Princess Pristina

I spent all day in the hotel yesterday, Sunday, working like a madwoman.  Today is Memorial Day and I’ll also work all day. Poor me! It’s not the most exciting work, either – the skill sets one uses to create a Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Plan hover at the lower levels of intellectual development, like counting and pleasing clients. Hopefully someday soon I’ll get to head into the more advanced activities at work – planning a real evaluation, training data collectors, getting into the field, cleaning data, analyzing, writing. I’m bored!
Kosovo is not as I expected – it’s very modern, very European, and has advanced from the days of war (at least in the limited parts of Pristina I’ve seen so far.) The hotel, food, coffee, services, beer, that sort of thing – all very nice. They’re big fans of America here, and especially of Bill Clinton:

The weather has been absolutely ideal – sunny with cool breezes, maybe 75 degrees – and people flood the streets to sit in cafes and have coffee. “Macchiato” is the very common coffee drink, kind of a mellow cappuccino (without the foam and nutmeg and attitude.)
The other drink is raki. I scared the bejeezus out of this guy when I sat down and asked if I could take a picture with him and his drink:

As I’ve come at the beginning of a project here, I’m watching my colleagues set up an office.  They know what they’re doing, but it’s a million-and-one small decisions (what color and when to paint the walls of the office, how much phone credit to give staff, how to hide the computer cables so the place looks nice…)  I opened a project office in Zambia last year for three people, though, and it nearly killed me – so many details.  It was my first time, so there are lots of mistakes I wouldn’t make again (like trying to do everything myself, and relying on bankers).  Still, I have a ton of respect for the chief of party here, who will have a staff of a dozen and all the attendant office-related challenges and headaches. Here’s the team, looking busy:

As many good things as there are in such a position (I’m sure the perks are nice, plus Kosovo seems a lovely place to live), they will pay for it with hours and hours of work outside of a 9-5 schedule.
I’m learning more about The Law than I ever knew existed.  It takes so much work to bring a case to trial, and so many people.  Another thing about the U.S. that I have always taken for granted – if I needed a court, a lawyer, and a judge to hear me, it’s all going to be provided. (Yeah, I know nothing’s perfect.) But here, and in many places, it’s a luxury they don’t afford.
This was my parting meal in Pristina. It’s a hard boiled egg, wrapped in chicken, rolled in corn flakes, and deep fried. You don’t get something like this just anywhere. I think it’s called a Chicken Egg Roll.

By Keri Culver

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  1. Pingback:Writer in exile: 101st blog post - Keri Culver

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