Rumble: Faces from Kosovo

On the eve of Kosovo's independence, I am thinking of the people I met there in 1999 and 2000, right after the war. I wish for them the transition to the independence would go peacefully and smoothly.
Many of those that worked with me, remained in contact through the years. I am proud that all of them have found their own path in life.

Ardian was one of our radio operators in Pristina. The first time we talked, was via the radio, when I drove into Pristina for the first time, and Ardian was the one trying to guide us to our office. We are still laughing today how he used the word "Semaphore" instead of "traffic light". "First Semaphore to the left and then second semaphore to the right." I had no clue what a "semaphore" was, so we got completely lost in town.
Years later, Ardian joined FITTEST, our ICT intervention team, and worked for us in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Darfur. We often sat together joking about our times in Kosovo. Even just thinking back of our stories about Herman makes me chuckle...
Ardian is back home in Kosovo since almost two years now, employed by an ISP, doing core routing and switching. He is married and has a lovely daughter Jora ("J" in Albanian is pronounced as "Y" in English), with a second little one on her way...
Ardian is the one who sent me an update of our common Kosovar friends.

Nap, I met for the first time in Ferizaj, a few days after she joined our organisation. She was one of our radio operators, a petite girl with a dazzling smile and sparkling eyes. A sunshine to work with. We stayed in touch for all these years. She is now married, and works for the Kosovo broadcast companies, where she has her own TV show, covering foreign affairs.

Arijana (on the left) was one of our drivers in Pristina, going with the now-famous call sign PW7-1-7.. No doubt she was the prettiest driver we ever employed. And the most temperamental. One day she and I had an argument, and she locked me up in my office, running off with the key. Ariana is now married and has twins. Last heard, she was working in one the Western Union Offices, in Pristina.

Vjosa (in the middle on the previous picture) was another member of our Pristina radio room gang. She is about to graduate in Law and working as a "Rule of Law" Legal Assistant in American Bar Association/Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative. She has two kids now, a boy and a daughter.

Bekim, or "Uncle Bekim" as Ardian and Vjosa used to call him, he is working for one of the biggest bank in Kosovo. He is the main programmer in the bank, developing software and maintaining the bank's databases. He is married and has a son.

Laura, another radio operator from Pristina, is a Customs officer now. She has two kids.

Toni and I met the day I entered Kosovo from Albania. From all the people in the office, I spent the most time with him, so he told me a lot from the times Kosovo was under Serb ruling. How he wanted to become a medical doctor, which was nearly impossible then, as there was no university for Albanians at that time. Tony worked as a radio operator for us in Prizren. And guess what, he now graduated from the Pristina University medical faculty and is doing his master's in Austria, where he lives with his wife. His dream of becoming a doctor did come true!

Lulzim, or Luli as we called him, started as a radio operator in Peja. He then got promoted to finance assistant, moved to Pristina and stayed with our organisation until the office closed in 2002. Later that year he became a certified accountant and started a new carrier as lecturer in Society of Certified Accountants and Auditors of Kosovo – SCAAK, internationally recognized professional body for accountants and auditors. In 2006 he became licensed auditor. Currently he is heading the professional and education activities of SCAAK.

Haki, the colleague of Nap in Ferizaj, moved to IOM and soon after that went on mission for few years to Afganistan and Indonesia. After coming back to Kosovo, he managed the "East West Management Institute and is now the representative of the "Rockefeller Brothers Fund " for Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro.

So you see: each of them found their way in life. Just knowing that, fills me up with joy. It is almost like my kids growing up,... Let's hope they live through the Kosovo independence phase in safety and prosperity.

5 comments:

Worldman 18 February, 2008 04:34  

I had the pleasure of knowing Ardian in Darfur. He came back from R+R and I travelled on the same airplane with him, when I joined Nyala first. We stayed in the same Guesthouse and of course, we talked a lot about Kosovo. Where I have left many friends. They all received an sms yesterday to wish them all the best for the independence. 121 sms.

Peter Casier 18 February, 2008 07:16  

That is a lot of SMS-es ;-)
Let's hope they stay safe.. There were grenades thrown at the UN and EU compounds in Mitrovica yesterday...

If it is not kept under control, this might be the new emergency we are deployed to. And that would be too sad!!!

p.

nep 25 February, 2008 12:20  

Peter,

Thanks for all the kind words! Much appreciated... If it wasn't you guys, or real friends, as I prefer to call you, I wouldn't be where I am now! Missing your inspiring working spirit!

Hugs, Nap

Lulzim 28 February, 2008 15:16  

Peter,

I just surfed to your blog. It is so nice to hear from you. This page is perfect and it does bring back great memories and a wonderful time I had with you all

Luli
Ex EW Base

Peter Casier 28 February, 2008 21:47  

Hey Luli and Nap,

it was really nice to hear from you guys! It brings back good memories indeed!! ;-)

I wish you all the very very best and wish Kosovo a safe transition to independence!!

All my best!

Peter

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