Perspective – The Monthly Breakdown

We’re enjoying quite a (much needed) rainstorm this morning and, unlike Belgrade, there’s not a lot to do in Bor when it rains.  I’m sitting in the kitchen with the girls, enjoying a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee (YES!!!!), figuring out what we should do while we’re boarded up for the day. Games, puzzles, family yoga and maybe one of the girls’ new favs, an old Ernest movie. (Ernest Goes to Jail, Ernest Saves Christmas, Ernest Scared Stupid…) With little exploring going on today, I’ll give you what I’ve got from our travels and conversations as of late.

  • My understanding was that Serbs, on average, make between $4,500 – $5,500 Canadian a year. At the pool this weekend, we chatted with a few families about Canada and Serbia and they told me that the lucky people made that amount of money and that, more often in rural settings like Bor, a person is most likely to make only $200 Euros a month, roughly $290 Canadian.) This is IF they are lucky enough to get a job. Many are not so fortunate.  If they are one of the chosen few, it breaks down like this:  $100 EU/month goes to rent in an apartment, leaving $100 EU a month (often) for an entire family to pay for electricity, transportation, food, clothing, and any other necessities like medicine or child care. Full time childcare, with 3 meals a day, might cost $50 Euros a month. This might not seem like a lot to us Canadians, but if you only have $50 left to spend on necessities after rent and childcare, this is an astronomical amount for a Serbian family. We are so incredibly lucky to have what we have in Canada. We have won the country lottery, really.

 

  • One of our Serbian friends here sent us a link to some lyrics that, he says, perfectly sums up Serbian mentality. It was created by a Croatian group, but he believes the strong message also applies to all of Serbia. In my short time here it seems pretty accurate to me, and a good reminder of how blessed we are to be Canadian.

Here is the link if you want to listen to the song: Priroda i drustvo lyrics

Nature and Society

Remi:
(chorus)
That’s our nature and society
Let a child be born, but let it be male,
Let it be male…
Shot:
We find a countryman who somewhat succeeded in life
But we praise him only when his coffin’s in the ground
We think of ourselves as the best, our hearts can feel it
There’s almost as many of us as there is voting ballots
We hear advice from hodja, priest and a prot
So we mass produce children because rubbers are a sin
Football fans embarras us, as soon as they spot each other they get in a brawl
Fingers crossed behind back when shaking hands
At one moment we want this way, at another that way,
If we can’t make a deal, we can even do it lawfully
We want foreigners to come spend some, buy something,
Even if he doesn’t come next year, the price’ll remain the same
There’s too much pensioners, and the budget blows
But ask anyone, he’d retire immediately
If he could scam something, have the commision sign the papers,
He’d leave the firm immediately, he’s sick and tired of everything
We would sell everything, but only if it would stay ours,
If someone else were to run it, oh, that’s not fine with us
And we break glasses when happy and we break
The bottles on the heads of the people we’re drinking with
We yell, we become wild, when we score a goal
God and homeland is everything we’ve got
Robust body, oh little soul
Nature is nice, but society #ucked up.
Chorus:
That’s our nature and society
Let a child be born, but let it be male,
Let it be male…
Remi:
We visit courses, we read books
To grow into higher beings with no worries
It’s not easy to hear someone else’s misery, avoid that!
We don’t know how to help ourselves, let God help us!
It’s always someone else’s fault, it’s never our own
We only start thinking once we’re stuck
We like to complain: it’s all due to Balkan
Those who were worth something ran away from here.
We suffer and swallow, and everybody lives in fear
That’s left from Yuga* where they would weigh every word
According to our words we appreciate work
And then we connect our long weekends while we catch some shade
Imagine that, we cannot see and our eyes are healthy
We proudly hug the athletes in 5 minutes of fame
We’re as unanimous as brothers every two years
When 11 mercenaries run out on fields
We – shine from the outside, it’s all empty on the inside
I guess that must be our nature and society.
We – shine from the outside, it’s all empty on the inside
(Shot) I guess that must be our nature and society.
(Chorus)
Bridge:
We look for prophets in the clouds, yet we can’t see a finger in front of our eyes
And then we make mistakes in steps, step bare-footed on thornes
We wouldn’t recognise the best even if it were to pass us by slowly
We – shine from the outside, it’s all empty on the inside
(Chorus)

I’ll leave you with this image. It’s an info graphic from the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia.  It says that ….Almost two-thirds of households in the Republic of Serbia report “making ends meet” with difficulty or great difficulty.poverty_in_the_republic_of_serbia

Author: S.L.Luck

Writer of fiction, non-fiction, and stories in between.

One thought on “Perspective – The Monthly Breakdown”

  1. I find this chart fascinating. While the numbers and dollars are different the percentages are very similar here in Canada. Poverty is everywhere. Social assistance will pay a family of 3 about 1500 or 1600 a month here. Then with 1000-1200 for rent alone you can see that low income people no matter where they live have the same struggles.

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