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Archive file

VIP 31

                  VIP No.31,November 8,1996
                    Volunteer Information

                  Volunteer Project Pakrac
                         Bolnicka 47
                   34 550 Pakrac, Croatia
                 Tel/fax: +385(0)34 411-881
       E-mail:  Volunteers_Pakrac@zamir-pk.ztn.apc.org

Situation in Town

Nothing drastic occurred in the past month.  But life
certainly isn't boring.  Well it is boring in a day to day
sense.  But not in the wider socio-political sense.  Really,
though, there is nothing to do here - absolutely nothing.

But for one evening culture did return to Pakrac with the
Zagreb Philharmonic playing at the restaurant near the wood
factory.  Most of the volunteers didn't know about the
concert until it was over.

In a remarkable organizational mini temper tantrum, UNHCR
has stopped coming to the weekly NGO meetings and will only
meet with "implementing partners."  We, unfortunately, are
not implementing partners of UNHCR so have no information on
them whatsoever.  I am sure they are continuing their
return,  demining kind of stuff.  But who knows?  Maybe they
are holding perpetual tea parties.

Continuing a year long obsession with the weather, let me
just say that it has been glorious.  A full week of perfect
late autumn sunshine with temperatures reaching between 20
and 25 (the mid-70's for Americans).

Sasa now attends the first grade in a school in Daruvar.
According to him there are lots of other kids and he likes
it very much.  I already notice little differences like him
staring at me and enunciating perfectly and slowly "Kud
ides" (Where are you going?) or counting with different and
proper fingers as he stares at them intently.  Pretty soon
he will be running the NGO coordination meeting or certain
large international organizations.

The Mine Action Center is trying to identify future mine
clearance tasks.  So they want anyone with a project
hindered by mines to contact them.  This goes out to all of
you too.  If your job is hindered in any way by mines just
let the Project know and we will pass it on.  In all
seriousness, their first priority is to demine Kusonje and
they might start local mine awareness trainings as well.

The big political/returnee issue of the past month for both
Eastern and Western Slavonia was people visiting cemeteries
on All Soul's Day on November 2nd.  A bus of people from
Eastern Slavonia visited the cemetery in Japaga.  The
European Monitors monitored 12 cemeteries around Pakrac and
Daruvar and noted that all were in good condition and there
were no incidents.

Twelve people returned to the Pakrac area from Eastern
Slavonia.  These numbers continue to be low and, while there
are several project started or planned to help returnees,
the prospects of large scale returns are still dim.

Volunteer Life

Project life has quieted down.  We haven't had a party in
ages.  There was one kind of planned for last Saturday but
it never really got off the ground.  Part of this is due to
no STVs and part of this is due to our lack of money.  Plus
it seems that everyone here is either getting sick or going
on trips.

Peter and Chris are both sick.  The doctor told Pete he had
a "bacterial inflammation of the glands" which may be
impossible we are now told by a supposed but decidedly
unqualified expert.  Zdenka suggested they had
mononucleosis.  Pete just finished and Chris just started a
series of five daily shots in a rather embarrassing place.
But not too embarrassing to be in VIP I guess.  Just hope
that the author does not get sick as well.  He already had
mono once and it almost ruined a cruise to Mexico when he
was 17.  Dubravka also has a sore throat.

Nathan celebrated his one year anniversary in Pakrac by
drinking some rakija and going to Prekopakra to try and
catch "ER" on TV.  But considering that Croatian TV plays
shows at different times each week in a five hour window
between 7PM and midnight - he missed it.

The Project now has a WEBSITE!!  Thanks to Boyd Noorda in
Holland.  The address is-
Also check out "Hope on the Balkans" at:

Comings and Goings - Piekna went to Poland for her sister's
wedding and is staying for a while for health reasons.
Stefanija (Pakrac) is a new community visits volunteer.  Abi
left the Project to work at UNOV though she still lives at
the Fire Station house.

Volunteer Activities

All of our sub-projects seem to have found some sort of
rhythm now.  We are still concentrating on fundraising and
now have to focus on recruitment since some people are
leaving in December and workcamps are no more (though there
is sentiment to restart them next year).

Photo Project

Pete and Chris, despite debilitating illness, are continuing
their weekly sessions at the orphanage in Lipik.  This week
they start class in the secondary school.  Both of them also
worked on the latest edition of Kako Si.

E-mail Project

The e-mail project has open room regularly in the secondary
school.  There are also lessons with the ex-headmaster for
new e-mail students.  Burkie and Bocian are involving the ex-
headmaster, Dragan, more and more in trainings and classes.
Next week B and B are going to Vukovar and Baranja to hook
up a youth club.  They are now concentrating on developing
contacts in Daruvar, Osijek, and Pozega and may also start
spending a lot of time in Eastern Slavonia.

Puppet Theater

Ivka held the first new meeting of the puppet theater group
in Pakrac on Friday.  The group is using the Fire Station
house while it continues its search for a space.  Ivka is
also starting English lessons in Gavrinica on Saturday and
may expand them to the orphanage in Lipik with the help of
Peter and Chris.  She is also continuing her work in the
kindergarten in Gavrinica and making leaflets and writing
proposals.  She is also organizing the volunteers to try and
fix up the playground across from the Fire Station.

Small Repairs

The word from Sweden is that Ivan, an STV in September, is
finally returning to Pakrac to take over the small repairs
sub-project.  Just in time to get a lot of wood chopping
done before winter sets in.  Chris and Jack have spent a lot
of time at old Ljuba's fixing things and laying down a path
over the mud that passes for her yard.


Most of our bikes have been fixed by the Gruic family but we
have no plugs for the tires.  Our two dormant vans sit in
front of the STV house still.  Of course, the white one will
be hard to get rid of now since unnamed people (who claim to
have its papers) who were supposed to take the whole van
ended up only taking the doors and a wheel.  How are we
supposed to move it now?  Thanks guys.

Community Visits

Stefanija started work with Zdenka two weeks ago and was on
her own for the first time this week.  Someone from Sweden
is coming this week to finalize the contracts and guidelines
for the SIDA funding the community visits program.


Kako Si is here!  Pete and Nathan went to Zagreb to lay it
out and get a good deal at the printers.  They stayed for
three days and also got to finally see "Trainspotting."
Truly excellent film.   We printed 1200 Croatian and 300
English copies of Kako Si.  Distribution starts tomorrow.
Kako Si will also be on e-mail in both languages some time
next week.  The Project is currently looking for a new
publications volunteer - local or international.


We continue to have our fundraising meetings and might
slowly be getting somewhere.  It wouldn't look like it to a
constant observer but if you turned your head for a while
and then looked again we might be an inch or two forward.
We are still interested in developing international contacts
who could help us find money in their native countries.


Jess came from Vakuf to chauffeur some women to a women's
meeting in Pakrac.  Ben and his two friends, Critter and
Stefan, visited Nathan and picked corn and chopped wood (old
Ljuba said she thought they had never chopped wood before
and had only seen it on TV).  Abi picked up some random
American woman from Louisiana who stayed for a couple of
days and left us 100 Kuna.


To nobody in particular this month.  So lets take this
chance to join hands in a big circle, sing Kumbaya, and
thank everyone in Pakrac and in the outside world who
support the Project.

Social Life/Gossip

Several people commented on the lack of gossip in the last
VIP.  Well, there just isn't much of it these days.  Chris
and Abi went to Sarajevo for the weekend but no one was
there to record the many surely seamy details (just
guessing).  I mean we haven't even had a party in the past
month.  There was talk of one or two volunteers shaving
their heads.  Some might go to a Pearl Jam concert in
Budapest.  This is lame.  I feel like a complete gossip
failure.  Maybe everyone is just hiding it from me.


Let us check with the big scoreboard to see how much
materials this section has brought into the Project to date.
Nothing.  Only  a couple of hundred more years and we will
still be at nothing.

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.

He always got angry the minute he saw cricket.  It really
annoyed him, everything about it; the umpires, the white
gear, the commentators, the whole !&%#$# lot.

From The Snapper by Roddy Doyle

The Pakrac Volunteers
November 8, 1996

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