dinsdag 29 januari 2008

You know you're a Bosnian when

Jasenko send me a link to a site about BiH! Just go and check it! It's amazing: http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Bosnia On that site I've found following statements... Enjoy! Are you a real Bosnian?

You know you're a Bosnian when:

  • you drive VW Golf 2 diesel
  • your family owns a manual coffee grinder
  • you take your shoes off when you enter the house, and every family member has his/her own slippers (plus some extra for the guests)
  • your neighbour comes over every day uninvited, for coffee
  • your father wears striped pajamas
  • you drive VW Golf 2
  • your day revolve around coffee and cigarettes
  • you have 17 consonants and 2 vowels in your last name
  • your mother/nena won't accept the fact that you're not hungry
  • you drive VW Golf 2
  • you have "pita" for dinner at least 4 days a week
  • you have "sarma" for dinner the remaining 3 days
  • a loaf of bread is eaten for lunch every day
  • you're 6 and your father sends you out to buy him "Drina" and "Sarajevsko"
  • you drive VW Golf 2
  • you don't speak to your cousins who support "Sarajevo" (football club)
  • when your nena insists you eat something with "kasika" at least once a week
  • you chop up some onions and then decide what to cook for dinner
  • your mother insists that "promaha" will kill you
  • you drive VW Golf 2
  • your mother tells you not to sit on the concrete slabs, or your ovaries are going to freeze
  • your mother tells you to wear "potkosulja", no matter what the temperature outside
  • your mother tells you not to sit close to TV, and not to use cell phones, because you'll get brain tumor
  • you drive VW Golf 2
  • your mother tells you that you'll get sick from drinking cold water
  • you bathe only once a week
  • your parents tell you that they had you, AND your sister/brother when they were your age
  • a couple of days really means a week or so
  • your parents have "goblene" on their walls, and "heklivo" on every piece of their furniture, including the TV
  • your parents make "zimnica" every september
  • your mother threathens you with "samo cekaj dok ti se babo vrati kuci"
  • you spend all your family vacations in Neum
  • you drive there in your family Yugo towed behind a donkey
    the donkey you own is faster than the car you drive
  • you begin most sentences with "j. ga", "svega mi", or "Tita mi"
  • your young cousin doesn't know what "Tita mi" means
  • you can't explain what "ba" means, but you use it all the time (what's up ba etc.)
  • you're the only one who gets all the Mujo and Haso jokes
  • you know the entire script of "Walter brani Sarajevo" by heart
  • you know the script of every single episode of "Top Lista Nadrealista"
  • you despise your cousin who's going out with an "unproforac"
  • you drive VW Golf 2
  • your mother bakes a cake without oil, sugar, eggs, or flour, and she calls it "a war cake"
  • the time is divided into "before" and "after" the war
  • your father refers to all politicians with "djubrad", "lopovi", "kriminalci" and "krmad"
  • you have at least one best friend from high school who went to "their side" and you still can't explain it to yourself, your remaining friends from high school live in Australia, Norway, Germany, and Malaysia
  • you don't want to talk about the war to anyone, but that's the only thing you talk about with other Bosnians
  • you have at least three passports, and have lived in at least 4 countries in the last 12 years
  • you vote for the same politicians over and over again, but when somebody ask for your opinion about them, you say "LaÅūljiva lopovska gamad!"
  • you hear "Pamet u glavu" everytime you go out of the house!
  • you drive VW Golf 2
  • you have to walk to school, which is located 14 miles away from your village
  • you blame all the nations problems on the Turks just like the Greek's.
  • Your family owns enough guns to start a war.
  • you put rakija on your feet every time you are sick
  • you drive VW Golf 2
  • Your first words were "Allaahhaamm"
  • you throw all of your garbage into rivers and creeks(except the plastic bottles, you need to save those for heating your home)
  • you don't care about the environment
  • you stop in the middle of the road to pick up or drop off someone because it's convenient for you
  • when you drive you smoke a cigarette, drink coffee, talk on your phone and stop at green lights in a car that puts out more pollution than most other countries.

dinsdag 22 januari 2008

Bosna i Herzegovina and much more

What about Bosna I Hercegovina? What about Hercegovina? And what about Mostar who is still divided in 2 parts? What about tradition? What about food? What about music? What about culture? What can I tell you about this country; what can I tell you about my life here?

BiH, with a population around 3.8 million people and Sarajevo as capital city, lies in the heart of southeast Europe. It’s the land where eastern and western civilizations met, sometimes clashed, but more often enriched each other throughout its long and fascinating history. The country is divided into two entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Republika Srpska (RS). Main places are Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Tuzla, Zenica, Mostar and Bihac.
Bosnia covers the north and centre of the country. Its name is probably derived from 'bosnana', an old Indo-European word meaning water and refers to the country's many rivers, streams and springs. The Southern region of ancient Hum, ruled by Herceg Stjepan (Duke Stjepan), was later named Herzegovina after the region was conquered by the invading Ottomans. BiH is a mountainous country in the middle of what used to be Yugoslavia. BiH borders on Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro.
BiH encompasses Mediterranean, Continental and Alpine climates and surprisingly different landscapes with some of the richest flora and fauna in the whole of Europe, all that within a relatively small area (51.129 km²).
The pre-war language of former Yugoslavia was Serbo-Croat. Nowadays, there are three 'official' languages spoken in BiH by three major population groups: Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian. In the Federation only Latin alphabet is used, in the RS you'll see cyrillic signs on the road. These 3 languages are very similar but the differences are very important to the local people. It seems more a political choice, not a linguistic reality. Can you imagine what it means for a stranger to learn the differences between these 3 languages? Everybody understands me if I try to say something but they look also strange when I use Bosnian or Serbian words in the Croatic part of Mostar... But at least I try! ;-)
As BiH lies at the crossroads of eastern and western civilizations, you will find Muslims (44%), Orthodox (32%), Catholics (17%) and Jews, Albanians, Gypsies,... (7%) living here together. Probably you will see churches, mosques and sinagogues in the closest vicinity.
Before the war, BiH concentrated on the production of basic goods and intermediate products. Other regions of former Yugoslavia bought these products and used them to make final consumer products. Because of the war, these buyers had to find new suppliers. After the war, these buyers will only come back to their pre-war suppliers if these suppliers offer the best and cheapest products available on the world market. But with factories in shambles, infrastructure destroyed and workers displaced or killed, producing the best and cheapest products is not an easy task! At roughly 40%, the official unemployment rate indicates a non-functioning economy!
In BiH, people tend to sing. After an hour, somebody starts a 'sevdalinka' and the tone of the evening has been set: there is no more talking from that moment. Instead, songs come and go, with or without instruments, for hours and hours. In just one voice, everybody sings in the same nostalgic folk songs about life before the war. And everybody seems to know them all. Most of this folk music traces its origins to Ottoman times. Most of these songs are songs of love and tragedy. They helped to get through turbulent times.
What about the food? People in BiH take eating and drinking very seriously. The number of coffee shops, bars and restaurants are mind-blowing. Bosnian cuisine uses a wide variety of meat (mostly veal, lamb, chicken and fish) with a lot of cheese and vegetables, certainly red pepper and cabbage. Specialities are cevapi (small grilled sausages with bread and onion) and pita (burek – meat; sirnica – cheese; zeljanica – cheese and spinach; krompirusa – potato). Most of the time they combine it with pavlaka (fresh cream) or kajmak (cheese). Also strange for me was to see how people eat pizza here with ketchup and mayonaise on top! It's a great experience when you are invited with a local family. Every time you think you have enough, an other plate is coming... and don't try to say you have enough!!!!

What about Mostar?
Mostar is situated on the Neretva river and is the fith-largest city in the country. It is divited into two parts after the war: Croats control the westside of the city, Bosniaks the east! Mostar was named after its Old Bridge (Stari Most). During the last war, the bridge was destroyed. A monumental project to rebuild the Old Bridge to the original design and restore surrounding structures and historic neighbourhoods was initiated in 1999 and mostly completed in 2004. In 2005, UNESCO finally inscribed the Old Bridge and its closest vicinity into the World Heritage List!
It is traditional for the young men of the town to leap from the bridge into the Neretva. As the Neretva is so cold, this is a very risky feat and only the most skilled and best trained divers will attempt it. The practice dates back to the time the bridge was built, but the first recorded instance of someone diving off the bridge is from 1664. In 1968 a formal diving competition was inaugurated and held every summer.

But there is much more to discover in Mostar exept for the Old Bridge. There are a lot of mosques you can visit. In some mosques it's even possible to go into the minaret... You can imagine you have a great view from up there! Also the remains of the older Orthodox church on the hills is an interesting place to visit, as is the old cemetery next to it. The Museum of Herzegovina is situated in a beautiful part of the Old Town. It was founded in 1950 to promote the archaeological, ethnographic, literary and cultural history of Herzegovina. The old Catholic Church, which was recently renovated, is nearly impossible to miss. A steeple of over 30m dominates the skyline. The church was heavily damaged during the war and reconstruction has been completed only recently. But believe me there is much much more: Rondo, partisan memorial, kosaca, 4 or 5 shoppingcentres, a lot of nice pubs and places to hang out!

So after reading all this stuff i hope i convinced you to come and visit BiH, come and visit Mostar! You have to see this beauty...

donderdag 10 januari 2008

What are you doing in Bosna i Hercegovina???

Hellow everybody,

I am now in BiH since 28 october 2007. And it seems like yesterday i said goodbye to my parents and all my friends!! Time is flying by! Every day something new happens here: I meet new people or I discover new, incredible places... To come to BiH as EVS volunteer was the best decision I've ever made in my whole life!!!

I get the same question everywhere (in Belgium as in BiH): 'Why did you choose this country?' People in Belgium still think it's dangereous to come to BiH. Someone even asked me if I didn't forgot my bulletfree jacket??? On the other hand people here doesn't understand either. Everybody wants to get out of here and I choose to live here for 9 months!

Well, I don't have an answer on that SOOO important question. I discovered already that this country isn't paradise! There are still a lot of problems and conflicts in this country. But on the other hand people are soo nice and friendly and nature is soo beautiful that it is almoust impossible not to love this country! This atmosphere gives me so much energy and inspiration...

What am I doing here? Well, I work here as volunteer in a centre for drugaddiction. As psychologist I wanted to get some experience in the way people are working here on this topic. It isn't always easy to work with such group of people but I think it's very interesting! I am supposed to work with the parents of drugaddicts but also with drugusers themselves. The problem is very big and certainly in Mostar. A lot of young people can't find a job here and get bored. Using drugs is for a lot of people the only solution to forget their problems... But they are even bigger afterwards...

Like I told you I am here now for 2 months and a bit and I met already a lot of great people... It was great to see my friends again in Travnik and Sarajevo. We had already a great time together! Volim te! But even now I am living here, it's still difficult to see each other a lot!

This EVS gave me also the opportunity to meet so many new people from all over Europe and America! Mostar is full with internationals (just like a disease or something... hahahahah). To find some local friends is a little bit more difficult here in Mostar but that's one of my challenges during my project ;-)

I met also great people on the on-arrival training in Crikvenica (Kroatia). 14 volunteers from Europe who do a project in the Balkans came for 5 days together!!! This was one of my greatest trainings ever!!! This experience connect us in a certain way and of course it's great to have a free place to sleep all over the Balkans (hihi)...

I think I can go on and on to tell you all my experiences here since my arrival but that would bore you I suppose! Take a look at my pictures I made this far and I am sure you will understand the way I feel at this moment...

I hope you enjoy this blog and hopefully you will visit it sometimes...


Charline - Chica - Seki