The Vrajolli Family
We first met Enver Vrajolli in April 1999 in
Macedonia. We were looking for a
translator, and as a newly arrived refugee from Kosovo, Enver
was looking for a job. For the next five days we worked together
closely, visiting refugee camps. He knew he was lucky to be with
his parents and his girlfriend, Aferdita, in a private home rather
than in a refugee tent. But his story of a violent exodus from Pristina
was no different than the hundreds of thousands of other refugees.
The large photo to the right was taken while
Envers parents were refugees in Macedonia. After we left,
the entire family eventually went to Italy and Germany, before returning
to their home in Pristina in December 1999.
When we visited Pristina in January 2000, we
were guests at their home on Prilipi Street. Their house survived
the war intact, although many of their possessions were stolen.
Like everyone else in Pristina, they had little electricity and
heat, but they were fortunate to have a wood cookstove that kept
their large kitchen and living room warm, and a kerosene lamp for
The night before leaving, Aferdita cooked us
a magnificent dinner. They were very proud of their pickles which
they had hidden in their cellar before being driven out during the
war. When they returned eight months later, the pickle jars were
untouched. We couldnt help thinking that their fate could
have been like hundreds of thousands of refugees from other parts
of the former Yugoslavia who wont return to their homes for
years, if not decades, and, meanwhile, their pickle jars will remain
hidden in their cellars.
Enver was fortunate to eventually get a job
with UNMIK, although he is barely able to support his family. His
education and future have been shattered, but he is overjoyed to
be living in a free Kosovo. He and Aferdita got married in the spring
of 2000, driving around Pristina with all of their family and friends,
honking their horns.