The Kosovars spontaneously returned to their homes shortly after
the war ended. The problem was that over half of the private homes
in Kosovo were destroyed or damaged during the war, mainly from
arson or artillery fire. But the Kosovars are extraordinarily enthusiastic
and resourceful and many repaired the roofs on their houses in no
time, often without international assistance.
Telecommunications, transport, and agriculture were
also badly damaged during the war. Industry is at a standstill,
with factories and farm machinery in need of maintenance and without
skilled staff or supplies, also due to neglect from the prior decade.
Water curfews remain in place in some cities and water for drinking
or bathing is infrequent. Half of the rural wells were intentionally
polluted. Garbage piles up. Roads are in dire need of repaving.
The list for international donors is endless.
Despite this hardship, Kosovars are determined to
get back on their feet. In January 2000, the building to the right
was being framed. In July when we returned, it was a chic boutique.
A judicial system has been established with over 100 judges appointed
to serve in municipal courts. Schools have reopened and hospitals
are functioning, but teachers and doctors still receive low or no
pay. Over 3,000 landmines have been removed from the ground but
hundreds of known minefields lie in wait.
While the Kosovars have wasted no time rebuilding
their homes, shops, and cafés, they havent been as
energetic in reconstructing a political and judicial system based