Subject: Kosovo I
Date: Thursday, June 23, 2005 7:16 AM
Greetings from Kosovo, Kosova, Kos’ovah, and Kosva (those are the different pronunciations depending on who you are and where you’re from. We are having an amazing time here, and learning books worth of education every day. This is a country where the most popular conversation and the most common is one about war. We are staying outside the capital city of Prishtina about thirty miles, in a city called Mitrovica (“mit-ro-vits-a”). This city used to be the economic center for the country, having metal mines all over. The mines were destroyed in the war and since the unemployment rate here is around 70-80%. Among the Albanians (who are the people who live here), so many men died in the war that 70% of the people are under 30 and about 50% under 18.
We are staying on the South Side of Mitrovica where the Albanians live, and near the downtown there is a bridge that is armed by French soldiers/UN workers that separates the North and South sides. The Serbs (Serbians) live in the North side and the Albanians in the South, and never the two shall meet. These two peoples hate each other so much that the Serbs have thugs on the North side of the bridge watching everyone that crosses over, and should an Albanian cross they will follow them and then punish them. We met a man yesterday whose son was killed (it’s a fairly well-known story, but I’ll let you know how it happened). There were four Albanian boys (under 10) who crossed the bridge, and the Serbs sent their dogs on them (one being a pitbull), the children tried to run from the dogs and ran into the river, three of them drowned. One of our translators was near the bridge the other day and saw some of his Albanian friends try to get over the bridge (they remove their license
plates so that they can get across) and the Serbs started throwing rocks at the windows, breaking them. One of the Albanians was a kick-boxer and got out and started to defend himself. At that time the soldiers (aka “peace-keepers”) who had watched the entire encounter, came up and forced the Albanians back to the South side. The war has racked this country, and there is noone to turn to.
On a ‘eppier note, the people are wonderful. They are relaxed and some of the most hospitable people I’ve ever met and they’re beautiful with dark hair and skin but often light colored eyes – they are quite striking. The first day we walked in downtown we got invited for coffee three times by people who had met someone who had met us. We have had dinner and tea and coffee and cake up to our gills with different people throughout the day, and that is mainly what we are doing here – building relationships that the missionaries that we are working with can continue to grow after we’re gone. Beyond that, I think one of my main privilages here is to simply encourage Maria, the missionary we are working with. It is hard for her to be here working as a single woman and so many opportunities to minister and devote her life to people without seeing grand results. She has said that God is using me to give her hope and joy in the medial tasks, you can pray that God will provide
encouragement through the course of her ministry.
There is so much that could be said but not enough time. But since I promised a story in every email, here is one from last night:
It came out that I have done construction work when a family asked if we knew how to make plans for a cow barn, and I hesitatingly said I would try to draw something up. Jonathan and I visited the farm and took some measurements (and for those of you that find my math skills questionable, imagine me working entirely in meters and centimeters to order materials – oh yes….), after the specifics were written down the father Humbdi asked us to stay and have coffee and smoke with him. It is, of course, rude to turn a host down, and so we sat on his porch and began talking. Humbdi started talking about smoking (which they do in abundance – everyone, everywhere, all day) and how Amricans smoke much less than they do, he caringly only offered us one cigarette each. The reason they smoked so much, he said ” was because in the 13’s the Albanian king smoked fifteen packs of cigarettes a day, and if our king could do it, we try to keep up.” About an hour and eight cigarettes later we
bid farewell.
For your prayers I am thankful, they are often a source of assurance and encouragement for me. I have received emails from a few of you, thank you for them. I hope to write again soon,
In the Universal Name of our King, Nicole de Martimprey
A few matters of business:
– Is there anyone that can easily set up a webpage for me to put pictures and updates on (something that is fairly easy on this end to update and things). That would be wonderful
– Jon has put a few on his page that you can see at: http://photos.thekevers.com/thumbnails.php?album=5
To tell you who you’re seeing: The “Parents of the Trip”: Alan and Diane Mezger, the “Old Married Men”: Robby Mezger (pic 2) and Jon Kever (photographer), and seminarian Jonathan Stevens (background pic 1)
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