Korona & Corona: Eponymous Virus Doesn’t Stop Tiny Croatian Village

Total Croatia News

April 4, 2020 —  Idyllic scenes of the picturesque Istrian hills, the waking nature, and the chirping of birds on a sunny day, and in the middle of it all – Korona. No, not the virus that has changed our lives from the ground up these days, but a village. Reporters from 24sata visited the enclave on a hill between Motovun and Buzet, home to only five people. 

Life in this small Istrian village continues unabated, while the world around it toils and struggles with a pandemic. Its only tie to the virus, fortunately, is its name.

“Get out of here, don’t come near me, move on,” an elderly woman Marija warned the journalists with a smile, sweeping the yard and appreciating the sizable distance between herself and the visitors.

Marija, one of five residents, lives alone in her house. Her son’s house is close by, with three of them living there. The reporters knocked on the door for them too, but there was no one there. Marija says they’re all busy planting potatoes.

Not dropping the broom, she shows crates full of small potatoes for planting. These are, she says, the ones you don’t need to cut. They go to the ground.

Asked if she fears the coronavius that threatens everyone. 

“We have nothing to fear, there will be a story to tell,” she replied. “I’m not going anywhere. Where can I’ll go?”

Marija’s age and stature suggest she’s seen a bit of the world and experienced life’s highs and lows. “It’s good while we have something to eat, that’s why we in the countryside work all the time. She complains that the virus has the same name as the village she married into and has lived in from an early age.

She is old, she says, and has to die of something, by grace or force, and that coronavirus is the least of her problems compared to anything she has gone through in her life.

Born during the reign of Italy, she felt what war, hunger and poverty were like. She had been married for sixty years, now a widow. Pressed for her age, she keeps telling the reporters she’s 100, then letting out a laugh.

“They to laugh better than to cry,” she said, as the reporters went on to her neighbor Milka.

She warns the reporters not to come closer than a few meters. Milka lives alone, but lively farm work hummed all around her. Milka’s son-in-law just arrived, and with his plow he prepared the ground.

“We’ve been fighting the corona as long as we’ve been here, and we’re still alive,” he yells, laughing. Milka says she has a real son-in-law, and she wouldn’t trade him for anything.

These days there are few who come to Korona, and Milka likes it that way.

“I’m afraid and staying at home,” she says. “I’m not going anywhere, and my legs are hurting, too,” adding it’s better to be alone while all this is going on.

They have enough to survive, Milka said. They struggle and work because, as she herself says, “if you don’t do it, there is nothing.”


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