Friday, June 24, 2016

Kosovo, ohw Kosovo…What did you do to me?

By Shelby Demmerer

Today in our last class Anne, our teacher, said that when you really listen so someone, you as a person open up and allow yourself to change. Well if this is true, than I sure listen very good and a lot! People ask: How was Kosovo? Did you party a lot? How was the weather? Did you have a good time? And the words coming out of my mouth mostly are: Good or Nice. Words that don’t even come close to the way I feel or to anything I’m thinking about. But how else would I express myself to individuals who are just kindly asking if I enjoyed my time, expecting a short answer. I feel like the inside of my head is exploding and that my emotions are all over the place. It feels so weird to be back in Amsterdam… in the dorms. I’m not quite sure I realized that I’m back yet. My mind is in Kosovo, my body in Amsterdam and my heart is longing for the summer in Suriname.

Going to Kosovo I had in mind that I would study peace-making, peace-building and peace-keeping in this post-conflict area. I must say it in the end feels like I was just studying myself. I got to know the society better  by being there and I believed that people should speak-up against things that I saw as unacceptable, such as corruption in the government. I also strongly believed that they should believe in a future of Kosovo because this is needed in a young nation, for the nation to develop. My project for the class was therefore also focused on the youth and their vision of peace in order to connect that to the future leadership of Kosovo. I thought about how important the youth is in such a young nation, and that even though things are hard and sometimes seem impossible, that giving up on this state was not an option. After having done my project: interviewing and just talking to many young people, the trip came to an end. We had a great last dinner with the class and just when I thought we would go home (yes, I mean our lovely host families), Anne called us all into a circle to share what was on our heart. I did not see this coming; I was very tired and did not see the point of talking about my feelings because I had nothing to share…right? I still decided to just think about everything that happened. I then slowly became emotional and my body started to feel weak, what was happening to me? I realized that I have such a strong stand on how people, especially the youth, should speak up in Kosovo, while I already gave up on my own country as long as I can remember. A country that can also be seen as a young nation, since it only became independent from the Netherlands in November 1975.  This felt like a slap in my face. How could I? How did this happen? If money disappeared somewhere in the government, I made the biggest joke about it, after which I would then shake my head saying: Ohw well, that is how the system works in this country. And there I was telling people how corruption in Kosovo was unacceptable. Even though this was very hard for me to process since I did not realize I was doing this before, I am so happy that I did realize. I am however not yet saving the world from corrupt governments and systems that exclude many, but I can now at least think about my own government in a new way. A way in which someone who didn’t grow-up in the country would maybe see it, the way in which I saw Kosovo: full of hope.

Kosovo, ohw Kosovo… You really turned my little world upside down; I am you forever grateful 


  1. I will never forget your last speech,laugh,tears,inspiring. I'm so happy that i met you.

    1. Bardha... Thank you for accepting all of us with open arms. You taught us so much. You are our one and only Bardha, who we will all keep close to our hearts.

    2. Bardha... Thank you for accepting all of us with open arms. You taught us so much. You are our one and only Bardha, who we will all keep close to our hearts.