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Ahmet Osmani Becir Osmani
Ahmet and Becir Osmani

Ahmet and Becir Osmani live in Zajas, a village near Kicevo almost exclusively inhabited by ethnic Albanians. Following World War II the state’s anti-Albanian policies, as well as scarce employment prospects, drove many of the local men to move abroad. Ahmet Osmani, the head of the family, left 40 years ago to work in Germany and send money back home.

"Life was simple and poor in the days after the second world war, which I experienced myself. Then we had the choice to leave. The whole village migrated to Germany… We were afraid to be in a foreign country, we did not speak the language. The Germans took us by the arms and showed us: this is a shovel, an axe, a pushcart."

After returning to Zajas, Ahmet Osmani now runs the small family farm with three of his sons. His other sons send money from abroad. Becir Osmani lives in the village with his father:

"Some want to work here, but they do not know what to do. They can work on construction sites, but jobs are very limited. Most of the villagers went to Germany.

If we had gone abroad as well, I believe that our children would not have returned. My father and two of my brothers, Agim and Bekim, we live off animal husbandry. This is a family tradition. None of us received proper education. I only finished secondary school."

May 2008

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