Goran Telac: Thousands of people took to the streets yesterday as part of the “Let’s do it Kosovo” initiative to clean up the country.But for the Aliu neighbourhood, in the “Kodra e Trimit” suburb of Pristina, or the so called “Lagjia e Artistëve”, this kind of action is a daily occurrence.
Flowers and grass abound, the streets are lit properly and the roads are spotless. The six houses along one of the streets are owned by seven brothers, one of whom lives in Germany and the other in Great Britain. All work in the construction industry and the family has put their profession to good use in transforming the area – the street lights, phone cables, internet, sewage system and more were installed by the family since they moved to Pristina from Podujeva in the 50s.
“We have done it all ourselves,” said Muharrem Aliu, one of the seven brother. “The municipality did nothing here, except for the road, and even the road was ready, they just had to put the asphalt on top of it.” He added: “It does not matter if you live in the countryside or in the middle of the centre. A clean environment is necessary and it is the citizens’ duty to clean their place, not only the institution.”
During the harsh last winter, many of the nearby roads were blocked so the family stepped in to clean up. “Since we have heavy vehicles, we decided to clean the whole neighbourhood and the main street as well,” said Nexhip Aliu, one of the older brothers. For more than nine years the family has contributed with their own money, but most importantly with their time, to make this neighbourhood look good. “This place was completely destroyed during the war. There was an economics high school here, but it was completely damaged and we had to rebuild all of our houses and the yards,” said Muharem.
The whole neighbourhood works in the family business and everybody helps with the cleaning, he said. Muharrem admits that there is still work to be done, like the garden of one of his brothers who does not live in Kosovo, but says that overall he is proud of the area.
Even the bins were bought by the family and now the cleaning company comes every Monday and pick up the rubbish. “Clean like in Switzerland” says Muharrem Aliu, “why can’t it be possible here as well. They are also only people. We are people as well,“ he said.