As for me, who knows, maybe I will have an eternal home up there when I go to the other world.

N.

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