The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

Behind the door

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Author: Daniela

My family moved to the US from Yugoslavia when I was very young. We found ourselves in a society very different from the one we left. Yugoslavia (now Croatia) was still recovering from the Second World War. Reforms were being instituted by Tito and his socialist government but much was still lacking. There was a dearth of finished goods. As a result clothing and many household wares were hand crafted or made to order. America, by contrast, was thriving and growing at an incredible pace. In the U.S., if you needed something, you just went to the store and bought it. We quickly learned to appreciate the convenience of store bought items and the time it freed up to do other things. Yet, I will be forever grateful that, early in life, I was introduced to not only the necessity, but the beauty and endurance of hand crafted products; the symbolic motifs sewn into the coarse linen fabric of traditional clothing; the taste of home cooked meals made with fresh, home grown produce; and the connection to the past with the telling and retelling of old Croatian folk tales. I treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother buying cheese and milk directly from “her” farmer in the open air market and the summers I spent watching my great grandmother and her neighbors cook and sew together in the kitchen of her stone house fronting the main road of a tiny village perched on a hill above the Adriatic. Someone noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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