Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Class of 2010, UWC Mostar

Here they are, this year's graduating students from the United World College in Mostar. We've got to know a few them over the last couple of years so it was great to get an invite to go along to the Graduation Ceremony today. As one might expect, it was quite an emotional affair. These young people have been family for the past two year, making home often a very long way from home. Now they're heading off in separate directions.

While I won't claim to have got all the in-jokes the speeches, nevertheless, were inspiring and you have ponder the miracle of the opportunities afforded these students. So much possibility, such a sense many of them will actually make something of it. When they do let's hope they remember the place that got them started, particularly the local students. This country can ill afford its potential movers and shakers moving elsewhere never to return.

Monday, 24 May 2010

New tracks from Gilgal on Facebook



If you want to hear Rowan and I rocking out head over to the Gilgal Facebook page.

Plus, there are a bunch of older live videos on the Gilgal YouTube channel.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Mission Accomplished!

'Mission Accomplished' is probably forever tainted by the George Bush connection, which, for the sake of fairness I should add, was probably not his fault. The huge banner, that is.

Undeterred, let me declare today a mission accomplished moment. It was the end of a two month crash course in piano playing that saw my student (right in pic) achieve his goal of performing a famous local pop song with a fellow student singing at an end-of-term school performance. The show was a wonderful mix of different acts, from belly dancing to a Britney Spears cover.

He had shown a real aptitude for guitar over the past couple of years at the course we run at Klub Novi Most but showing ability on guitar and being able to learn piano are two very different things. I'll admit I was slightly skeptical when he explained his plan. This morning persistence and dedication paid off as he put in a great performance in front of a packed room full of friends, staff and fellow students. He'd been very clear he wanted me to play along with him so that's me on the left of the picture, taken as we were setting up: it's a nice snap-shot of satisfaction.


Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The writing's on the board

Back in the UK I used to take lessons, that is I was the sort of person who'd give the real teacher a break for a lesson or two. Who knows how many times I wielded a dry-wipe marker during the late-nineties and early-noughties but I do remember the first time I stood up in a classroom with an interactive whiteboard. What a distraction, to me at least. The subject of that lesson escapes me although me the memory of playing with the light-sensitive pen on the projected image does not. Nevertheless, as a child of the seventies chalk dust and free school milk were part of formative educational experience.





I learnt something about Bosnian handwriting today. Somehow in a little over eighteen months here I hadn't noticed that, from an English perspective, handwritten m's and n's have an extra hump. Look closely at the picture above and you'll see a sentence that starts: Moj otac je. That means 'my father is'. The next word was a mystery to me. It looks vaguely like 'morimar', but glancing at the English translation I could see it was, in fact, 'novinar' . Then I noticed that the translation was missing a little something. The indefinite article. (A fair omission as they don't exist in the language here.) Tempted beyond what I could endure I picked up the chalk and added a discrete correction!



Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Two weeks later...

'It's been two weeks since you blogged' said Rowan yesterday. So, duly shamed, here I am again! After a couple of days of rain, the sun came out this evening. As it has been a similarly unacceptable time since I posted a video on our WeDoAdventure YouTube channel I grabbed the camera while I was driving home to record this short update.



Perhaps this is cheating, but it is better than nothing!

Sadly, I think I've missed the moment for a couple of good football related posts, although Saturday's Champion's League Final may give me the chance to make ammends.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Visit Sarajevo on 1st May

Yesterday was, as you probably noticed, the 1st May. Prvi Maj is a big deal here in Bosnia and Herzegovina and cracking out the barbecue seems to be the appropriate response. That's what Rowan did with some friends while I and a another friend took a trip to Sarajevo to indulge in some holiday weekend cinema. Don't you love it when you're driving somewhere and all the traffic is going in the other direction? We had that - both ways. So I'm putting this out there as a top tourist tip: visit Sarajevo on 1st May. The weather's great and the crowds are out of town!




Enjoying the sun (and cheesecake) in a favourite roof-top cafe.




Rolling with the punches (punctures?!) on the long drive home.