Sunday, July 2, 2017

Perfect Saturday in Kosovo

We had a wonderful Saturday for our last full day in Kosovo! The delegation started the day off with exploring the city of Pristina. We ventured down and checked out the soccer stadium that is under renovation for the National Team of Kosovo. After we explored for a bit we loaded the military bus to travel to the municipality of Istog. We had a nice discussion with the Mayor and it was evident, as it was most of the week that, agriculture played a big role in their community. This is the same community that we visited the day before when we toured Agroproduct. The Major of Istog invited a local farmer to join the discussion as well.

After our meeting we returned to Trofta to tour their trout farm. There is a natural spring that fills roughly 600 gallons per second. After the tour we were able to enjoy some of the delicious trout from their menu. Following lunch we had the amazing opportunity to travel to Consul General Xhavit Gashi's home. This is where he was born right at home, to making many memories with his seven siblings, and taught many life lessons from his father. General Gashi's mother and family still live there today.

The Gashi family are a great group of people who were warm and welcoming. It was great to join them in the yard and learn more about their family and the struggles of the past because of the war. As General Gashi told stories from the war our hearts ached as we imagined what life was like in Kosovo 20 years ago. It was hard to hear what had happened to the people of this small country, but the stories helped us better understand the sufferings. At this point in time the people from Iowa and Kosovo became more thean a delegation, we became a family. We were touched dearly by this. Thanks to General Gashi for opening up to us about hard times.

Wrapping up our time in Kosovo we joined the Ministry of Agriculture team to visit cultural sites and enjoy dinner together. We saw many amazing artifacts, learned more about the history of Kosovo, and different areas of the cultures. As we prepared to wrap up the evening we received a call from the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He had just returned to town and wanted to meet us. We joined him for a brief meeting before returning to our hotel to pack our bags and get things in order for our departure Sunday morning.