It’s time for our first trip update!
Day 0-1: The Flight and the flight and the flight and the flight and Kosovo
This was a long day for us. We met at 2:45AM to get to the airport for a 5:45AM flight to D.C. Unfortunately, we got there to find our flight was cancelled. After a couple hours, they got re-routed us to go through Charlotte and then to DC. We had to take two different planes to Charlotte, and then somehow Morgan ended up on her own plane while the rest of us waited in Charlotte on a separate plane that was also not working. Fortunately, they could just pull another plane out of the garage so we were only delayed a couple hours and still managed to make it to DC in time for our next flight.
We then flew overnight from DC to Vienna, Austria. Overnight flights are never easy, but after waking up at 2:00AM some of us managed to get a few hours of sleep. In Vienna, we went through the shortest, but slowest, security line in history and barely made our Kosovo flight. At 11:50 AM the next day, we landed! Somehow, despite 2 broken planes and the group of us being on 6 different planes, all of our luggage and people made it!
It was a lot of fun for the returners to see Berat and Valdete, and the newcomers loved meeting them! We rode a bus through the beautiful Kosovo landscape and arrived at our hotel in Suhareke. After lunch we toured around the city and saw some war memorials, met some students, and went to the top of a beautiful hill and hung out together.
After dinner, we all fell asleep pretty quickly. Apparently 3-8 hours of sleep in a 48 hour span makes you tired. But we awoke ready for our first full day!
Day 2: History Day
Our breakfast was amazing! The hotel prepared a buffet with cereal, cheese, bread, this amazing hazelnut spread, and eggs. So good.
Berat and Valdete shared some of their incredible story and we also watched some historical videos. We learned about Kosovo when Paul visited this territory in the Bible, when the Turks came in and took over, and then how the Serbs took over in 1912. The war here was very horrible. Entire families, even villages, were burned in their homes.
For our American high school students, this is certainly eye opening. To meet people who have lost extensive amounts of family because of war is not common in the U.S. But this is the people’s story in Kosovo.
And yet, there is still hope here. The city is still being rebuilt all around us. An amazing new bridge is almost complete at the city center. A high rise apartment gets its finishing touches. The first freeway is being constructed everyday in the distance.
We’re so excited to be here, and hope that in some way we can add to their hope.
We also ate great food today! The students were introduced to Kosovo ice cream and later we had pizza together.
Tomorrow we visit Prizren, which is one of the coolest cities in the world. We’ll update again in a couple days.