Although it’s been in existence for three and a half months, there are still only 16 members and at this writing, only nine posts have been made to the list in its history (three so far in May). The homepage hasn’t been personalized at all — no graphic of a kozolec or the stara trta or even that sculpture that looks like Kojak’s head (you locals know what I’m talking about). Only the old familiar bicycle and guitar, or if you prefer, kolo in kitara.
Still, a beachhead has been established. Gospe in gospodje, Freecycle has come to Slovenia. And this time, Ljubljana will have to be the second city: Maribor Freecycle has the founder’s bragging rights.
Back in October 2003, still relatively new to Austin, I established one of the first Freecycle groups in existence, and the first in Texas. There were 20 or 21 other Freecycle groups in the world back then; there are currently over 4,000, in so many countries I’ve lost count. Part of my reason for starting the group, as a strictly volunteer, non-paying endeavor, was that I wanted to knit myself closer ties to my new community. I’d left Slovenia at the end of 2001 voluntarily, but I still missed the place sorely (still do, in some ways) and was looking for a new challenge, something that would be interesting and useful.
As you can tell from earlier posts on this blog, I accomplished my mission — there were nearly 12,000 members in the group before I resigned my commission as moderator (I still moderate a much smaller discussion group for AustinFreecycle members) and there was much media coverage, and an award I accepted when the twins were three days old and we’d just brought them home, and my wife advised me to spend the night in the guest room so I’d have a chance of getting some rest before I’d have to make my speech in the ballroom in front of assorted environmental dignitaries.
Maribor Freecycle� skupina je odprta za vse, ki bi stvari raje reciklirali, kot pa jih vrgli vstran. Naj bo stol, miza, kolo, kitara ali stara vrata, vse lahko objavite tukaj in podarite. Enako velja, če morda kakšno stvar iščete.
Not everything associated with my time as moderator of AustinFreecycle, and when I was active doing other tasks within the Freecycle Network, was ideal, but I’m genuinely thrilled that there’s a group in Slovenia now. I had nothing to do with the founding of Maribor Freecycle, but I wish them well; they’ll do better when Delo or Mladina eventually comes calling (the media love to write about Freecycle, even if it’s almost always the same story, no matter where the group is located). I think there has to be a Ljubljana Freecycle (or FreecycLjubljana?) in the near future — the concept works well in college towns — and although Slovenia has no real tradition of garage sales (I’d guess this is because historically, people rarely seemed to throw anything out), there are a lot of hip, forward-looking people there who would welcome the chance to get their hands on someone else’s castoffs as long as it’s something they’ve been looking for already.
I spoke with my friend K. in Ljubljana earlier today. To tell the truth, I still have some things in storage over there, and I’d like to clear out the stuff once and for all. That once-desirable TV probably won’t sell for much (Slovenia is in the EU these days, after all), and if I ever make it back to LJ for a visit I’m not going to spend two or three days trying to unload my old junk; I’ll be, I assure you, doing better things than that.
So I’d be happy to advertise on the LJ Freecycle board. Cheaper than Salomonov oglasnik (the local Pennysaver/Greensheet analogue, now online) and in the long run, probably less of a hassle. After all, no euros or even tolars will be changing hands. Just a nice hvala or two.
Glavno pravilo je: vse kar se na teh straneh ponuja ali išče mora biti zastonj.
Freecycle on, Slovenia!