I just came back from Tara. Spent ten days on a mountain with hundreds of kids (and even that was not enough)…
And I enjoyed every single minute I spent with those kids.
At times I did feel like a circus attraction, but I totally understand that for most kids I was the first Dutch person they had ever seen in their young lives. So, it wasn’t uncommon that whenever I stepped out of the door, I was surrounded and followed (one little fella even dared to follow me all the way into the toilet – don’t know what he was expecting to find/see there) by kids. Most of them were just curious, perhaps even flabbergasted by this strange looking creature (me). They didn’t get further than "Hello", but there were a few who were really fascinated and they tried to strike up a conversation.
The first little fella that approached me was Marko (a 13 year old – though he kept convincing himself that he was already 14 – he was born in '97 – call me crazy, but I think that makes him 13). Anyways, Sabina and I were sitting at the Windmill (one of our spots on Tara) and were chatting away, when Marko approached curiously and started to talk to us, in Serbian of course. I could get some of what he said, but the rest…that's what Vid is for! Marko was always ready to introduce me to his friends and explain to them that my knowledge of Serbian is limited. He was my personal little bodyguard.
Then there was Nebosja, 14, and he spoke fluent English. I was really impressed with his language skills and that of a lot of other youngsters that I met. I couldn’t speak English when I was their age, so I am really really impressed. Nebosja was a determined little fella, always waiting and ready to strike up a conversation. He wants to be an English teacher when he grows up. He was my personal little translator (and stalker).
Milos was another great 14 year old. Didn’t speak English, but always ready for a talk. I remember one of our conversations, where Sabina and I literally had to use our hands and feet to understand eachother. He was an orphan and currently waiting to be adopted. He was a really well-behaved little fella, with a love for cats and dogs. He helped me save the 3 little puppies that Sabina and I found somewhere in the bushes. He also enjoyed playing football. His big dream was to become a bus driver. He was my personal little hero.
Super sweet and very mature for her age Milica (12) kept making me little artistic thingies and drawings. She was my personal little fan.
Another very cute little boy was Aleks who joined his brother who was in the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. He was only 11, but his English was perfect. Amazing! He made friends quickly with the rest of the MEC youngsters. He was my personal little cutie pie (if he was up for adoption, I would have adopted him immediately ;))
Every time I saw these little kids outside my building or running around the camp they greeted me – it was so cute and I will never forgot how welcome they made me feel. This is what I will be taking back with me from Tara.
The kids! They totally stole my heart.