Small Success Story

My host sister came in this evening and told me she made a 5 on her test. We studied this afternoon together; she was getting ready for school so I just read her the pronunciation of a long list of past participles. I wasn’t much help on the grammar explanation, but luckily the test was over pronunciation.

 

It made me so happy when she came in my room this evening to tell me that she did well. What made me happy was that she was so pleased. I did very little — English obviously being my native language, I merely read to her a list of words and repeated or explained any that she didn’t understand. It’s amazing sometimes how small kindnesses can mean so much to people.

 

Small Failures

Earlier today, I had planned a 1:40PM English Club for my 6th grade class. This meeting was essentially a failure, because the 6th graders left for the day and didn’t tell the school janitor that we needed the classroom for our club. By the time I was walking towards the school, I spotted a couple of my students behind the pizzeria playing football. I walked up to them and said, “zašto?” (why?). They knew what I was referring to; my host brother, who is in my 6th grade class, tried to hide himself inconspicuously behind one of his friends. I then tried to tell them, don’t worry, it’s ok!

I do not take things like this personally. Today was a beautiful day and I don’t blame the kids for not wanting to stay an extra hour at school to talk about adverbs of frequency.

Instead of doing English Club, I sat the pizzeria for an hour and lesson planned for other classes. The locals taught me more Našenski (the local language) — ja idem danaski u grad, instead of, ja idem danas u grad.

 

Našenski

You might be wondering, what exactly is Našenski? Kosovo is predominately an Albanian country, and a majority of people speak, you guessed it, Albanian (or Shqip). Before the war, all schools were under the Serbian school system, so Albanians were essentially bilingual. Today, most Albanian Kosovars over the age of 35 speak standard Serbian as well as their mother tongue. Many Kosovars also learned Russian in school, and now, they are often learning English and German.

The community I live in is a Bosniak community. If you were wanting to broadly classify the language, you may say the village speaks Serbian. But, the way that cases are changed and the different nuances make their language more of a dialect, and this dialect they call Našenski. Našenski literally translates to “our language”. There are 30,000 Bosniaks living in Kosovo. Most are located in Prizren and Dragash. The region near Prizren where many Bosniak villages are located is called the Sredačka Župa.

According to a submission on the Wikipedia page about this region, a woman from Sredačka Župa could be bought in 1932 for 10,000 dinar.

 

Map of Kosovo

The map above is a map of this region of Kosovo. It is written in Cyrillic, so you may not be able to read the key. However, if you see where the 2 is on the map — to the left of that is the city Prizren in Cyrillic. Keep in mind that this map is from 1981 — before the war, and before Kosovo was independent.

The Bosniak community is culturally very interesting; their wedding traditions are unique and if you ever look up “Bosniak bride” you will find images of beautiful face painting. This tradition is slowly dying out because women are not being trained in the technique as much as they used to be. On this site you can see many beautiful images of Bosniak brides in Donje Ljubinje, which is not far from where I am! I wish I could include a photo in this blog, but due to how rare it is to get photos of this tradition, I’m afraid that many of these images are copyrighted. If I ever get lucky enough to be invited to a Bosniak wedding where this traditional face painting has been done, I will be sure to post the photos if I’m given permission.