Bosnia Week 2 (Feat. Osijek / Orahovica, Croatia)

Well, technically this title is lying since most of this week was in Croatia.

Last week's post can be found here.

Day 8

(Tuesday 23rd June 2015)

I got up at 4am to catch the train to my EVS (European Voluntary Service) training.

Dina (my mentor here) picked me up from my house, and took me in the taxi across the border to Croatia to a town called Gunja, and we waited at a very old-fashioned train station for the tiny early morning train.

The sun was rising as I sat on the train and then I had to change at Vinkovci to the Osijek train.

Once I got to Osijek, I had 4 hours to kill until the train for Orahovica arrived.

4 hours in Osijek

Arrived in Orahovica, and got taken to the Red Cross Centre where the training was taking place

Pre-day 8, I had been given some Croatian kuna (the currency there) and it is so interesting for me to see 3 different kinds of money, and having to exchange them so often.
Bosnia - BAM / KM
Serbia - Dinar
Croatia - Kuna

This is Kuna. I will take some pics of Dinar and KM soon. (Maybe next weeks' blog post)

Day 9

(Wednesday 24th June 2015)

This was the day for preparing our mini project.

I was in a group with Antonio (from Italy near Venice, volunteering at a horse-therapy for disabled children organisation near Zagreb), Telma (from Portugal, volunteering at the Eco village 'Eko Centar' at Latinovac in Croatia, near the Bosnian border) and Paivi (from Finland, volunteering on the Croatian coast). 

We all gave presentations on our area of Croatia (or in my case, Bosnia) where we are volunteering.

The girls who were volunteering at a capoeira organisation in Zagreb taught us a few things:

(Photos curtesy of Paivi)

[I am in the blue stripey top]

Martina, Ines, Antonio, Salvo, Filipe, Me, Telma, Domagoj

Filipe, Me, Telma, Lidija, Candido, Domagoj

Then we sat outside in the evening and listened to Luc (from France, volunteering in Pula, also on the Croatian coast) and Filipe (Portuguese, working at the 'Eko Centar') play guitar over a few beers.

Day 10

(Thursday 25th June 2015)

This was the day that we implemented our project in Orahovica.

(Photos curtesy of Paivi)

[I am in the burgundy shirt]

Then me and Paivi went to the lake and met up with Suzanna (from Slovakia, working with bear conservation in Croatia), Maria (also from Slovakia, but volunteering with Paivi) and Luc there.

(Paivi pic)

We also passed this weird thing that they seem to have here: a milk vending machine (???!!)

(This is also a Paivi pic)

When we got back, I had a swim in the swimming pool, which I had all to myself and was so nice after such a hot day, and the evening sun was shining through the window.

Day 11

(Friday 26th June 2015)

We had to reflect on our project, and afterwards we had a traditional Croatian dinner. (I really liked 'Sarma', which means 'wrapped around', and is kindof minced pork wrapped in cabbage with an orangey soup ish thing over it). I tried alot of new things and it was really good!

(Paivi photos again)

Afterwards we had some rakija and danced. (I taught them Scottish ceilidh dancing and we learned some traditional French dance and some other stuff).

Learned some new music -

A song about Rakija called 'Gypsy King'

The Burrito Song (the Portuguese people put it on)

Balkan music

Day 12

(Saturday 27th June 2015)

Going home day.

We had a morning session discussing the European Youth Pass, and did this cute game at the end where there is a ball of string and you have to pass it to somebody in the circle and say a hope or wish that you have for them. You have to stay holding your bit of string and pass the ball to the next person, so that the whole circle makes a web / network. At the end, you cut your little bit of string and keep it. 

I got a lift from Martina to Osijek, and then I had some coffee and icecream (I had 2 hours to kill), and wandered around the centre.

Then I took the very old-fashioned train from Osijek to Vinkovci and waited there for the bus to take me to Gunja. However, the bus station had told Martina the wrong thing, and actually there was no bus to Gunja.

In the end Martina and her boyfriend took me over the border to Bosnia, and Milos (a local volunteer and mentor from my organisation in Brcko) picked me up in a taxi. 

Day 13

(Sunday 28th June 2015)

Coffee with Nicholas, Sam, Tamara, Kate and Sarah - Brcko centre
A small kitten at the coffee / beer place called  'Jazzwa' which I thought for ages everybody was saying 'Jazz Bar' - but a Jazzwa is apparently what you use to make this kind-of 'Turkish' coffee, but also happens to sound like Jazz Bar.
Then dinner - pasta by Kate at Kate and Sarah's
They asked if I would like to go with them to Novi Sad in Serbia at the weekend for a film festival. It was a no-brainer.

Day 14

(Monday 29th June 2015)

We (Sarah, Kate and I) went to the market at around 8am, and we all did a very successful morning's shopping before a full day of activities at the youth centre with the kids.

I bought a cool leather pouch purse thing, a plain grey t-shirt and a fantastic vintage Levi's denim jacket. The jacket was 15KM (in BAM) which is like £5.50, the t-shirt was 5KM - about £2, and the purse was 3KM , about a pound.

Very happy.

They also sold chicks and ducklings and other assorted animals (puppies, bunnies, pidgeons, budgies. mice, grown chickens etc). I was so so unbelievably tempted to buy a chick or a duckling. One of the local guys that works at Svitac (the organisation I am working for), called Adin, who is a little younger and very kind and accepting (also did his EVS in the Netherlands), lives in a house with lots of animals and offered to take the 'pets' off our hands after we leave Bosnia. This is really too tempting, but I have resisted so far. Technically I am not allowed pets, and I can barely look after myself, let alone a baby chicken.

Anyway, I will go to the market next Monday morning I think, buy some food and maybe find some more bargains, but most importantly - take some photos of the chicks.

The day's workshops were: making peacocks with toilet-rolls with the younger ones in the morning, and a caterpillar pencil holder / desk tidy out of toilet rolls for the older ones.

Dinner with Sarah and Kate - Sarah made some sort of thing with these cool beans from the market, that had what looked looked almost like purple tie-dye on their skins. Really cool. It was some sort of Lebanese dish that she made, and the rice was made with vermicelli in it - which apparently is normal in Morrocco and Lebanon?

Having just worked out how much my morning's purchases were in BAM / KM, it made me realise that a coffee here is rarely more than a pound. The 'expensive' ones (like frappe thingys or ice coffees or ones with lots of cream) are usually 2.50KM, Google's converter says that that is 91p (€1.28). Sometimes a coffee is 1KM or more often 2KM - 36p (51 cents) and 73p (€1.02) respectively. That is mad. Also a bit sad.

In my head, I had started to think of 1KM as a pound. This morning I almost walked away from the denim jacket thinking - wow that is way overpriced. It was around £5.50. That is like a coffee back home.

Drinks with Sarah, Nicholas, Tamara and some of their German friends, as well as Jurgen, his girlfriend, Nico (?) the barman from 'Queen' bar, and Dragon (?) and his friend.


week 3 - prep my workshops - weekend in novi sad- film fest
week 4 - music camp, Sarajevo (poss. Croatia festival if I am allowed a day or two off. Unlikely - zadar/ san marino) (poss. Montenegro at the weekend)
week 5 - music camp + workshops/ beaches in croatia -> dubrovnik
week 6 - workshops /Zagreb / Lubljiana
week 7 - birthday week! Belgrade or budapest / sarajevo weekend (if not seen already) or tuzla / banja luka / trumpet festival in guce
week 8 - workshops
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