Thursday, June 22, 2017

Another Polish adventure | LTS Module 4

I needed to be in Krakow for the Leadership Training School Module 4, and I couldn't go to Poland without seeing my newly found relatives, so I started in Warsaw for a night with my wonderful (second) cousin Izabela, before being whisked away by the rest of her family to Terespol.
Izabela had to work and so she couldn't come with us, which was a problem as she is the one with the best English. I was kind of worried that we would have to resort to hands and feet, but between my little bit of Polish, their little bit of English and the genius that is the Google translator app, we did great! If you are connected to the internet, you can even talk into the app and it translates it and then speaks it out, and on the whole is pretty good. However there were a few times it didn't hear properly or the translation was less than ideal... like the one below: WHAAAAT???
We had a great couple of days, and one day they took me to the place where they used to go on vacation as a family when the kids were younger. Here we are with Ania (who is another second cousin), her aunt and uncle (and Izabela's parents), Irena and Adam and Izabela's sister, Ilona. We ended up walking the 5kms around the lake and then having a lovely lunch!
They took me again to the place where my Grandfather grew up, and the poppies were like a little hello from him! I was surprised at how emotional I actually got... but family and roots do go deep I suppose, and I am just so happy that we found this side of the family once again!
 Then it was time to say goodbye and head off to the next adventure... (until next time!)
On my way to Krakow, I broke up the long journey in Kielce to meet up with Janna whom I met in 2011 in South Africa... it was fun hanging out with her again. Here we are on the walking street in Kielce:
 She also took me to a very interesting memorial/art piece which shows what man does to man, and commemorates the different acts of terrorism across the globe, especially September 11/twin towers.
While I was in Krakow, a few of us took the opportunity to go to Auschwitz, and I was reminded of the Kielce memorial - what man does to his fellow man...
 A little story: the Jews were all told that they were going to do a job, so they would get on the trains willingly and that that job was to polish the boots of the German soldiers. So many of them came with their own brushes and polish, so that they could do a good job. So sad...
These are the train tracks into Birkenau, and it seemed so poignant that there was a rose there... remembering the 1000s of people who came into the camp and never left again.
The thing that really got me was the kids... there was one really poignant display where they had reproduced drawings that were drawn by kids in the camps... and every one of those kids consequently died in the camp. I lost it the most at that... this is their impression of the above picture: No words...
Back in Krakow, we were right near the old city, which was really beautiful: here is the Marketplace
And Church of the 12 apostles, next to St Andrews:
 The Castle:
 The castle from the other side with one of the carriages who go through the city carrying tourists:
We did actually have lectures and processing groups, and all sorts of busy-ness which made for long days, but soooo good! Below is Bruce Clewitt who was speaking to us on the Catholic World. We also had Jeff Fountain on Europe, Stephe Meyers on teams, and many other great speakers!
 There was some time to connect with our fellow students and enjoy some networking: love it!
It was also great to connect with the people from YWAM Poland - we spent one afternoon together just catching up, and we meant to get a photo, but it didn't happen :( After the week in Krakow was over, I went to Rzeszow to spend time with one of the YWAM families, Roma and Tamara and their two boys, Sasha and Tolek. We also ran a couple of fun English classes for the children in their church and I shared in the church on Sunday morning. 
Then it was time to head back to Banja Luka and catch up with what is going on there! 

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Book Club should be renamed "Fun Club"

As the school year is coming to a close for the summer, Book Club will be taking a hiatus... until the new school year. We had more 30 children who came regularly this semester and about the same amount of volunteers involved, some more regularly than others.

As the weather gets better, when we go to the library we also take a stop at the local playground. The library is in between two playgrounds, and one of them was recently renovated, so we took a stop there the last time we went to the library. It has some fun features which we tried out for the first time... Like the group swing:

Mini-roundabout:
 And climbing wall:
Another fun thing we try to do is take the kids to the Children's Theatre. We took them in two groups - one to see "Ivica i Marica" (Hansel and Gretel) and the other to see "Crvenkapa" (Little Red Riding Hood). The theatre gives us the tickets gratis, and so on our last book club we made them two posters as a "thank-you". We coloured in a scene or two from the play and the best ones went on the poster. We also wrote down which our favourite parts were and put those on there.

The first one says "Ivica and Marica, thank-you!")
The second one says "Crvenkapa, thank-you!"
Both of them have "Children from the Children's Home "Rada Vranjesevic" at the bottom right, so they know who the posters came from. The theatre staff were very touched by this gesture!

We also ended off the school year by giving prizes for attendance... The kids LOVE that they get any kinds of presents, and it is a good incentive to stay a part of the club, especially for the older kids...

And so I say, the Book Club is not just about reading (although there is a bit of that), it is also about just having fun! So maybe it should be called the "Fun Club"!! :) 

Friday, June 02, 2017

Experiencing Physical Therapy in Banja Luka

Somewhere along the line, I managed to injure my shoulder. It all started with the fact that my neck was very tight and tense, from too much working on my computer and not enough exercise, but I just got used to it... and then I decided that I needed to get fit and so started swimming: but maybe a little too much, too fast and who knew, but the neck and shoulders are all connected by the same muscles and so the tight neck muscles managed to pull the ligaments and tendons out of alignment in my AC joint in my shoulder (that is at least what they think happened...).

Anywoo, the shoulder thing got so bad in South Africa in January that I had it checked out there, and then I had physiotherapy there with a great therapist. We had sessions once a week and she did a good job of at least fixing my neck a bit, but then it was time for me to go back to Bosnia and it all went downhill from there again. I went to the doctor here in March, and she told me I had to have therapy every day for 10 days as that is the way it works here. However, with all the travelling I was doing, the first time I would be available for that was the beginning of May... I managed to use ice, creams and lots of paracetamol to keep the worst at bay, but it was a pretty retched month and a bit...

I went back to the doctor at the end of April and she signed me up for various treatments and exercises. Every day I went in and started with "electricity" and then went down the hall had treatment with "paraffin" heating pads, and then went to the exercise hall. There I was with the group exercises for the first 15 minutes as my therapist was doing the group and me at the same time. She would then either give me massage on my shoulder joint (read: owwwww, but it helps!) or more exercises to do for the next 15 minutes. For 10 days I then had a 15 minute massage (I know, hard life!).

After those first 10 days, I went to the doctor for a check-up and although my neck was better, it still wasn't completely better and the shoulder still had a way to go... so she gave me another 10 days of this. She just switched out my manual massage for an ultrasound "massage" (which was also very good!).

In the beginning, I really didn't know what to expect, but after a couple of days you figure out the system and see that it works really well. I also made friends with some of the people with whom I was doing the treatments at the same time which was really fun.

The only bad part was that I needed to get a copy of my treatment records for my insurance.  You would think I had asked for the holy grail! It was very frustrating as no one ever asks for this, because most people are in the health care system, so you pay around 10% of the costs (or free if you are over 65) and don't need to get records for their insurance as it is all in the same system. However, as I am not in the system, I paid it in full and will get it back from my insurance and I needed proof that the doctor had prescribed these exact treatments... not just the fact that I had paid. They gave me the run around for a couple of days until I asked the right person the right question and eventually got sent to the archivist where I was given an official request form which had to be approved by the hospital director - and then I got a copy no problem! But in the meantime you can imagine how fun it was - NOT!

I am soooooo much better now than when I started it and I now know the exercises and will continue those, as that is definitely the key! So I am VERY grateful to the physiotherapists and the amazing people who work at the orthopedic hospital... But to end off this blog post, I just have to share something that I thought was funny. They give us a card where they have my diagnosis, and the various treatments, and then I carry that from place to place as. of course, the people in the different places change and this way I get the treatment I need. On the back of the card there are these "remarks to patients":
They include things like "turn your phone off" and "if you don't come three times, then you will be excluded and have to start again". The one I found funny is the last one: "Please don't come in an alcoholised state". Only in Bosnia!
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