Ethiopia / Etiopija

 

Africa overland, 2010.

Vece je stiglo, mrak je brzo okovao Metemmu, mali grad na etiopskoj strani granice ka pustinjskom Sudanu. Prasnjav sto, pecat i neonska lampa koja treperi, bile su sve sto se nalazilo u kucici od blata i slame, koja je cuvala carinika od sveze kise. Koracala sam kroz mrak, ne znajuci tacno ni kuda idem. Slatki miris injere, hleba koje etiopljani prave od tef zitarice, premazane paprikom, vodio me je do obliznjeg pansiona. Ranac je sa ramena lagano skliznuo na zemljani pod, a stari “rastaman” je uz osmeh povikao – “Selam!”

The evening has arrived, the darkness fastened Metemma, a small town on the Ethiopian side of the border towards Sudan. A dusty table a seal and a flashing neon lamp were all that was in a small house, made of straw and mud, which guarded customs officers against fresh rain. I walked through the dark, not knowing exactly where I am going. The sweet smell of the indjera, the bread Ethiopians from tef grains, coated with pepper, led me to the nearby guesthouse. The backpack slowly slid from the shoulder on to the ground floor, and the old “rastaman” shouted with a smile – “Selam!”

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Indjera/Injera

Ponosna republika na Rogu Afrike, Etiopija je okruzena mladom Eritrejom na severu, Dzibutijem i Somalijom na istoku, Sudanom, ali i od skora Juznim Sudanom na zapadu I ocaravajucom Kenijom na jugu. U njenih 1 104 300 km2 nalazi se jedan od najvisih vrhova Afrike – Ras Dashen 4550mnv, ali i jedna od najnizih tacaka ovog magicnog kontinenta, u Danakil depresiji, – 125m .
Jedna od kolevki covecanstva, Etiopija je zemlja iz koje je, veruje se, Homo sapiens, nacinio odlucujuce korake ka Bliskom Istoku. Moj odlucujuci korak bio je ka sobi odmah iza restorana – veoma maloj prostoriji sagradjenoj od tamno crvene africke zemlje, bez prozora. Skripa teskih, gvozdenih vrata parala je blazenstvo vecernje tisine. Da bih mirnije spavala, od nasmejanog rasta Samuela, uz svezu, vrucu etiopsku kafu, dobih i veci katanac za vrata sobe. Kaze, “crna kafa da odagna zle duhove, a katanac da odagna znatizeljne ljude”.

A proud republic on the horn of Africa, Ethiopia is surrounded by Eritrea in the north, Djibouti and Somalia in the east, Sudan and South Sudan in the west and in the south, the charming Kenya. In its 1 104 300 km2, there is one of the highest peaks of Africa – Ras Dashen 4550mnv, but also one of the lowest points of this magical continent, in the Danakil Depression, – 125m.
One of the cradles of humanity, Ethiopia is a country from, it is believed, Homo sapiens made decisive steps towards the Middle East. My decisive step was towards the room right behind the restaurant – a very small room built of a dark red African soil and without windows. The creak of a heavy, iron gate was tearing up the blaze of the evening’s silence. In order to sleep more peacefully, smiling Samuel gave me a padlock for the room door, along with a fresh, hot Ethiopian coffee. He said, “a black coffee to banish the evil spirits, and a padlock to banish curious people.”

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Soba/The room

Metemma, relativno bezbedan mali grad u Amhara regiji, bio je nekada vazan trgovacki centar, poznat i po velikoj pijaci robova u XIX veku. Po nekim podacima 10.000 do cak 20.000 ljudi otislo je u lancima iz ovog malog grada.
Etiopski kalendar zaostaje 7.godina I oko 3.meseca za gregorijanskim i pokazuje mi da sam u 2003. godini. Mali budilnik opominje da je vreme da ustanem, jer je vec pola pet ujutru. Jos uvek nije svanulo – eto nesto sto se nije promenilo, pomislih. Pomalo rascupana iako sam spavala obucena na cvrstom tankom duseku, ustala sam spremna za narednu destinaciju – stari grad Gondar. Autobus je bio vec gotovo pun ljudi, nezno orgnutih belim tkaninama, koje Etiopljani nazivaju shemma. Dok smo u tisini cekali da krenemo, usetao je mladic, noseci plavi stos karata, pocepao je dve I gurnuo mi ih u ruku, dok je drugom, nezno izvukao novac koji sam pripremila. Nasmesih mu se i mahnuh, jer je u tom trenutku zaurlao motor. Samo sto smo zamakli iza prve krivine po zemljanom putu, pojavio se kondukter. Pravi kondukter, koji se grohotom smejao kad je video plave karte, pocepao je identican zuti listic i gurnuo mi u ruku. Nemam kuda, platih opet, te je to bila prva od nekoliko malih prevara u zemlji nasmejanih ljudi.
Od Meteme do Gondara ima nesto manje od 200 km, no bilo je potrebno oko sest sati autobusom do grada Fasilidesa Etiopskog. Etiopija ima veoma losu infrastrukturu, naime asfaltirani putevi su gotovo nepostojeci, struje uglavnom nema, kao ni kanalizacije, voda nije preporucljiva za pice, dok je po rezultatima iz 1994.godine pismenost u Etiopiji bila svega 23.4%. Iako je osnovna skola, koja u Etiopiji traje sest godina, obavezna, naicicete na veliki broj dece koji radije provode vreme sa turistima za malu novcanu naknadu, nego u skoli. Sve se to polako menja, jer su kineske kompanije verovatno dale ponudu koja se ne odbija, buduci da su prisutni u velikom broju na citavom podrucju  Afrike.

Metemma, a relatively safe small town in the Amhara region, once was an important trading centre, also known for its infamous large slave market in the 19 century. According to some data, 10,000 to even 20,000 people in this small town were in the chains.
The Ethiopian calendar is showing me that I was in 2003. The little alarm clock warns that it’s time to get up,  it’s already 4.30am.  It’s still dark outside – that is something that has not changed, I thought. I woke up with a messy hair, and although I slept dressed on a thin mattress, I was ready for the next destination – the old city Gondar. The bus was already almost full of people, softly covered with white fabrics, which they call shema. As we waited silently for a bus to start, a young man walked in, carrying a blue stack of cards. He tore two and gently put them in my hand while pulling out the money I had prepared for the tickets. As the engine howled, I smiled and waved. Behind the first curve along the road, a conductor appeared. The real conductor, who was laughing when he saw the blue cards,   pulled out the identical yellow and pushed them in my hand. I paid again and this was the first of a few small scams in the country of smiling people.
From Metemma to Gondar there is just about 200 km, but it took about six hours by bus to the city of Fassilides Ethiopia. Ethiopia has a very poor infrastructure, asphalted roads are almost non-existent, there is usually no electricity, no sewage, it is not recommended to drink water, while according to the data from 1994, literacy in Ethiopia was only 23.4%. Although the elementary school is mandatory and lasts for six years in Ethiopia, you will find a lot of children who spent most of their time with tourists for a small fee rather than in school. All this changes slowly, as Chinese companies are likely to offer nonrefusing deals, as they are present in large numbers throughout Africa.

Mali grad u podnozju carobnih Simian (Semijenskih) planina, Gondar je osnovao Fasilides u XVII veku, ostavivsi ga da zivi na, ne malih, 2133 mnv. Nekoliko hotela, par asfaltiranih ulica, velika autobuska stanica i obliznji kafe u kojem se u malim soljama, u senci krosnji, servira, tvrdim najbolja kafa na svetu. Kao sto je francuski diplomata Talleyrland nekada izjavio da je kafa dobra kada je “crna kao djavo, vrela kao pakao, cista kao andjeo i slatka kao ljubav”, dodajem da je etiopska strastvena, culna, kao vodjenje ljubavi, jer cete nakon jedne soljice pozeleti jos.

A small town at the foot of the magical Simian Mountains, Gondar was founded by Fassilides in the 17th century. A few hotels, a couple of paved streets, a large bus stop and a café in which, in small cups, in the shade of treetops,  is served, the best coffee in the world. As the French diplomat, Talleyrand once said the coffee is good when it’s “black as a devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel and sweet as love,” and I shall add that Ethiopian coffee is passionate, sensual, as making love is, because after one cup you will crave for more.

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Umetnost pravljenja savrsene soljice crne kafe/ The art of making a perfect cup of black coffee

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Zrno kafe/ A coffee bean

Gondar krasi Fasilidesov zamak, kupaliste, ali I 44.crkve, jer je ovaj grad znacajno sediste Etiopske (abisinske ) hriscanske crkve. Ona se ne tako davno, proslog stoleca, odvojila od Koptske crkve, iako postoji jos od V, VI veka, ima mnogo karakteristika ocuvanih iz ranohriscanskog perioda, recimo liturgijski jezik koji se koristi u obredima je geez, staroetiopski jezik. Hriscanstvo vec dugo boravi na ovim prostorima i manastiri imaju snaznu ulogu verskih centara, gde monasi zive prema pravilima Svetog Pahomija iz Tebe, Egipta.

Gondar has the Fasilides castle, the bathing place, and 44 churches because this city is a significant seat of the Ethiopian Christian church. Not long ago, in the last century, it separated from the Coptic Church, although it has existed since the 5, 6th century, it has many characteristics preserved from the early Christian period, for example, the liturgical language used in rituals such as geez, an ancient Ethiopian language. Christianity has long been in this area and monasteries have a strong role as religious centres, where the monks live according to the rules of Saint Pachomius of Thebes, Egypt.

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Simian planine kriju najvisi vrh Etiopije I jedintveno geolosko poreklo, koje je zasluzno za veliki broj endemskih vrsta, poput etiopskog vuka,koji se ne vidja tako cesto, kozoroga, velikog gelada babuna, lako prepoznatljivih po crvenkastom delu koze u obliku pescanog sata na svojim grudima. Simian su i jedno od poslednjih mesta na ovom magicnom kontinentu gde jos uvek redovno pada sneg.
Jos sam u Sudanu slusala o lepoti Etiopljanki. Stariji, tamnoputi Egipcanin, trgovac, lica prosaranog borama, dobar deo svog zivota je proveo krstareci po Istocnom delu Afrike. Okupio bi nas nekoliko pred sumrak, sve strance u hotelu “Nil” i uz dim cigarete, setno pripovedao o crnoj, dugoj kosi, skrivenoj ispod shemme, neznom osmehu neke daleke Etiopljanke, koja mu je saputala da ce ga cekati da opet dodje… I zaista, naizgled krhke, svetlije puti nego Egipcanke ili Sudanke, obicno sa simbolima svoje vere na licu, delovale su poput misticne kraljice od Sabe, tihe, nedodirljive i dostojanstvene, nezno bi vracale shemmu na glavu kada bi skliznula.

The Simian Mountains hide the highest peak of Ethiopia and its unique geological origin, with a large number of endemic species, such as the Ethiopian wolf, which is not seen so often, a goat, a great baboon gelade, easily recognizable by the reddish part of the skin in the form of a sandy clock on its chest . Simian are one of the last places on this magical continent where snow is still regularly falling.
 I’ve heard about the beauty of the Ethiopian woman in Sudan. An elderly, dark-skinned Egyptian, a merchant, with a face painted with wrinkles, he spent a large part of his life cruising through the eastern part of Africa. He would gather a few of us before the dark, all strangers in the hotel “Nile” and while smoking a cigarette, melancholically remembered the black, long hair, hidden under the shema, the gentle smile of some distant Ethiopian woman, who had whispered that she would wait for him to come again … Indeed, seemingly fragile, with skin that’s brighter than the Egyptians or Sudanese women, usually with the symbols of their own faith on the face, they seemed like the mystical queen of Saba, silent, untouchable and dignified, they would gently put the shema back to the head ..

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Mene je dozivala Lalibela, jedan od najsvetijih gradova , Sveta gora Etiopije, gde je gotovo 100 % stanovnistva pravoslavne hriscanske veroispovesti. Legenda kaze da je Sveti Gebre Meskel Lalibela rodjen u Rohi, u drugoj polovini XII.veka, kao najmladji sin u kraljevskoj porodici. Nedugo nakon rodjenja njegova je majka pronasla roj pcela oko njegove glave i kazala : “Pcele znaju da ce ovo dete postati kralj”. Gebre od tada nosi ime Lalibela – pcela. Kako je kralj znao za prorocanstvo, plasio se za svoj presto te je pokusao da ubije Lalibelu, otrovavsi ga. Lalibelu su andjeli uzdigli na nebo, gde mu je Bog kazao da ne brine, vec da se vrati u Rohu i izgradi crkve kakve jos niko nije video. Veruje se da su crkve gradjene citave 24.godine, danju su ljudi gradili u znoju, vredno, dok su nocu andjeli zavrsavali njihov posao. Tako je nastala Lalibela.
Iz veoma pristojnog hotela na brdu iznad, krenuh zemljanim putem ka gradu istesanom od legendi i molitve.

Lalibela was calling me, one of the holiest cities, the Holy Mountain of Ethiopia, where almost 100% of the population are Orthodox (Coptic). The legend says that Saint Gabriel Meskel Lalibela was born in Roha, in the second half of the 13 century, as the youngest son in the royal family. Not long after his birth, his mother found a swarm of bees around his head and said: “Bees know this child will become king”. Gebra has since been named Lalibela – the bee. As the king knew about the prophecy, he feared for his throne and tried to kill Lalibela by poisoning him. Lalibela was raised by the angels to heaven, where God told him not to worry, but to return to Roha and build churches no one had seen before. It is believed that the churches were built for the 24 years and people were working hard during the day, while during the angels completed their work. That’s how Lalibela was built.
From a very decent hotel on the hill above, I move down towards the city carved from legends and prayers.

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Svestenik/ The priest

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Crkva Sv.Djordja/ St.Georges Church

Lalibela je UNESCO-va bastina, odrediste hodocasnika, kazu izgradjena da postane novi Jerusalem. Drustvo su mi pravila deca, njih oko desetak, gurkajuci se medjusobno, vikali su „brrrrrrr” , trazeci nesto birr-a, valute Etiopije. Iako jedna od rastucih ekonomija, zemlja u kojoj su rodjeni i odrastaju jedna je od najsiromasnijih u svetu i ne moze da im pruzi mnogo, cak ni delic onoga sto vecina dece iz Srbije ima.

Lalibela is a UNESCO heritage site, a place of pilgrimage, built to become a new Jerusalem, so said. I had a company of the local children, about a dozen of them, telling “brrrrrrr“, asking for some birr, the currency of Ethiopia. Although one of the growing economies, the country in which they are born and are growing is one of the poorest in the world and cannot provide them much, even the small part of what most children in Serbia have.

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Ekonomija Etiopije i dalje se suocava sa ozbiljnim problemima. Oslonjena je na proljoprivredu, ciji plodovi stradaju usled sve cescih i duzih susa, uprkos cinjenici da veliki broj reka, kvase njene zedne obale.

The economy of Ethiopia continues to face serious problems. It relies on agriculture, whose yields suffer from all of the frequent and long droughts, despite the fact that a large number of rivers are the soaking its thirsty shores.

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Vodopad Plavog Nila/The Blue Nile waterfall

Irigacioni sistem je gotovo nepostojeci, te se, doslovno, zivoti ljudi uzdaju u nepredvidljivu cud Majke prirode. Zivotni vek u jednoj od kolevki hriscanstva je 60.godina za zene i nesto manje za muskarce, od kojih ogromna vecina, cak 80% provodi godine pokusavajuci da udahne zivot suvoj, neplodnoj zemlji.
Lalibelu krasi 11.monolitnih crkava, od kojih je najpoznatija crkva Svetog Djordja, poslednja isklesana od velikog vulkanskog kamena. Sela sam na kraj stene visoke 30 metara, bez daha gledajuci u osmo cudo sveta, kako je nazivaju. Sa suprotne strane, dok sunce je polako umiralo, njihala se kolona u belo odevenih ljudi sa svestenikom i velikim krstom na celu.

The irrigation system is almost non-existent, and literally, the lives of the people rely on the unpredictable temper of the Mother Nature. The lifespan in one of the cradles of Christianity is about 60 years for women and a bit less for men, the vast majority of whom, even 80% spend years trying to breathe the life into a dry, barren soil.
Lalibela has 11 monolithic churches, of which the most famous is the church of St. George, the last one that is carved from a large volcanic stone. I went to the end of a 30-meter-high wall and breathless was staring at the eighth wonder of the world, as they call it. On the opposite side, as the sun slowly calmed down, people were walking all dressed in white with a priest and a great cross. 

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Prisla mi je starija zena sa detetom na ledjima, uvijena u belu tkaninu i bez glasa stavila malo parce hleba u ruke. Preplavile su me emocije, bujica misli donela je istinu novinara Normana Cousinsa da „velika tragedija zivota nije smrt, vec ono sto umre u nama dok smo zivi”. Velika Samilost, zaboravljena u nasem modernom, bogatom svetu, ziva je u dusama africkih ljudi.

Narednog jutra kupih ulaznicu, koja nije jeftina i potrebno je pokazati istu na ulazu u dvoriste crkava. Sve crkve u Lalibeli imaju ispred svog imena Bet – sto znaci dom, kuca. Najveca Bet Medhame Alem, okruzena masivnim stubovima, krije cak osam kapela. Tu su i Bet Mariam, Marijina crkva, jedina u Lalibeli koju krase freske, pa Bet Danaghel, najgrublje isklesana mala monolitna crkva… Sve crkve imaju vodu, buduci da su povezane sa bunarima koji se nalaze u dvoristu. Lalibela nudi i nekoliko pecina, za one avanturistickog duha.

I was approached by an elderly woman with a child wrapped in white on her back and put a little piece of bread in my hands without saying anything. The emotions flooded me and brought the truth written by journalist Norman Cousins, “the great tragedy of life is not death, but what dies in us while we are alive.” Great Compassion, forgotten in our modern, rich world, is alive in the souls of African people.

The next morning I bought a ticket, which is not really cheap and it is necessary to show at the entrance to the churchyards. All churches in Lalibela have in front of their name Beth – which means home, a house. The largest Bet Medhame Alem, surrounded by massive pillars, covers even eight chapels. There are also Beth Mariam, the Church of Mary, the only one in Lalibela that is decorated with frescoes, and Beth Danagel, the most rough carve little monolithic church … All the churches have water because they are connected to wells located in the yard. Lalibela offers several caves, for those of adventurous spirit.

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Sv.Djordje, freska u maloj crkvi na jednom od ostrva/St.Geoges, fresco in a small church on one of the islands near Bahir Dar

Kamene obale Bahir Dar zapljuskuje jezero Tana, koje cuva i izvor Plavog Nila – Plavi i Beli se sastaju u Kartumu, u Sudanu, cineci „izvor zivota”, veliki Nil. Nedaleko od grada nalaze se i vodopadi Tis Isat ili „Voda koja se dimi” na amharskom, visoki oko 40tak metara i drugi po velicini u Africi. Hidroelektrana krade veci deo vode u susnoj sezoni, te nisam bila u prilici da vidim dim. Popularna za obilazak su i mala, zelena ostrva na kojima se nalaze crkve iz XVII, XIX veka, sa zivopisnim freskama i pricljivim monasima. U jezeru se skrivaju od znatizeljnih pogleda turista i nilski konji, pelikani, kornjace, ali i veliki nilski somovi…

 Lake Tana splashes the Bahir Dar rocky shores, and preserves the source of the Blue Nile – Blue and White Nile meet in Khartoum, Sudan, making the “source of life”, the great Nile. Not far from the city are the Tis Isat waterfalls or the “Smoky Water” in the Amharic, about 40 feet tall. The hydroelectric power plant steals most of the water in the dry season, and I was not able to see smoke. The small, green islands with the churches from the 17th, 19th century and vivid frescoes, talkative monks are also popular and make a good visit. Hiding in the lake from the curious tourists are hippos, pelicans, turtles and also the great Nile catfish …

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Pijaca/The market

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Zene su zaduzene za donosenje vode/Women are responsible for bringing the water

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AK-47 se moze kupiti za nesto manje od 100usd, 2010godina/ AK-47 can be purchased for something less than 100USD, 2010 year

Bilo je vreme da se krene ka Addis Abebi. Etiopski veseli autobusi, bogato ukrasenih enterijera I malih, veoma cvrstih drvenih sedista, koja su omrazena svaki put kad vozac preleti preko rupe, cesto prevoze I kokoske, ali I koze. Neke su unutra sa nama, dok su ostale na krovu autobusa, obicno vezane za torbe, kese, alat… Nakon gotovo devet sati skakanja sa sedista stizem u “Novi cvet”. Addis Abeba je glavni grad, sediste Africke Unije, politicka prestonica Afrike, uzavrelo mesto gde zivi, uci I radi oko 3 miliona Etiopljana iz 80 razlicitih plemena, koji govore 80 razlicitih jezika. Ususkan ispod planine Entoto, Addis lezi na zavidnoj visini oko 2500m.

It was time to move towards Addis Ababa. Ethiopian cheerful buses, with rich decorated interiors and with small, very firm wooden seats, which are hated every time the driver hits the hole, often transport chickens and goats. Some are inside the bus with us, while other stay on the roof, usually tied to bags or tools. After almost nine hours of jumping from the seat, I have arrived at the “New Flower”. Addis Ababa is the capital city, the seat of the African Union, and the political capital of Africa, a boiling place where almost 3 million Ethiopians from more than 80 different tribes, who speak 80 different languages live, learn and work. Tucked below the Mount Entoto, Addis lies at a height of about 2500 m.

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Taitu hotel, najstariji hotel u Addisu/ Taitu hotel, the oldest hotel in Addis

U Addisu mali broj ljudi zna gde je Srbija, ali svi znaju za Jugoslaviju i druga Tita. Cak i jedna ulica u centru grada, u kojoj se nalazi nasa ambasada, nosi njegovo ime. Marsal Tito negovao je prijateljske odnose sa Hajle Selasijem. Znamenitost Addisa je i Spomenik zrtvama fasizma, koji je Tito darovao Etiopskom narodu. Selasije, cije ime na geez-u znaci “sveto trojstvo” bio je i poslednji car Solomonske dinastije. Trudio se da modernizuje Etiopiju, ukinuo je ropstvo i 1963. osnovao Organizaciju Africkog Jedinstva, koja je sada preimenovana u Africka Unija. No, prosperitet nije trajao i 1974. Selasije je svrgnut sa trona drzavnim udarom. U nasoj ambasadi su mi kazali da nema mnogo Srba u Etiopiji, svega nekoliko, ukljucujuci ambasadora i njegovog zamenika.
Abisinija krije jos mnoge tajne, koje ce cekati dok se ne budem vratila u zemlju religioznih, nasmejanih ljudi…

In Addis, only a few people know where Serbia is, but everyone knows about Yugoslavia and Marshal Tito. Even one street in the city centre, where our embassy is located, bears his name. Marsal Tito nursed friendly relations with Haile Selassie. Addis landmark is the Monument to the Victims of Fascism, which Tito donated to the Ethiopian people. Selassie, whose name on geez means “Holy Trinity”, was the last Emperor of the Solomon dynasty. He tried to modernize Ethiopia, abolished slavery, and in 1963 founded the African Unity Organization, which is now renamed the African Union. But prosperity did not last, and in 1974, Selassie was thrown out of the throne by a state coup. In our embassy, they told me that there are not many Serbs in Ethiopia, just a few, including the ambassador and his deputy.

Abyssinia hides many secrets, which will wait until I return to the country of religious and smiling people …

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Tetovaze na licu znak su jake vere/ Tattoos on the face are a sign of strong faith

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