• February 22, 2024
 IN THE 21ST CENTURY, THEY LIVE IN A CAVE: although they live close to Belgrade and Novi Sad, the Čuturilovs have been forgotten by everyone!

IN THE 21ST CENTURY, THEY LIVE IN A CAVE: although they live close to Belgrade and Novi Sad, the Čuturilovs have been forgotten by everyone!

A cramped cave in the village of Mošorin is the Čuturilov’s only home. Although they live near two big cities, Belgrade and Novi Sad, they are forgotten, living in unimaginable conditions. Stepping into their “house” is like traveling back several millennia. We couldn’t help but sadly think – how is this possible in 21st-century Serbia?!

Signs that it is the 21st century are the hazardously scattered cables and an old television that provides Svetozar, Marica, Zlatica (17), Mira (15) and Miloš (6) their only “window“ into the world. The cave along with an old car that they have, believe it or not, turned into a closet, are all they have!

I have lived in the cave since I was a child. I never feared for myself, even during the bombings, I didn’t flee. Now I’m afraid for the children because there are still many fissures. One time, earth from the ceiling collapsed, God forbid one of my children gets hit. This is the car in which we store things, potatoes and other objects, it serves as our pantry and closet. We keep them here because there is nowhere else“, says father Svetozar as he begins his story.

As if an unimaginable life “underground” were not difficult enough, they also face major health problems.  Most serious is the health of the oldest daughter Zlatica who doesn’t speak well, and who suffers frequent epileptic seizures (we witnessed one) and must never be left alone. There is no need to publicize further details of their life, is there?

I don’t have a bathtub. We bathe in a basin which isn’t much. We don’t even have an outhouse, so we go behind the hill. This is the best we have; this is it. When you don’t have, you don’t have“, said Svetozar with a smile, showing that, despite everything, he does not lack the spirit and will to live.

The Čuturilovs live on social assistance and child allowance. Svetozar also tries to make money where he can, although he says that he is taken advantage of and often does not get paid… “exploitation of the poor”.

We eat what’s available. I won’t allow my children to go without. Even if I don’t eat, my children must. If I don’t have money to buy what I need, I go to a neighbor to borrow a little money, one or two thousand dinars, so that I can buy things for the children. Sometimes I buy them chocolates and other things, making sure they are always content.

 

Although they sometimes sleep together in the cave, it is still dangerous for the children and they don’t all have a place to lie down. So, they go to their grandmother’s nearby home, which may frighteningly be in even worse condition than their cave. The home isn’t even hers. Reeds are falling, one wall has collapsed, the ceiling is supported by ordinary wooden sticks!

I, my children, sleep on this crate next to the stove. In one bed sleeps my son Miloš who recently had surgery, in the second, my daughter Savka, grandchildren Mira and Miloš, and in the third, my daughter Mira and granddaughter Zlatica. Seven of us are crammed in here. It’s tight for us, but what can I do? I can’t drive them out, I’d rather leave. I am happy to be with my grandchildren. The hardest thing for me is when I see how they are struggling, but what can I do, my dear. Sometimes we go to bed hungry. That is how we live“, said grandmother Jovanka, who turned 86 years old.

We asked Svetozar at the end of the conversation what he hopes for and if he expects any help:

“Whatever help would be good, but if there’s none, what can I do? Nothing has to be done for me, but I would just like some help for my children, so that they don’t end up on the street. If they had their own house and bathroom, that would make me the happiest. As for me, who knows, maybe I’ll have an eternal home when I leave this world. I have hope in God’s mercy!”

Much more could be written about the Čuturilovs. Their lives reminded us of the martyrdom of the first Christians who secretly professed their faith in the catacombs. That’s how they carry their very heavy cross, hidden from the view of people, quietly living in the immediate vicinity of a major highway along which we all rush at high speeds, driven by various obligations and problems, with no time to look at nature, let alone notice a small catacomb where this humble family lives. A family that has somewhat bigger problems than all of us!

We therefore ask you to slow down, to stop and take a look at the fate of these suffering people. Stop by and do a good deed!

The Charity Serbs for Serbs is launching a new major fundraising campaign. Our goal is to provide the Čuturilovs with normal living conditions as soon as possible. We invite all good people to take part by making donations that will help replace the Čuturilov’s cave with a house!

 

YOU CAN DONATE THROUGH THE DONATION PLATFORM: www.srbizasrbe.org/donacije


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Aустралија

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