Car wreck project, Monthly report
Zelenkovac, RS, BiH

The car wreck project in Zelenkovac finally began on Tuesday, May 16, and we may be glad that the target date was postponed by only two weeks. Why, you may ask? First, this winter was extremely long and lasted until the beginning of May. This made reconstruction in Zelenkovac take a much longer time. But in the meantime, several groups were banging the door (school classes, local meetings and even an anarchistic meeting with more than 100 people), so the people in Zelenkovac had to use all their energy to get everything done, while the real plans for summer (a new jeepiada and new jazz festival) are still in preparation. .

The carwreck project also was delayed because of other reasons. To work next to a road you need permission from the city council. At first they told us this would be no problem. But they probably didn't believe that we were really going to do what we said we would do. So when we finally needed the permission to begin our work, many complications arose and the plans were changed. It took several days before we could start, and we need the same type of permission in every town in which we would like to work. We went to the Mine Action Center to check out the mine situation in the areas where we want to work, but they did not want to co-operate. The procedure is as follows: You apply where you would like to work, if possible with staff maps which even the MAC does not have. The different regional offices of MAC will then check the situation in their region and clear the places where no security can be given upfront. After that you will receive permission. "How long will this take?" I asked. They answered, "About a year and a half." Now we must go to every regional office to convince them that we need the information unofficially, so they will not be responsible if anything happens. This will take an enormous amount of time. Recently there have been two accidents involving mine-clearers, so they are really careful. Because we are working very close to the road and because the local population often knows which areas are not safe, we are still able to work, although very carefully. There is also a third reason. We thought we could hire a big truck. Our sponsors gave us a very reasonable budget for this. But what happens -- people smell money and the price goes up every day. We went to one man who could not say how much it would cost to rent his truck. Finally we offered him 1,500 DM, plus food and drink every working day, diesel, and an average months' salary for the driver. He looked at us and said, "Well, that is not very much." He would have said this if we had offered him 500 or 5,000 DM, so these things are going very slowly.

But we kept our eyes open and bought an old truck with a crane, using one-third of the budget. We still have one-third of the budget to hire a driver and to teach one of the younger members of Zelenkovac to be a driver, and another third to rent a big truck for a few days, to pick up the wrecks we will use from temporary storage. In this way our old truck will not have to spend most of its time driving with only a few wrecks on it.
With this step we have made sure of several things: We will not have to depend on other to do the job. We are giving Zelenkovac and its co-operators a great opportunity for the future and we have the advantage to do similar car wreck projects in other parts of BiH.

But because of this decision, the project also started later. To buy and especially to register a car is a slow process. For example, it costs twice as much to register a car in an organization's name unless you pay by giro bank account. But the office where you pay does not yet have such accounts, a fact which people could discuss for a week. But they refuse to pay 250 DM extra (250 DM is close to the average monthly wage in BiH and is therefore a lot of money in this poor area.)
The storage caused another delay. The place we would like to use is suddenly no longer available. The official depony is available, but it is on top of a mountain, more than an hour's drive from Zelenkovac and the pressing machine would never be able to get there. We found alternatives but by now we know that we will need at least two or three deponies to store all the wrecks available. .

So these are the reasons why the project started a little later. It does not really matter because the project is based on 100 working days and this is still 100 days even if you start a month late.

But the complete machinery works and tests have been made. About 40 wrecks have so far been cleared at the time of writing this.
Because it is much too early to make conclusions, we advise you to have a look to the monthly report at the end of next month.
We will continue. Television crews will come to have a look at the project, several magazines have made an appointment to come and talk to us, we have made preparations for guests and volunteers, and we do the publicity in cities and villages where we will be working later.

If you have suggestions or questions, please let us know.

With friendly regards,

Michailo Petrovic Raodmanager
Slobodan driver
Borislav Jankovic Coordinator
Marin S. Past Cooperator