Lidija Manić is one of the beneficiaries who received a greenhouse and accompanying equipment as part of the Reintegration II project in the Pirot District. During the selection process, she had the opportunity to attend comprehensive training for greenhouse production and also receive the necessary additional counseling and guidance in production after the greenhouse was set up.
This is her story.
My name is Lidija Manić, and I am a retiree. But you know how life is in the countryside – there’s no pension for us! When you live off what the land and the sun provide, there’s no rest or days off. In the summer, we wake up around 4 o’clock to do as much as we can before the heat sets in. And in the evening, with a lantern, we’re in the greenhouse, pulling out every blade of grass to ensure a healthy yield.
We set up the greenhouse, and there’s nothing more beautiful in the area! My husband, whom I call grandpa, and I hand-tied all the vines so they wouldn’t cut into the delicate stems. We planted our old variety of peppers for ajvar, tomatoes, and cucumbers, and now we wait – whatever God gives us and the weather allows will determine the harvest. The grandkids are far away, so when they come, we’ll have more to pack for them to take home, and for them to taste something healthy and from the countryside – that’s what every grandma thinks, including me!
What’s life like in the countryside, you ask? I’ve been here my whole life, born and married in the same village. And let me tell you – it’s never been easy. It’s easier to bend down and weed when you’re younger. There’s never enough money; my pension is 130 euros. How can one survive on that? But we work, we tend to the livestock, we plant as much as we can, and as long as we have strength, hopefully, there will be enough. Grandpa and I have a transistor radio; we turn on the music while we work, and it makes things easier. When you work with music, everything flows more smoothly!
The project “Reintegration II – Further Support for Sustainable Reintegration of Returnees in Serbia” is implemented by the German organization ASB (Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund), with the implementing partner being the Initiative for Development and Cooperation (IDC) from Belgrade. The project is supported by the City of Pirot and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).