Today was heartbreaking. I went into a community that was exactly what I needed to see here in Kosovo, a community that reflected the truth of the situation.
Piles of trash, fences and structures made from scrap metal, children playing in the street so excited to see our car driving through. I can’t even describe what it looks like there, but it looks like desperation. Everyone in this country has these sorrowful and deep eyes. Eyes are the window to the soul, this is well known, but somehow it is more so here. People smile with their eyes, but they also despair with them.
It made me feel sick/cry/throw all my money at the situation/ regret every time I ever said that I was poor. But I didn’t cry, I understood that this is life. In America we hide our poverty well, little lies and lives shoved under the rug of our disillusioned reality. Yes it exists, it always has. People should not have to live this way, it does not reflect justice or equality. So don’t look the other way, do something about it.
I do want to do something about it, and that is what we are doing. Sorry for the seriousness, but it is a serious situation.
Lets see, Sunday and Monday were full and crazy days. Everyone on the trip keeps asking me if my feet are ok because of my shoes, but most of the women here wear boots and heels like I do! I am used to this self-inflicted torture, it is not a problem, and I may even be a masochist, who knows. I did feel ridiculous though on Sunday when I entered my first mosque, because of the way I was dressed. Buildings like that speak to you, whether from religious significance or some other factor. It’s something to do with the value and importance people place on one specific location that gives it a special vibe. The way the light trickled down into the main room, the faded rugs with dimly lit colors, the strings hanging down into the main room with no purpose since electricity (before they had been a way to light the building). It was very special. Anyway, this does not seem to be connected with shoes, but it is! I had to take off my boots and I felt very silly because of my knee high blue socks under my jeans… so I guess I should not wear my obnoxious valentines day lip socks later in the week unless I know where I am going for sure!
Some local superstitions: When an imam died at one of the mosques, people would go by and drop a coin through a window and a girl would light a candle representing that coin and the wish the coin represented. When the candle extinguished itself then your wish would be fulfilled. Also, there is a water fountain that is supposed to promise you to find love if you drink for it. Well what they told me is that I would find a man if I drank from it! I don’t know if I am looking for love or a man, but I did it anyway, for good luck!
I can’t help but feel apprehensive and provide my own superstitions against the birds here in Kosovo. Each night around dusk, hundreds fly into the city and roost in the trees. It’s kind of horrifying, especially when you have seen Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” But people here don’t find it strange, after all, Kosovo means place of black birds, well the Serbian word for bird is kos. Interesting.
-Vanessa’s tap dancing stumble, still makes me laugh thinking about it
-I heard a U2 song in a coffee shop today, it made my day. Music is so weird here, the other morning Vanessa and I woke up to "Super Freak" by Rick James.
-I had a great time shopping in the city today
-I think by the end of this trip Clay and Scott will be psycho on nicotine because people smoke all the time, which leads them to smoke all the time, and I will be crazy on caffeine by the amount of coffee I drink a day. I can’t imagine how grumpy we will all be after the plane ride back!
-Today was St. Patrick’s Day, I am partly Irish and wore green but no one else did! Ha-ha, what did I expect, a parade?
-I am having a great and fun time, but I am very focused as well.
It is beautiful here, and the weather has been lovely. The people are amazing as well, kind and intelligent, and managing as well as they possibly can. Their resolve and optimism are admirable.