Bjeshka Guri (interviewer)
Mersie Kameri (interviewee)
Acronyms: BG=Bjeshka Guri, MK=Mersie Kameri
MK: I am Mersie Kameri. I was born on 1963. I have 5 children. I live with my husband. We have lived as refugees for 18 years in Skopje.
BG: Could you tell me something about the situation when you were told that you had to leave the house and go to Macedonia?
MG: When the war began, we were frightened and went to Skopje. We saw the aircrafts shooting missiles and when we heard that noise, we had to leave... We stayed for some two or three months like that... I was afraid and I used to leave my home until my husband came back from work. When he came back, I returned too... Because, to be honest, I really was scared, it was was... and that’s how we...
BG: And when did you decide to leave your home?
MK: When we saw that others were leaving, we left too because we were afraid.
BG: Do you remember anything about the time after you left, what experiences did you have during the way?
MK: We went to Skopje by van. We did not see anything. We just saw that we had arrived at Skopje. I was very sick at that time. Until we arrived there... I couldn’t help it but faint... I was very sick and I was afraid too stay alone at home... My children were very little. As soon as hearing a missile being shot, or a noise... I took my children and went to my sister who was living near me. We used to live in Ferizaj earlier. But now we are paying the rent, we do not have a house. So, we returned from Skopje. I was very frightened. I can show you my medicaments. I do not know what else to tell you.
BG: You use these medicaments since war?
MK: Yes, I have been using them since war. I panic. Believe me, I panic since the time of war, my daughter came to see me one day, because my husband has gone to Skopje to look for a job. Trust me, if I am left home lone, I leave the house. Because I panic. I have had these panic attacks since war. And I am sick, always using medicaments. And I still cannot get rid of these panic attacks. When I am alone, I think about a lot of things.... I use medicaments all day long. And lately, I do not have money to buy the medicaments. Others are buying them for me. We also have to pay the rent. We did not have money for the rent this month... it may happen that they will throw us out... we lost everything during the war.
BG: How was it in Skopje? What did you do there?
MK: We used to pay the rent there too... I mean they paid the rent for us there.
BG: How long did you stay in Skopje?
MK: We returned three years ago. I do not know in what year. Yes, I wanted to return earlier. I wish we could have built a house here. I wanted to return here quite long ago. I saw that the war ended and I wanted to return. I myself went to the notary and signed to return. But they told us... I did not want to return here in Dubrava because I am from Ferizaj. I did not want to return here. Then, they decided to build some houses for us, but changed their minds. Then, they built the houses, but after some time things changed and we had to return without settling into these houses. It was very difficult for me. We had bad experiences. The war is harsh, my daughter. Now, we live this way. But at least it is good that things fell into place. It is good here in Kosovo. Nobody disturbs us. I want to say that we didn’t do anything so that somebody would disturb us. They say that “ fear makes half of courage”. So, we are okay now. I do not know what else to tell you... I do not quite remember the war... it was very hard for us. Because we were in a foreign country. It took us a long time to get used with the life there. We spoke Albanian, they spoke Roma language. It was very difficult for us. We stayed there because we had no other choice. However, it’s good that we are back.
BG: Did you use to visit Kosovo as you were staying there, to see how the things were going here?
MK: Yes, my husband used to come here while we were living in Skopje. He used to come and see if the things were going well... if the war had ended... if people were being harassed or else. He came many times here and finally he told us that we were returning because the thing were going well here and that Kosovo was free. So, we came back. The war is terrible. Is there anything better than having a calm life?
Bjeshka Guri (interviewer)