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The Nura family
The Nura family

The Nura family is a typical example of a large, patriarchal family in rural Kosovo.

The household of seventy-year old Nure Nura is today the largest in Lubishte with 32 family members. Six adult sons with their six wives, one unmarried daughter, and 17 grand-children all live together in two shared houses. With only 3 hectares of land for 32 members of the family, migration was the only option to survive. Two of the adult sons, Nefali and Faruk, left Lubishte in 1986, when they were in their twenties. They found work in Austria.

The cash income of the family now comes from these two brothers working abroad. The four brothers in the village are unemployed and work the land to produce food for the family. The wives of the two brothers, who are abroad, also stay in Lubishte with their children. During the absence of their husbands the two wives have to respect the decisions of the eldest brother in Lubishte.

Naile Nura, 82, belongs to a different household within the extended Nura clan. She is a widow and has five sons. She lives in one house together with her son Adem, 56, and his wife, their three grown-up boys and two young and unmarried daughters.

Naile's other son Muharem lives with his wife and three children in Switzerland. He emigrated in 1976 and his wife followed later. Naile's third son Tefik also went to Switzerland in 1980. He married in 1987 and also brought his wife to Switzerland. Her two youngest sons Rrahim and Muhamet sons have stayed at home.

The five brothers divided the land among themselves after the father's death. Alongside the house of their father the brothers built four additional houses for each of their families. By building separate houses, the household split and the obligation to share the money coming from abroad has been reduced.

Adem Nura
Adem Nura

Adem Nura explains how the death of their father affected the cohesion of the family, how it fell apart, and how they are now dependent on the goodwill of their brothers:

"Yes, things are changing. We do receive support from the brother sometimes, as we are only working for our food here, even not enough to survive.

When we were still together with them abroad (in Switzerland), all the money was pooled to buy land. All of us worked. Now we are divided, the other two have their children and families abroad, and only when they want, they send us money. If they do not want, they don`t. We don't have anything else.

Now everyone decides for himself. Every brother takes his own decisions. When we were still together with our father, he decided. After he became ill, I decided. Now [after the death of his father] everyone decides for himself. Everyone does, whatever he wants, goes whereever he wants, builds whatever he wants. He can even sell his land, go abroad, all this is normal now.

Well, yes, it is better to live separately, as 30, 40 people are just too many and nobody listens to each other. This way it is easier with 4-5 or 8 persons, to decide. Easier, since the head is just more calm. As the older ones are telling us, when the beehive is filling up, then you have to divide the bees, as they cannot live together anymore."

May 2008

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4 May 2008, 00:00