June 26, 2015 by cosmoakacitizensmith
In Kraljevo in south Serbia we have just what we needed: a dirty-assed pub rock n roll gig. Not too much political ranting, just play music to drink beer too. The audience lap up both. I get to experience some of the local home-grown hooch and various herbal delights. Great stuff.
Our host Vojkan has put us up in his office, which has four rooms and a shower and bathroom. We get fed home-made pizza. Mmm.
The next day I wake up and meet Boyana, who has come in to work. She shows me how to make Turkish coffee. She says she works implementing various feminist initiatives in the city. There is an anti-violence against women group and another one that enables women to access technology. “Our whole society revolves around children. So the kids get computers but most of the time women don’t see it as something they can use,” she explains. “We invite them in here and show them how to email, for example. They think it is supplied to be difficult but we show them how easy it is.”
Funding comes from various European sources. The office itself gets money from an organisation in Italy who were anxious to help put after the wars that happened after Yugoslavia disintegrated in the 90s. But Boyana explains she is fed up with working with politicians and institutions because of the corruption. She looks over at the floor outside the office door where there is a small garden. “I keep telling the guys here that when they make food, they need to sweep up! But do they listen?” She gets handy with a broom.
Some young Roma women come in. They chat to us cheerfully in Serbian and they look at us like we come from another planet. They wanted us to hang about and play music but we had to hurry to catch the bus. Onto the city of Nis for a brief stopover and then we get the bus to Sofia in Bulgaria at half four int the morning. See you on the other side.