Chris in Skopje, North Macedonia // 1st Report

First report of my time in Macedonia after 2,5 months

3 months or one quarter of my stay in Skopje are already over, but it doesn’t feel like it. Time is running and it seems to me as I didn’t do anything so far. Of course, that’s not true, but it’s less than I wished. These words should probably remind me of being more productive and taking more actions. Corona is limiting things. Even though the restrictions here were not as deadly to everyday life as in countries like Germany, it’s still limiting a lot, especially if you are eager to meet new people. But actually I don’t want to say that the glass is half empty. Bars and restaurants are open until 9, shops are open, you are allowed to meet up with 4 people and sometimes there are even cultural events. I went to a short film “festival”, to a little instrumental open air live concert and I was watching a ballet performance in the opera. Those things are unimaginable in countries like Germany and France right now, that’s why I should be glad for it and appreciate it much more.

I also went to the top of Vodno the other day. Vodno is a mountain in Skopje that provides a good hiking opportunity for many Macedonians. At its top you will find the Millenium Cross that is visible from whole Skopje and even further away. A bit outside Skopje, and so to speak behind Vodno, is the canyon Matka that is one of the biggest tourist attractions of Skopje. I went there with my mentor Petar and his dog Joli. During our walk through the canyon we put a sign of Petar’s organisation “Za Pochista Makedonija” (For a cleaner Macedonia) on a tree. The organisation tackles one big problem in Macedonia, namely that many people throw their trash on the sidewalk and in the bushes instead of in the trash bin. So from time to time Petar and his team organise cleaning actions to make places more beautiful again, at least for a while. I participated in two of them at and near the Kale Fortress in Skopje, which is another tourist attraction of the city, and in one alongside the river Vardar, which is the biggest river of Macedonia with a length 388 km (76 km of them are in Greece).

Of course, a big and important time of my experience takes part at my workplace. My main activity is taking care of our youth magazine VOICES. We write and design our own articles, take care of the blog, where we share articles individually after the whole magazine was published, and have e-mail correspondence with translators. What I was especially curious about was the designing part, because I barely did anything ever before that’s connected to designing. After we had a designing workshop with our multimedia coordinator Selina, I designed my first article and I think I it wasn’t that bad for the first time. But another thing I realised was that I have difficulties with the writing part, meaning I need too much time to write articles. So I hope I find a way to improve this during my time here and of course I want to learn much more about the designing.

Another thing that just came to my mind and actually happened at the very beginning of my stay is that I had the chance to celebrate a second Christmas in Macedonia, since they celebrate it related to the Julian calendar at the 7th of January. We had a nice dinner with traditional Macedonian food and drinks – everything under the Covid-19 measures of course 😉




Chris is hosted by Volunteers Centre Skopje on the project “VOICES to be heard”, financed by JUGEND für Europa and the European Solidarity Corps.