Thursday, July 31, 2008


So the team went today (again) to the orphanage. There were more kids and it wasn't raining so it went much better than last week when we stuck inside with only 10 kids... We started with the parachute: which the kids LLLLLOOOOOVVVEEEE:Check Hanna with Diana and Gaga from the preschool section - aw cute!!
We also did a song, and played football, and volleyball, basketball and bowling, and with balloons, and then when it was too hot to be in the sun - we did some drawing (including body painting) and glueing in the shade:After this we played with water balloons, and had a lovely water fight!!

The kids had a FANTASTIC time - but it was a leeeetle bit tiring for me as I was the ONLY translator/crowd controller -none of the English Club could make it- and so I hope that more of them can make it tomorrow when we go back again... although the Dutchies did a great job of communicating using "hand and feet"!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kids at the hospital...

So, today we went with the team to the Children's ward at the hospital. Igor (pictured below with Magali, Dejan and their balloon-sword)'s mom works there and so we set up for them to come and play with the kids. First the team made all the kids balloons. Here is Adela with her flower, and Hanna and Almara showing two dogs for other kids behind her:Then they did a drama-below are Maarten and Magali in one part of the drama:
Followed by a craft project based on the drama.

They were helped with translation by my fantastic English Club members: Here are Branka and Aleksandra with Dragana and all the balloons she got:
All in all, we definitely brought joy to the lives of the children and people who work in the hospital!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dutch team with Dorcas project participants:

The team hosted a party for our Dorcas project participants (30 families with children) with their kids. It was great! They made balloons for them: either swords, crowns, dogs or flowers...Here are Dragana, Mihajlo and Anastasia:
Then it was time for learning a song: The team had learnt a song in Serbian: "Father Abraham" and it went down really well...
This was followed by a drama about the heart. Here is the ending where she gives her heart to the only one who won't hurt it...
This was followed by crafts and games inside for the children: Here are some of the Dutch team, their translators (from the English Club) and the kids playing "burst the balloon":
And here are the two winners trying to burst each other's balloons: In the end we decided they would both win before it got too bad!!
All in all it was a great time for the kids and the parents enjoyed the chance to sit and chat amongst themselves as well as with the team.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Goodbye Marisha!!!

As I mentioned in the previous post, we had a great goodbye party for Marisha last night before she left today. The Dutch team, members of the English Club and others spent the evening hanging out with each other, playing table-tennis, "nerts" and the fool:
Some English Club members and Marisha:"Nerts" game in progress: serious stuff!Playing the fool: Charlie's angels:
Then today, when Marisha left, some of the English Club members came to give her a great bus station send off:
It costs 1.50KM to get onto the platform, so only Ljilja and I went on with her to help with her luggage... the others stayed behind the fence and provided comic relief so we didn't cry too much...

Ode to the Brownie...

Last night for Marisha's farewell party I made everybody's favourite: Brownies!! I made a double batch and they were all eaten up!!! Here are some pics of people enjoying them:
Milan and Sanja:Aleksandra:
Aleksandra giving some to Sanja:
Marisha getting some!
A new way to eat them??
The recipe is really easy and you can make them anywhere in the world:


250g butter/marg

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup cocao

1 cup flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup of choc chips (or 100g dark chocolate bar cut up into bits)

Cream the butter and add the sugar little by little. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix well after every egg. Add the vanilla. In another bowl mix all the dry ingredients and then add slowly to the other bowl. Put half in a 20x30cm pan and then add the chocolate and put the rest on top. Bake in an 180°C oven about 20-25 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

John and Mackenzie came to stay

As I mentioned the previous post, John and Mackenzie from the Sarajevo InterVarsity team came to visit for 31 hours! John was Igor's tentmate on camp and he hung out with the "Banja Luka crew" a lot and so we invited him to come up to visit if he could (before the team leaves Bosnia tomorrow!) and he got permission, and Mackenzie wanted to come with him.

We had a blast with them and Igor and Sofija and others from English Club and the team, despite the fact that it rained almost NONSTOP while they were here.

When they left, Ljilja and Marisha took them to the bus station - and there was a bit of a mixup and they got on the WRONG bus!! PTL that the bus driver checked their tickets right away (which is very unusual - they usually only come and check about 1/2 hour into the bus journey!) and so they discovered their mistake and were able (JUST) to get on the right bus. (it was the last bus back to Sarajevo, so if they had missed it I am not sure what we would have to do as they are leaving for Austria tomorrow!)

Dutch Team...

As I have previously mentioned, the YWAM GO team arrived on Saturday night. We have been having a great time with them this week. On Monday morning, Sinisa shared with them about Banja Luka, Bosnia and a bit about his own story, before they spent most of the rest of the day cleaning our building (which needed a good clean!!). Here they are listening to Sinisa, while I translate for him:In the evenings, we have English Club with them. We decided on Tuesday night to do something different from the usual club and have different games set up on different tables and just to hang out that way. It was great fun!

We were also joined on Tuesday by John and Mackenzie from the InterVarsity team that is in Sarajevo. We met John on camp (he was Igor's tentmate) and he hung out with us a LOT, so we invited him to come up if he could - and he made it happen, even if it was just for 31 hours!!! (and Mackenzie - who is also great - came with him!) So the pic below is the "nerts" table (Michael we thought of you!): Mackenzie, Igor, Branka, John, Sofija and Ceca.
Others played UNO or did pictionary, or just hung out and chatted: Here is the UNO table: Marisha, Aleksandra, Nienke, Magali, Almara, Iris and Aleksandra.
Tuesday and Wednesday, during the day, we went to visit to "drop-in" centres: one for people with mental health problems and one for the elderly. Here we are with the old people: The Dutchies sang a song for them in Dutch: "We bless you in the name of the Lord".
They also did a great drama which was very well received: Below is Magali and Almara in one of the scenes.
One of the reasons that we went to the drop in centres is to be able to build up contacts for the future. Here I am with the lady that runs the centre for the elderly (Deb and Corina - spot what I am wearing!): Teta Mara (Aunty Mara). She was so appreciative of our visit and when thanking the Dutchies for coming made the comment : I hope you will also do something similar for the old people in your own country! (very wise woman!) So as you can see we are having a great time with them here - will keep you updated on the rest of their time too!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


So, once again I find out about major news from this region by my father sending it to me by email from SOUTH AFRICA!! (my excuse is that I am busy hosting a team of 9 Dutchies, and 2 more Americans from a team in Sarajevo arrived this morning to join us as well, so been a leetle too busy to look at the news!)

Yip, Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader during the war was arrested last night in Belgrade where he had been living as an "alternative physician" with a big white beard - no one knew who he was! Here is what the BBC said about it. And check out the way he looks now:
Now, we always joke with our friend Dragana that it is easier to track down Karadzic than her... (she NEVER answers her phone!!), so now we will have to change that to "Mladic", the Bosnian Serb Army leader who is still at large...well at least we will do that until they capture him!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Busy weekend...

So we got back from Camp on Friday night, and as we were pulling up, my friend Jennifer pulled up in a taxi to stay for the weekend! It couldn't have been better timed! But I had warned her we would be busy... And we really didn't do anything for her: We basically carried on doing the stuff we needed to do - like get my car back from the mechanics where it has been all week to have the clutch replaced and getting all sorts of stuff ready for the team (and of course unpacking and laundry after camp). We even went out for coffee with Nino and took him to the train station...yet she said when I took her to the bus station today that she was completely overwhelmed by our hospitality!!! (so she must have been looked after really badly before!)

Then last night the team from Holland arrived (after 11pm as they got stuck in traffic). There are 9 of them and they seem very sweet - looking forward to the next 3 weeks with them. They went this morning and did a scavenger hunt for their orientation (what a great idea! I just have to meet up with them for lunch at the end, and they give themselves my tour!!) . I forgot to take pics with them, but I am sure I will take some in the next 3 weeks...

Then tonight, Ljilja and Sveto came over for tea. Ljilja is almost 8 months pregnant, but as you can see in the photo, it is hard to tell who is actually the pregnant one!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

EUS/InterVarsity camp Boracko Lake

From the 14th to the 18th, Marisha, Sofija, Igor and myself went to Boracko Lake (near Konjic, between Sarajevo and Mostar) for EUS (Evangelical Union of Students) student camp 2008. Ljilja drove down with us, but carried on to Trebinje (where she spent the week with her family). We were there with 60 other people, about 30 from InterVarsity in the US, the rest from Sarajevo, Tuzla and Zenica.

So, what does one do on an EUS/Intervarsity Camp? First you get up for breakfast, having slept in a nice two-man tent on a nice soft mattress. Here is Marisha, Sofija and Igor on the first morning: (spot my "Marmite" on the table - it was a favourite topic at the camp as no one knew what it was: it is a savoury spread for bread, made from yeast, in case you didn't know)
Breakfast was followed by bible-study in groups. Here is my group (minus me of course).
One of the mornings, I helped translate: Here I am with Vedrana (and as you can see it warmed up a bit from the above picture!)
Then was freetime/lunch/freetime until dinner. You could do various things with your free time. One day we walked to the lake (it was too cold to swim, but it was nice view). Here is the group that did the walk: it is about a half hour round trip.
Or if the weather is nice you can SWIM in the lake. Here are Sofija and Igor enjoying themselves! If you get bored with swimming, you can always play with the camp baby: Joas (Yo-as) who was actually on his second camp, having been in his mum Anneriet's tummy last year at camp! Here he is with Sofija: Or else there is Volleyball at the campsite, and this was a favourite. Here are Marisha and Sofija: Or else another favourite activity was cards and games. Here we are playing "nerts"!
Then in the evening, there was a talk around the theme of the camp (relationships). The first night was Tiffany talking on girl-guy relationships (being a newly-wed she has some experience!) Here she is telling us something about a three-legged stool (with Senka her translator - I translated the last night for Sasa the pastor of the Evangelical Church in Sarajevo, which was an interesting experience). Each night, after the program, we had a campfire and sang Bosnian and English songs and generally had a good time. Here I am playing some Bosnian favourites with Sladjan - good times!!!So that is what generally happens on an EUS camp!

On Friday, Ljilja came to get us and because it was her birthday, we HAD to make her a cake of some sort, which on a camp in the middle of nowhere is easier said than done! But we managed and she was really happy with her improvised banana/cheese cake: (that is an LJ and a heart spelt out in banana in case you can't read upside down). It was nice for her to hang out with some friends she generally wouldn't get to see, but after a while it was time for us to finally leave and make our way back to Banja Luka... Just time for last minute goodbyes with newly made American friends: Here is the Banja Luka crew plus John and Akaite in front of Miika's jeep which we got to use to get there and back. So, all in all camp was great! We all had a great time and can't wait for next year!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Visiting Olja...

We went to visit Olja and for Ljilja to show her her pictures from the US (and us - she only just finished organising them today!). Here is Ljilja feeling her baby move(she is no 8 months pregnant). She is an active little girl- constantly on the move - already giving her mom a run for her money! And spot how brown Ljilja is!!Here is another pic of Olja so you can see her tummy (we promised Mary to take pictures so she could see how big she had gotten). They are going to induce her in a month (if she hasn't already given birth) so her doctor can go on holiday on the 12th!! (gotto love that - organising when the baby will be born according to Doctor's holiday schedule).
While we were there, Marisha had Bosnian coffee for the first time (and she didn't like it much - which isn't really a surprise as she doesn't like coffee). Here she is with her cup before the first sip. We have a pic of the "after" but I promised I wouldn't put it on my blog as it isn't very flattering :-)
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