In the southern foothills of Skopska Crna Gora, about fifteen kilometers from Skopje, is the village of Kučevište, which, historically speaking, was of great importance to the Serb community in this area. Having shared both the good and bad times with the Serbian people, people from these areas, though living under different circumstances, still testify about their origin, maintaining they are still who they have always been.
The narrow streets are densely packed with odd-looking earthen homes upgraded with new additions. It is evident that life for the inhabitants of this poor village is hard. But despite this, these “hybrid” homes are a testament to their determination to make their homes inhabitable so that they remain on their homeland.
When we visited the family of Srećko and Ljiljana Perović who live in one of these types of homes, we were greeted by our old friends, Svetlana (9) and Kristijan (7). We visited them on two prior occasions – three years ago when we purchased an electric stove and groceries for them, and five years ago when we provided them with a front door and two windows.
The two oldest children, Anastasia (13) and Petar (12) were at school, while the parents were in another city for a funeral. Svetlana and Kristijan greeted us with trusting smiles, as they recognized our associates from SPONA (Cultural-Information Centre of North Macedonia) who accompanied us on the visit and who recently visited the family on several occasions.
With beaming faces and soft-spoken voices, they reply to our customary jokes for children of their age. They invite us into their home where we pass the time until their parents’ return. Sitting on an old wooden chair next to an old wood stove, Svetlana looks at us intently, absorbing every word we say. Her posture and tone when speaking with her brother, display a level of maturity not common among her age group. Considering their living conditions, this does not surprise us.
The house in which they live is very old, and only the addition is functional. The children’s rooms where the youngest Perovićs spend most of their time, are barely inhabitable. The bare walls, black with mold, make obvious the living conditions not fit for humans, let alone children.
“I would like to have an indoor washroom so that I don’t have to be afraid to go outside, especially during the cold winter. When our living conditions become too difficult for me, I hug my brothers, my protectors. They promised to build me a bathroom when they grow up” – answered Svetlana in a voice full of optimism and sisterly love, when asked what she is missing most in her life.
These words, which pierced our hearts, show that although the Perović home lacks much, it has what is most important – love.
“We try not to forget the Serbian people in North Macedonia. To date, we have helped over thirty families, and this will be our first major project in the area. We hope donors will appreciate the significance of this action” – said Djordje Bojović, a member of our organization.
The Perović family needs help with the building of a bathroom, improvements to the house and the purchase of furniture. The Humanitarian Organization Serbs for Serbs appeals to all its donors to help realize this first major project in North Macedonia, and to provide the young Perovićs with normal living conditions.