© 2002 Friends of Bosnia  

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 haven’t been as energetic in reconstructing a political and judicial system based on tolerance.




Above: Retail business is rebuilt in Pristina in January 2000
1) Internet cafés have sprung up all over Pristina.
2 ) Destruction in Mitrovica.
3) Destruction in Peja near the