Osijek-Croatia Serbian Kosovo
October 5th, 2009 by ron


We have been living out of a suitcase for the past couple of weeks and we are headed to Bosnia today , and will return on Wednesday.


We were in Osijek, Croatia where we went to take some members of the Branch to catch an airplane to Frankfurt, Germany.  They found flights from Croatia to Germany for 2 Euro round trip.  They were headed to the Temple in Frankfurt.  The Lord works in mysterious ways!  They have a hard time affording the trip and so this was such a blessing in their lives!


  We took a quick tour of the city where we visited a beautiful, very old Catholic Church.  The center squares in Europe have beautiful fountains as well.


On our way home from Osijek we enjoyed the sights of the fall harvest all around us.  Ron always takes every opportunity to learn new things along the way, and to share them with you who visit our blog.


The sugar beet harvest was in full production.  Ron drove right down into the fields to check it out.  Nothing primitive here!  He found the most modern beet harvester he has ever seen.  It digs, chews up the tops and spits the dirt and tops out a side shoot and spreads it so smooth that it looks like it was just tilled and raked.  The beets are deposited into a huge rack on the top.  When the rack is full, the driver pulls up to a truck, adjusts an elevator—all from the cab of the machine, and the beets automatically are deposited into the truck and he is good to go for another round.  It was pretty amazing.

They grow many, many acres of sunflowers for sunflower oil.  Some they use for bio-diesel.  We found a processing plant where there were mountains of black sunflower seeds piled, waiting to be processed.


On Wed. we headed to Kosovo with Dr. & Sis. Thomas who are here from Utah State Univ.  They are now specialists for the church in the field of Agriculture.  We are trying to develop a project in the Serbian section of Kosovo to help some people who were driven out of their homes and enclaves during the war in 1999. They are just now being able to return to their homeland. The Serbian Gov. is trying to help them by building new very small homes for them as their homes were destroyed during this war.  You will see pictures of the bombed out homes and their new little red brick homes.  The new homes have 3 rooms, a kitchen/living room, bathroom, and 1 bedroom.  They are more like doll houses but the people are so thankful to have them.  They were to receive the key to their new home the day after we were there. 


The problem is, these people are going to try to farm their land that has fallen into disrepair because they weren’t able to farm the land for 10 years.  Their homes were looted and their farm equipment and animals were all stolen by the opposing parties.  Through LDS Charities, we are hoping to be able to help them with some small equipment and some farm animals to help to sustain them in these beginning stages.  That is why Dr. & Sis. Thomas came, to help determine the possibilities without costing an arm and a leg.


Another enclave that we visited is also a returnee community that returned 5 years ago.  They are amazing with what progress they have made with some help from a few other organizations like USAID and others.  They showed us around their farm and even picked a pumpkin for ME!  I really didn’t want to take it but the wife took it to the tap, washed it off and put it in the back of the van that we were riding in.  This second community is thriving.  They have many cows, pigs, chickens, lambs, bees and grow everything from fruit to nuts and every kind of vegetable you can imagine.  They ever make large quantities of moonshine to consume and to sell.


  While we were there, the little old Grandma was roasting peppers on an old wood fired stove out in the barnyard.  I noticed she had her own bottle of moonshine close by—just in case she got thirsty!!! The pictures of large vats of something is actually their homemade brandy in progress.  They had about 10 vats that they were working on.


On Friday we visited a very small maternity hospital.  It is small and they have problems with their water and power going off but they do the best that they can.  We met with the director of the hospital and one of his Doctors to see if they might have a need for a Neo-natal program.  These wonderful doctors always invite us to see their facility and we love getting to see the new babies!


While we were there we visited a couple of very old monesteries that date back to the 1400’s.  They are so interesting to see and one of the things that fascinates us is that they have foreign peace keeping troops to keep them safe.


One thing that always fascinates us is the fact that our driver in Kosovo stops at the edge between the Serbian section and the Albanian section of Kosovo and changes his license plates. He has a set of plates for each side so that no one stops and hassles him. These two groups of people just don’t get along and even today they have fears of something happening.

2 Responses  
  • Mitch & Lynnette writes:
    October 5th, 20092:01 pmat

    Mitch says HI! and that you need to stay away from that moonshine… 😉

  • Jana writes:
    October 11th, 200911:15 pmat

    It sounds like they are keeping you guy’s buisy. It’s sad to see the pictures of the home that was bombed, and the tiny little thing that they have now. The worst part is that they are right next to the shell of their old home. A constant reminder of what happened.

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