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Archive file

VIP 30

               VIP No.30,October 11,1996
                 Volunteer Information

               Volunteer Project Pakrac
                      Bolnicka 47
                34 550 Pakrac, Croatia
               Tel/fax: +385(0)34-411881
    E-mail:  Volunteers_Pakrac@zamir-pk.ztn.apc.org

Situation in Town

The sun showed itself for a beautiful five days before
hiding once again behind a wall of clouds.  The leaves are
beginning to fall and autumn is truly upon us here in
Western Slavonia.  But enough about the weather.  Let's get
to the good stuff - politicians, returnees, mines, murder.

The Prime Minister of Croatia visited Pakrac last Saturday
to cut tape and throw some dirt in a hole.  No volunteers
attended (darn!) but it was on the news.  The ceremony
commemorated the beginning of construction of a new shiny
building near the high rise apartments and old stadium.

We had a murder in Pakrac a couple of weeks ago.  The local
paper used four versions of the word tragic in the first two
lines of the story.  A local war hero shot his brother
behind the Horse Bar apparently over a dispute about cards
and gambling.

The European Monitors monitored the digging of unmarked
graves around Pakrac last week.  They found five bodies in
ten potential graves in Kusonje, Dragovic, Pakrac, and

The International Red Cross is working to help people
reestablish contact with "lost" relatives in Bosnia, Eastern
Slavonia, or Serbia.  Many people still have no idea if
their families are dead or alive.

The Mine Action Center , a UN sponsored group, has set up an
office in Daruvar and is collecting information about the
mine problems in the area.  They are meeting anyone they can
from police to the army to civil authorities.  The Red Cross
is also holding Mine Awareness Workshops as well as starting
educational media campaigns.

Issam left Pakrac a few weeks ago.  Issam was a UNOV
institution either running the chaos as office manager or
driving everywhere in his little white car as an (apparently
inaccurate) engineer/estimator.  Rumor has it that he did
not return to Jordan but is living somewhere in Croatia.

Volunteer Life

The STV House is gone.  We handed over the key yesterday
afternoon and, frankly, were glad to see it go.  There were
a lot of good times in that house but not too many good
times cleaning it.  And the three of us who had to push the
vans around for an hour will not remember the afternoon
fondly.  So the end of the era is official now.  All of the
STV stuff is either in storage, on loan, or given away.
Only the two dormant vans remain outside the house on the
street waiting to be somehow taken away (we haven't quite
figured this out yet).

The Project had an official "meeting" (well, first it was an
"evaluation" but was downgraded) with ARK (Vanja and Vesna
T.) to discuss communication between the groups, the general
direction of each organization, and the Project's rather
unfortunate financial situation.

With four relatively new LTVs and up to three more soon on
the way, the Project has a new fresh look for the fall
season.  "Smashing!" says the volunteer press.  "Brilliant
choices!" scream other designers.  The new LTVs are settling
in and learning about the stress, boredom, and craziness of
Pakrac and hopefully, if not enjoying themselves, at least
getting something out of the whole experience.

All of the kittens from the STV camp are gone, but someone
left two new ones for us.  So now the office has cats.
Branka, the landlady, is not happy at all.

It is Japaga Ljuba's 82nd birthday on Sunday.  We are going
to bring her bananas and beer (her two most frequent

Comings and Goings -- Chris (Scotland) and Peter (America)
stayed to take over the photo project and work on
fundraising.  Dubravka (Rijeka) is our new local
coordinator.  Zlatko had to leave the project to find work
in Zagreb.  Jack (New Zealand), the last STV, left for
European adventures last week.  Burkie returned to work full
time on the e-mail project.  BJ went back to England for
good with the Convoy of Hope. Julie left.

Volunteer Activities


Workcamps are over.  This space will now be rented out for
advertising.  We currently have Coca-Cola and Pepsi in a
bidding war though we are open to alternative offers.

Photo Project

Peter and Chris are trying to restart the photo project
which sat dead for the entire summer.  Due to lack of
materials, their current focus is on fundraising but they do
teach classes regularly at the orphanage in Lipik.  They
also are working on Kako Si.

E-mail Project

Bocian and Burkie had their first e-mail meeting of the
school year today at the secondary school.  Classes will
start soon.  Not that they have been sitting around.  The e-
mail project is working on setting up new schools both in
Western and Eastern Slavonia and has also been concentrating
on contacts and fundraising.  They have also been going on
or planning all these trips to conferences and meetings in
Slovenia, Zagreb, Osijek, etc..

Puppet Theater

Piekna and Ivica are still trying to find a place for the
puppet theater.  They have expanded this search into space
for an entire drop-in children's center.  Piekna has gone to
Poland for a few weeks.


We have these two vans that don't work and with questionable
registration at that.  Before we could just let them sit in
the STV house yard, but now we have to deal with them and
are trying to sell them for something.  Know anyone who
wants a lovely white combi shell with no engine or a
beautiful yellow van (known as the Love Van) with bad brakes
that requires hot-wiring to start?

Community Visits

We learned this week that our community visits program will
be funded for the year by SIDA, essentially the Swedish
Government.  This is incredible news for the Project and for
Zdenka.  We will now find another volunteer to join Zdenka
and start working out the details on getting the expanded
program moving.


The next Kako Si is taking shape.  Almost all of the
articles are in and the photos should be done next week.
Now comes two weeks of editing and translating before lay
out at ARKzin in Zagreb.  We hope to have Kako Si out by the
beginning of November.

Youth Development

Dubravka has been working on restarting the Youth Club which
apparently closed this summer.  The old space is now in a
student dormitory.  She had a first meeting at the secondary
school last week to come up with ideas.


Sick and tired of our constant money troubles, we decided
that relying on a few people to fundraise for the core
project has been a complete failure.  So the Project has
created a fundraising group that has a meeting each week to
talk about fundraising and assign tasks.  We hope that
greater involvement and new ideas and new energy will get
the Project to a more stable place.


Some people from the Karlovac project came to borrow the STV
beds for a while.  Otvorene Oci visited looking into writing
a report on Western Slavonia.  Cuco returned from his French
workcamp and came by.  Vesna and Vanja came for the ARK-
Project "summit."  Abi, Nathan, and Bocian talked to the
First Secretary from the Austrian Embassy.  Ivan's son came
for the day during the STV camp.


To PeaceQuest for all their help and assistance in our
community visits application.

Social Life/Gossip

This space might become less exciting now that STVs will not
be around to generate all that emotional heat.  Not much to
say about the last camp really.  The past two weeks have
just involved the new LTVs adjusting to Pakrac and the co-
leaders (Abi and Nathan) trying to recover from the
exhausting camp and month.  Kind of boring, actually, now
that I think about it.


See, the problem with our money situation is that groups are
not so willing to fund the core running costs of the Project
like electricity, pocket money, or rents.  But without the
core costs covered, all that nice money for newspapers,
computers, community visits, tools, etc. can't be used.

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.


The seasons, in fact, teach us two lessons that both steady
and chastise:  all things must pass, and all things shall
return.  They tell us that every new beginning brings us
closer to an end, and every elegy has within it the echo
(and the promise) of a future celebration.  They say that
love that seems eternal now may soon be a distant memory;
and that a new love may come along to revive our sense of
eternity.  They teach us that suffering is inevitable, and
in that inevitability is a constancy that helps to take the
edge off suffering.  We cherish flowers more than
evergreens, precisely because they do not last.

--Pico Iyer

The Pakrac Volunteers-October 11, 1996

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