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Archive file

VIP 28

                  VIP No.28,August 16,1996
                    Volunteer Information

                  Volunteer Project Pakrac
       E-mail:  Volunteers_Pakrac@zamir-pk.ztn.apc.org

Situation in Town

Life goes on in Pakrac.  The summer is cool but politics
heats up.  The anniversary of Operation Storm in the Krajina
produced a strong showing of Croatian nationalism.  Serbs
might come back.  Croatian and German soldiers are around.
The volunteers create a little controversy.  Read on!!!
There are even things I can't put in VIP because they are
too sensitive.  Now don't you wish you were here?

Rumor is that the pool in Lipik will be open by the end of
the month.  Also that reconstruction on the Catholic church
will begin in the middle of next month.  Plans for
reconstructing the Orthodox church are ... well,

The demining problem has apparently been solved by enlisting
the support of the Croatian Army ?!?.  Croatian soldiers
have been demining Kusonje (to help Serbs come back none the
less - must be some high level political dealings there).
The method for demining one field near the football field
was just to have soldiers cut the grass with scythes.  Oooh,
fun job.  Mine tape is strewn along the Pozega Road in
Kusonje making running there an even more stark experience.
And highlighting the fact that one should never go off the
road around here.  The latest numbers being thrown around -
10,000 mines left in Western Slavonia and 450 million DM of
damage in the Pakrac area (this is a lot especially
considering only 30,000 people lived around Pakrac).

A German IFOR tank got lost in town and ended up in
Gavrinica in a logistical if not historical blunder (Serbs
and Germans have never gotten along politically - this does
not mean that Serbs and Germans as individuals have not been
the best of friends or that in the future Serbia and Germany
could not become close allies against Lithuanian aggression
or something like that.).  I also heard then that German
soldiers were working regularly around Pakrac and Lipik
repairing bridges.

UNHCR and UNOV continue to help rebuild individual houses
around Pakrac for displaced Serbs, living in both Western
and Eastern Slavonia, to return to.  This project has caused
mild tension but nothing serious.

A UN sponsored visit by 12 Serbs from Eastern Slavonia to
the village of Brusnik occurred last week.  The people want
to return immediately but UNHCR insists on demining the
village.  Some people around town claim that the area is not
mined and that UNHCR is overcautious.

All the road markings, lines, arrows, etc. in Pakrac have
been repainted.  The road where the market is held between
our office and the STV house was paved.  They held a small
ribbon cutting ceremony for about twenty functionaries and
two TV cameras yesterday.  The Human Rights Center/ADF
office in the center of Pakrac opened.  The next Miramida is
scheduled for mid-October in Vukovar.

Volunteer Life

There isn't much to volunteer life because there weren't
many volunteers in Pakrac.  The workcamp gossip flew fast
and furious until the end but then life settled down into a
quiet pattern of office work, community visits, and early

Except for the newspaper article in Pakracki List which
apparently managed to alienate half the town.  Martina and
Vlado from the Human Rights Center made some statements
about Pakrac to a Dalmatian paper which eventually ended up
in the local paper via Zagreb with much indignant editorial
commentary.  There was visible tension towards volunteers
for a few days after the paper hit the streets.

Burek Returns!  Burek, the old project dog last seen chasing
a tank on TV during Operation Flash, simply showed up one
day at the STV house with an injured leg.  He soon healed
and reclaimed his position of power in town.  Everyone knows
this dog - everyone - old ladies, young children, policemen.
We think he is really a higher form of life stuck in the
comical body of a much too long and too short black dog.  I
would love to hear his story about his year-long sabbatical
from Pakrac.

Comings and Goings -- Celia (England) decided to stay after
camp #42 for another month to help out in the office.  Eric
and Laura returned to Holland at the end of the workcamp.
Then the rest of the project went on vacation for the summer
leaving only Celia, Stefan, Anissa, and Nathan in Pakrac.

Volunteer Activities


The last full scale workcamp, #42, ended successfully.  We
eventually found enough work despite no glass program or
even many tools.  The STVs became quite adept at shoveling
debris, chipping plaster, and stacking and chopping wood.
All good fun.  The absolute last workcamp starts on
September 7th and we have four STVs coming.  All are
potential LTVs.

Photo Project

The photo project is on hold at the moment.  Julie is
returning to Pakrac for September to help transition one of
the STVs into being the photo project LTV.

E-mail Project

Bocian has been on vacation all summer but Silvano, a local,
has filled in admirably especially considering the amount
that we call and bug him.  Eric also helped to keep things
afloat when we had minor problems - like, say, one computer
burning up on the desk in the office.

Puppet Theater

Piekna also went away for a while, but is returning soon to
get ready for the fall.  She is trying to secure space
through the local authorities for a workshop.  Ivica will
work with her for about six weeks through mid-October.

Small Repairs

Marko has disappeared into thin air (poof!) leaving us
without a small repairs program at the moment.  We hope to
fill the vacancy with either a local if we receive enough
funding or with one of the STVs if we don't.

Community Visits

Finally, a sub-project that is working!!  Zdenka has been
continuing her visits regularly.  She has been a model of
stability in our sea of chaos.

Kako Si

Kako Si is coming along slowly but surely.  We did receive
funding from the Dutch Embassy for the entire year.  It came
to Pakrac in a brown envelope in cash.  Only after a few
nervous days and nights was it put into the bank.  All the
articles are written and translated, but the editor of the
local paper where we will lay out has been on vacation so no
firm printing dates are set.  The lack of a photo project
also hindered the art/photography side of things.


Anissa painted and cleaned up the office as never before
only days before we found out we had to move.  Next week the
office is moving to one of the LTV houses which has been a
hassle due to an old phone bill.  Let's see - the volunteers
let a friend of the project use the phone.  He ran up the
bill on the landlady's phone and did not or could not pay.
The line is officially registered to a dead man.  So we
tried to pay it last week but found the line was completely
cut off despite the fact we continue to receive bills for
the line.  Trips, calls, and faxes to Daruvar and Pozega
were in order.  I could write a novel of mystery and
intrigue about this but in the end it just cost us a lot of

We will send out over e-mail our new address and phone
number as soon as we move.

On the fundraising and recruitment front, Anissa and Celia
have finally brought a measure of stability after months of
disorganization.  Reports were written, contacts made, and
files organized.  Unfortunately both are leaving by the end
of the month but if the project can keep up the momentum
maybe, just maybe (let me stress the unsureness of this
statement) we might climb out of our financial crisis this
fall.  And develop a consistent stable way to find new LTVs,
both international and local.


Stefan's brother and his girlfriend came to town.  Edin came
by for a couple of days with the photo project key (which
had been stuck in Bosnia for months).  Holly and friends
were in town for a few hours one evening.  The group of
Swiss teenagers stayed in the secondary school dorms for a


To the Italian scouts for financial support.  To PeaceQuest
for working on our community visits proposal so hard.  To
the Swiss group for letting us use our office ( it is in the
building where they stayed) after 2pm (when we were getting
locked out).  To the Dutch Embassy for funding Kako Si.

Social Life/Gossip

The only gossip worth telling is a little too serious to
just throw out into the world.  Maybe later.  Nothing else
has happened except Celia agonizing whether to stay in
Pakrac or return to Oxford.  In the end, we talked much more
about which volunteers weren't  in Pakrac and why.

Watching the Olympics was frustrating here with long boring
interviews with eighth place Croatian finishers in archery.
Then, however, I went to Germany and they did the same thing
(with German archers not Croatians).  If only I could have
seen the American archers interviewed - now that would be

Wait, wait, wait.  One little thing.  Anissa and Nathan went
to Sasa's house yesterday for a party either to celebrate
his brother's birthday, his sister's engagement, or the
national religious holiday.  We weren't quite sure even
after asking.  Quite a scene though.  Sasa looked sharp in
his ruffled white shirt, oversized vest, and dirty sweat
pants.  Sasa misses volunteers at the STV house a lot.


printer cartridges or refills for Hewlett Packard Desk Jet
510, scissors, folders, binders, dividers, envelopes, pens,
fax paper

Volunteer Houses
Food of any kind
Tape players/Radios for STVs and LTVs

Spades, shovels, hammers, wheel barrows, stuff for cleaning
bricks, masks, protection glasses, working gloves.

Photo Project
Photographic paper (not multigrade)
Cameras (not full automatic)
Lenses for Pentax
Black&White films

Puppet Theater
Sewing machines
Fabric materials
Wool and yarn
Ornamental items

Please do not send materials or equipment by mail as the
customs is ridiculously high.  Let us know and we can
probably find someone to bring it down here by car or train
or something.

Apropos of Everywhere

Everyone knew that sin was evil and that no good could come
from evil.  But he did feel good; he felt positively
marvelous . . . It was almost no trick at all, he saw to
turn vice into virtue, and slander into truth, impotence
into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into
philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom,
brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice, . . .
Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all.  It
merely required no character.

Joseph Heller, Catch 22 quoted in Love Thy Neighbor by Peter

 A True Man of Character

Bog Nathit.  Kako si?  Bobo.  Koliko kosta Coca-Cola?
Cetiri kuna.  Kako ide macka?  Meow.  Kako si.  Hocu
lopticu.  Adiots!!

English version (it loses everything in translation) - Hi
Nathan.  How are you?  Good.  How much does Coca-Cola cost?
4 kuna.  How goes a cat?  Meow.  How are you?  I want a
ball.  Adios!!

--SASA (the mentally handicapped boy who hangs out with
volunteers and gives me, at least, the most hope of anyone
in Pakrac.)

The Pakrac Volunteers - August 16, 1996

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