Friday, May 03, 2013

A nice end to an interesting week...

After saying goodbye to the team on Tuesday I thought that would be that, but of course you never know what is going to happen... They called from the border to say that the Ukrainians were not actually able to get visas at that particular border post so they were the returning on that same bus when it came back later in the day. It meant an incredibly long day of travel for the 3 Ukrainians, Zhenja, Katya and Tetyana (plus an American husband, Daniel, and 11 month old baby, Camilla) and so they decided to rest up a bit the next day before trying for another border post (which they were assured issued visas at the border). So on Wednesday afternoon I put them on the bus to Zagreb...

And about 2 hours later Daniel phones and he doesn't even say anything except "yeah, well... yeah", knowing that I would know that they hadn't made it through that border either. That border does do visas at the border, but only in emergencies, and not just tourist visas... so they would have to go to a consulate.

Now, unfortunately the Croatian consulate here in Banja Luka was closed until Monday (May 1st and 2nd being holidays and 3rd being Orthodox Good Friday) and the Ukrainians were only legally able to remain in Bosnia until we needed to figure out something... On Thursday morning I contacted the on duty inspector (as it is a holiday no one else was working) from the office that deals with foreigners and at first it seemed that they would be okay to stay, so we breathed a sigh of relief and started making plans for the weekend.

Then, two hours later, they called me back (after checking the rule book or with their boss, I guess) and said that actually if they stayed it would be 100KM/person/day in fines and after 3 days they would start the process of deportation... so back to the drawing board... So, again it was to the bus station, but this time in the direction of Sarajevo. There, we hoped they would be able to go to the Consulate as it should be open... or if not, to find a flight back to the Ukraine and fly out. In the end the Consulate wasn't working and so they flew out to the Ukraine already today... it worked out cheaper then trying to pay that amount in fines! And so half the team is in Hvar carrying on there, and the Ukrainians will carry on their outreach back in the Ukraine.

Even in the midst of all this crazy travelling on buses and running about (and don't forget that there is an 11 month old baby in the midst of all of this), these guys didn't lose their sense of humour, which I think helped... at the bus station last night (3rd time in 3 days) they were joking about it being like the movie "Groundhog Day" and could I explain how the tickets opened the gates to go through as they weren't sure how it all worked...I think that in this life you need to remember to keep your sense of humour, otherwise it would really get you down!

For some reason I can't upload the photo I took at the bus station here on blogger (of them trying to work out the tickets), so you can click here to look at it on Facebook...

So, after that crazy week I needed a fun day today to get my mind off things, and luckily I was invited to Damjan and Tanja's to help them and the kids (Bojan and Snjeza) colour their eggs... Here we are ready to go. We coloured with kokis (markers) as they had left their paints at school! And actually it was really quite fun:
I got quite imaginative, making a couple of storyboard eggs: Here are the hungry birds...
But don't worry, their parents will catch the mouse to bring it to them:
And after coming from a 4-month sabbatical in Cape Town, I had to do a surfer egg:
And having just read about shark nets going up in Fishhoek, I had sharks in my brain: so poor surfer was going to get eaten by the shark... or does he? 
No, don't worry, there is a guy on the boat ready to spear gun the shark so he doesn't kill the surfer!!
I know, I know, this is EASTER, so I did do some crosses and hearts and "Hristos Vaskrse" on other eggs, and Tanja and I did the leaf ones together, so I didn't just do crazy eggs, but I am glad my creative juices had a fun outlet after this very interesting and very unexpectedly crazy week! 

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