The first trip we took as part of the Legal Aid Office assessment was to the Gracanica office.
Gracanica is a small town about twenty minutes south of Pristina. It’s a Serb enclave, and is home to a Serbian Orthodox monastery which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
But we didn’t get to go to the monastery. We went to the Legal Aid Office. The office was clean, and the staff was friendly. We brought along a Serbian-English interpreter, since one of the Legal Aid Officers was Serbian.
I worked with the interpreter and the Serbian employee, and we completed our task. As it was our first trip, we were unsure of how long it would take to finish the surveys. It ended up taking a little over an hour, which was much faster than we anticipated.
My group finished before the other group, and I chatted with the interpreter and the employee some. We talked about private ownership of property versus social ownership, since so many of the case files we had used in our evaluation were property disputes. The employee was wistful for social ownership, and socialism itself. He said that “private ownership has no soul.” I didn’t disagree. I think it’s important to remember that an unregulated free market economy will really screw over those with the least power and influence. Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court.* The Legal Aid Offices really do help those who cannot help themselves. It was really cool to visit first hand.
We left the office in Pristina at 9:45, and were back by 12:30. It was a good first trip.