My Serbia

Jacqueline Haener
June 27th - 30th, 2005

As I came to Serbia, I immediately felt home. While I was planning to stay for one or two months and had nothing else than a small suitcase with me, it soon looked like leaving was not an option at all.  The “quality of life” is a discussable thing. While in other countries the eighteen-year-old can buy himself a car and rent a flat, while in other countries political stability and “security” are taken for guaranteed factors, real happiness and enjoyability are questionable.

Serbia succeeded in conserving, through all the difficult times it had to face, positiveness and a natural kindness which is very hard to find elsewhere. People are open and generous, helpful and caring, laughing their problems away with sound smiles. They keep standing upright, noble in heart, even when the sky falls upon their heads. The project of making this reportage came out of an intense desire to explore the country. I went to its most secluded places, was welcomed by villagers into their homes, shared bread and salt with them, helped in plucking strawberries and milking cows, learned the language, tried to catch the Soul of whatever was surrounding me. The experience is unforgettable. As the project grew and took form, it became clear that it is not only a way to thank Serbia for all the beauty she nourished me with but also, even if just a little, to open a window on what Serbia is. The world decided to put this country on the blacklist of torturers and terrorists. The world would need to come and look. Since this is a thing that will hardly happen, I chose to get it done the other way round. I’ll bring Serbia to the world.