• July 24, 2024
 This is the PRISON OF POVERTY! The Marinkovićs don’t have bread for as many as 2-3 days, their friends shun them!

This is the PRISON OF POVERTY! The Marinkovićs don’t have bread for as many as 2-3 days, their friends shun them!

We have nothing, sometimes there is no bread for two to three days. For the children’s birthdays, we buy juice and pour half a glass for each of them. We have yet to have any guests visit us, painfully, and through long pauses, Elena, the mother of five children states, “It is very hard.

The worn-down trail of poverty that goes through the village of Gornjani, municipality of ČučerSandevo, on the outskirts of Skopje in Skopska Crna Gora, leads to the Marinković family. A village forgotten in time and space, with streets similar to those in in wire-enclosed Orahovac. The entire landscape is the same. Not surprising, as these regions were once under the rule of the same holy and wealthy medieval rulers.

Today the descendants of those same rulers live near the monastery of Saint Nikita, the endowment of Saint King Milutin, at the level of serfs from ancient centuries. An image of the paradox of time!

The family members, in addition to Elena, father Boban and children Marko (14), Boris (13), Nikolina (12), Filip (6) and Lazar (3), welcomed us in front of an unfinished building that caught our attention before we reached it. Whenever we think we have seen the worst of poverty, we are proven wrong.

We all live, eat and sleep in this little 8 meters squared room. That’s all we have. There is no bed, there are leaks, unfortunately there are hardships everyday, laments worried Boban, who looks at least ten years older than what his ID states.

The prisoners of this dungeon of poverty, who suffer the most, are these humble little ones who watched us with downcast eyes, eavesdropping on our conversations. Despite the difference in dialect, they were able to tell us a lot.

It’s tight, there are only three couches. In the summer, when it’s really hot, the two of us go upstairs. There is one bed there and no door, so we can at least cool off a little. It is very difficult in winter. We can’t even breathe when dad lights the wood to heat the room, said Marko and Boris.

We inquired about friends…

There is no one to socialize with. After school we play a bit on the grounds and that’s all. No one will even hang out with us, they say we are poor, they added sadly.

These brave boys recently put out a fire when the chimney caught fire. They were the first to react and prevent it from spreading to the whole house. The ramifications of it are still visible and unrepaired.

A carton of eggs, a bag of flour, a loaf of bread and a bag of popcorn on an old TV will very likely be on the menu for several days. They always try to at least have something for the children. No closet, fridge, dining table… Instead of chairs, they use bricks! There is no point in talking about the conditions for learning. Still, in spite of everything, that dark room is neat, with the carpet spread out and vacuumed. The darkness, apart from daylight, is displaced by one light bulb and several colorful lanterns. The last attempt by parents to at least bring the joy of the holidays to their children!

The Marinkovićs do not want to give in. The father, a builder and laborer, managed to build a simple, separate bathroom within that small house. They at least have somewhere to brush their teeth and wash their hands.

I work in construction, earn enough for us to survive. I still have a lot to repair, half of the roof is missing, the stairs are bad and unsafe. My wife once fell and hurt herself. I’ve been afraid for the children since then, and my hair stands on end when I see them going upstairs, says Boban.

Our children are good and they all get along well. Marko, Boris, Nikolina and I have been through so much, they are from my first marriage. It brings tears to my eyes when I recall everything. This is not something to talk about, I’m sorry, said mother Elena, who rejoined the conversation and who, due to stress, has a problem with her sugar level.

At the end of the visit, the only girl, Nikolina, spoke up, barely audibly, answering our questions:

Sometimes it’s cold, sometimes it’s warm. When there’s wood, it’s warm, and when there isn’t… I help my mother take care of my younger brothers and I knead bread. Every night I dream of having a pink room!

Although we still did not figure out their curious looks, thoughts were running through our heads as we left, wondering how we can help these innocent children escape the clutches of injustice that they did not deserve? A two-story villa, just ten meters behind their home, also caught our eye. The reality of life? Thoughts came one after another…

We are not the great heroes like our ancestors were who fearlessly stormed through these regions bringing freedom, but we believe we are capable of rescuing the Marinkovićs and our people who have been abandoned. Another minute of life in these conditions is a minute too much!

The Charity organization Serbs for Serbs hopes that this story will reach our donors and other good people. Let’s brighten their world together.


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