June 12, 1998 - Ethnic Albanians from Serbia's Kosovo province ride ponies in a pouring rainstorm towards Tropoja, near the Yugoslav-Albania border in a pouring rainstorm. They are pictured through a barbed-wire fence. Thousands of ethnic Albanians are coming over the border fleeing the fighting between the Serbian and Kosovo Liberation Army forces.
Rain, rain, rain. Drops of rain, splashes of rain, sheets of rain, drenching rain. For the refugees coming off the mountain this morning, escorted by young men wearing camaflogue uniforms and carrying Kalashnikov rifles, it must have been a miserable experience. The mountains tower some 2600 meters into the sky and itís cold when they cross. To come over in a driving rain storm must have been depressing and chilling. I have the advantage of a car to leap into and a gortex jacket to keep me dry, I doubt any of the refugees had that luxury.
Once safely into Albania it seems to me that most of the Kosovars are into some kind of shock. I think this is because they have been chased out of their homes by shelling, sniping and other acts of brutality. It also appears they are unable to comprehend how poor Albania truly is. Although Kosovo is the poorest part of Serbia, it has relatively decent paved roads, most houses have electricity and running water. Albania, in contrast, is extremely rural, toilets are in outhouses in the fields which are still hoed by hand. Many houses are without running water and electricity and the entire country seems covered with garbage that people throw out of their windows, cars and garbage pails. Many of the Kosovars, after regaining their bearings take the first ferry down the Komit lake, into a taxi and then to Durres to see about catching a ferry to Italy and then to Germany to join relatives there. Germany alone houses some 150,000 Kosovar immigrants.
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