I get up at 6 o'clock, put water on the stove for coffee and hope that I have some milk in the fridge. In my house milk is consumed very quickly. Every time I am out of milk, I have to buy more from the store and carry it home. Today is Saturday and I have to go to Živinice to visit Tifa Patković, our first client. She is the first woman whom MI-BOSPO lent money to in April of 1996.
Tifa, along with her husband Huso and their sons was expelled from Vlasenica and came to Živinice with nothing. She was accommodated in one house. She immediately started attending BOSPO psycho-social centre. She was asked what she would do if she had some money. “I know what I would do, what I have always done - work with cows, that is what I would do.”
MI-BOSPO gave 500 KM (USD330 equivalent) to Tifa in April 1996, to be repaid fully in September that year. This was not enough to buy a cow, so Tifa bought a goat. This goat did not only produce a lot of milk, but also 4 baby goats. When MI-BOSPO came to collect the repayment, they saw the goat, the baby goats and 500 KM and told Tifa that she could borrow more money.
“I sold the goat, my son sent me 500 KM from Austria and I bought my first cow,” says Tifa. She generated income by selling milk, cream and cheese to her neighbors. With the proceeds, “I built my first house but it was too small for me, only 300 square meters, so we built another one. My son who is living with us will move to the smaller house and hopefully will get married and settle down.” Tifa and her husband Huso also have land with where they raise 5 cows. Currently Tifa and her family have a €5,000 loan from MI-BOSPO.
Sunday morning, I prepare my coffee just like any other morning. I stop for a moment, lift up the milk carton and see Tifa working hard around her cows for herself and her family. I smile and pour the milk and the coffee tastes better this morning.