By Nienke Dek
Although it feels like we have been in Kosovo for at least one third of our lives, it is only the fourth and actually third real day in this country full of mountains, lakes, sticks with peanut butter, and pollen (sorry for those with hay fever: or more specifically Thomas). We started the day after a night at a bar full of sport-loving men in a small town near Mitrovica in which we stayed at hotels with wonderful non-English speaking owners that drive to get breakfast ingredients really quickly after you told them your 'UN-bus' really leaves at 9:00. A delicious breakfast including scrambled eggs was the result of that, so we were all happy. In addition to that, two EULEX man showed up at the hotel, and immediately half of the group took the chance to talk to them and ask questions about their work (you have to understand, it was only nine o'clock and they were just coming there to have a nice breakfast, but oh well, that's what Peacelab does to you). On our way from the small town to Mitrovica, people tried to write some (of course very inspiring) stories in their journals (something impossible), and we got some lunch at the ENORMOUS mall where all the Dutchies of course tried to find some sort of sandwich they did not have. Peanut pretzels it was.
Our first meeting was the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), something I also presented on in class and thus was quite excited about to see in real-life. Of course we asked some critical questions, and afterwards we all got to bomb the employees with our project questions individually. Babs, Mirthe and I are asking everybody we meet to tell them what they think the people at home (so also those reading this blog) should know about Kosovo. What do we have to tell you when we come back? We're so excited, and hopefully you will get to see a nice result!
After the meeting at the OSCE, we went to Community Building Mitrovica (CBM), an NGO that focuses on bringing Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians together in Mitrovica by organizing various projects. Anne must have been very happy during this meeting, because the first capstone-related questions were asked by Marijn and Roos. Afterwards, we had some time to look around in Mitrovica, and of course everybody first crossed the bridge. Weird, because something so normal for us took most of the men working at CBM more than 10 or even 15 years.
After the meeting with CBM, there was only one left: UNMIK, the UN mission in Kosovo. And thus in our UN-bus we went to the UN compound in Mitrovica (we felt so UN-like). Again, we bombed
them with questions, some more critical than others: Jasmin just asked them about their exit-strategy, and of course no real answer was given to that one. Afterwards, when we were all quite tired, our wonderful bus driver took us back to Pristina in which we were all dropped off at our guest families again to rest before what will probably be another gezellige night.
That's where I am now, no nap for me Roos.