Meet Liceulice vendor Stefan Gogov

Stefan Gogov by Anja Mihić

Stefan Gogov by Anja Mihić

Interview by Kristina Rajić

  • Vendor stories
Originally published:
Liceulice street paper, Serbia

I heard about Liceulice by chance. When I came in, I had an introductory interview and undertook a short course.

At the beginning, I thought it was going to be complicated – that’s how it is in every job. Initially, I would work for several hours, sometimes without selling a single paper, but I began fit in quickly and then everything became easier. Now, I think I’m neither successful nor unsuccessful at my job. I work as much as I can and I’m happy.

I learn something new every day. For example, I realised that I should start selling a bit earlier in the morning, preferably between 8 and 9. My usual spot is across the street from the post office in Dušanovac, right where the buses 25, 25P and 26 stop. When people start walking at the traffic lights, I go there and offer them the paper, and when I see the bus coming, I quickly return to the bus stop.

Sometimes, people give me money without taking the paper. Once, a lady came up to me with a child and gave me 1000 dinars (£7.30/€8.50) for the paper, but she wouldn’t take the change – she wanted to treat me, and it made my day.

Sometimes, two people buy a paper within three minutes, whereas other times, even if I stay for the whole day, I only sell one or two copies. My record is five or six copies in several hours. I noticed that the paper is mostly bought by young people, especially by young women. The customers always chat with me and ask me how I’m doing.

I’m completely satisfied with how Liceulice is organised. The staff often provide clothes and other necessities for us. They organise fairs and New Year’s gatherings and socials.

This New Year was the first time I’ve met the group. I’m in contact with other vendors, specifically with Bojan and Petar – we talk over the phone about everything.

Since I’ve been in treatment for mental illness, there was a period where I wasn’t working.

I met my current girlfriend on my first day at psychiatric hospital Dr Laza Lazarević. For International Women’s Day, in the outpatient clinic, a day before the Covid outbreak, I gave her a rose, and she was the first to ask for my phone number – but I also asked for hers right away! That was our beginning and we’re together to this day.

She’s currently travelling with her mother, and I plan on proposing when she comes back. She calls me Medo Brundo (Mumble Bear) and I call her Milkica Šargarepica (Little Carrot Milkica). I love her a lot and we get along swell.

Good weather means a lot because that’s when I can sell the paper. My social security payments don’t cover all my needs, so this is a very useful gig.

I graduated from secondary technical school and enrolled in technical college. Then I enrolled in the Faculty of Forestry, but I’ve had to abandon my studies because of illness and work. This way of working suits me well, I’ve no fixed working hours, I work when I want to and when I can. All the prerequisites are in place, and I don’t have any additional investments.

I know that, even if I get hospitalised for a while again, I can always come back to work here because they take care of us. This job is much easier for me than any other, because, under normal circumstances, I’m not accepted due to the illness I’ve been receiving treatment for since I was 19.

Before I started at Liceulice, I was an outpatient at [hospital] Pasterova, so I started selling items near Beograđanka for a few hours after finishing my hospital treatment for the day.

Since I started going steady with my girlfriend, I have stopped treatments. I only go for check-ups, and so does she. We support each other immensely, and we progress when we’re together. I take my medication regularly and I’ve been keeping it up for more than three years now.

I urge people to buy the paper because it means the world to some people. People should buy their first copy out of curiosity and then they will continue buying the paper, I’m sure. When I’m with Milkica Šargarepica, she reads aloud and I listen to her, so I know that there are a lot of interesting articles in there.

Courtesy of Liceulice /

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