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Archive file

VIP 32

                 VIP No.32,December 13,1996
                    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
Winter has come to Pakrac again.  Later and milder than last
year though we are still plenty cold.  Not today though.
There is the most beautiful blue sky.  Last winter did not
have one day like this.  I would remember.

Burek confirmed his status as local celebrity by appearing
by name in an article in the local newspaper, Pakracki List.
Of course, the article is about the danger of rabies in
"stray" dogs and recommends they be taken off the street.
But hey, any press is good press, right?  Burek himself
expressed studied indifference to the article continuing to
hang out with his volunteers.  He is thinking of getting us
collars just to prove ownership.

The UNOV office in Pakrac is closing by the end of the year.
This office helped to start and run the Volunteer Project
three years ago.  They cut off all social funding this
summer and concentrated on reconstructing houses for
returnees.  Soon there will be nothing but weird memories of
Issam, Simo, Chris, etc..  UNDP is, however, opening an
office in Lipik next year so there will be a continued UN
presence in the area.

Traffic lights went up in a few key spots around town.  They
appear to be timed perfectly to create as much traffic as
possible.  The pedestrian light also seems to be stuck on
red.  But hey, it is modern, it is technology.  Now all we
need is traffic reports on the radio.

I read on e-mail today that Croatian and Eastern Slavonian
Serb authorities signed the first agreement about large
scale repatriations from Eastern to Western Slavonia.  The
plan is to have over 100 families return to the region by
the end of the year.  General Jacques Klein, the officer in
charge of the UN transitional authority in Eastern Slavonia,
made a visit to Pakrac on November 29th to talk to local

And now something by Burkie summing up the returnee
situation."Loads of people who escaped last year after May
1st are coming back from Baranja, East-Slavonia, and West-
Srijem (does anybody know where is West-Srijem?).  Last
Saturday 80 people came back to the former Sector West.  A
couple of weeks ago people were ready to leave from Baranja,
when the UN found out that they had no transportation.  The
people are coming back how they had left, just with a few
belongings, if any, no job and no money.  Everything, as
usual, pretty big chaos, but this time also the winter came
to Pakrac, thus the returnees are at home but it's a
freezing home.  UNHCR or any other organization in Pakrac
has no money to buy firewood."

Volunteer Life

The Project is closing for a month for its traditional
winter holiday.  Which is much needed as burn out and stress
took their toll during the past month.

Even though our break doesn't "officially" start for a
couple of days the volunteers have been slowing leaving or
going on vacation over the past couple of weeks.  Life has
become quiet and slow.  Bocian convoyed up to England and
Ivka is now in Slovakia for Christmas.

Comings and Goings - Ivan (Sweden) came and left as small
repairs volunteer.  Chris and Pete both left for Scotland
and America respectively.  Jack (New Zealand) stayed to help
out in different projects but also left for home.  Nathan
leaves the Project in four days time.  At least two new
volunteers will be coming sometime in January.

Volunteer Activities
In general , the sub-project ran excellently during
November.  There is a need for new volunteers and energy
next year especially to get some real momentum for the photo
project and small repairs.

Photo Project
Chris and Pete continued to fundraise and work in the
orphanage in Lipik through November.  They have both left
now so the project is once again not running.  The Project
is currently searching for a new photo project volunteer.

E-mail Project
All of the e-mail lessons have been taken over officially by
a teacher in the secondary school.  Bocian and Burkie
connected a school in Baranja and four NGO's in Baranja and
Vukovar.  They are starting a new project involving giving
broken computers to students who will then fix them.  The
point is for students to make themselves computers and other
things such as a measuring device to measure environmental
quality like the Ph level of water.  Students would then be
able to do environmental research and find different ways to
approach subjects such as biology and chemistry.

Puppet Theater
Ivka continued her work with the puppet theater group, the
kindergarten in Gavrinica, and on developing a "kidspace".
She also coordinated the painting of the playground across
from the Firestation.  Lots of nice colors and designs there
now.  She also just found a space for all of her activities
for next year.

Small Repairs
Since the last VIP, Ivan from Korcula and Sweden came to do
small repairs.  Ivan, however, could not stay very long and
we are once again without a small repairs volunteer.  Ivan
became the first volunteer ever to live with a community
visit as he stayed with Pakrac Ljuba.  Ivan worked in close
conjunction with the community visits program as these two
sub-projects are becoming linked closer and closer.

The saga of the vans continues.  They still sit outside the
STV house quickly becoming part of the landscape.  Tune in
to this space next VIP for more of the same thrills and

Community Visits
Alan from PeaceQuest came to Pakrac to work out the
reporting and funding details for our community visits
program.  Now things are running smoothly with both
Stefanija and Zdenka doing wonderful work

Kako Si was distributed throughout the greater Pakrac area.
The response from the town was once again generally silence
though 800 to 900 copies were taken in two days - same as
last issue.  There will be new volunteers and new directions
for Kako Si next year.  There is funding for at least four
more issues next year so hopefully it can build up some
legitimacy within the town.

This will be the last VIP that I write before leaving the
Project.  VIP, of course, is much bigger than one person so
will march onward with other contributors.  I have had a
great time writing VIP this year trying to keep the world up
to date on the amazing blend of chaos and work that is the
Volunteer Project Pakrac.  Hope y'all enjoyed reading it.

LJ, Djez, Harry,  Edin, Dennis, Nadija, Hajko (sp?) all came
from Gorni Vakuf for visits at one time or another.  Some of
them came more than once.  Alan Frisk from PeaceQuest in
Sweden came.  So did Joelle (sp?) from Sweden.  Two UNOV
interns, Leanne and Laura, visited with Tommy Varga.

To Ognjen and Sasa for modems and support.  To Sasa for a
quick answer and Ognjen for an idea.  To Goran, Nenad, and
Predrag for fixing our bikes.  To Gemeindem Gemeindsam for
their financial support.  To Alba Aid for giving Bocian a
lift out of Pakrac for his vacation.

Social Life/Gossip
Typical topsy turvy times in Pakrac the past four weeks.
The Vakuf volunteers livened up the social scene immensely.
Then five of us went to Vakuf for Phillip's going away party
last weekend.

Joelle (I have no idea who to spell his name), an 18 year
old Swedish clown, just dropped by invited by Ivan who
promptly disappeared for four days.  Everyone became very
confused as to what he was doing and finally after days of
wandering around town, Joelle left for Vienna.  Seemed like
a nice guy but just terrible timing.

I don't have the will or energy to put up with the flak I
would catch for writing about the other stuff that happened
here lately.  I mean how many of your companies, groups, or
schools put out great gossip onto e-mail like we have?


The Project still needs just about everything from good
volunteers to money to a really good stapler.  Anything will

fire wood for returnees (just put some in an envelope and
send it to us - or money)
doors (ask us for specific measurements)

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

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

Puppet Theater
paint brushes
modelling stuff
matress filling
ballet shoes
stage lights

E-mail Project
4 times M5M41000BJ  1222E5D -8 (for those of you who don't
konw what that is, it is a computer chip, more precisely 1
MB of RAM each).
Electronic and computer parts and tools

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 poetry of motion is a phrase much in use, and to enjoy
the epic form of that gratification it is necessary to stand
on a hill at a small hour of the night, and having first
expanded with a sense of difference from the mass of
civilized mankind, who are dreamwrapt and disregardful of
all such proceedings at this time, long and quiety watch
your stately progress through the stars.

-- Thomas Hardy in Far From the Madding Crowd

I am still in Pakrac, it is there in my heart and will
always be a part of my life.  And last Saturday when I went
to London and met Frank and Andy, two other volunteers who
had been on that same creaky train from Banova Jaruga nearly
a year ago, and together we three went for a long walk by
the river Thames talking of Pakrac, then I know that is the
same for all of us.

Pakrac, you are with us forever.

-- Peter Scholl in Kako Si #4

It is quite ridiculous really.

-- All of us all summer

The Pakrac Volunteers - December 13, 1996

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