Rain, snow, ice or unbearable heat have for decades not prevented two women from Bijeljina, even though they are in their late years, from selling daily produce at the market. Smilja Midanović and Anđa Bajić, who are treading the ninth decade of their lives, are an example to today’s youth that everything can be achieved through work and dedication.
Grandma Smilja has been working at the City Green Market for thirty years and is the oldest tenant. She earned her pension in Bijeljina’s “Žitopromet”, and since then she has not given up, but early every morning she is back on her desk.
– I work so long that I don’t even remember anymore, I started before the war. When I retired, I came to the market and have been there ever since – says this 88-year-old. She points out that the work fills her.
– I can’t sit at home, I’m used to working and making money. It keeps me alive, because when I move and interact with people, it somehow gets easier for me – says Smilja.
On her counter are all homemade products.
– I sell homemade seeds, beans and more. There are also handmade products, such as wool socks and pops, which I knit myself- says Smilja.
Although she works outdoors, no matter what the weather, this old lady does not surrender. She will struggle, he says, while health serves her.
– Something’s going on, though it’s a tough time. Drought, frost, ice all affect production and then sales, and the people have no money. It is much harder to sell something today than it was when I started – the story of this valuable old woman, who also transferred responsibilities and work responsibilities to the household. As she says, her son and daughter-in-law are involved in flower growing, which they also sell at the market.
Just a few counters away sits another unusual merchant Andja Bajic, who offers what she has knitted herself. Although he is 85, he knits and crochet without glasses. Sight, he says, serves well, and her hands also, so that she beautifies her old days and solitude.
– I have been at the Green Market for 19 years, as much as I live in Bijeljina. My husband died a few years ago and I have been living alone since. I shorten the time by knitting and crocheting. I mostly knit socks for babies and adults and tablecloths. If I didn’t have these needles, I don’t know what I would, that’s what keeps me going – says Anja. This modest old woman does not complain about life and earnings, because she has an interest in her work among the Bijeljina people.
– People are returning to true quality. Every day I sell something. The pension is small and not enough to live on, so this income is good for me, ” she says happily.
These two women are a rare and positive example of today. They don’t have much, but they try to be useful. Although they remember nicer days and a better life, they do not complain, unlike many younger ones. They found their own recipe for how to make money in the ninth decade of their lives. They say, just for health to serve them, they will still knit and crochet.
Smilja Midanović and Anđa Bajić are also older than the Green Market they are working on, which is 71 years old. The management of the company “Komunalac”, which manages the selling area, recognized that more and more women were selling and buying handicrafts, which, among other things, was the reason for organizing as many as four events in 2019 with the aim of promoting local products.