Balkan Reflections

This blog has been set up to assist in communicating with friends and family while we are in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Location: Ontario, Canada

Striving to a better day.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Last week, dh, the girls and I took a mine safety awareness seminar. We are talking here about landmines.

The seminar dh took was over two sessions. The one the girls and I took was one session, and it was, I sensed, greatly ‘cleaned up’ from the one given to working adults here. Drago, our instructor, was busy selecting the frames he would show us from a very full screen!

A few pictures we tried to ignore as we walked down to the hall to our ‘classroom’ were very gruesome. I think it was just as well that the girls (or I!) didn’t see more of them.

Landmines are something that the governments here are NOT overly willing to talk about. Croatia, especially, relies on tourism for its economic health. Mine awareness is not particularly good for tourism.

The immediate area where we are living is considered quite safe. It was not heavily mined during the war. Even so, riverbanks and caves are to be watched, and it’s always better to stay on worn paths.

We saw pictures of the different kinds of mines and how they work. We also saw mines in the field. They are very hard to see, which is of course, one of the biggest problems. Of course these items can also lose stability as they age, and may explode without being “set off”.

People have been killed quite recently by land mines.

A great deal of mine sweeping has been done, but there is a lot more that needs doing. It is very slow work, and it is not terribly accurate. Areas chosen for demining are often done according to local records or memory. These are not always the most accurate records. It is entirely possible that records of mined areas were not always done by those laying the mines, or that records that were done were not turned in after the war.

Just after crossing the border from Croatia into Serbia, there is a village which has mine hazard signs in the streets and on buildings!

When we mentioned to our instructor that we were planning at some point to visit Međugorje, we were warned that there is a wooden cross on a hill that people like to walk up to. It was strongly suggested to us that we take a picture from a distance!

While we were waiting for dh to finish his program, I had a great chat with our instructor as to some of the sights to see in the area, particularly those of historical interest. There is some VERY old history around here!

We left our course with shoulder flashes and stickers. Dh left his with the same as well as a T-shirt and mug promoting mine awareness.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed the funny looking character in the name Međugorje. This gives a soft ‘g’ sound. I have found a way to add the ‘extra’ letters from the Serbian alphabet! I will try hard to use them correctly!

God Bless!


Anonymous Ronnett said...

I am very thankful to see that God is watching over you in the way that you seek knowledge and someone is able to warn you about dangers you may not be aware of. Thank you God!
Thank you for such information. It is exciting. I will perhaps try to do some "sightseeing" on the internet to have a better idea of where you are and so forth.

12:17 am  
Blogger JDP said...


This area is beautiful. there are many lovely websites with pictures of old castles and the mountains!

I'll see if I can find some to send you.

There will be an edit to this post. It should have said the government is NOT overly willing to talk about mine threats!

2:57 am  
Blogger WICatholic said...

I have gotten behind in following along with you because of a death in the family and many hours at work, so will be catching up. But it sounds like you have a good language teacher, and have been learning things already!

God bless!

12:18 am  

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