© 2002 Friends of Bosnia  

We visited Tony’s phone shop numerous times while in Pristina to make calls. He worked alone in a one-room office with a desk full of mobile phones—not to sell but to rent. As long as there was electricity, or the batteries held out, his phones were the easiest access to the world outside of Kosovo. The ironic thing was that it was far easier to call the U.S. than it was to call across town. At the time, Belgrade still controlled the phone system and was eager to cash in on the overseas calls but wasn’t interested in helping the Kosovars make local calls.

Many people blamed the incessant traffic jams to the fact that to talk to someone, the only reliable means was to get in your car and drive.

Tony said he was just a “worker.” Someone else owned the business while he worked seven days a week, ten hours a day for $200 a month. This was more than a doctor made but less than half what he would make working as a driver for UNMIK or one of the 300 organizations operating in Kosovo. He was concerned that he had no time for a social life and was hoping to get another job.

Six months later when we returned to Kosovo, Tony’s shop was replaced by a women’s clothing store.