Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Toy & Clothing Drive

Dj Vegas & Friends are at it again collecting toys, clothing, school supplies, and food for families in Kosovo.  An UNMIK SRC sponsored event last week helped raise nearly 200 Euros.

There seem to be a lot of questions this year so for a little background, Dj Vegas & Friends is a group that I started up approximately five years ago to collect voluntary donations from mostly UNMIK and UN Agency staff during the winter months.  Essentially the group is a collection of private individuals who donate their time to make food packages and then go out to distribute the assistance to families or villages…we are not an official charity organization or anything like that.  And of course there are always those who want to politicize everything in Kosovo, so to pre-empt any of those concerns about who gets the assistance and how do we pick the familes, blah, blah, blah :P ~  The group has always visited Albanian, Serb, and Roma families.  Normally the list of villages/families are given to us by the Ministry of Labor & Social Welfare or a NGO called Center of Hope International (COHI) and equal assistance for all Kosovo ethnic groups is always stressed.

The collection will round up on 10 December and volunteers are scheduled to go out to distribute the assistance on 12 December with the help of the Kosovo Ministy of Labor & Social Welfare supplying information on families/villages who need help.  Anyone wanting to donate in the next week can email for information/drop-off locations :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kosovo Votes

Despite Vetevendosje’s “Mos Voto” (Don’t Vote) campaign, Kosovars including Serbs turned out in large number to vote in the municipal elections yesterday.  The mayor-incumbinent Dr. Isa Mustafa from the LDK party was re-elected.  Once the tally was announced, the fireworks celebration began around 2230 hours with the grand finale nearly busting out my windows at 0100 hours and completely traumatizing Smokey.
The poor dog!  Kosovo is for sure not a place for a dog who is terrified of automatic gunfire or fireworks as both seem to be linked to most Kosovo celebrations.  Luckily I have been working on cleaning and organizing the storage room in my house which is one of his favorite hiding spots when the “bad” loud noises begin.

In recent weeks, I have realized that I needed to write about a few places that deserve a recommendation.  Two of course are restaurants :)   The first one I kick myself for not writing about earlier because it is really a jem in Pristina.  It’s a sandwich/salad bar called Amelie located on Fehmi Agani almost kitty-corner from OSCE.  Amelie serves up some of the best sandwiches on fresh bread, I highly recommend the Salmon Sensation or the Roast Beef sandwiches and the salads are also generous sized and delicious :)

The second food recommendation is for Izzy’s Deli (038 716 006, 044 209 090) on Adrea Gropa Street off of UCK Street.  It’s kind of hard to describe how to get there but if you are walking towards the Kosovo Government Building on UCK Street, you will make the first right after Police Avenue.  Look for the APPK sign and Izzy’s Deli is just in the next building.

Finally the last recommendation I have is for a hospital.  Due to some health problems, I was referred outside of the normal UNMIK/EULEX medical clinics and I had a very good experience in one of the local hospitals which surprises many internationals after seeing the Pristina Hospital compound.  The Lindja Hospital at the entrance of Gracanica is clean and the doctors have international experience.  The doctor I was referred to spoke good English and was very professional.  Overall what could have turned out to be a nightmarish experience turned out to be a good experience.