Children from Cetinje and Bijelo Polje visited the exhibition “Myrtis”


‘’I am impressed by different way of living of our peers in ancient Greece.” ‘It’s so different from the life of today.” – says 13 years old Nikolina Belada from Cetinje, clearly excited with the exhibition “Myrtis”. Myrtis was 11 year old girl from Athens, Greece, who died of typhoid fever in the 5th century BC. Nikolina is one of 44 pupils from two elementary schools in Cetinje whose visit to the exhibition was organized on Saturday, 9 April  by the NGO “Center for child rights” and the United Nations System in Montenegro. Next Saturday, 16 April, the visit of a group of children from Bijelo Polje was also organized.

The differences in life now and then have made a strong impression on the children from Cetinje. “Living conditions at that time were extremely hard. Their life was far from ours today, especially in the part of the health care.” – notes Andrea Komnenić from the primary school “Njegoš”, adding that tools and toys of her peers form ancient Greece fascinated her. “It is very interesting to how different was the entertainment back then.”

The children were hosted by Ana Klikovac from the Greek embassy, who explained how Myrtis was discovered and how she became a historical exhibition after the successful reconstruction of her face. During an almost two hour long visit, the children learned about the life of their peers 2500 years ago, their customs, tools and toys, and particularly about the most common diseases t two and a half millenniums ago.

“This is much more than I expected. It is a true ‘face to face with the past’ experience. I am so sorry that a cure for some diseases was not discovered much earlier to provide a better and longer life of the children in ancient Greece as well.” – said Mlađan Vladislav, a 7th grade pupil from the primary school “Lovćenski partizanski odred” from Cetinje.

Soon after she was discovered, Myrtis became a ‘friend of the United Nations’. She was asked by UN Regional Information Centre to join the world campaign “We can End Poverty” to help UN in addressing fight against diseases related to poverty and to promote prevention of preventable illnesses. Myrtis “assumed” her duties without delay by sending a message to the world leaders that, unlike 2,500 years ago, people today have the knowledge, means and resources to fight deadly illnesses and save the lives of millions of people, children in the first place. In this way, Myrtis has stopped being only “face to face with the past” but she also stood “face to face with the future of humanity”.

The children were given an overview of a 15-year scientific work, starting with excavation, reconstruction, preservation and finally incorporation of all the elements into the exhibition about Myrtis. “I am impressed by the level of preservation of her skull, and it is particularly amazing how her teeth are preserved so well”, – says Stefan Marković from the school “Njegoš”.

The pupils from Cetinje were accompanied by members of local school parliaments, comprised of representatives of primary and secondary schools from Podgorica.

Ana Rašović, a school parliament representative from the “Slobodan Škerović” Hich School in Podgorica pointed out the educational value of the exhibition: “This is really a good opportunity to get to know the Greek culture from the time of Pericles in such a unique way”. Her visually impaired friend Nikola Zekić from the “Vasa Pavić” music high school, also a member of the local parliament, praised the strong message of the exhibition: “This exhibition is a good reminder of the importance of health and a proof that, apparently, education is the strongest tool in fighting diseases. I am grateful to the Greek embassy for organizing such exhibition and I hope it will have a high attendance.”

The exhibition “Myrtis – face to face with the past” was opened on March 22nd in Podgorica. The United Nations system in Montenegro and the NGO “Center for child rights” jointly helped children from other parts of Montenegro to visit it.

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In Montenegro today, there is no typhoid fever. But still, like anywhere in the world, the fight against new diseases is under wayThis is one of areas in which the UN System is largely supporting Montenegro. The UN family also encourages population, especially youth, to join the fight by practicing healthy life styles, by educating itself thinking about prevention and being there for those whose health conditions arenot the best anymore.