Villages in the Has region of Pashtrik Mountain in southern Kosovo face
heavy snowfall and isolation every winter. Planeja is one of these villages,
with a population of less than 100 families.
On top of regular electricity cuts, strong winds often damage electricity
poles, leaving families without power. "It's a big problem in the winter,
because it takes several days for specialists to come and repair [power lines],"
says Zenun Shehu, owner of one the two markets in Planeja.
Villagers have easy access to Pashtrik Mountain forests and can get
firewood for heating. Usually men cut trees in the autumn, but unexpected power
shortages force many of them to go back to the mountains in winter, using horses
While younger men are responsible for cutting wood, elders keep an eye on
Planeja has a water supply system, but it fails in frigid temperatures.
Residents have to walk about a kilometer to get water from the only reserve in
A doctor visits Planeja’s medical centre on Wednesdays, says Shani Tanaj,
an assistant at the center. Other days, residents have to travel 10km to reach a
doctor in Gjonaj.
For serious health issues, patients need to go to the nearest hospital in
Prizren, about 25km away. There is no emergency medical service for Planeja
residents and ambulances are not able to reach the village in the
Women in the village wear traditional costumes, with a wooden plank in the
waist. It helps them to carry water bottles and babies in their
The only school in Planeja has nine grades. High school students walk the
10km to Gjonaj, others move to Prizren.
"We are facing a long and harsh winter this year," says Haziz Hodaj, Has'
representative at the Municipal Assembly in Prizren. "It's affecting life --
interrupting food and heating supplies especially in some remote localities like
Goruzhup and Planeja."
Despite the difficulties, children enjoy winter in Planeja.
After hard days, men attend traditional evening meetings, where they
discuss daily problems, tell stories and jokes, play games and sing traditional
Meanwhile, women are busy with the children and cooking. Traditional cheese
pie is the most popular food on the winter dinner table. "Despite radical life
changes, the pie remains the same," says Planeja resident Nazife