Thorny and forgotten – three acacia


Exactly on Gjurgjovden (religious holiday in Macedonia) many people from the settlement Three acacia will be depressed because their fellow citizens will be celebrating Erdelez (very importanat holiday for the Roma) near them, because of the trip spots in that part of Priplep, and they won’t even have food for their children.


Above the settlement Trizla in Prilep there is a place known as Three acacia. Around 50 Roma families built their homes, phisically and symbolically diveded from the rest of the town, in the prevoius years. Part of them are at least  partly arranged, part of them are improvised, built out of cardboard, nylon, plywood, but all of them face the same problems, urbanistic, social, existential.

The electricity network does not have the suitable power, so besides for a few lights there is not enough power even for a fridge or a cooking range to normally function.

The condition with the water-supply is even worse. Almoust all the families get water from one cock, and even that water is often not clean and with poor quallity. For many of the residents of Three acacia not being able to maintain the hygiene combined with the quallity of the water is source of many diseases, infections, allergies. Especially for children.

Improvised roads leading to the settlement are earthy and steep, so every rainfall or snow makes it more difficult to reach.

For Suzana Z. life in Three acacia is even harder. She lived in a tent with her son the whole winter, on a location which, she claims, is her property. On that location there is nothing else but stones and grass. There is only the vision of how Suzana’s future home would look like. Now she lives in another house, right next to her land, temporarily, without benefits, but she is in fear she can stay wothout a roof above her and her family’s haed any moment.

“This is not my house, not my home. I never lie and I will tell you openly – many have helped me.  After all people can’t help me in everything. I understand. But it is really inconceivable how can a person live in these conditions. Can a person live in these conditions in these times?! I can’t understand how can the authorities allow that anyone lives without water, without electricity, without normal life conditions. This is not life!, comments Suzana angrily with a pile of documents in her hand, sat on a rock on her land.

Suzana lives with monthly state benefits of 2000 denars. Two-three weeks ago she went to the mayor of Prilep, again, to complain. He promised that he will help her soon and that his services will build her a small house on the land which she says it’s hers. At this point she waits on the fullfilment of this promise. If there is no reaction any time soon, Suzana announces that she will visit the mayor again and remind him of his promise.


There will be no access for the politicians


Evidently disapointed from the indiference of the institutions and the society for their inclusion the only thing in which these Roma people regularelly enjoy is the great view on the town from one side and Markovi Kuli on the other.

“Politicians come to us only during the elections. And until now they have won our votes. They promised a lot, but relized nothing. We don’t need SDSM, VMRO or anybody else anymore” say residents of Three acacia.

They say it is better for politicians to not even visit them before the elections, because they don’t believe them, so there is no need to put an effot to win their votes.

Experience has thaught them that politicians’ promises serve only for their votes on the elections. Soon after the election Three acacia becomes forgotten by the institutions. The problem with water-supply is not solved for a long time, and there is not even an announcement that suitable electricity power will be provided.

Many of the children from families who live in Three acacia go to school no matter the great powerty and the difficulties to maintain the hygiene.

“It is a shame for these children to go dirty, hungry and barefoot to school. They don’t deserve to be additionally diciriminated by other children”, say women residents of Three acacia.


Gjurgjovden brings life but not for the residents of Three Acacia


One of the most important holidays for Roma people, Gjurgjovden or Erdelez is celebrated on the Sixth of May. Lambs are being slaughtered, meals are being cooked, as wel as baklava (sweet turkish desert). Roma people say that there must be everything for this holiday from soup to baklava. Families are together, it is being celebrated at trip spots where food and beverages are being shared. A day earlier, on the fifth of May Roma go on a so called samovilec, a custom when lambs are being slaughtered. They prepare themselves for the next day, for the great meal on the occaison of Gjurgjovden.

The older explain that Roma celebrate Erdelez for one and only reason – transit from winter to summer. That’s why a week before the holiday Roma people clean their houses. Again marking the same – dispatching winter and welcoming summer. Similar to many other people, communities: this day is sort of a festival which characterizes “better” time. People sing, dance and feel happy.

According to the creed traditions of christian and muslim Roma people are similar, although Christians celebrate two holidays on this date, Gjurgjovden, in honour of St. George and Erdelez or the transit from winter to summer.

Many of the Roma people in Prilep spend this holiday exactly in the settlement Three acacia or right next to it. Exactly on this day many from the settlement Three acacia will be depresed because their co-citizens will be celbrating Erdelez near them because of the trip spots in that part of Prilep, and they won’t even have food for their children.

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