Serbian street paper Liceulice is gradually facilitating its vendors to get back on the streets to sell the magazine. Before the country’s state of emergency was lifted, some of its vendors recounted their experiences of being in lockdown.
David Janković (Belgrade)
“I miss being able to go out and walk, visiting my mum and meeting up with people outside the care home where I stay. I miss going to the youth centre where I usually sell the magazine and meeting up with my friends. I also miss TV because the TV room has been closed here for some time due to refurbishment. It’s getting seriously boring now. The hardest thing for me is that I can’t make any money and buy things I need. I also miss my job and the sense of duty and routine that comes with it – knowing that I need to be at a certain place at a certain time to sell the magazine.
It means a lot to me to hear from Liceulice and to know that times are difficult for others as well and that we are not the only ones locked down. All the support they are giving me now means a lot to me. I’m glad they haven’t forgotten me.”
Nataša Bojanić (Belgrade)
“I miss exercising and my friends. I also miss Terazije, the neighbourhood where I used to sell the magazine. Now, I am exercising at home for two hours every day. I also draw and listen to music. But it’s getting boring and I hope I will be able to go back to selling the magazine soon. Without making money, it is very difficult for me. I am alone with my mother and our income has been reduced now. Every time someone checks in, it means a lot to me. But I will be the happiest when I can go back to work.”
Svetlana Petrović (Belgrade)
“I miss selling the magazine. I used to walk around the city and connect with people. That means a lot to me, both from a health and social perspective. I miss other vendors too as I used to meet them all the time. I get in touch with some of them by phone now. On 6 April I turned 65, and since then I have not been allowed to leave my house at all. I used to meet lots of people while I was selling the magazine, and now my day is empty. When I was selling Liceulice, my day seemed much shorter; I was engaged all the time, trying to accomplish all my ideas during the day. My mind was more occupied back then compared to now when I am locked at home because of the coronavirus. It means a lot to me that people from the magazine call us. It also means a lot to me that we get a care package from Liceulice, as that is our great need at this moment. Also, the attention means a lot to us.”
Bojan Vulović (Novi Sad)
“The state of emergency has affected my everyday life a lot. I sit at home, I watch TV a lot, I watch news, listen to music, I play the guitar, trying to be OK. I live alone. I’ve lost contact with people and that’s hard for me. I miss freedom, freedom of movement, above all. I simply miss my colleagues. I miss my friends from Liceulice. I miss people from ‘Kompas’, an organisation that helps individuals with mental health difficulties. I also miss club CK-13 [a youth centre] in Novi Sad and the people I used to meet there. Any earnings are welcome to me. My brother is helping me. He keeps asking if I need anything. I almost lost my income, so the financial aid and donations Liceulice has organised have been very important to me. It also means a lot that I am in contact with people from the organisation, volunteers who are supporting us. I can’t wait to hang out with all of them.”
David Balić (Novi Sad)
“I can’t hang out with people like I used to, I can’t go to Novi Sad, except once a week by bike, which is very difficult for me. What bothers me the most is that the curfew is from Friday night until Monday morning. I used to go to various cultural centres and bookstores and sales went nicely. Now, when those centres are closed, I am left without a nice hobby and part of my income. I am frustrated because of that, especially since there are not many infected people in Novi Sad and Karlovac, so I think that the measures could have been milder.”
Translated from Serbian by Ivana Radanovic