Wednesday, 28 March 2012

WeDoWork

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" goes the old saying. That is not a problem this blog suffers from. I was reviewing our posts since the start of 2012 and realised they consisted only of updates on the state of our toilet and reports of us playing. That does not constitute a fair representation of how we've spent the last three months.

In the interest of balance I thought we'd treat you to a picture of us at work. This is us smiling for the camera during a morning meeting with Budo, our Novi Most co-worker, and Dina, the local leader of the Evangelical Church, who we work with in Jajce. A large part of these regular meetings is keeping everybody's diaries coordinated. These are busy times and we all have individual projects we're working on, as well as activities for young people that we are working on together. Hopefully over the next couple of months we'll do a better job of keeping you updated on how these develop.

(Thanks to Katie for capturing the moment!)

Monday, 26 March 2012

Exploring Vlašić

Today we finally got around to visiting Vlašić, a mountain about an hour and a half from Jajce. The season there is officially over and almost everything was shut up. But the sun was out and there was still enough snow on some of the slopes to give a beginner their first snowboarding experience. That privilege went to Katie, Novi Most's BiH-based journalist, who has been visiting us in Jajce this weekend. Despite my limited experience I'd say she is a natural; she certainly fared way better on her first time out than I did on mine! It's safe to say it won't be the last time she snowboards.

It won't be the last time we visit Vlašić either. It was great to get out and wander around the mountain, soaking up the sun and enjoying the silence. It seemed like the loudest noises were the wind in the trees and the sound of melting snow. Although the Babonovac resort is old and still has ruined and unfinished buildings in it - and the remains of an ancient ski jump - it also has some new developments that hopefully are signs of a positive future for the area. Today was one of those days that will live long in the memory and for that the mountain must take much credit.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

That cave video...



Finally, after about forty-eight stubborn hours, YouTube decided it would start up loading this video this morning. I won't claim it's a visual epic, but it is a short-and-sweet glimpse at an interesting diversion we took on Saturday. If nothing else it shows that the long winter is finally over!

Monday, 19 March 2012

While Youtube is being uncooperative...

This weekend we took a group of young people to Sanski Most, a town about an hour and a half north west of Jajce. As an unplanned part of the trip we ended up visiting Dabarska pećina, a large cave just outside the town. I had a torch and camera on hand to capture the adventure but YouTube has been distinctly uncooperative since returning, flat out refusing to attempt to upload my video!

So this post will instead present you with the view from the view from our kitchen window! We went up to the ski centre near Jajce this morning to bid our formal farewells to this season's snow. I climbed up the slope to the point where I could get a clear view of where our house is, not that it was really visible with the naked eye. However, it gave me a strange sense of satisfaction to take the reverse of a photo I've posted far too often on Instagram.

(If you want to spot Jajce it's about 3/5 of the way across the photo, looking from left to right, just above the tree line. If you want to spot Rowan she's the little black dot in the snow in the bottom left corner of the photo!)

Thursday, 8 March 2012

An Actual Working Toilet!

We have waited fully four weeks for this moment...it would be wrong of us not to share it with you on video!


Monday, 5 March 2012

A Silver Lining

There is a possibility that tomorrow normal service will be resumed with the water in our house. However after three and a half weeks with just one working tap I'm reluctant to get my hopes up. That said I can't wait to have a proper shower again. The novelty of pouring bottles of water over myself every morning has definitely worn off.

We are well aware, however, that our current inconveniences don't compare to real hardship. But if they are a cloud of sorts then this morning we got to see the silver lining. The heavy winter might have got the better of the plumbing in our building but it's also left lots of snow on the top of the nearby mountains. This morning we decided to explore and found the ski slope we can see from the kitchen window deserted. We spent a couple of hours enjoying the silence and getting sunburnt!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Engel...who?!

I'm not sure why I ended up watching a video featuring Eurovision expert Liam Jarnecki on the BBC site earlier this week. My attention was caught, however, by his irony-free embrace of the iconic singing contest. He was had a clear argument as to why Engelbert Humperdinck is the right choice this year for the UK. A big part of this argument hinged on the assertion that he was big in Eastern Europe. Living, as we do, in south-eastern Europe, I thought I'd put this to the test. Here's the shocking truth. My survey says 100% of residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina have never heard of him! Admittedly my survey involving asking just one person so it my not be entirely representative, although the person in question will likely watch Eurovision Song Contest. I will continue to pose the question and if there is a drastic change in the result I'll be sure to post an update.


In closing I should add that on the subject of tactical voting expert Liam Jarnecki has much to learn about the prevailing mindset in the former Yugoslavia. It is naive to suggest there is no region bias in voting. Long may it continue. All things considered I think it adds an endearing quality to the whole charade.

Friday, 2 March 2012

A borrowed banner!

Novi Most, the organisation we work with, has a new volunteer in Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of their responsibilities is being official "Tweeter" for the charity. Last week we had the pleasure of showing them around Jajce and introducing them to what we get up to here. As you might expect, photos were taken. One of them was so nice I've borrowed it for our blog banner! It's a very familiar view, taken from a vantage point just a minute from where we live. You can see the full photo, uncropped and uncluttered by text and logos, on Katie's blog, along with some other fantastic shots from the journey up from Mostar.