Traditional cheese helps return to rural areas
Dragana is a 33 years old woman, mother of three children, living in Slavogosti, village near Ivanjica in Herzegovina, at the very border with Croatia. Before the last war, there were seven families living in this village. Those families left for better and more secure life during the war.
Dragana and her family were among those rare ones that returned to the land of their parents. The village they returned to became known as „a ghost land“, with possibilities of making a decent life equalling to almost a zero.
Dragana’s husband has an old stone house here, inherited from his father. They decided to restore this house and stone by stone they brought by hand from different sides, they fully restored the house and decided to learn how to become farmers. Dragana had to start from scratch. She had no knowledge of even how to milk a cow, when she remembered an old tradition of cheese skripavac, made in past by her grandmother, who used to sell it to the guests passers-by. So, Dragana learned how to milk a cow and not only that, she remembered an old recipe of her grandmother and ventured into traditional production of the cheese skripavac (squeaky cheese). That is the cheese named after a squeaky sound it makes while being chewed. That is how the almost forgotten tradition of cheese skripavac came to life again, today making one of the most known sort of cheese in south part of Dinaridi. And equally important, making Dragana and her family life in their home village possible.
Oxfam Italy works on promotion of sustainable rural development through the support to eco tourism and valorization of traditional values and products. Skripavac cheese is part of the valuable traditional heritage in Bosnia and Herzegovina, threatened by the industrialization and globalization, as is the case anywhere else in the World. We work to preserve traditional values and improve the life of people in rural areas.