While the world seems ready to make weighty demands on this tiny non-governmental organization (NGO) with its slender payroll of four, the pool of available money is drying up. Together Tauber and Jankovic make the rounds of the embassies and international agencies who dispense project funds to smaller NGOs. While they struggle to remain solvent, convinced that their efforts are worthwhile and that only long-term efforts at rehabilitation will be effective, they've also been forced to design rapid-response strategies to diffuse tension after incendiary incidents such as exhumation of burial sites.
"We're getting into exhumation season now," Jankovic explains. "These episodes occur without preparation or follow-up, and people get very upset."
The physical damage still visible everywhere in Vukovar cannot completely disguise the vitality of the city. It nestles into the west bank of the Danube, now the eastern border of Croatia. Here the Danube is so wide that there was never a bridge, only a ferry. Today patrol boats parallel the shore, passing an idle dock where once full containers of freight were loaded onto ships. Around the river stands the ruined town, crowned with its battered twelfth-century Franciscan monastery and its famous modernistic water tower, both riddled with bullet holes-twin landmarks of the destruction of what was once a graceful and prosperous city.
"Before the war, education here was some of the best in Europe. Probably better than in North America. Now, it is in real trouble," says Tauber. He says that health care also deteriorated, while increased stress results in greater illness: "Many villages that used to have a doctor and a nurse have nothing now. No immunization. No primary health care.
"I use what I learned at Reed more than my medical education, most days." Tauber says with a laugh. "I learned to question everything. That's so valuable. And it's acutely necessary here.