I have to admit. I never heard about Dojran before, especially not for the festival that is held there. However, a call in early August, an invitation to join the festival including a few volunteering days in Skopje sounded too adventurous not to accept it.
It is how Aleksandar, a friend from my hometown, and I packed our clothes and started off to Skopje preparing a few days in advance listening to Dado Topić's song 'Macedonia' that says "Where the eternal Sun shines, there is Macedonia".
When you decide to go on a such long trip from your hometown of Teslić then you have to be aware that you are going to spend a lot of hours sitting, lying down, and sleeping in buses that are not always the most comfortable...
But yeah, let's talk about it some other time.
After exhausting six and a half hours we had finally arrived in Belgrade. However, we had missed our planned bus to Skopje, so we had to wait for the evening bus in the middle of a very hot day. Our energy was already down as well as our sightseeing mood in Belgrade so we spent more than four hours on Kalemegdan. Visiting the Musem of Medieval Torture Instruments at Kalemegdan for free was a perfect symbol of our mood.
Still, we survived and went down to the bus station where we met Džejlana, another volunteer from Bosnia and Herzegovina. She had also missed her bus to Skopje, so we felt some kind of satisfaction that you can only feel when you know that you are not the only one in this kind of situation.
I don't remember what was happening then...
Probably because I was sleeping during that long trip. It was five in the morning when we finally arrived in Skopje twenty hours after we left Teslić. We were freezing on that cold summer morning without internet access, and not knowing anything about Skopje. Somehow, we successfully found the direction to the center where our hostel was located.
The first three days we spent in Skopje preparing some necessary materials for the festival and sightseeing of that weird Skopje architecture mixed by neoclassicism in the city center, historical Ottoman influence, and Yugoslav brutalism. There we met Ognen, our guide who never sleeps, as well as some cool guys whose names were so difficult for me to remember. If you are not from the Albanian language speaking area then you will maybe understand why Edesa, Debora and especially Kleidi were so difficult for me. I still have no idea if I wrote it properly. Also, there we met other specific people like Lukas, a future politician from Ulcinj in Montenegro with such a Brazilian name, Lazar, an ordinary hyperactive Belgrade (Zemun) guy as well as Blend, Dua Lipa's classmate from primary school in Priština. Oh, that guy... I believe he is still lost somewhere in or around Dojran as we never managed to keep him in right place. Also, it is impossible to forget when we approached some girls how he started saying that the name of one of them is the same as his dead cat's name. Sorry girls if you ever read this. I swear, there was no bad intention.
So, the festival in Dojran was supposed to start as well as Aleksandar's and my first work experience in the Macedonian language. Well, I hope my Greek friends don't read this...
I couldn't discuss it now. Our communication was pretty successful including a few times when Kliment, such a great Macedonian name, come to help us with some local issues that we were not able to understand.