The Visit

Pictures taken during one of the last rehearsals for the theater-play "The Visit" (Der Besuch der alten Dame) of Friedrich Dürrenmatt in Mitrovica, Kosovo. This production is a collaboration between Catastrophic Theatre (Tony Barilla, Houston, Texas), the Mitrovica Cultural Center and the local NGOs Blackbird Books and Art & Media. Today, 31st of july, over a dozen artists from Mitrovica and the surrounding region present a performance of this classic piece about revenge, greed, corruption, violence and democracy in Pristina. Best of luck!


Judo Trepča

During the production of promotion material for the local Judo federation, Judo Trepča, I asked the athletes after the shooting to pose for a black and white portrait. According to the president of the Kosovo Olympic Committee, Besim Hasani, Judo is one of the few disciplines, athletes from Kosovo would have the potential to win medals. The members of Judo Trepča are competing on a high level, including bronce medals in the European Championships and in last year´s Balcan Games.

A forgotten promise - new blog: www.aforgottenpromise.blogspot.com

During my stay in Mitrovica, Kosovo, I visited on various ocasions the Roma refugee camp of Ostaroda in the northern part of the city. The conditions people are living there are infra-human and every family is affected by all kinds of the nocive effects of lead pollution, the remainings of heavy metal-mining by the ex-yugoslavian steel company Trepca. After the war between the Kosovo Liberation Army and Serbia, the Roma got between the sides. Once one of the biggest communities on the balcan peninsula, the refugees remaining in the camp are waiting for settling in new houses in the southern part of the town. Roma Mahalla, how the project is called, sounds like a forgotten promise to the suffering families living in terrible conditions...

Together with Mrs. Hilmnijeta Apuk, director of the NGO Little People of Kosovo, the support of the NGO Mitrovica Community Building and Mr. Dzafer Buzoli, Camp Officer, representing the KAAD (Kosovo Agency for Advocacy and Development), we decided to found a new initiative for fund raising. Our first step is to collect a little amount of money for the first and fundamental needs of the people in Ostaroda and to organize an exposition of portrait pictures in November 2009 in the Freie Kunstschule München for further fund raising. All the money goes directly to Little People of Kosovo and to the Camp Management, they coordinate all the necessary actions in Mitrovica, responding to the needs and most urgent problems...


Thank you!

Thank you!

After more than two weeks of travelling around in Kosovo, Albania and Romania and before starting any editing work, I want to express my gratitude to all the friends I met on my way.
Thanks to all of you I would like to call friends from now on, although in some cases we spent only a few hours together.

First of all: thank you, Mr. Scaueru! Without your help I probably still would hang around in this little village near Orsova, Romania. The milimetric maneuvers to get my car back to the asfalt road seemed impossible to me before I watched you performing with your Mercedes Benz! Thank you for bed and breakfast in your wonderful house in Turnu Severin and for this unforgettable night eating out on this boat on the Danube river, listening to Roma music and talking all night long. The boy on the picture in your office you bought on a flee market in Munich in 1980 and you feel such an inexplicable attraction for: it could be me, six years old, wearing traditional bavarian clothes... I hope we meet again, during one of your visits in Munich (Mr. Scaueru is the most creative car dealer I ever met!) or in Romania, then we will head for this culinary paradise which has to be Brasov and we will try this dog leather-cheese...

In Albania I want to thank Zjef and his family for giving me shelter during my excursions to the Bjeshkët e Namun, the "Cursed Mountains". Thank you Giuseppe (I know how much you like the sound of the italian version of your first name) for the interesting conversations about the ancestral consuetudinary law of the kanun, for introducing me to persons living under this laws and for delicious bits of home-made cured ham, goat cheese, bread and the one or other glass of raki... Grazie, Giuseppe, I wish I would have had the opportunity to meet your beloved mother, too. She will always be with you, Giuseppe!

Most time of my journey I spent in Mitrovica, Kosovo, where I worked on a project for the NGO Little People of Kosovo about the situation of the Roma community living in terrible conditions in the camp of Ostaroda, in the northern part of the city.

Thanks to Besnik Hasanaj, excellent photographer, who introduced me to leaders the Ashkali Community in Mitrovica and gave me interesting insights in the actuality of Mitrovica. Thanks to the stuff of Community Building Mitrovica who made possible the many contacts to camp direction, humanitarian workers, artists, medical stuff etc. Thanks to Avni who attended with patience my needs whenever I had to ask for some help and thanks to Lindsey, humanitarian worker from the Netherlands, for useful information and for just being there. And thank you Mladen, you are not only an arquitect trained to construct houses, I am sure you will build strong bridges between human beings with your daily work. You are hard and severe, but always first with yourself - and you have a big heart! Thank you for your company, I hope you are enjoying your holidays...

Many thanks to Hilmjineta Apuk, lawyer, economist and head of the NGO Little People of Kosovo. Thank you for your support, I hope we can realize our project in a reasonable time frame...

Thanks to Tony Barilla, I would have liked to assist to the first function of your play "Der Besuch der alten Dame" in the cultural center of Mitrovica. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist to the rehearsals, today I will start to read again in Dürrenmatts piece about vengeance, democracy, corruption and violence... Good luck to you and all of your fabulous actors! And thanks Irma, great actress and beautiful person, thank you for your patience, I really hope the picture will be worth it!

In the Camp of Ostaroda I want to express gratitude to Dzafer Buzoli, Camp Officer, great professional and even better person. Thank you for assisting me during my stays in and around the camp, I hope, I can give you some good news very soon...

And now, last, but not least, the most special "Thank you" goes to a real friend, to Ershan! Thank you so much for guiding me and translating for me. It was really heartbreaking when I saw you struggling with tears when we had to say good-bye. I will always remember our rides in the car, listening to Roma music, the volume you proposed almost blasted my ears! And of course I will remember our playstation-soccer-sessions - but for the next time you will have to decide: Iker Casillas or Víctor Valdés, you know for which team my heart is beating...). And there is another thing: you did a great work with my camera, taking really good pictures of your family and your friends, perhaps more valuable than the pictures I did during my visit to Ostaroda... Ershan, many, many thanks for so much! And thanks to your adorable friends!


Chomutov, Czech Republic

More pictures from my project about frontiers in so called "New Europe". Last weekend, after a short visit at the f-stop festival in Leipzig, I travelled around in the northern part of Bohemia where I visited the local Roma community. In the last weeks they suffered of harrasment by radical rightwingers, some of them organized in political parties like the "Workers´Party, Delnicka strana, DS. In the next weeks I will continue working in Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Greece and Romania...

Isabel Leicht´s birthday, 01-07-1985

Isabel Leicht on her birthday, one week ago. Thank you for your help, without the new camera I would not be able to do what I really want to do...